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    #21
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    "Ultimately, it doesn't matter how a director treats an actor, what matters is the performance s/he gets. Whether it's by being super in tune with the actor, or whether it's by being totally dictatorial - doesn't matter as long as the result is good." Yes it certainly does matter - there is a craft to be learned here folks of rehearsing with actors. Take acting classes and directing classes and you will find out what it is. Doing a hundred takes to wear down your actor is not the answer. Goldmans famous sayings is such a golden truth: nobody knows anything. So says Goldman. Would you get on a plane if this was every pilot's favorite proverb? I personally got out of film school and made my first feature and realized I didn't know s*%t about acting. I saw the actors struggling and knew they were in trouble but just didn't have the skill set to help them. I stopped making films for ten years and went and studied acting and directing. I can assure you it was very helpful. Anyway - my 2 cents.


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    #22
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    "So don't knock a director for their technique. Evaluate them only by the results they get, and only the results. There are no rules. Only the end result counts."
    Only the people involved know how a performance came about. I've read the same books as you have, watched the same docs on making of films, etc. All those wonderful anecdotes about how Kubrick and Polanski and other geniuses worked should be read with a grain of salt to say the least.

    But the bottom line is - know your history. Know your industry and know what was done before. The more you know, the less likely you are to make sweeping statements regarding supposed "rules" and how things are done and who is a good/bad director. Because as soon as you assert something, I can point to cases that thorougly undermine and debunk your point." And where are you getting all this inside info from? As i said above, from books, docs, interviews, etc. As i said earlier - go study acting. Go study directing. Act yourself in something. That study will serve you better than watching a doc on Kubrick and hearing about what a genius he was - he was - but that ain't gonna help me when I have to sit across from some actors at a table read.


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    #23
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    When I said "no rules" - I meant "artistic rules"; obviously there are legal rules and union rules and all other kinds of rules that keep changing, including sexual and conduct rules. But when it comes to producing art, the principles of communication with actors or methodology, or psychological approaches - that's where you can't really make hard and fast rules. Same as rules for flying airplanes. We're not talking that - we're talking getting artistic results; those are far more flexible than flying an airplane. Apples and oranges.

    As to how do you know - well how do you know? How does anyone know? It's a silly question/objection. It's not like only you know or are somehow in a priviledged informational state - you're as much or as little informed as anyone else. We all have access to more or less the same sources and everyone has their own personal experience and learning styles. As happens, yes, I have acted in a feature (although only one), and I have my own observations. But I'm not priviledging my perspective as against anyone else's - everyone's perspective is their own and valid for them. If you only felt comfortable working with actors after years of study, that's valid for you - but not necessarily for others. Some have a natural feel for it, just as some are natural salesmen that can sell from day one compared to someone who can try all their lives and are just no good at it. Some can intuit what will get a performance out of an actor, or what it would take to sell someone a car. There are no rules here - every individual has their own approach - their success rate is what matters and the only measure of how good/bad their methods are. Nobody is going to say "what a wonderful salesman - informative, empathetic, warm, entertaining... unfortunately doesn't close many sales" - you can be all that, but if you don't sell, you're a worthless salesman; conversely you can be cold, domineering whatnot, but if you sell, guess what, you're a good salesman. No rules on how to skin the cat. Just skin. Same with directors - doesn't matter how they do it, there are no rules - only results count.


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    #24
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    "But the bottom line is - know your history. Know your industry and know what was done before."
    What do you mean exactly? And how are you suggesting one go about learning those things. i assume you're talking about acting?
    What I was suggesting was go study acting. There is a craft that can be learned.
    Forget Kubrick and Polanski and all the rest of them and what they supposedly did or didn't do on set. In studying acting there is a solid foundation one can learn by studying scene work, voice, body, text analysis, etc that will be more helpful than hearing about Polanski pulling out a hair on Ms. Dunaway. Or the million and one other anecdotes that breed like bed bugs.


