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The Director’s Chair – Issue #135 (The 5 Groups of On-Camera Players)

Free Monthly Ezine for Independent Filmmakers

October 22, 2012                Scene 13 – Take 10

Published once a month.

Publisher: Peter D. Marshall
Email: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com
Website: http://actioncutprint.com
Blog: http://filmdirectingtips.com


Dear Filmmaker,

You are receiving “The Director’s Chair” because you (or
someone using your email address) requested a subscription.

PRIVACY STATEMENT: This Subscriber List is a private mailing
list and will not be made available to other companies or
individuals. I value every Subscriber and respect your


1. Introduction
2. Bonuses for Subscribing to The Director’s Chair
3. Advanced Blocking: Advanced Blocking Workshop
4. FEATURE ARTICLE: The 5 Groups of On-Camera Players
5. Subscriber Shameless Self-Promotion
6. Filmmaking Links of Interest
7. Product Promotion and Film Workshops
8. Subscribe and Unsubscribe Information
9. Copyright Information

1. Introduction

Welcome to Issue #135 of The Director’s Chair October 22, 2012

1. Feature Article – The feature article this month is called:
The 5 Groups of On-Camera Players (Talent). “On-camera
performers are not just the actors on a set. I have included
a list of other performers that you will deal with on most
film productions.” (Read article below.)

2. Please send any comments, suggestions, questions or advice
to: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com

2. Two Bonuses For Subscribing To The Director’s Chair

Thank you very much for subscribing to this ezine.

BONUS #1 – Here is the link to download Day One (30 pages) of
“The Art and Craft of the Director Audio Seminar.”

BONUS #2 – Here is the link to download the first 27 pages of
the “Script Breakdown and Film Scheduling Online Course.”

3. Advanced Blocking: 2 Day Filmmaking Workshop with
Peter D. Marshall (December 8 & 9, Toronto, Canada)

When you first start directing, blocking actors in a scene can
be one of the hardest (and most embarrassing) parts of your
job. If you get it wrong here, you could waste valuable
shooting time trying to get out of the mess you created!

But like anything else in life, blocking takes practice and
the more times you do it, the more comfortable you will

Blocking is simply working out the details of the actor’s
moves in relation to the position of the camera. Because
viewer emotion is the ultimate goal of each scene, how (and
why) the actors move, and where you place the camera, involves
knowing what emotion you want the audience to experience at
any given moment.

Audiences today are very sophisticated and they will assume
that every shot, movement or word of dialogue in a film is
there to further the central idea. Therefore, each shot you
use can either enhance or detract the audience’s understanding
of what the scene is really about and what the characters are

To help you enhance your blocking skills, I have partnered
with Raindance Canada again for another weekend workshop
called Advanced Blocking on December 8 & 9, 2012 in Toronto,

This 2-day hands-on workshop concentrates on constructing
shots and blocking actors in a scene and is designed for
directors and actors who want to better understand the
complicated process of scene analysis and blocking actors on

In this workshop you will also have the opportunity to
participate in blocking a scene with professional actors and
the scene will be recorded to play back for discussion and


1. Introduction
2. The Tools of a Director
3. The Tools of the Actor
4. The Actor/Director Relationship
5. Creative Script and Scene Analysis
6. Character Development and Analysis
7. The Psychology of Movement
8. Blocking and Staging Techniques
9. Practice: Blocking and Subtext Demo
10. Tips for Blocking and Staging a Scene
11. Tips for Working with Actors on Set.
12. Homework for Day Two


1. Practice: Scene Presentations with Actors
2. Review Video of Scene Presentations
3. That’s a Wrap

Who Should Take this Course

Film Directors, Screenwriters, Actors, Producers who want to
more deeply understand the techniques directors use to create
great shots and block scenes on set and directors and
producers who wish to better understand how to communicate and
work with actors.

For more information on how to register for this 2 day
Advanced Blocking workshop, please contact Tiska or Jaimy at
Raindance Canada.

4. Feature Article: The 5 Groups of On-Camera Players (Talent)

“On-camera performers” are not just the actors on a set. I
have included a list of other performers that you will deal
with on most film productions.

NOTE: You will notice I have divided these performers into 5
groups. These “groups” are not based on any Union description
– they are based solely only on my own experiences of how they
function on a film set.

(1) Actors

Here’s my list of the eight categories of actors you could
work with. When I say “categories,” I am actually referring to
how each group fits into the hierarchy and politics of this

Each of these categories of actors represents a group that has
a different share of the power on any set – which means that
certain actors in each group may require special treatment.
When you look these categories over carefully, you will
understand what I mean.

