How to Get Believable Performances from Actors

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The film director’s working relationship with an actor starts in the first casting session, continues through the various rehearsal stages, onto the set and ends in the ADR session.

A good performance from an actor happens when both the inner and outer self are honestly portrayed. And to play a character truthfully, good actors need to surrender to feelings and impulses so they can perform organically or “in-the-moment.”

Most trained actors begin by trusting the director, but if you can’t direct actors in a language they understand, you may have a difficult time getting actors to trust you. And if actors don’t trust you, you will have a difficult time blocking them on set and getting layered performances from them.

Stage 32 Next Level Classes is honored to have brought in 40-year veteran filmmaker Peter D. Marshall to teach a 4 week intensive class on How to Get Believable Performances from Actors. The first webinar Peter did for Stage 32 was one of the highest attended webinars in Stage 32’s history (Preproduction: The Film Director’s Process of Discovery), and we’ve brought Peter back by popular demand!

How to Get Believable Performances from Actors
http://bit.ly/1wll6Lp

The main objective of this 4-week online course is to demonstrate how directors can build a relationship built on trust with actors by creating a safe place for them to perform. This in turn leads to realistic blocking on set and allows the actors to create believable performances.

Class Schedule (11/4, 11/11, 11/18, 11/25)

Week #1: Understanding Human Behavior: Feelings, Emotions, Motivation – 11/4

All good storytellers have at least one thing in common: they need to be “witnesses” to universal human behavior. For a film director, this means you must observe people going about their daily lives so you can discover what motivates people to take action. In other words, you need to find out why do we do certain things and what makes us tick.

Once you know these answers, you will better understand: how the characters in your script should interact with each other; how to conduct a casting session that gets results; and how to use proven motivational tools to block and direct actors on the set.

Class Objective: the main objective of this class is to discover why you must understand human emotions and feelings to help actors achieve organic and believable performances – from the first audition to rehearsals to shooting on the set.

Learning Outcomes: by the end of this class, you should be able to apply the “7 Step Directing Formula” to every film you direct; identify various universal human feelings and emotions; and understand why “Motivation Determines Behavior.”

Homework: an assignment will be given at the end of this class to be posted on my private online coaching platform for group discussion.

Support Material: participants will receive pdf handouts and online reference links.

Participant Questions: a Q & A session will occur at the end of this class.

Week #2: Script Analysis: The 9 Step Scene Breakdown Process – 11/11

There are countless details to a film Director’s prep, but your most important job is to understand every creative and logistic detail about the script. Understanding the story requires a lot of work on your part because you must take the script apart scene by scene to find out what the scene is really about, what works and what doesn’t.

Your script breakdown will be a never-ending process because every time you read the script, or have a meeting with your crew, you will discover something different or questionable about the story or the characters. But as long as you know what the story is about and where the story is going, you will be able to adjust to all the technical and creative changes.

Class Objective: the main objective of this class is to discover the main strategies of proper script analysis you can use to help actors achieve organic and believable performances – from the first audition to rehearsals to shooting on the set.

Learning Outcomes: by the end of this class, you should be able to identify proper script analysis tools; understand why good directors focus on directing the subtext; and know how to apply the fundamentals of the “9 Part Scene Breakdown Process.”

Homework: an assignment will be given at the end of this class to be posted on my private online coaching platform for group discussion.

Support Material: participants will receive pdf handouts and online reference links.

Participant Questions: a Q & A session will occur at the end of this class.

Week #3: – Directing Actors in Prep: Auditions, Readthroughs, Rehearsals – 11/18

For many directors, working with experienced actors can be very intimidating and frustrating. Most trained actors begin by trusting the director because they rely on the director to help them create a sustained and believable performance.

But if you can’t direct actors in a language they understand, you may have a difficult time getting actors to trust you. And if your actors don’t trust you, you will have a difficult time blocking them on set and getting layered performances from them.

Class Objective: the main objective of this class is to understand why you need to speak the actor’s language to help actors achieve organic and believable performances – from the first audition to rehearsals to shooting on the set.

Learning Outcomes: by the end of this class, you should be able to understand the importance of the actor/director working relationship; know how (and when) to use relevant acting words and phrases; and identify the top 3 qualities directors look for in casting.