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    #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin baggott View Post
    "But the bottom line is - know your history. Know your industry and know what was done before."
    What do you mean exactly? And how are you suggesting one go about learning those things. i assume you're talking about acting?
    I mean learn about the history of whatever it is that you have an interest in - acting, directing, cinematography, whatnot. It all evolved over time, new methods were tried, some fell by the wayside, some fell out of fashion, some went on to become SOP, and so on. By knowing this history, you are much less susceptible to someone telling you "this is how it is supposed to be done" or "this is the best way" - that's the attitude I'm fighting against. There is far too much dogma, however well-intentioned. It's stifling to your creativity and the evolution of the artform.

    As to how one can learn this history? Like any other history you learn - from sources, interviews, biographies, documentaries, books, articles, personal communication - the whole spectrum. It's not like you can never learn about the past - if that were true, you might as well abolish all history departments everywhere and adopt the, admittedly very popular these days attitude of "if I don't like a set of facts, I just call it fake news", and live in nothing but the immediate present of your own personal bubble. But we are adults here, and so we learn. And like any student worth his/her salt, you evaluate the evidence and draw conclusions based on the quality of the evidence. Take the famous dictum these days, where it's practically gospel - "don't act out for an actor, done line read for them" - but that's BS historically, and there is where it pays to know your history... very reliable history - when George Cukor would act out whole patches of dialogue with all the intonations and insist on following it, the actors did it, and the result was splendid insofar as he made many excellent and acclaimed movies. That is not a rumor - that is something that was witnessed by hundreds of people on the sets of his movies - hardly "fake news" or rumors, or "supposedly". When Fellini would give detailed instructions off camera to the actors as they were shooting a scene MOV, this is not "fake news", it was witnessed by countless people there. So that right there explodes the sacred cow of "don't act out for actors" - and it's reliable information. When Polanski himself reported in his autobiography that on "Cul de Sac" he had Lionel Stander drink multiple glasses of milk to the point where the actor was sick, it was not fake news as it was witnessed by others and confirmed by Stander, but Polanski subsequently reported why he did it - unless you think his explanation was a lie (he wanted to take Stander down a peg or two attitude-wise, because he felt he needed that in that scene and this was the efficient way) - and you can't say that Polanski was ignorant of better ways based on the knowledge of the craft of acting, because guess what, Polanski is the poster boy for your preferred rout of directors learning the craft of acting... Polanski is a life-long actor, who started when he was a child actor, acted in many movies as well as theater and has extensive experience and knowledge of the craft. And yet he employs such methods rather than a bunch of "voice, body, text analysis" - and the results are brilliant. Yet again - again and again, and again - there is not one method. The sole solitary way to judge the effectiveness of a director directing actors is in the result. Period.

    So yes, it pays to study the history of your craft. No, it is not impossible, and it's not somehow lost in the unknowable mists of history and rumors. We're not talking about gossip as to what happened between two individuals witnessed by no one. We're talking about well documented and extensively witnessed behavior and testimonials directly from the people involved. You can dismiss it all, in completely nihilistic attitude where extensive documentation is just so much "fake news" and nothing is knowable, and who knows if Polanski even directed his movies, and well, can you prove Fellini ever existed, and all cinema is just a dream. And if so, how reliable is your whole supposed "craft" of acting "body, voice, textual analysis" - maybe that's all rumors too, huh? Yep, it's stupid.

    Down here on earth, we are fully capable of evaluating evidence where we set little store in rumors, but certainly accept well-researched documentation, and unless we have reasons to doubt, we accept what Hitchock himself told Truffault about his motivations for his techniques, or Polanski's explanations for what and why and so on.

