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rsellars
11-28-2004, 12:10 AM
I just read with interest the discussion about technical directors vs character driven directors that evolved from the directing book recommendations. I was a cinematographer for over 20 years before I began directing about 6 years ago - so I was comfortable with the "technical" or camera-centric approach to directing. But I have the greatest respect for directors who are "actor's directors" as well as accomplished visual storytellers. I knew that I needed a lot of practice and catching up in order to become proficient at directing actors. For a while, I thought that I was doing OK just using my instinct and common sense. That was before I read Judith Weston's "Directing Actors." What a huge difference that book has made! I now realize that my old "results oriented" approach (unfortunately, most directors work this way) could never truly help an actor achieve a great performance. Ms. Weston also teaches workshops in LA & NY (I highly recommend) and has a new book - "The Film Director's Intuition." I would like to challenge all of you "camera oriented" directors to try this out. It takes balls to really embrace her methods and lots of practice to replace your bad habits with new techniques. But if you want to be a great actor's director - it is a very effective approach. I'm not advocating ignoring visual storytelling - just a more balanced approach to filmmaking. You might even find a new way of working visually. Instead of "what kind of really cool shot can I do here?" - you may ask yourself, "how can I visually interpret the subtext of this scene to support the character's intention?"

J_Barnes
11-28-2004, 05:33 AM
Good tip, rsellars.

Jim Brennan
11-28-2004, 11:41 AM
I agree.

sojrn
11-28-2004, 01:30 PM
I ordered her book last night. :)

Woodson
11-28-2004, 10:12 PM
oh man.. I'm all about it... actor's director... thanks for those book titles.. and if you ever find anything interesting about this let us know.

Shaw
11-29-2004, 07:22 PM
Does anyone know of some good online articles that discuss this topic? I'm going to order the book mentioned here but I would like to find some stuff to read in the meantime.

Bill_Hooper
11-29-2004, 09:47 PM
rsellars

I started reading this a little while back but put it aside. Good stuff. I'll have to get back to it. Since you read it, have you noticed any differences? Do actors seem to respond better, or anything else?
Thanks
Bill

Woodson
11-29-2004, 10:48 PM
Does anyone know of some good online articles that discuss this topic? I'm going to order the book mentioned here but I would like to find some stuff to read in the meantime.



that's what I'm looking for.. but can't really find anything on this topic.

Josh_Boelter
12-07-2004, 09:20 AM
I agree. Weston's book is great. Also, if you've never acted, it never hurts to take an acting class just to feel what it's like to connect with the dialogue and really get inside a character.

c.g._eads
12-12-2004, 12:17 PM
I found this book long, tedious, and boring. Definitely do NOT recommend this book. However I do agree that the best way to understand actors is to TAKE ACTING CLASSES.

c.g.

Woodson
12-15-2004, 09:29 PM
I don't know how taking acting lessons will teach you how to direct actors. I say go for the directing actors workshops.

Mike_Donis
12-15-2004, 10:02 PM
Taking acting lessons can let you know what it's like to be an actor - I think it most definitely does help, and at least it can't hurt.

J_Barnes
12-16-2004, 05:59 AM
In my opinion, taking acting lessons is the only effective way to learn about directing in an educational setting. *I've worked as an assistant teacher and substitute in both acting and directing classes and from those experiences, I found the general level of learning to be greatly imbalanced between the two.

The problem with directing classes is that you typically have a director (the teacher) trying to teach aspiring directors how to direct aspiring directors. *

It's a room full of chiefs, and unless people are selfless enough to occasionally play Indian, you can't get any practical learning done. *You can sit around and talk about actor theory, interpersonal relationships, subtext approach, method application, substitution, Stanislavski, Adler, Hagen, Strasberg, Mamet and whatever else...but you won't get to solidify the concept and theory until you begin to apply those concepts and theories in a practical exercise.

Itís just a lecture until you start applying some of the stuff youíre talking about, and in that sense, a Directing class is by nature, ill equipped to apply those techniques in an educational setting.