Homework: an assignment will be given at the end of this class to be posted on my private online coaching platform for group discussion.

Support Material: participants will receive pdf handouts and online reference links.

Participant Questions: a Q & A session will occur at the end of this class.

Week #4: Directing Actors on the Set: Blocking, Rehearsing, Shooting – 11/25

A director’s job is to reveal a character’s thoughts or emotions through actions because actions reveal more of a character than dialogue. The process director’s use to achieve this action on set is called blocking – the physical movement of actors relative to the position of the camera.

Where you place the camera is determined by what’s important in the scene; what the characters want; and what emotion you want the audience to feel at that moment. Therefore every time an actor moves on the set, and each shot you use to capture that movement, needs to contribute to the story and to the emotion you are trying to convey.

Class Objective: the main objective of this class is to learn how to apply the “10 Step Actor/Director Blocking Process” to help actors achieve organic and believable performances – from rehearsals to shooting on the set.

Learning Outcomes: by the end of this class, you should be able to create a workable blocking plan for any scene; define your key blocking frames; and collaborate efficiently with your actors and DOP using proven blocking tools and strategies.

Homework: an assignment will be given at the end of this class to be posted on my private online coaching platform for group discussion.

Support Material: participants will receive pdf handouts and online reference links.

Participant Questions: a Q & A session will occur at the end of this class.

How to Get Believable Performances from Actors
http://bit.ly/1wll6Lp

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I’m Peter D. Marshall and I created this film directing blog in 2007 as an online movie making resource center for Independent Filmmakers like yourself.

Peter D. Marshall

(As of October 31, 2601 film making posts have been published on this blog!)

For over 40 years I’ve worked (and survived) in the Film and TV industry as a Film Director, Television Producer, First Assistant Director and Creative Consultant. (See IMDb Credits.)

In 1999, I started my website, ActionCutPrint which has grown into a major film directing resource for Independent Filmmakers featuring online movie making courses, film directing articles, film and television books and filmmaking workshops.

In 2000, I started publishing my free monthly film making ezine, The Director’s Chair which is read by over 6000 filmmakers in 105 countries around the world. (You can read 157 back issues here.)

To fulfill my goal of mentoring and teaching, I developed several filmmaking workshops that I have presented over the past 19 years (Singapore, Dubai, Haiti, Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Regina.) I am also a directing instructor for Raindance Canada and the Vancouver Film School.

I also offer Film Directing Coaching services via Skype. So why hire me as your film directing coach? Along with my international teaching experiences and my 40 years of professional filmmaking experience (as a TV Director and Feature 1st AD), I feel I have the necessary qualifications to help you achieve your dreams of being a creative and successful independent film director.

So if you want to keep up to date on the latest Online film and television resources, please Bookmark this Page Now or Subscribe to this blog to read daily film making articles written by myself and other film makers from around the world.

Contact Peter D. Marshall

The feature article in this month’s issue of The Director’s Chair is called How Do You Differentiate Good Acting From Bad Acting by Marcus Geduld. “If anyone tells you there are objective standards, they’re full of crap. This is a matter of personal taste. There are trends. There are many people who loved Philip Seymour Hoffman’s acting. But if you don’t, you’re not wrong. At worst, you’re eccentric.”

SUBSCRIBE to the current issue of “The Director’s Chair” and get two free bonuses: (1) Day One (41 pages) of my 261 page Online film directing audio course, “The Art and Craft of the Director Audio Seminar” and (2) the first 30 pages of my 165 page “Script Breakdown and Film Scheduling Online Course For Independent Filmmakers.”

by Ricardo Gaona.

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Nonfiction filmmaking is hard work. There are the technical aspects, of course, and (especially right now) the financial concerns that can make you lose your mind a little bit.

In the case of our film, Parque Central (now funding on Kickstarter!), which follows children who work in a park in Antigua Guatemala, there’s an extra level of stress that comes with the questions of ethics and representation.

I’ve got some tips that this experience has taught me that might help guide you through tricky waters on your own projects.

Read the rest of this article from Filmmaker Magazine.

Sign up now for your own FREE monthly subscription to “The Director’s Chair” filmmaking ezine and get the first 41 pages of my 261 page Film Directing Multi-Media Online course, “The Art and Craft of the Director Audio Seminar.”

 

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