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Tips for working with an Actor/Director


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#1 F Bulgarelli

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 03:58 PM

Hello,

I will be shooting a low budget feature in which the director is also one of the main actors.
This is a first for me and even though I feel like we are preparing ourselves really well, I wanted to see if anyone in this forum with that type of experience could offer some advice.

Thanks in advance,

Francisco
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#2 Tom Jensen

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 04:15 PM

Hello,

I will be shooting a low budget feature in which the director is also one of the main actors.
This is a first for me and even though I feel like we are preparing ourselves really well, I wanted to see if anyone in this forum with that type of experience could offer some advice.

Thanks in advance,

Francisco


I shot a movie a called "Laughing Dead" in which the lead actor, Patrick Gleason was also the director. The biggest problem was that since he was in so many scenes, he spent a great deal of time in the make-up chair. It's hard to divide your time like that but it can be done. He did a good job doing both. But there were times that I really needed him on the set and he was busy rehearsing and getting ready for his scene.
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#3 F Bulgarelli

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 04:31 PM

I shot a movie a called "Laughing Dead" in which the lead actor, Patrick Gleason was also the director. The biggest problem was that since he was in so many scenes, he spent a great deal of time in the make-up chair. It's hard to divide your time like that but it can be done. He did a good job doing both. But there were times that I really needed him on the set and he was busy rehearsing and getting ready for his scene.


Yes, those are some of the issues I anticipate. Did he look at playback a lot? how else would he be able to know if thinsg are working?
David, I was wondering if you could talk about your experiences with the Polish brothers. thx
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#4 Tom Jensen

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 05:38 PM

Yes, those are some of the issues I anticipate. Did he look at playback a lot? how else would he be able to know if thinsg are working?


Playback? He had a monitor. If you have the money or the time to look at playback, you have too much time and too much money. <_<
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#5 Jim Keller

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 05:41 PM

Typically an actor-director is going to be very dependent on the playback, as they will not have seen the take by virtue of having been in it. This will slow you down. But you can help. You're used to watching for technical problems as you're shooting, but if you can be more astute about performance issues, too, you can pick up the pace of the production considerably. That's because if you've noticed that the leading lady lost focus halfway through the scene, you can save the time of the director watching the whole scene back again and noticing for him/herself. When he/she asks you if it was good for you, you can simply request another take instead of saying it was fine for you and waiting for the playback to reveal the acting problem. (The one time I was an actor-director, my one cinematographer got very good at saying, "technically fine, but I think you want another one," and it was much appreciated.) Some actors are very uncomfortable watching themselves and therefore have a hard time being objective, so once the director learns that your opinion can be trusted, a simple, "really, your performance was fine" when he/she isn't happy for no good reason can also go a long way to preventing you from getting mired.

Also, be very firm that you want at the very least a comprehensive shot list and preferably storyboards by your call time each day so you can be setting up and lighting the shots even if the director disappears for wardrobe, makeup, rehearsal, etc. You'll find yourself needing to be more self-reliant than usual. The dark side of this is that with some directors, you'll end up doing all that work only to find that they're not happy with it instead of catching it early on as should be the case. So make sure you and the director are communicating well from the get-go. The better you plan, the smoother it will go.

Those are the two big issues that I encountered. I'm sure my crew could give you a few more. :)
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Tai Audio

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Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Willys Widgets

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

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