Even when a directing class uses outside actors, the environment is typically not conducive to a free exchange of experience between the actor and the directing student. *The actor will be eager to please and perform and will not readily correct the directing studentís approach or technique. *Furthermore, in a room full of student directors and a teacher, there is little opportunity for an actor to develop a sense of trust with a directing student, further hampering the learning experience.

Now, opposed to that is the typical acting class. *The typical acting class has a small body of students working under the tutelage of a teacher, exploring the methods of dramatic presentation. *If you just sit there and shut up, you'll get to see a solid two to four hours of a director (teacher) working with various actors on a wide range of material. *You'll get to hear each aspect of the director's interpretation of the text, you'll get to listen in as the director explores the back-story and subtext with the actor. *You'll get to see the actor's resistance and struggle. *You'll understand what the actor used to get into the scene, the substitutions, the past events, the emotional memories, the relaxation techniques.

You'll get to see, from a first hand perspective, what the teacher did to try and get a performance out of the actor and you'll see the results of those attempts. *You won't get anything close to that in any directing class.

From what Iíve see, the attentive and insightful person will learn more by sitting in an acting class and never getting up to participate then you will by diving into the most involved directing class. *

I could be wrong, but it is my firm belief and it's based on direct personal experience in that educational environment.

If youíre brave enough to actually get up and participate in an acting class, your capacity for understanding the actor will greatly increase, and that will have a positive effect on your abilities.

Woodson
12-16-2004, 06:36 AM
J,

Great advice, I agree with what your saying.

Now do I need to be enrolled in these acting classes at universities? I don't know if any of them let you just come in and see ?

J_Barnes
12-16-2004, 08:49 AM
Very few of them allow you to observe or audit the courses. The acting schools have an interest in protecting their teaching methods, so they don't allow independent observers to come in without paying some dough. Also, there are a number of schools that require you to take a number of courses rather then allow you to take a single class, so it has the potential to be expensive.

The school where I was employed prevented any audits or outside observers and you were required to take a minimum of 20 hours per week in order to enroll. It certainly wasnít cheap, but teachers are quite expensive.

Universities should be a little bit more flexible about observation, but I think you'd do better outside of a university setting. Acting courses in college tend to be far more academic and intellectual in order to satisfy the requirements of a graded system. Purely dramatic non-collegiate classes tend to focus more on practical training at an emotional level and have little requirement for an intellectual aspect to the course.

It winds up being less encompassing for the actor, but the down and dirty approach allows for a more immediate grasp of the process.

The best thing you could do is to find out if thereís any mid-sized dramatic course or school near you. If you can find one that offers an Ďacting for cameraí course, then perhaps you could offer to intern in their camera class as a free technician in exchange for observing an acting class or two (and I mean an acting class or two for an entire semester, not a single session).

Most acting schools would be receptive to this sort of arrangement.

Jason_Bortz
12-16-2004, 11:35 AM
Good stuff, Barnes.

I came at it from the other direction--I was an actor first; every director's class needs actors, so I began volunteering for every session I could at a local acting conservatory..

I agree--the best way to learn about the art of directing an actor is by learning the process. The language an actor speaks is roughly universal, at least shades of the same playbook resound throughout all of the methodologies you'll find out there. Terms like objective, obstacle, tactics, beats, interior monologue, prior moment, given circumstances, character arc--all of these help save time immensely when communicating effectively with an actor on-set.

The first thing I do when directing any piece is to sit all of my principals down and ask them questions. I don't tell them my impressions until we've explored theirs--they may have some ideas I haven't even thought of for the overall project, or traits I hadn't explored that might enrich the character. Only after this do I give my impressions/vision for the piece (actors excel if they've a clear understanding of the vision you're offering) and then strive toward creating a piece that utilizes the strengths of everyone's contribution to the scenario. Once my actors are squared away, that I trust we're all working from the same foundation, I can turn my attention toward the technical aspects of the process--because unless the folks in front of the camera are secure, really doesn't matter what nifty tricks I can pull behind the scenes. ;)

I've always believed that the best directors don't tell people what to do--if there's an obstacle, they ask the questions that inspire an answer from the actor that leads him/her back to the objective. There's no way for me to ask those questions if I'm speaking a different language--the only way I'll just 'tell them what to do' is if a.) they're at a total loss or b.) they're really, really tired and they ask me to. ;)

Jim Brennan
12-16-2004, 12:40 PM
Both excellent posts. I often discuss my next-to-final draft with the principal actors. I write the plot, but they draw the characters. This can really help the project. Especially if they come up with a good idea that might effect other scenes/characters. I'd hate to stumble across a great idea from an actor that affects what I've already shot.

