“A Course of Action – A Workshop for Indie Filmmakers” with Director Roy Hayter starting April 28

by Peter D Marshall

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My good friend, Director Roy Hayter, is giving a private hands-on directing workshop in Vancouver, Canada over a 4 week period in April and May (48 hours = 6 days of practical filmmaking participation!)

This is a “must-take” workshop for any filmmaker interested in film or TV directing as a career. Please check out all the details about Roy’s workshop below.

“A Course of Action – Workshop for Filmmakers” with Director Roy Hayter

This course is not just theoretical, it is mainly a practical hands on program where you “learn by doing” in a collaborative environment. When completed you will have enough knowledge to understand how to break down your script, how to cast, how to block a scene, know what lenses can do and be capable of getting a credible performance from your actors.

In just one month, (4 days and 4 evenings) you will have a chance to sharpen your skills and abilities in several exciting, active, workshops where you “learn by doing.” This workshop will make an amazing difference for your next film, allowing you to rise to a higher, competent level as a Filmmaker.

  • What does the Director need to know and prepare for?
  • Improvisation and Scene work:  knowing the actors journey.
  • Script Analysis and Breakdown
  • Blocking a scene for shooting on the set
  • Auditions  and Casting:  Seminar and Workshop with actors
  • The Frame in Mind; psychology of the camera and lens
  • Working with actors on the set
  • Advanced Actor/Director rehearsals with professional actors 
  • A total of 48 hours = 6 days of practical and hands on participation

Curriculum

Week 1A   Evening Seminar
4 hours
The Director’s Journey
Week 1B  1 Day Weekend Workshop
8 hours
Improvisation and Scene Work
Week 2A  Evening Seminar
4 hours
Script Analysis and Breakdown
Week 2B 1 Day Weekend Workshop
8
hours
Schematics and Blocking on the Set
Week 3A  Evening Seminar
4 hours
Auditions and Casting
Week 3B 1 Day Weekend Workshop
8 hours
The Psychology of the Camera
Week 4A  Evening Seminar 
4 hours
Working with Actors
Week 4B 1 Day Weekend Workshop
8 hours
Advanced Actor/Director Rehearsal

 

Due to the nature of these courses, you will be expected to do some homework and preparation. You will be working with professional actors, so your oral skills and preparation will be important.  In order that you gain as much time in the director’s seat, this course is only open to 8 students at a time.

For more further information, rates and time, please contact Roy Hayter at frogshollow@shaw.ca

Curriculum overview:

This curriculum will give you a chance to sharpen your skills and abilities as directors/producers in several active workshops; so preparation will be important.  As you will be working in smaller groups, you will be expected to participate and help your fellow peers, and to observe and listen to their experience. For the most part, this is a hands curriculum where, with the guidance of your instructor, you are in the driver’s seat.

Week 1A:  THE DIRECTOR’S JOURNEY:  SEMINAR – EVENING

A film director job is more than just about making money. It is about being creative; it is about being an artist, it is about having something to say.  The most important role of the director is to tell a strong narrative story.  Excluding episodic television, a film director is responsible for overseeing every creative aspect of a film.

One of the first priorities and foremost reasonability’s of the director is to communicate clearly their vision to the cast and crew. A good director is like a good actor; there is a great deal of unseen preparation before they arrive on the set and feel comfortable and capable to do the best they can. As the director, either you can lead the cast and crew, or they will end up leading you.

Course Learning Outcome

  • Understanding the script analysis; what is the writer trying to express
  • Shaping the cinematic style and tone
  • Working with your Departments heads
  • Working with the actors
  • Working with the Producer and the budget
  • Working with the composer
  • Working in Post production

Week 1B:  IMPROVISATION:  WORKSHOP:  DAY

The major link between the text, the cast and the crew is the Director. More than anyone else, the director must empathize with the cast. They must truly know what it feels like to expose ones emotions to a non-reacting camera and crew.   The actor is like the proverbial iceberg;  four fifths being out of sight.  What is visible in the script, allowing the actor to deduce and develop what is below the water line.

This workshop allows you to have insight on how the actor thinks and what they must find as a base to build their character.  Improvisation is a skill, and part of the actor’s journey.  You will discover that just about anyone can act when you lay aside the armor and fears.  Once this is established, directing becomes a matter of searching for the right keys to unlock the potential in each individual.

Course Learning Outcome

  • Understanding the importance of the actor’s role in finding the character
  • To understand firsthand what the actor must do to explore ways to play the role
  • Getting in touch with your intuition
  • Letting go of inhibitions and vulnerability
  • Focusing, observing and listening
  • Team building and collaboration

There is purposely no preparation for this workshop other than coming with an open mind, to have fun and stretch the limits of yourself.

Pre assignments:  none

Week  2A:   SCRIPT ANALYSIS:  SEMINAR – EVENING

The Director’s job begins with the analysis of the script.  All the choices that the director makes are based on their understanding of what is written on the page. The actors and the crew depend upon the director to communicate his/her interpretations clearly and concisely.

The way to learn this process is by digging in and studying the script. You become the detective; looking for clues that will unlock the hidden meanings of the script, and in the process, getting to the heart of the story.

