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christopherthomas
09-09-2005, 11:53 AM
"Do the same thing, but faster this time..."

Does anyone else use this direction? I remember seeing it a few years ago in a documentary about George Lucas, but it really didn't sink in until I was editing my first short. I kept thinking to myself while working with the footage, "Why are they speaking so slooooooow?"

Anyway, I've used that Lucas line with the actors on every short I've directed or produced since then. It definitely seems to have helped, although there are still scenes where I wish the blocking moved faster. Oh well, I learn something each time.

I was just curious if anyone had a similar experience using this direction with actors, and if anyone has any ideas about getting the actors to move faster, but naturally.

GenJerDan
09-09-2005, 12:03 PM
What kind of actors are you using? Those more used to stage are going to automatically try to make sure the audience doesn't miss anything, and the polite ones won't step on the other actors' lines.

That slows them down some. And they probably talk too loudly, too. :)

Unfortunately, I have no idea how to make them go faster, other than rehearsals during which you...well...tell them to go faster.

Or offer a prize to the actor who finishes the scene first.

christopherthomas
09-09-2005, 12:19 PM
What kind of actors are you using?

The kind who will work for a ham sandwich and a copy of the finished DVD. :laugh:

Actually, I did use stage actors for my first short, but quickly learned that lesson. When I act in shorts, I realize there's a delicate balance to strike. Being real, and being fast. Film acting is definitely an art form.



Or offer a prize to the actor who finishes the scene first.

What, like a slice of cheese for their ham sandwich? :thumbsup:

mmm
09-09-2005, 12:19 PM
Or offer a prize to the actor who finishes the scene first.

LOL!

I also find actors often go to slow, i think it is because they think that they are the most important thing on screen, which is normally ture, but pace is also very important.

My last film was a horror/thriller though, and there were a few times when I wish I had said "do the same, but SLOWER." When building tension, you have to go slow.

I find Ridley Scott always paces films too slowly, however for Alien, it worked perfectly and IMHO it is his best film.

krestofre
09-09-2005, 12:42 PM
I think the actual Lucas quote is "Faster, more intense." This became a running joke on the set of the current film I'm working on. Almost after every scene someone (be it me, or another member of the crew, or one of the actors) would always say "That was great, but let's do it again, faster, more intense." It was fun.

I've heard Harrison Ford descibe that line as the only direction he ever received from Lucas. I don't know that it's something to aspire to. :)

Still, there's no shame in needing a scene performed faster. Just don't turn into a one-line director.

Shaw
09-09-2005, 03:36 PM
Considering the stiff wooden performances Lucas gets I wouldn't try to emulate that too closely =D

David G. Smith
09-09-2005, 10:16 PM
Considering the stiff wooden performances Lucas gets I wouldn't try to emulate that too closely =D

Yeah, I do not ever remember Lucas being called and "Actor's Director". I think that American Graffetti was very well acted, but look at that cast, hell, they could read from the phonebook and it would be cool to watch.

But, of course, American Graffetti was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.

christopherthomas
09-12-2005, 07:32 AM
With the possible exception of Ewan McGregror, I'm not a fan of the acting in any of the Prequels. But that one direction from Lucas makes sense, with one caveat: I subscribe to the theory that ninety percent of directing is in the casting.

I have discovered time and again that when the right actor is cast in a role, he or she needs very little direction during rehearsals to get it right. So when the camera finally rolls, the only tweaking needed is in the blocking and the speed of line delivery.

The only problem with my theory is that when the wrong actor gets cast, a lot of time is wasted working with that actor to deliver something acceptable.

khmuse
09-12-2005, 07:47 AM
Actors who have both theatrical (film/TV) and commercial experience are very used to working with hitting reactions and dialog within the time constraints. Nearly every commercial and PSA that I have watched being shot, the director would work with a stop watch. Very often, you would hear something like...

Perfect. Except this time I need you to trim it to 5.2 seconds.

They literally are budgeting that tight on screen time. This is why a 30 second commercial can take 2 - 3 production days to shoot. An actor who has only worked theatrical isn't used to these constraints, they are generally given enough time to deliver their dialog and hit their reactions in a more natural pace. Actors who also have good commercial experience can do both.

Actors who have only stage experience tend to be "too big" as they are so used to playing to the back row. They can be brought down to a more realistic level, but this often takes showing them a few dailies so they can appreciate how their performance is reading on camera.