Woodson
12-16-2004, 02:34 PM
I've always believed that the best directors don't tell people what to do--if there's an obstacle, they ask the questions that inspire an answer from the actor that leads him/her back to the objective. There's no way for me to ask those questions if I'm speaking a different language--the only way I'll just 'tell them what to do' is if a.) they're at a total loss or b.) they're really, really tired and they ask me to. ;)


Can you give us examples of what these questions might be for actors?

Jason_Bortz
12-16-2004, 03:35 PM
Well, I'll try--they're primarily situational.

Characters can be broken down into three essential elements:

Who am I?
What do I want?
How do I feel?

Depending on where the difficulty lies, I can pin it down to one of these three areas relatively quickly.

Who am I is backstory driven, including all of the elements that comprise the character up until the now, at this moment in time.

What do I want is the objective in the scene, the fuel that drives the character toward grabbing the gun or refusing it. This connotes not only an understanding of each moment, but of each scene, and how each scene builds toward the totality of the piece.

How do I feel involves the emotional trappings, the layers the character has clothed themself in as a result of understanding the previous two elements. If I a.) know who I am and b.) know why I'm here then I should c.) know how I feel about being here right now.

If an actor is having a problem understanding, say, the gravity of a character's choice in a scene--doesn't know how to play it--rather than just say 'be pissed!' or 'you hate him!', I would rather instill a deep-seated reason why they're pissed, why they hate him. I might ask:

-------------------

DIRECTOR
Alright, you're not sure what to do here. What's going on in the scene for you?

ACTOR
Well, seems like I can go a ton of ways. I'm really glad to see her, but I'm suspicious--but I want to override the suspicion because I'm attracted to her, but I remember what the guy says back at the diner, I, I just--I mean, what do you want to see in this scene, more attraction or more suspicion?

DIRECTOR
Well, what happens at the end of the scene?

ACTOR
Um...I leave.

DIRECTOR
Right. And what's your objective for the scene?

ACTOR
Heck, that's the problem. I can't decide if I want to go to bed with her or cross-examine her. (Laughs)

DIRECTOR
Well, there you go. What do you think would be a stronger choice--playing 'I want to have sex with her' but being held back by knowing you want to hear the truth--or playing 'I want to make her confess' but knowing that if you press her about it you'll mess up your chances in winning her trust--and as a result, her favors? You can go either way--

ACTOR
Well, I leave, so obviously I don't win her over...not until the end of the script, anyway.

DIRECTOR
Right.

ACTOR
It's probably stronger to play needing to know the truth than needing to have sex with her--

DIRECTOR
Sure.

ACTOR
Can we do one both ways?

DIRECTOR
Sure. But honestly, I think you've hit it. If bedding her down was his objective, I think this guy would ignore the truth in favor of his appetites--but nothing else in the script really supports him being a dog, and he leaves at the end of the scene when she doesn't tell him anything instead of just saying 'oh well, let's jump in the sack'--

ACTOR
Right, no, right.

DIRECTOR
And everything kinda leans toward his needing to know, you know?

ACTOR
Yeah. But I do still want her, right?

DIRECTOR
Heck yeah. But do you want her to know that?

ACTOR
Probably not if I want to get the truth out of her about Michael's murder.

DIRECTOR
Why?

ACTOR
Because she'd have something over me she could use.

DIRECTOR
Ah, true.

ACTOR
So I have to hide the fact I'm really attracted to her.

DIRECTOR
Good call. Let's play with it.

-------------------------

It's just an example, but right off I ask him about who he is, what he wants and as a result of identifying some key elements we come around to how he feels--and something he's excited to play with instead of shuffling off to 'do what the guy who signs the checks tells him.' I know what I want from him--but I've led him there by questions and suggestions that inspire his involvement in the process.

