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The Director’s Chair Issue #162 – April 7, 2015 (Understanding Human Behavior (Part 1)

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April 7, 2015                Scene 16 – Take 3

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


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Ezine Contents

1. Introduction
2. Bonuses for Subscribing to The Director’s Chair
3. Creating Phone Apps for Directors
4. “Directing Actors” 2 Day Workshop
5. FEATURE ARTICLE: Understanding Human Behavior (Part 1)
6. 101 Short Film Ideas
7. Film Directing Coach Services
8. Subscriber Shameless Self-Promotion
9. Filmmaking Links of Interest
10. Product Promotion and Film Workshops
11. Subscribe and Unsubscribe Information
11. Copyright Information

1. Introduction

Welcome to Issue #162 of The Director’s Chair, April 7, 2015

1. The Feature Article this month is called: Understanding Human
Behavior (Part 1).

All good directors must have at least one thing in common: to be
“witnesses” and “observers” of universal human behavior. As a
storyteller, this means you must observe people going about their
daily lives to find out what motivates people to take action. In
other words, you need to make it a priority in your life to
discover what makes us tick – and find out why do we do things.

Once you know the answers to these questions, you will have a
better idea of how the characters in your script should interact
with each other, as well as having the proper “psychological
tools” to direct actors during rehearsal and on the set. (Read
the rest of this article below.)

2. Please send any comments, suggestions, questions or advice to:

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 (41 pages) of
“The Art and Craft of the Director Audio Seminar.”

BONUS #2 – Here is the link to download the first 30 pages of the
“Script Breakdown and Film Scheduling Online Course.”

IMPORTANT: Once the pdf file has opened on your browser, go to
File, “Save Page As” and save the file to your desktop. All links
will now work in the pdf file.

3. Creating Phone Apps for Directors

I need your help!

I’m thinking of creating some simple phone apps for directors and
would like your opinion on what the content could be.

I’m staying away from the more elaborate technical apps like Shot
Lister, Artemis Directors Viewfinder etc. since those have
already been made and are very useful for directors.

I am thinking more along the lines of “soft” topics such
“Directing Actors Tips” and “Script Analysis Tips” where you can
access website links, articles, online videos, discussion forums,
cheat sheets etc.

If you have any ideas for topics and content, please email me at:

4. Directing Actors 2 Day Workshop: Vancouver May 2 & 3

Working with actors can be one of the most rewarding experiences
for a film director – or one of the most traumatic! And the
difference between a good experience and a bad experience usually
comes down to one word: TRUST!

Actors begin by trusting the director – and it’s the director’s
trust to lose. If an actor feels they cannot trust the director
to know a good performance from a bad performance, the actor will
begin to monitor his own performances.

And when an actor begins to watch himself, he begins to direct
himself – and when he does this, he starts to become Director

As Mark Travis says in his book Directing Feature Films, “As far
as relationships go, I think the one between actors and directors
is the most challenging. It is simultaneously demanding and

Yet it’s very clear that actors and directors all have the best
of intentions for making this relationship work. I have not met a
director who did not have a clear idea of what she wanted. And
every actor I have worked with has an intuitive instinct for
their character and how a scene can be played.

Why then does this relationship so often begin to fall apart when
actors and directors begin talking to each other? The answer is
quite simple: different languages and different ideas of how this
relationship should or could work.”

The main objective of this Directing Actors workshop is to
demonstrate how directors and actors can work effectively
together to build trust; to maximize performance on set; and
understand how to work together cooperatively in a tense,
time-sensitive and often challenging creative environment.

On Day One, the focus will be on the Director’s script
preparation, as well as live demonstrations of the audition
process, the script read-through and the cast rehearsal.

On Day Two, the class will be divided into groups and have the
opportunity to participate in directing a scene with professional
actors. Each scene will be recorded and played back for
discussion and review.

