TAG: Directing Actors

Taxi Driver

Martin Scorsese in 10 Scenes: Taxi Driver


Excerpt from Martin Scorsese in 10 Scenes by Tim Grierson Focal Press, 2016 TAXI DRIVER, 1976 V. THE SHOOT-OUT The shoot-out scene is memorable not only for its violence, but also for a sense of ambiguity in it. This ambiguity pervades the whole movie, largely due to Schrader’s refusal to shine any solid light on…


Tips for Directing Actors


DIRECTING ACTORS Actors are the director’s primary storytelling vehicles. A good actor can breathe life into a character and a script. Being able to aid and guide the actors through the production is the director’s job. A primary goal for the director is to create a supportive and creative environment that is conducive to good…

Actor Dave Annable (“Justin Walker”) with director Bethany Rooney on the set of ABC’s Brothers & Sisters. (Brothers & Sisters trademarks and copyrighted material have been used with the permission of ABC Studios.)

Directing and Shaping a Performance on Set


The practical part of directing actors happens on set during rehearsal. This time is when you shape an actor’s performance. It should be a closed rehearsal, that is, no crew members other than the script supervisor, the director of photography, and your 1st AD invited. Your actors will have done their homework, hopefully, and they…

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The Casting Process: Articulating the Description


Although these standard categories are used less and less because there is so much crossing over, it is helpful to identify for the casting director or the Breakdown Service the category that your search involves. What is really needed is a specific and articulate description of the role you’re trying to fill. This is where…

directing actors

Why You Should Maybe Not Show Actors Their Work


When a group intends to function as a repertory company, as Fassbinder’s did in his early films, the cycle of performance and critical viewing can get actors past the stage of horrid fascination with their own image, and working instead on the places where their resistances and growth lie. This is a long process. It…

on set

Maximizing Actors’ Performances


As soon as the cast is off book and reasonably confident, cover rehearsals with a handheld video camera using documentary techniques. However, read the whole of this section and consider the status and insecurities of your cast before deciding whether it can be fruitful to show them any of the results. You, however, can benefit…

Photo by Lars P.

Five Phrases That Trigger An Actor’s Performance


Here are some code words in the actor’s vocabulary: Raise the stakes. This also means, “Commit to your intention more strongly.” Make the scene more important. Care more. Make a bigger deal out of it. Sometimes an actor’s energy is just a little down. All you have to say is “Raise the stakes,” and they…

directing actors

VIDEO: When an actor isn’t giving the right performance


Television Director Bethany Rooney talks about communicating effectively to get the most out of your actors. FilmSkills is the visual way to learn filmmaking. Online training videos available 24/7.

An anxious actor

Handling Actors’ Anxieties When Shooting Begins


SHOOTING IS SLOW Warn actors unfamiliar with making movies that filming is invariably s-l-o-w. Even a professional feature unit may only shoot 1–4 minutes of screen time per 8-hour day. Tell them to bring books, playing cards, or crossword puzzles—anything to help fill the inevitable periods of waiting. BEFORE SHOOTING Actors suffer maximum jitters and…


The Mistake Novice Directors Make and How to Avoid It


The process of directing actors on the set starts with casting the right actors, rehearsing and building their characters and connection to the material, developing their personas through wardrobe, props, and creating a world of the film for them to inhabit. The challenges on the set have a lot to do with overcoming your insecurity…

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