Actors having probelms playing their scenes in good scripts almost invariably go back to backstory (the moments that lead up to the present world of the character) and understanding where s/he is in the overall arc of the storyline.

Other than this, the biggest problem an actor faces is a poorly written script or a director who only knows how to move his actors around the camera and not hte other way around.

Woodson
12-16-2004, 08:11 PM
Jason Bortz, thank you for those examples, those helped me a lot. So these kind of stuff I can learn by going or taking acting classes?

J_Barnes
12-17-2004, 10:43 AM
With a method actor, all the preparation of backstory and character work should be done well before the shoot, leaving only the simple questions of where are you coming from, what do you want and how are you going to get it?

The problem with adopting an intellectual approach, as stated above, is that some actors certainly do not respond well to intellectual character and story analysis. I'm not saying that there's a right and wrong way to talk to an actor, just that you have to understand that there are a few different ways available to you.

A RADA actor works from a completely different place then a Method actor, who both work in a different way then a theater actor, and an untrained actor, and so forth... so there's no magic bullet for a director's method.

Taking an acting class with a bunch of different actors exposes you to different actors. This is valuable because you begin to understand how different people will react to different direction. How different methods of characterization will suffocate or thrive under different forms of creatively corrective attention.

I've found the most useful method of approach for me lies in a simple conflict based analysis. The heart of all story is conflict, and in each dramatic scene there's a simple opposition of intention between characters. If each actor knows what he wants to get from the other character, they can go about the process of trying to get it within the life of the scene, and the result is conflict and drama.

The important part of the process for me is in allowing the character to discover exactly what he's trying to get out of the other character in that moment, but the danger lies in helping him figure out how to get what he/she wants. If an actor has an intention, but no direct method to arrive at that result, it forces them to remain active in the scene.

Telling the actor how to arrive at the result, or giving a strategy for that actor tends to put them on autopilot.

I digress because I'm tired.

The point being that there are as many different styles of acting as there are styles of directing. Understand that what works in directing is not very different from what works in a scene with two actors, a tiny bit of trial and error.

You're both different people trying to arrive at a result and that result is a successful artistic collaboration. In attempting to reach that objective, a director must be as dynamic as an actor and utilize whatever approach proves to work.

The only way to develop that ability to access and identify with diverse personality and methods is to study hard and work with a lot of different kinds of actors through a lot of different types of material.

I think you can definatly learn a small part of what Jason is detailing above, but you will more likely learn the underlying methods of how to talk about the acting craft.

Long answer: yes, why not try an acting class or two? Couldn't hurt a thing if you apply yourself to it.

Woodson
12-19-2004, 10:44 PM
Now do you work with actors like that during rehearsals or during the production.

I'm guessing rehearsals since your preparing for the shoot and it might take too much time during production?

J_Barnes
12-21-2004, 03:05 AM
who are you asking, Jason or me?

Woodson
12-21-2004, 08:33 AM
both of you.

Jason_Bortz
12-21-2004, 09:22 AM
The problem with adopting an intellectual approach, as stated above, is that some actors certainly do not respond well to intellectual character and story analysis. I'm not saying that there's a right and wrong way to talk to an actor, just that you have to understand that there are a few different ways available to you.
Absolutely. This was one example--I'm not married to Method (and if we use Method, let me clarify that I mean Stanislavski, not Strasberg--though I've worked with Strasberg-oriented folks before, and understand the technique (as much as one who finds it somewhat abusive can). I do find, however, that using the Who Am I, What Do I Want, How Do I Feel is an excellent benchmark in any methodology, providing grassroots questions that even the complete newbie can relate to once imparted.

