The Film Director’s Script Read Through – Stage Directions

by Peter D. Marshall

1. Stage directions are the writer’s ideas, suggestions or concepts for the director, the actors and the production designer that show or describe various things such as:

a. certain backstory facts pertaining to a scene or a character

b. the behavior, or inner life, of a character

c. the staging or blocking the writer would like to see (actor business)

2. You should always read and make note of stage directions, but they should never be used as fact. Remember, it is your job as a director to “interpret the script” and stamp it with your vision.

As a matter of fact, one of the first things experienced actors do when they breakdown their scripts, is to cross out any stage direction that tells them when their character is to move or how the character should feel or act at that particular moment. Actors want to, and need to, discover that for themselves.

Want to Learn More Film and Television Directing Tips and Techniques? Check out Peter D. Marshall’s 2008 multi-media reference guide for filmmakers, The Art and Craft of the Director 10-Day Audio Seminar – a 162 page eBook packed full of insider film directing tips and tools supported by over 500 film making reference links, 26 mp3 audio files, 28 video links and 23 pdf special reports all designed to help you become a successful, working film and television director.


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