1. The legend (Jerry Lewis, Lauren Bacall)
2. The movie star (Robert DeNiro, Julia Roberts)
3. The television star (Eva Longoria, William Shatner)
4. The cross-over star (TV to Film) (George Clooney, Will Smith)
5. The cross-over star (Film to TV) (Judy Davis, Glenn Close)
6. The guest star (Brad Pitt on “Friends”)
7. The principal actor (larger speaking roles)
8. The day player (smaller speaking roles)

(2) Stunts

Stunt people are also performers. Here are the 3 categories
they fall under:

1. Stunt actor (plays a character – could have dialogue)
2. Stunt performer (not a specific character – no dialogue)
3. Stunt double (doubles actors for more dangerous stunts)

(3) Extras

Extras are also known as Background Performers or Atmosphere.
I have broken extras down into 3 categories:

1. Special skills extras – They have a special ability (skill)
they have practiced and trained for. (Hockey players, scuba
divers, ballroom dancers)

2. Uniformed extras РThese extras “play” characters the
audience knows something about. (Police, waiters, nurses,
military, firefighters)

3. General extras – These are the majority of extras on any
film set (Crowd on street, passengers on a plane, bar patrons,
students in school hallway)

(4) Actor Photo Doubles

Photo Doubles “portray” an actor in any scene where the actors
face is not seen.

1. They are matched for body size, physical movement, hair and

2. They are used mostly for second units and splinter units.
(car drivebys etc)

3. If they are used by main unit, it’s because an actor is not
available for over shoulder shots etc.

4. They are also used as body doubles for love scenes and nude

(5) Stand-Ins

Although Stand-ins are not technically “performers”, I have
included them on this list because of the important role they
play on any film set.

Stand-ins (also known as Second Team) are not hired to work
for the actors. They are hired to work for the Director of
Photography, to “stand in place of the actors” while the DOP
lights them.

Stand-ins are usually picked by the DOP in pre-production
after all the cast is chosen. Sometimes actors will have their
own stand-ins they prefer to use.

Stand-ins are a very important part of your crew. Good
stand-ins are worth their weight in gold because they help
make your re-lighting time less.

1. They are used by the DOP for lighting.
2. Used by the camera crew for movement and focus.

5. Subscriber Shameless Self-Promotion (Free Advertising)

The Director’s Chair gives you an incredible opportunity to
get Free Advertising for your services and your films.

Each month, I give two subscribers an opportunity to promote
themselves, their company or their productions in this

So if you want over 5500 filmmakers around the world to know
about you and your films, please send me your “shameless
self-promotion” to: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com.

Please limit your promotion to 300 words. I reserve the right
to edit the promotion for length, spelling and formatting.


(1) Hello – My name is Brenton Oechsle and I am a freelance
videographer/filmmaker in Indianapolis.

Filmmaking has long since been a passion of mine – from when I
started making little films with my friends to the time I
bought my first DSLR. One of the things I love most in this
world is the creative process and starting new projects. The
past few years I have been especially taken with
cinematography and the language that you have to speak through
images based upon mood and emotion. To date I have DP’d
several short films – along with my own through my LLC –
Timeless Films. You can view my films there at

Along with the creative process – I am a huge fan of
collaboration. Creative control is nice – but I honestly think
that it is better to concede control for ideas that were
better than your own. This is what I am all about. I love
working with new people and crafting a story that is unique
from things that people see normally. I would love to get to
work with you on this and craft something original and
audience capturing.

Thanks for your time, Brenton

Timeless Films
Lead Creative

2) I’m Matt Graham and I’m in pre-production for a short film
called Ruby. It’s about a young woman named Abby who is going
to steal back her daughter Ruby. Problem is, Abbie has no idea
what her daughter looks like.

Based on stories of “forced adoption” in USA, UK and
Australia. An amazing story of hope, determination and above
all love. http://www.indiegogo.com/FindRuby

6. Filmmaking Links of Interest

1. Acting Is an Art, Actors Are a Business

2. New Online Financing Platform Aims to Help Filmmakers

3. Hollywood embraces crowdsourcing as Amazon moves into
moviemaking http://su.pr/7UuVNz

4. Focus on marketing to turn a film profitable

5. Indie Filmmakers and the Digital Dilemma

6. What it really means to be a director

7. Kickstarter Will Not Save Artists From the Entertainment
Industry’s Shackles http://su.pr/3TSYEp

8. How Transmedia Storytelling Could Revolutionize
Documentary Filmmaking http://su.pr/69NtiI

9. What It Takes to Make a Great Movie

10. Storytelling through Composition

7. Product Promotion And Film Workshops

From time to time, I will contact you to inform you of film
workshops, filmmaking products or Online courses that I feel
are beneficial to filmmakers like yourself. Of course, you are
under no obligation to purchase anything – I only offer this
information as a service to subscribers of this free ezine.

8. Subscribe and Unsubscribe Information

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9. Copyright Information

Copyright (c) 2000-2012
Peter D. Marshall
All Rights Reserved