Over the past few months I’ve learned quite a bit on set. Getting the most out of the actors being one of the most important. The advice given by Keith Houk, Brett Cullen, & Lisa London on how to approach directing the actors can be broken down into a few key points.
1.Don’t Rush the process
When actors audition they have a general idea of how they would like to portray the character based off of the lines and a character description (if given). So its important to understand how they see the character & story during the audition. If possible, take the time to have chemistry reads and a few rehearsals. Take the time to get everyone on the same page. From my experience with acting, my favorite projects included both rehearsals and chemistry reads. Taking that time made everyone feel comfortable and proud of their work without any doubts they did everything that they could to get best possible product.
2.Make them feel comfortable
This tip can go for any profession involving a camera, whether it be in film, TV, or photography. Being on the other side of the lens can be nerve wracking, so it’s important to make sure that the subject is as much at ease as possible. This doesn’t mean you need to baby them, but just treat them with the same respect that you would like in return if you were in that position.
- Reassure them
- make sure they’re on the same page with you
- make sure they have food and water (even if it’s not a long shoot)
- if the weather isn’t great, make sure you have the materials available to accommodate the conditions (umbrella, fan, heater, chairs, etc.)
3.Don’t be afraid to direct.
If an actor isn’t portraying the vision that you had in mind for a scene, don’t be afraid to direct them. This is where rehearsals would come in handy but if you’re strapped for time here are some tips
- Be patient and speak to them with respect.
- Use action words or common real life scenarios and feelings that you think they could relate to. This will help make the scene feel more natural.
- Don’t settle for the performance if it’s not to your liking, but also don’t be afraid to change things up if your original idea isn’t working. Sometimes the actor will show you a different side of the scene that you didn’t think of and it could be better. You have to leave your ego at the door and adapt to other ideas that present themselves while also keeping your story in tact.