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The Director’s Chair Issue #1 – April 10, 2000 (Working with Actors: Personality Traits)

Free Monthly Ezine for Film and Television Directors

April 10, 2000                                           Scene 1 – Take 1

Published once a month.

Publisher: Peter D. Marshall
Email: pdm@actioncutprint.com
Web Site: http://www.actioncutprint.com


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1. Introduction – Welcome to the first issue!
2. Quote of the Month
3. Feature Article – Working With Actors: Part 1
4. Directing Tip – The blowing coat!
5. Links of Interest
6. Short Ends
7. Out Takes! – Dictionary of Hollywood terms
8. Suggestions & Comments
9. Copyright Information
10. Subscribe & Unsubscribe Information


a) Welcome to the April 10, 2000 issue of The Director’s Chair.
And yes…this is the FIRST issue of The Director’s Chair – so, I will
be experimenting with the format and the content in future issues.
(If you have any suggestions or comments, please pass them on to me:

b) As you can see by the CONTENTS, I will be covering a variety of
topics in this Ezine – but focusing primarily on resources and
information for the professional Film and Television Director.

c) ***Calling all Volunteers!***

If you would like to contribute articles, tips, links of interest,
industry news, interviews, special event dates or other resources
to the Ezine (or to my web site at -> http://www.actioncutprint.com)
please email me at -> pdm@actioncutprint.com


Peter D. Marshall


“Spare no expense to make everything as economical as possible.”

Samuel Goldwyn, Producer


“Working with Actors: Part 1 (Personality Traits)”

(C) 2000, Peter D. Marshall

The first time a director works with an actor is usually during the
casting session. I will talk more about the actual casting process
next issue, but today I want to discuss what you need to know before
you enter the casting room.

One of the first things I do before a casting session is to make a
note of each character’s personality traits – the inner patterns and
workings of their psyche.

Because all individuals have personality traits, knowing what type of
person you are dealing with is an important first step to understanding
the inner world of a character – and the actor!

(NOTE: I have gathered the following information from several different
sources during the past ten years – and unfortunately, I no longer
remember who wrote the original material.)

There are four main functions of the psyche and each approaches reality
from a different point of view and with a different question – each
holds onto a different part of reality.

The four functions of the psyche are:
1) Intuition
2) Thinking
3) Feeling
4) Sensation

Each of these four functions can operate in two areas:
1) Extrovert – energy flowing towards the outer world
2) Introvert – energy flowing towards the inner world

And each function has a further possibility of operating in either:
1) a positive, Conscious way (Stable)
2) a negative, Unconscious way (Unstable)

All psychological evidence so far suggests that these two major factors,
Extrovert/Introvert and Conscious/Unconscious, are interwoven in each
individual according to a pattern – a pattern that can be graphed out.

Okay! Now what does all this mean in English!!!

It means you can create a chart that will clearly display the four
functions, and their personality traits, which you will then be able
to reference anytime.

To get a copy of this quick reference personality chart, go to
http://actioncutprint.com/chart and print out the page.

Once you have printed out the chart, you can then add the following
descriptions of the type of people that form each of the four functions:

1) The Intuitive Type – creative people whose chief concern is with
future possibilities; people who have a nose for the invisible; people
who can encompass a lot quickly.

2) The Thinking Type – a person whose ultimate value is order and
organization; everybody must say what they mean.

3) The Feeling Type – they have a proper evaluation of the Cosmos and
an appropriate relationship with it; they handle their feelings expertly;
they express their feelings by style; they know the value of beauty
and relationships; they need attention – love or anger.

4) The Sensation Type – they are a master of observing detail; they
absorb impressions deeply; they are sensitive to tastes, pain, noise,
and physical sensations.

This chart will give you a clear understanding of who your character
is and what their motivations are – as well as help you with the
actor’s interpretation of the character!

A good performance happens when both the inner and outer self are
portrayed. So when dealing with any character, remember these three
important words: Motive Determines Behavior!

Motive (inner-what a character thinks)
Behavior (outer-what the character does)

NEXT ISSUE – The Casting Session: how to find the three traits you
absolutely must know before casting any actor.


You know those wonderful scenes where the actor is walking in slo-mo
and his long coat is blowing dramatically in the wind. (Think of
Nick Cage in Face Off when he gets out of the car at the airport.

A trick to get the coat to billow like that is to have your costume
designer either purchase a coat made of light-weight material, or
they can creatively rip the lining out of the coat.

This lightens up the material so it will move easier in the wind.

And by the way – 60fps and 90fps are good frame rates for the effect.


AWOL’s Great Acting Links -> http://execpc.com/~blankda/acting1.html

The Casting Workbook -> http://www.castingworkbook.com/index.htm

The Link -> http://www.submitlink.com/

Castnet.com -> http://www.castnet.com/


*Film Noir*

Ten Shades of Noir – Jack Hagopian, Grant Tracey, Gary Johnson

In this special series from Images, these writers take you down
the seedy back alleys of Film Noir and introduce you to the femmes
fatales, the two-bit losers, and the world-weary detectives; as well
as the cinematographers and directors that make Film Noir one of the
most dynamic forms of film.

A DVD Review of The Third Man(1949) by Pam Grady

Film noirs, those shadowy, fatalistic thrillers that blossomed during
World War II and the post-war gloom of anti-Communist hysteria and
the new atomic threat, were an all-American invention. The Third Man,
starring Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles, was one of the greatest
film noirs of all time – but it wasn’t an American production at all,
but rather the work of English director Carol Reed and indefatigable
English writer Graham Greene.

The Third Man, recently restored for a limited theatrical re-release
and now out in a deluxe Criterion edition, remains one of the most
compelling films ever made in any genre.


A Dictionary of Hollywood Terms

To “schmooze” = befriend scum
To “pitch” = grovel shamelessly
To “brainstorm” = feign preparedness
To “research” = procrastinate indefinitely
To “network” = spread misinformation
To “collaborate” = argue incessantly
To “freelance” = collect unemployment

Agent = frustrated lawyer
Lawyer = frustrated producer
Producer = frustrated writer
Writer = frustrated director
Director = frustrated actor
Actor = frustrated human

High-concept = low brow
Production values1 = gore
Production values2 = explosions
Entry level = pays nothing
Network-approved = has made them money
Highly qualified = knows the producer

Net = something that apparently doesn’t exist
Gross = Michael Eisner’s salary
Back End = you, if you think you’ll ever see any
Residuals = braces for the kids
Deferral = don’t hold your breath
Points = see “Net ” or “Back End”

You can trust me = You must be new
It needs some polishing = Change everything
It shows promise = It stinks rotten
It needs some fine tuning = Change everything
She got great press = She’ll never live down the embarrassment
I’d like some input = I want total control
It needs some honing = Change everything
Call me back next week = Stay out of my life
It needs some tightening = Change everything
Try and punch it up = I have no idea what I want
It needs some streamlining = Change everything
It’s all up on the screen = You’ll never find the money I embezzled
You’ll never work in this town again = I have no power whatsoever


Send any comments, suggestions, questions or advice to:


Copyright 2000
Peter D. Marshall
All Rights Reserved

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