A RADA actor works from a completely different place then a Method actor, who both work in a different way then a theater actor, and an untrained actor, and so forth... so there's no magic bullet for a director's method.
Well, I think these lines aren't as distinct as this, just as you probably feel my the above example is limiting. RADA performers are not Strasberg influenced, but RADA performers do theatre, etc...for me, it's a matter of filling your bag of tricks with what is effective for you, not being hindered by a structure that is immutable. I think we're probably coming from the same place here.
I wouldn't say 'Alright, show me the beat you took when you entered that gives me some clue about the prior moment' to someone completely green. I also wouldn't tell a Meisner student to 'just be James Dean.' Yuo have to gauge the actor at his level--which you state in your next paragraph:


Taking an acting class with a bunch of different actors exposes you to different actors. This is valuable because you begin to understand how different people will react to different direction. How different methods of characterization will suffocate or thrive under different forms of creatively corrective attention.

Agreed.

I've found the most useful method of approach for me lies in a simple conflict based analysis. The heart of all story is conflict, and in each dramatic scene there's a simple opposition of intention between characters. If each actor knows what he wants to get from the other character, they can go about the process of trying to get it within the life of the scene, and the result is conflict and drama.
I'd say this works with Who/What/How as well, nearly synonymous. Shades of grey.


The important part of the process for me is in allowing the character to discover exactly what he's trying to get out of the other character in that moment, but the danger lies in helping him figure out how to get what he/she wants. If an actor has an intention, but no direct method to arrive at that result, it forces them to remain active in the scene.

Telling the actor how to arrive at the result, or giving a strategy for that actor tends to put them on autopilot.
Which is why I attempted to show, perhaps ham-handedly (there's a whole lot more to this than one isolated example) how to inspire the actor to getting him on his feet rather than telling him what he needs to do. I don't feel there's a danger in helping to kick-start a process that has halted--some actors have intentions, no method of arriving at them and remain active enough but vague. On the set, specificity is required in a relatively short amount of time--suggestions after the asking of questions are a recourse to getting the ball rolling, but not all scenarios will require this. Which is why I was hesitant to even give an example without a situation attached--everyone comes at it from different directions, and my example of using a methodology rather than a more organic approach might fly with some, but not others.


The point being that there are as many different styles of acting as there are styles of directing. Understand that what works in directing is not very different from what works in a scene with two actors, a tiny bit of trial and error.

You're both different people trying to arrive at a result and that result is a successful artistic collaboration. In attempting to reach that objective, a director must be as dynamic as an actor and utilize whatever approach proves to work.

The only way to develop that ability to access and identify with diverse personality and methods is to study hard and work with a lot of different kinds of actors through a lot of different types of material.
Agreed wholeheartedly.

J_Barnes
12-22-2004, 04:53 AM
Yes, didn't mean to discount anything, just an attempt to round out the discussion further.

Also, I would suggest that true Strasberg is not abusive, so perhaps you were unduely influenced against it in the past. The problem with it, as with any acting method, is that people have always held incorrect assumptions about the technique itself. Lee never intended it to be used as a "first level defense" in working towards a character or reality. The idea behind his version of the Method was to assist people in accessing things they could not directly access through more simple methods.

This misconception has lead people to apply "method"ology to scenes and characters they could work on in easier ways. Strasberg technique was never intended to be an acting technique that an actor's skills would be based in, it was intended to be a second level of tools that an actor could draw from. So many people misunderstand it and teach it as a basic acting technique, and I think that's one of the major reasons why it can get an occasional bad wrap.

Also, the other major problem with assessments of Strasberg is that the people out there teaching Strasberg were not taught to be Strasberg teachers, they were taught to be Strasberg actors. Lee always altered his aproach to fit each individual actor, but because of this, they get only a very small sampling of the application of his method. They wind up teaching a very small personalized application of method with the intention of fitting that to a diverse body of students.

That just doesn't work on a basic level, and also shows you why you can learn Strasberg method from eight different teachers and get eight different methods.

Anyway...off to work.

Jason_Bortz
12-22-2004, 01:21 PM
That makes sense--I used abusive perhaps too loosely; in my experience, the actors who claim 'Method' and hang their hats entirely upon Strasberg's techinique have problems with flexibility within the art, and often become self (or, sometimes, others) deprecating and isolated. Your insight is well noted--I'd like to meet someone who uses Strasberg as a tool, not the whole toolbox. :)

Woodson
12-29-2004, 08:23 PM
So do you guys work with actors like that during rehearsals or during the production.

