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Actor Becomes the Director


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#1 Jaime Toruno

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 05:10 AM

I directing my first short and I happen to have an actor who does have some experience, I don?t mind opinions and suggestions because I think actors should give their opinion about the characters they playing and find out what works and don?t but I feel some time the actors vision is not the same I have. B)

Well the actor that has some experience some times takes the role of the director and even thou most of the time it does help the one that has no experience I feel that he over do it, but at the same time I feel that actors should help each other. :huh:

Or maybe I am not giving the actors what they need, maybe I am not given them the whole vision of what I see and can not tell why. Maybe because I wrote the damn thing and had explained it over and over and over?lol :blink:

Any suggestion is welcome.

Edited by Jaime Toruno, 11 July 2007 - 05:14 AM.

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#2 Lana Loukota

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 11:31 AM

I'm fairly new to acting and very new to directing (doing them both on the same project), but I can see how an actor trying to be the director would be trouble.
Actors helping is great, but they need to remember that you are the one in charge. You have to tell the actors, esp the inexperienced ones, what you're looking for, and perhaps your experieinced actor can give tips to make it happen. Of course, sometimes the actors will have ideas to give you that will add a bunch to the piece, so keep an open mind. But if having two 'directors' causes trouble, then maybe you could talk to the actor/director. It could be that he thinks you want/need the help, and I think you do, but only to a certain extent... If the actor feels that you are clear about what you want, then he would probably be slower to interject his own direction.
Does this make any sense?
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#3 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 03:11 PM

You think it's bad now, wait till you get the chance to work with an actual star who's name is the reason the film got greenlit and CAN'T be fired! Every actor has to be handled slightly differently and your job is to find what works for that particular actor. Some need no direction at all, some need you to give them line readings for every scrap of dialog they utter, MOST need some direction and indication as to whether the direction they're taking their character is correct for the film. Let's also talk about egos on set, a director has to be objective which is to say he must look at a performance in the context of the over all piece so that performance will complement and enhance the film, an actor must be subjective which is to say his prime concern is to create as much truth in his portrayal as possible and there in lies the problem because when creating a character , there are many truths, all equal valid from a subjective standpoint but only a scant few from an objective standpoint and the trick is to find the one that best serves director's vision of the story and also why not every actor is perfect for every role OR every cast. HOWEVER, I'm a firm believer in a director having a certain amount of flexibility and a trust in the abilities of the people he hired to do the job.


So with regard to ego, you have to ask a few questions, first and foremost, "Does what the actor's doing serve the story better than my original vision?", second "Am I fighting for my vision out of ego or because it truly better serves the story?", " Is this actor fighting me or trying to take over because A. he's an ego maniac and control freak B. because he has no confidence in my abilities C. is genuinely trying to help D. has a strong commitment to the character based on the script and honestly believes this is the best way to play it E is doing this for some other reason I have not thought of F. all or some of the above."THEN ask yourself "What am I going to do about it", "Am I communicating what and WHY I need the character played a certain way?", "Am I being belligerent and dictorial in my approach to this actor and if so is that the best way to get what I want from him?", "If I give him some time, will he come around to my way of thinking on this character on his own after a few takes of do I need to stop and work with him", "Do I need to schedule rehearsal time without a crew there so we can work out problems prior to shooting or will this kill this actor's spontaneity and truth in the scene. " What do I need to do to get what's best for the production out of this guy?".

A director is not on set to be loved, or hated or feared, he is there to get the job done as efficiently and well done as possible, sometimes that's just a matter of talking to them and exerting your au6thority and sometimes that' means means being devious and even cruel. It basically boils down to doing whatever it takes to make it happen, Lucas hardly had 2 works to say to the actors on Star Wars, Bogdanovich had to give Cybill Shepherd a line reading on every single line of Last picture show, The guy who directed the Champ, had to tell Jackie Coogan his dog had just been run over the get the kid to cry for the climax, there is no right or wrong way to direct as long as it works. B)

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 11 July 2007 - 03:13 PM.

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#4 Jaime Toruno

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 11:27 PM

First let me thank every one for replying.

I don't think I am the kind of person who is trying to dictate what to do to get it done my way is just that I wrote the short and know the characters little bit better since I am the one who created them, but I think actors have their own opinions about what the characters should be or do.

One of the characters which I never said he smokes and the actor decide that he would smoke and it did help but every shot from a different angle need a cigarette and we ran out it and I don't have a problem because it did look good in the dark while he smoke in the shot, so I left it alone but since it was not in the script some need to go buy more and that takes time waiting on a pack of cigarette but beside that this actor (Actor/Director) understood very good the characters motivation and needs.

He is (Actor/Director) in a way helping because the actress who I had told her a couple of time about her character does not get in character unless he talks to her, then she gets in character and I wondering if there is something I am not saying right or not saying enough I also think in a way that the actor is doing it because he feels that I?m green when it comes to directing even thou he likes the way I write I don't think he sees me as a director, I hope he is doing it to genuinely trying to help me and not to show that he can direct the short with out me.

The funny thing is we have three more projects we want to work on. Makes me think, but honestly he is a good actor and want to be in my stories because he likes them.

I hope I?m making since?lol :unsure:

Edited by Jaime Toruno, 11 July 2007 - 11:29 PM.

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#5 Zak Forsman

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 04:54 PM

He is (Actor/Director) in a way helping because the actress who I had told her a couple of time about her character does not get in character unless he talks to her, then she gets in character and I wondering if there is something I am not saying right or not saying enough I also think in a way that the actor is doing it because he feels that I?m green when it comes to directing even thou he likes the way I write I don't think he sees me as a director, I hope he is doing it to genuinely trying to help me and not to show that he can direct the short with out me.


sounds like you are (probably) asking her for a result ("be sweet here, or you're supposed to get angry at the end"), while he is speaking the actor's language and giving her a direction, a path to follow to get there. which really is your job, as director, but you know that. so instead of saying "get angry", he probably telling her how to engage with the other actor in the scene by saying something like "punish him with your words for what he did". giving her a playable action, instead of asking for a result will go a long, long way. actors who are trying to figure out a path to a result are going to struggle to stay in character because they are going to be in their own head to some extent, essentially self-directing.
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#6 John Sprung

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Posted 03 December 2007 - 07:24 PM

The funny thing is we have three more projects we want to work on. Makes me think, but honestly he is a good actor and want to be in my stories because he likes them.

Keep working through the project you're doing now, then ask your actor about acting lessons -- for you. Probably the best way to find out what actors need from a director is to learn the fundamentals of their craft.




-- J.S.
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