    Therefore to dismiss all history of cinema and its various subsidiary crafts as unknowable is a silly attitude. Yes we can, and should learn from the past. If for no other reason than to appreciate when we're being sold a line of BS about how "things must be done". There is nothing wrong in focusing on "scene work, voice, body, text analysis, etc." - but it's ludicrous to limit yourself to that, and willfully dismiss contrary evidence from the past about alternative approaches - it would be as stupid as deciding that really there is only one approach to acting, one style, one method that's optimal - whatever it may be. Brando's method acting is as legitimate and useful as Sir Lawrence Olivier's technical acting. Both can be great. That right there tells you - there are many ways of achieving your artistic goals, and therefore it stands to reason that there are many, many, many ways for a director to obtain a performance from an actor, and the "voice, body, textual analysis" is only one of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by kevin baggott View Post
    What I was suggesting was go study acting. There is a craft that can be learned.
    Forget Kubrick and Polanski and all the rest of them and what they supposedly did or didn't do on set. In studying acting there is a solid foundation one can learn by studying scene work, voice, body, text analysis, etc that will be more helpful than hearing about Polanski pulling out a hair on Ms. Dunaway. Or the million and one other anecdotes that breed like bed bugs.
    There's nothing wrong with a director studying acting - I myself advocated for it in this thread, as I find value in it. But I also recognize that it's no kind of universal rule that "should" be pursued. First, just because a director studied acting - or is a very experienced actor himself - does not mean the director will employ any particular method of handling an actor - Polanski is a perfect example of this (btw. I met Polanski several times, though I never discussed acting with him - he always struck me as extremely thoughtful about his methods). Polanski used many techniques which are diametrically opposed to the methods of f.ex. such "give 'em free reign" actor's directors as Robert Altman. Second, it simply isn't true that a director has to know the ins and outs of acting technique or the acting experience. There were many fine directors who got great performances while not having ever acted or studied acting - it's really exactly the same as with cinematography or any other discipline; there are directors who are DP's themselves, and those who know little to nothing and take not much interest in it. Yet all of them can get great results. Because in the end, it is about the results. As a director - or actor, or DP, or ANY artist - you are judged not by which method you happened to have employed or not, but by the final result. If you swung from the chandelier and hooted while an actor acted out a scene and you got a great result, then swinging and hooting has just been validated as something that works for you. Meanwhile a director who follows the latest fashionable Judith Weston or whatnot method down to the dot, but gets a poor performance gets no credit at all. It's the results that count every time - and only the results.

    Learn the craft, or don't, learn it differently than the next fellow, or learn it the same way, or learn the opposite, or just go with your gut - in the end, your work will speak for itself. And don't let anybody tell you how it's "supposed" to be done. Learning history will tell you just how fallible the "supposed" methods are - an invaluable lesson. Now go be creative and do great work.
    Last edited by OldCorpse; 10-28-2019 at 05:37 PM.


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    #26
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    I'm reminded of oscar wilde's comment in writing a long letter to a friend, "sorry for the long letter I didn't have time for a short one." I'm not even going to try and tease apart the above.
    One thing sticks out to me though is your reliance again on anecdotal material. Not as you think I'm calling it 'fake news.' Boy accuse a fella of "fake news," it's like knocking him to the side of the head with a wrench and telling him it's a rose. As i said - I read all those books too. Trust me.
    Since you love that stuff so much - here's one by David Lean - "All artists once they become successful start lying thru the teeth."
    Most filmmakers are not Fellini or Polanski. Telling actors to count to a hundred ain't gonna cut it with actors. Yeah - I know Polanski and Stander did not getting along, etc. It's a fav film of mine. Getting actors to repeat your reading note by note like Cukor ain't gonna cut it eitiher. There's loads of stories about kazan being wily too. Every director has these stories. I take them with a grain of salt. Even if it's in their autobiography. Talking of Olivier and brando - read what kazan has to say about going to pick up leigh for a rehearsal and kazan watching Olivier practice a simple gesture a hundred times and kazan wishing his actors had that kind of commitment. Anyway - kids - you want to work with actors - take some acting classes.


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    #27
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    I see, so it's la-la-la fingers in ears "I can't hear you". Not much one can say to that. There's no point in repeating oneself when the objection has been addressed extensively only for the response to be ignored and objection repeated. I think this has run it's course. Best of luck!


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    #28
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    Funny - peeps have a different opinion and its 'fingers in the ear time.' yes - it has run its course. Best!


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    #29
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    Really strange hearing these folks discuss Polanski as if he didn't rape, what 2 or 3 children?

    Hard for me to overlook that terrible fact.


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    #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by DDort View Post
    Really strange hearing these folks discuss Polanski as if he didn't rape, what 2 or 3 children?

    Hard for me to overlook that terrible fact.
    You might want to be careful with that "He subsequently pled guilty to the lesser offence of unlawful sex with a minor." so not rape.
    The reason why he left the US was some discreditable shenanigans by the judge.


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