Because “do it different” just doesn’t cut it when trying to get the right performances.
Any 8-year old who makes videos on a smartphone is technically a filmmaker. However, if you want your project to have a slightly higher artistic standard than the average tween’s Vine, the director should understand certain fundamental techniques.
Some filmmakers are so beloved and charming their actors will bend over backwards to work with them, even when the role doesn’t call for the talents of an eager-to-please contortionist. Other directors (including one whose name may or may not rhyme with “witch rock”) have resorted to psychological tricks or even outright manipulation to get the performance they want from their cast. Whether the director chooses to rule through love or fear, or even just plain old professionalism, there are different approaches to consider when working with actors.
TOPICS COVERED IN DIRECTING YOUR ACTORS:
- COMFORT VS. CRUELTY
- JUST PRETEND THERE’S A WALL IN FRONT OF YOU
- ACTORS, DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY
Hopefully the director knows that selfies are not the highest possible form of camera work. In fact, there are so many different cinematography techniques that it can be tempting just to make every scene a simple shot and reverse-shot combination. After all, what’s easiest is usually best, right? Well, think about how many times you’ve watched something and wished there were a less visually interesting way to tell that story.
TOPICS COVERED IN DIRECTING THE CAMERA:
- LENS CHOICES, ANGLES & BLOCKING
In the art of lighting, less is usually more. Of course, it always comes back to what the story needs and what you like. If there are scenes that inspire you, spend a few minutes on Google to learn the how about the lighting. When in doubt, or pressed for resources, light the background.
TOPICS COVERED IN DIRECTING THE LIGHT:
- LESS IS MORE
- LIGHT THE BACKGROUND & MOTIVATE
- HARD VS. SOFT
Recording good sound on set will prevent some literal headaches in post. And remember, the sound crew’s work should always be heard, but never be seen.
TOPICS COVERED IN CAPTURING THE SOUND:
- GETTING IT RIGHT
- HIDING IT RIGHT
- BEST PRACTICES
Almodovar on Directing ActorsRead more
The Camera as Storyteller: Considerations for the DirectorRead more
Lighting “Persona”Read more
Sound 101: Building Your Sound KitRead more
How to Create and Use Hard and Soft Light in a Studio SettingRead more
Cinematography CoverageRead more