Steward
10-03-2005, 06:42 PM
In a previous life...
I used to tell that to TV reporters as they were shooting their news standups. Newbie or veteran, it never failed to amaze them when they saw the final cut.
In something as quick and dirty as a news package, timing can make the difference between good and looking great...!!!

Josh_Boelter
10-04-2005, 07:40 AM
I've heard that Woody Allen often does an extra take where he just tells the actors to go faster, and that's often the take he uses. It's often the most natural take, but I think a lot of that has to do with the dialogue Allen writes.

David G. Smith
10-04-2005, 08:25 AM
My favorite advice I've ever heard a director tell an actor was, "That was perfect! Now do it better!".

That will put a knot in your mellon for sure.

Josh_Boelter
10-04-2005, 11:55 AM
Ha ha! I love that direction!

filmsaboutdeadpeople
10-04-2005, 12:37 PM
sometimes directors do an "action take" where they have the actors run through the scene really fast, cutting out long pauses, dramatic moments, etc, so they just get the meat of the physical action. it helps to save film stock, and also gives you a little extra to edit with.

UncleBenji1977
10-04-2005, 01:05 PM
Faster! More intensity! It's been a running joke for years for friends of George Lucas... Including the Coppola's.... You may recall in Sophia Coppola's Lost in Translation, Bill Murray's asian director's words were, "Faster! More intensity!" A joke between friends i'm sure. =)

Josh_Boelter
10-04-2005, 01:24 PM
I cant' believe I never noticed that in "Lost in Translation" before. That's funny.

Woodson
10-04-2005, 08:24 PM
Telling a actor faster and more intense is definetly not a way to direct a actor.
Unless you are a director that only cares about the technical side aka mr lucas.

Zak Forsman
10-05-2005, 02:38 AM
Telling a actor faster and more intense is definetly not a way to direct a actor.
Unless you are a director that only cares about the technical side aka mr lucas.
agreed. i would never direct a professional (or a non-professional, for that matter) with the result i'm looking for. it ruins the truth and realism of that character. you need to learn to how to set actors on objectives that motivate the sort of performance you're looking for.

rsbush
10-05-2005, 05:51 AM
I believe that in most cases an actor's slow pace stems from insecurity. What they're trying to do is really connect with their "feelings" or the "truth of the moment". This is very prevalent with beginning actors, especially those studying the "method". What it means is that they are probably trying too hard and have not been properly rehearsed. It's very easy to deal with in rehearsal, as an exercise you have them run the lines as fast as possible without any attempt to load them with meaning. This has basically three results. One: it drills home the lines (nothing screws up a performance as much as searching for lines). Two: it forces the actor to pay attention to what is outside of himself/herself freeing them from the insecure pondering and searching that is most likely contributing to their slow pace. And three: it allows you to keep your on set directions to an absolute minimum. You then have a reference point for pacing. You can say "pick up the pace a little" or even "do it faster" and the actor has an internal reference to what you mean. (I find myself saying "Good, now tighten it up" a lot, while pretty general it contains the ideas of pace, energy, commitment, presence and belief.) If you hired an actor with this predisposition it's your responsibility to find out about it and deal with it before you start to shoot.
I start rehearsals for film or theater the same way. With a read through with no emotional expression, just the words. Then we do it a couple of times to see where everybody is at with their roles. Then we run it fast, as fast as possible. A bunch of times.We then go back and see where everyone's at at that point. From then on the process changes with each project. But those first steps help to get everyone on the same page and gives you a good overview of what you have to deal with.

filmsaboutdeadpeople
10-05-2005, 11:40 AM
saying "Faster! More Intensity!" means you dont know what you are doing and you shouldnt be directing a film.

MojoTrancer
10-05-2005, 12:30 PM
I had the opposite experience on my last short (my as-yet-unfinished-and-too-late-for-the-party zombie flick). The lead actor was a comedian. I had to tell him to take his time with his lines. He was blowing through them like it was an open mic set.

But I agree with others in this thread. Casting is a big part of it. Find good actors who fit the part, and give them their motivation. Other than the strategic nudge in the right direction now and again, get out of the way and let them do their thing.

But I do say "faster, more intense" now and again just as a joke to lighten things up. :)

That and "Beautiful! Perfect! One more please."