Directing Actors 101: A Quick Guide

A film director has many endless job roles on set but the most significant is directing actors and making sure that the best possible performances are given on screen. Here’s some tips on how to get the most out of your actors:

1. Write a detailed background for each character. Before you start to audition actors write a detailed character background for all of your main roles. You may have done this during the screenwriting stage. A detailed character background with information on the characters past, upbringing and personality will really help the actors understand the character you have created. Know your characters inside out.

2. Remember the scene previous. Film sets can be confusing, they hardly ever shoot in chronological order. In the morning you could be filming a chase scene and in the afternoon an emotional piece. It’s easy to forget where you are up to. As a director you need to remember where your characters are emotionally within the script. Read through the previous and current scene you are about to film before you start filming. Make notes on the characters emotions. Remember to keep the emotions consistent.

3. Have some time alone with the actors.Take the time to talk about where the characters are emotionally within the scene you are shooting, talk about what the character is trying to achieve in this scene and what is on their mind.

4. Block all of the action before shooting. Blocking a scene on a film set is the process of rehearsing the action within the location you are going to shoot within. Before costumes are on, before lighting is set, the actors will rehearse the scene a few times within the location so that the crew can see the physical performance.

5. Stay focused.When that camera starts rolling focus on the actor’s performance first. Leave the lighting, costume, hair and makeup, to the rest of your crew.  Whilst you are watching the actors perform think about whether they are acting emotionally right for the scene and think about whether their performance is believable.

A superb clip about working with actors and directing more broadly.
PLENTY of great tips here…