Jason_Bortz
12-29-2004, 10:32 PM
Yup.


:D

Woodson
12-29-2004, 10:50 PM
Yup.


:D


which one?
rehearsals or production?

J_Barnes
12-30-2004, 05:37 AM
I don't like rehearsals, but that's just my style. I like to do what the actors like to do, within limits of course. Some actors (particularly theatrically trained) really draw on a rehearsal process...but it is my suspicion that this phase is largely a comfort issue rather then an actual "work" issue for most actors.

10s
12-30-2004, 06:53 PM
How do you help your actors prepare, backstory, etc... so they hit the set with the right choices if rehearsal isn't your approach?

What method gives you confidence they are ready?

JonnyMac
12-31-2004, 04:54 PM
Backstory is generaly our (actors') job. *By creating our own personal details that fit the script, we can in fact connect to them emotionally. *I would suggest for directors that write to be prepared with the same specificity that you desire from us -- sometimes we have questions. *

I recently worked on a HiDef indie that the director wrote, and he wasn't very forthcoming with important [to me] details because he had never considered them. *In the end, I was on my own (though I worked with my acting coach) to create a backstory that motivated me to say the writer/director's lines honestly.

10s
12-31-2004, 05:17 PM
JonnyMac, I would think a Director should be in on these details such as backstory (if any) so they can direct according to the wants & needs the character has. These desires, choices and impulses of the character comes from somewhere (the backstory) so I would think directors and actors would want to go over this so they're on the same page. Actors of course should & will take this further with freshness because they become the character and transcend the intellectual and emote through action.

Rehearsals are place for refinement and discovery. I would think it's indespensable for everyone to further their understanding.

J_Barnes
01-03-2005, 01:04 PM
While it may seem counterintuitive, you actually don't need to be on the same page as your actors. Much in the same way that your audience isnít privy to the backstory, it isn't universally important that a director and actor be in agreement about what the backstory actually is.

This is usually where writer/directors get nervous.

The fact that something is "backstory" means it does not appear in the script or on the screen. It is preparation, a tool for the actor to arrive in a state of conflict or connection with somethingÖit is not a function of story and it is not a tool of the director unless an actor is in direct need of an adjustment.

The only thing you need to be in agreement about is the conflict, reality, emotion or portrayal of the scene, everything else has too much room for interpretation and creativity to actively control. If the scene results in a way you both deem satisfactory, the method to arrive there is not important.

You may have a character that hates cops, and in the writer's mind he hates cops because of some incident when he was a young boy and he witnessed blah blah blah. Maybe you as the director imagine a detailed story of a wrongful conviction.

That's all well and good, but if the actor reads this story and connects with something in his personal history, this allows him/her the opportunity to play something with an authentic emotional connection rather then some logical but ultimately fictional story.

The place this comes up most often is in the classic method substitution.

Perhaps your actor went to a particularly rigid Catholic school where he had numerous run-ins with a stern Nun. If so inclined, this actor just has to take the emotional connection with this Nun and apply it to the fictional police in the story, substituting the fictional party of "the police" in the place of a historical relationship.

In this sense, it does not matter what-so-ever if the Director, actor and audience are all pulling from an agreed backstory...if the performance is authentic, then the subtext it is pulled from is completely unimportant.

Furthermore, if the actorís work is authentic or powerful enough, they will be very unwilling to share it with anyone, let alone have it openly discussed with a director.

Obviously this truth will vary depending on the quality, experience and personality of each actor you encounter...but in general, the axiom of less-is-more holds true.

You can insist that you co-create every moment of backstory, or that you sit there with your actors and approve and deny their character choices, but their work will always be stronger if you wait for them to come to you for guidance before you suggest it to them.

Finally, the obvious exception is in matters of cinematic or thematic logic. There are certain parts of the backstory that are important to discuss openly and be understood among all parties for the sake of maintaining the storyline.

In general, if itís backstory for the plot, discuss it openly. If itís backstory for the emotions, donít assign roles. (just my take on a very complex and personal issue)

10s
01-03-2005, 06:22 PM
J_Barnes, what are your thoughts on the British school of acting, meaning, the Technical approach, outside -in ?

