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New Director needs tips


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#1 lee

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 06:49 AM

I'm a new director just starting out and I'm running into a problem with one of my actors. The problem is this the actor knows his lines very well but he doesn't sound very natural. His tone sounds very robotic without any feeling or emotion behind it. I've noticed that he does better when he improvs.

During his audition, he was doing really well with the scripted lines. But for some reason now during the shoot, he can't give me the same performance as he did on his first audition. I don't want to re-cast him because he is a very talented dedicated actor and I can tell he is trying his hardest to give me what I want on screen.

How can I help him as a director to achieve the emotion I want on screen? B)
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#2 Nizar Jawad

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 08:40 AM

Hi :)

Very easy try to tell him about the feeling for the scene let him think about the scene but don't tell him fornt the actors :)

Good Luck man
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#3 Marcos Sanz

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 10:03 PM

Hey:

Does he knows the personality and background of your character? If so, does he knows what you want to express in the film?

Those are good basic Qs for an actor, sometimes or most of the time they are great at the casting/rehearsals since they are loose and they READ the feeling that the script tells them to show.

i.e. Sarah with a tear running down her cheek looks at Johnny.
Sarah
(sad)
You told me you love me.
(beat)
But you left with my mother, and, and...
(beat)
She's going to have your baby.

They have to become that character, know what moves the character, and also know what you want helps them, explain the scene, what you want to do with that scene, what you want to tell, and how the character is feeling. If the character is sad, don't tell him that he has to be sad, make him be sad, create a story or tell him something that can create that emotion.

I remember that in the old good times of film making the directors - in order to make the kids cry - told them that their cat was dead or their parents where in an accident.

I'm not telling you to do that, but find a way to create the emotion, so the actor looses a bit and doesn't sound like he's reading the script.

Other thing you can do is to remember that you have a different way that dialog sound in your mind, and you can open your mind to new possibilities, if the actor knows the character like the back of his hand and BECOMES the character, he's going to give the dialog as the character's personality, and it might sound different than you want it to sound.

Hope this helps and doesn't looks like a mad alcoholic took a computer and wrote this while snorting 2 lines of cocaine at the time.

my 2 cents.

Regards

P.S. Now I notice that the example it's a bit weird, lol, oh well, maybe some soap opera can use it.
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#4 David Winn

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 02:09 PM

No actor can give an identical performance twice. It will only have freshness or tuthfulness if each time the performance is given it is as if for the first time. So maybe the first thing is not to stress your actor by making him/her feel that they have to replicate a performance exactly.

If the actor is not "in the moment" at all, then there are all sorts of strategies you can use to get them there. I wouldn't lecture them about feelings - nobody can produce feelings at will, not you and not even actors - they're a consequence of actions and experiences. So perhaps you could give them some kind objective to aim for. Say you want your actor to "be angry" at another character, you might ask them to "punish" or "attack" the other actor. If you start talking about feelings, your poor actor is going to have to step back and work out why he needs to be angry and what he needs to do about it and already you're distracting them from the work.

Good luck.
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#5 Josh Bass

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 02:27 PM

If he does better with improv, why can't he improv it, then? Say the same thing as the script, but in his own words?
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#6 Marcos Sanz

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 02:56 PM

Yes, you're not going to explain the feelings or make them feel at will, that's why you rehearse with them before, so they can know the beats, the feelings, what they did before the scene, what are they doing after the scene.

If you do that during shooting, well now we have the problem that he's probably not well rehearsed and you don't have what does he wants to add to the character.

Actors need direction as well as the director needs to understand what the actor is doing. That's why you do rehearsals.

And yes, actors can't perform the same way every single time they say they lines, but if they know the beat of the scene, they can at least maintain the feelings for the scene, instead of loosing it. And actors need time for that.

So I suggest you to rehearse him a lot.

I have the living proof of a non rehearsed short - my fault since I didn't fire their asses - actors couldn't rehearse but I continued with the schedule, that was my fault I felt like a new director coming to his/her first short.

I have no excuses, but I know that with a fairly good budget, good actors and good crew, that short could be great.

Just rehearse them, take your time to answer the actor's questions - they have a lot, when they want to understand the actions of the character -

Remember the more time you spend in pre-production, the less time you waste in production.

Hope this helps.

Edited by Marcos Sanz, 06 June 2007 - 02:57 PM.

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#7 Nicholas Jenkins

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 10:41 PM

Remember to remind him to LISTEN to the other actors. That acting is REacting. He shouldn't be simply waiting to say his lines, rather he should be listening to what another actor just said, thinking about what that line meant, then responding with his own line and remember what that line means to him.

It's a tough trick sometimes. What I do, usually, is take the actor aside and tell them to just "talk to me. Don't act the lines, just say them." It may still sound a bit stiff, but I've had marvelous success with that angle. Of course, every actor is different. Sometimes over-rehearsing can KILL a performance... dead.
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#8 Tom Bays

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 01:56 PM

Remember to remind him to LISTEN to the other actors. That acting is REacting. He shouldn't be simply waiting to say his lines, rather he should be listening to what another actor just said, thinking about what that line meant, then responding with his own line and remember what that line means to him.

It's a tough trick sometimes. What I do, usually, is take the actor aside and tell them to just "talk to me. Don't act the lines, just say them." It may still sound a bit stiff, but I've had marvelous success with that angle. Of course, every actor is different. Sometimes over-rehearsing can KILL a performance... dead.




Tell them to overdue it...make up a reason...just lay the reasoning at your feet. Sometimes what you feel you are saying isn't always what comes out. Tell jokes and start the take when you feel they are in good spirits or in the spirit of the scene.
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