Course Learning Outcome:

  • Knowing the primary theme of the script
  • Knowing the spine of the script
  • Knowing the conflict for the protagonist
  • Who or what is the antagonist?
  • What is the prevailing mood of the story?
  • What are the main characters’ spines and their arcs?
  • What might work for the story cinematically?
  • Knowing what kind of color pallet/music/and production design might work

Pre assignments:  Yes

FINAL

Week 2B:   BLOCKING ON THE SET: WORKSHOP – DAY

Preparation and planning is everything. One of the essential parts of the director’s daily job on the set is blocking every upcoming scene.  Most of the planning for this work is unseen and prepared before you begin to work on the set. The homework behind blocking is by analyzing each scene, and discovering  why it is there and all its hidden details and subtext.

Finally you begin to plan where you might put the camera choose the lens and angles that can either enhance or detract the audience’s understanding of what the scene is really about and what the characters are feeling.  The work you do here can transform the script into a workable, creative and visually interesting story.  This allow for more time for discovery with your actors.

Course learning outcome:

  • All students will block a scene on the set
  • What is the homework behind blocking
  • Finding a cinematic style that fits the story
  • To understand the camera as a story telling device
  • Identify any eye line issues
  • Screen several scenes with variations on the blocking
  • How to communicate with the cinematographer and camera crew
  • Why you physically block a scene in front of the crew and Actor’s
  • Having the sufficient coverage
  • The First Assistant Director’s involvement
  • Schematics – Shot List for Blocking
  • The physical process of Blocking on the set

Pre assignments:  Yes

Week  3A:  AUDITIONING AND CASTING: Seminar/Workshop  – Evening

Casting actors is perhaps one of the most important decisions of the director’s duties.  Once you have committed an actor to a role, it is difficult to reverse that decision.  This seminar introduces  the process of casting a film.

We will explore the importance of a good “character breakdown, and what scenes to choose for an audition.  This will give a first-hand lesson in relating to actors and then casting the “right” actor for the part.

Course Learning Outcome:

  • How well do they use their physical self in the character
  • Is the actor working moment to moment
  • To know when they are they anticipating
  • What you are looking for in the first audition
  • How to get the best performance at the audition
  • What does it mean to think outside of the box
  • Beware of type-casting
  • Discuss “callbacks” and how to make the best use of them
  • How to make the actor feel comfortable
  • Discuss the use of “non-actors”

Pre Assignments: None

Week 3B:  THE FRAME IN MIND – THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE CAMERA:  WORKSHOP – DAY

The screen is like a painter’s canvas and looks like it, two-dimensional. However, on a screen a film should give the illusion of three dimensions!  Where the director puts the camera; (picking shots and angles) can either enhance or detract the audience’s understanding of what the scene is really about and what the characters are feeling.

Audiences will assume that every shot or word of dialogue in a film is there to further the central idea. This means that any shot you use should contribute to the story or the idea you are trying to convey. Viewer emotion is the ultimate goal of each scene. Where you place the camera and what lens you use involves knowing what emotion you want the audience to experience at any given moment.

Course Learning Outcome:

  • How much detail should be included within the frame?
  • Camera moves and angles; their relationship to the subject?
  • What cinematic style could work for the story?
  • What type of lenses might work for a scene?
  • What is the motivation for moving the camera
  • Framing and Composition
  • Subjective, Objective, POV  use of Camera
  • Matching eye-lines
  • Transitions
  • To understand how the director uses the camera to tell the story
  • How lenses and composition relate to the actor

Pre Assignments:  yes

Week  4A:   WORKING WITH ACTORS – Seminar/Workshop – evening                                                                         

I think it would be safe to say that most directors would like to improve their communication skills with actors. On the flip-side most actors are troubled by the lack of knowledge the director has of them, and their work in order to give a believable performance.

With all the preparation that you can do as a director, you must finally surrender and allow the actor the room to discover the character they are playing. Your job is to open doors, to suggest, motivate and give permission for them to try new avenues of thought.  Then finally, you are the sounding board for their performance.

Course Learning Outcome:

  • What are the tools of the director?
  • The characters objectives
  • Finding the emotional indications in the script
  • What is the meaning of the scene
  • Finding the beats of the scene
  • Whose scene is it?
  • What is the subtext of the scene
  • The five “W’s” each character wants to know
  • The actors language
  • What the actor wants from the director
  • Discuss the masters and their techniques

Week  4B:  ADVANCED ACTOR/ DIRECTOR REHEARSAL  WORKSHOP. DAY

A major challenge for the director in making any film is being able to deliver strong, compelling performances from the actors that are consistent with the director’s vision of the story. This workshop will provide students with a number of practical, in-depth tools and strategies.

You will focus for the most part on the breakdown of the scene, the intention, the characters spine and their objectives and beats.  You will be working primarily for performance and the blocking of the actors within the scene.

Course Learning Outcome:

  • To be clear with your communications when working with performers
  • Understanding the importance of the actor’s role in finding the character
  • Defining characters objectives
  • The use of action verbs
  • Blocking the scene
  • Observing their performance for genuineness and believability
  • Understanding the power of adjustments
  • The importance of your feedback to the actors

Pre assignments:  yes

End of Course

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Roy Hayter, Member DGC
Director/writer/Producer

Roy’s 33 years of experience in the business, and 10 years as a Directing Instructor, started with his own passion as a student at the London Film School.

He has received over 30 national and International awards for his work.

He has produced, directed and written in several categories of film production, including episodic television drama, docu-dramas, documentaries, industrial films and educational films.

He has also produced and directed well over a hundred Commercials; in addition, Roy has integrated film productions into Multimedia Presentations for World Fairs and International Exhibits.

For more further information, rates and time, please contact Roy Hayter at frogshollow@shaw.ca

 

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