Since cinema is the art of illusion, if the audience is deeply moved by the performance even though the actor is thinking about something else, than I guess it works.... the whole thing is a fabrication anyways.

I enjoy reading Mamet's approach; simple uniflected...to the point, direct motivation.

J_Barnes
01-04-2005, 05:59 AM
My thoughts on any school of acting is that they are all 90% BS...

...until they aren't.

It's like religion, when it works for you...it works. When it doesn't, it doesn't. It's more about the person working on the technique then the technique itself, and that's what's so difficult to accept in any art form.

One thing I can say about the outside-in approach, it's remarkable how easily people fall into a character when they costume themselves. The best acting teachers I've worked with have all really stressed a character-based attachement and work with props or costumes.

I really have no experience with Mamet and I have great difficulty making it through books about acting or directing, so I can't really venture an opinion about Mamet (other then what I've seen in his films).

That being said, it's really difficult to tell how good any director is when he surrounds himself with such powerful and independant actors!

10s
01-04-2005, 11:52 AM
J_Barnes, I think I understand what you said, the school of anything is 90 % BS. For me, a school of such & such simply means they have an approach (philosophy, or point of view) they feel works. That's how it is for most anything, i.e., medicine: western surgical vs. eastern holism, sciences, you name it.

For me, I accept whatever school/ point of view/methodology of acting anyones comes comes from, because it works for them & I'm always interested in their personal insights and learning new ways of seeing things.

Most of the time while working on a project I'm mainly interested in pulling off the illusion of cinema! Will the audience accept the piece and enjoy the journey. If it works.. .well then it works! :).... if doesn't,... let's try another approach. :-/

J_Barnes
01-04-2005, 12:03 PM
exactly. It's the only healthy and dynamic approach you can take...to not always take a specific approach.

Woodson
01-04-2005, 02:24 PM
I hope Acting classes and workshops are not BS. Cause as I am being told from EVERYONE and now that I'm convinced even though I don't want to act, but as the title of this thread "Directing Actors Effectively" if you want that.. take those acting lessons.

Is this what some of you did? or doing it?

J_Barnes, where did you learn about all of this?
Did you go to school for directing actors?
Read?

10s
01-04-2005, 02:57 PM
I took a few acting classes....& I'm a terrible actor! :)

What it gave me is the experience of vulnerability an actor faces. It's difficult to go on a set and act and take direction when you're unsure of yourself. As a director this helps me understand things I need to do to help that actor feel comfortable. It also informs me that I need to pay attention to what I say, How I say it & when to talk & when to best be quiet and let the actor do their job.

I have to say that of all the jobs in film making acting has to be the most fun. Actors are great to be around. I love the things they bring to a script. they can bring such freshness, it's amazing!

I say stay busy, take classes, act, direct, ....etc....just stay busy.

Of directors that came from either cinematography or acting, the vast majority that have been success directors come from acting. Why's that? Because as an actor you're directly involved with the intimate details of the story, the beats, etc... the technical things also get rubbed off on you. On the other hand it's typical that a DP will shy away from that acting stuff so they may not become as skilled in understanding the the story / character dvelopment ....I think it's because many DP come from a technical/science type background and are more reserved in their nature.

Just rambling.. ;)

J_Barnes
01-04-2005, 03:28 PM
Is this what some of you did? or doing it?

J_Barnes, where did you learn about all of this?
Did you go to school for directing actors?
Read?



I wound up working at one of the acting schools for a few years as school's the technical director. I picked up a lot of the acting theory and teaching technique pretty quickly, which lead to some assistant and substitute teaching in addition to the regular video and theater techwork and management.

Because my services were so requested in so many of the classes, I ended up observing, directly participating, or teaching about 30-40 hours of acting classes per week.

Now I'm a video editor in a different state (at a much higher salary), so I don't get much opportunity to implement what I learned.

B._Summers
01-09-2005, 06:00 PM
Hey J_Barnes,

You don't know Douglas Dirkson, do you?!?

J_Barnes
01-10-2005, 06:45 AM
I can't say that I do.