By the end of this 2-day workshop, you should be able to:

– Recognize the importance of the actor/director relationship
– Effectively breakdown and analyze every scene in your script
– Manage a proper casting session that gets results
– Organize a constructive script read-through
– Create productive rehearsals with your actors
– Improve your skills for getting believable performances from actors

NOTE: This 2 day directing workshop is limited to a maximum of 20
filmmakers. http://www.raindance.org/vancouver/course/directing-actors/

Day One

1. Introduction
2. The Director/Actor Working Relationship
3. The Film Director’s Performance Mantra
4. The Director’s Script Preparation
5. The Director’s Audition Process
– What Directors Look for in the Casting Session
– How it Works: The Audition (Casting Session)
– How it Works: The First Callback
– How it Works: The Second Callback
– What Directors Look for when Reviewing Auditions
– Creating Good Character Descriptions (Bios)
6. DEMO: How to Conduct a Proper Casting Session
7. DEMO: The Script Read-Through
8. DEMO: The Cast Rehearsal
9. The Blocking and Rehearsal Process
10. The Director’s 9 Part Scene Breakdown Process
11. CLASS WORK: Prepare Scenes for Day 2 Presentations

Day Two

1. CLASS EXERCISE: Scene Presentations with Actors
– Participants collaborate to direct a scene with professional
– Participants get hands-on directing experience working with
professional actors
2. Playback Scene Presentations for Class Review
– The scenes will be recorded for playback and class discussion
– The actors will also participate with creative and constructive
3. That’s a Wrap

To find out the location and registration fee for this 2 day film
directing workshop, please visit Raindance Vancouver.

I hope to see you there 🙂


5. Feature Article: Understanding Human Behavior (Part 1)

Understanding Human Behavior (Part 1) by Peter D. Marshall

All good directors must have at least one thing in common: to be
“witnesses” and “observers” of universal human behavior.

As a storyteller, this means you must observe people going about
their daily lives to find out what motivates people to take

In other words, you need to make it a priority in your life to
discover what makes us tick – and find out why do we do things.

Once you know the answers to these questions, you will have a
better idea of how the characters in your script should interact
with each other, as well as having the proper “psychological
tools” to direct actors during rehearsal and on the set.

The good thing about human behavior is that it is observable, and
as storytellers, we must first observe the way people react to
different situations and circumstances in order to understand
“how and why” their behavior changes.

So it is your job, as writers and directors, to continuously dig
deeper into this act of observation so you can tell your version
of the human condition.

(1) What does it mean to be human?

People are extremely complex and understanding the different ways
our minds work is never an easy task.

Everything we do is influenced by a variety of experiences – from
the culture we were born into, to our genetic makeup and physical
appearance, to the circumstances and situation we are currently

So if we really want to understand people and find out what makes
them tick, we need to constantly observe how people make sense of
the world they live in.

Because our physiological needs can influence our perceptions of
others, the way we make sense of the world has a direct influence
on how we interact with others.

By learning more about human psychology and behavior, we will
have a better understanding about each other (and ourselves)
which will ultimately help us to discover what it takes to
motivate people.

(2) What is the study of human behavior?

“Human nature is the concept that there are a set of inherent
distinguishing characteristics, including ways of thinking,
feeling and acting, that all humans tend to have.” Lester A.

Human behavior (how we act) is a term used to describe a person’s
actions based on different factors in our lives, such as our
attitudes, character traits and social beliefs.

For example:

Human behavior is greatly influenced by social beliefs and the
rules that govern behavior in groups and societies.

Human behavior is affected by each individual’s faith (religion
and/or philosophy.)

Human behavior is impacted by our individual genetics that vary
from person to person.

As a film director, you need to know the different factors that
influence our minds to help you gain a better understanding of
real people – and of your fictional characters.

In other words, you must be a “witness” to human behavior.

You need to get into the habit of observing people going about
their daily lives, so you can find out what motivates them to
take action.

(3) Who am I? (Understanding Ourselves)

There is never one reason why someone does something.

Each of us live different lives (with distinct experiences) and
our ideas and attitudes can be different, or similar, from one
person to the next.

Since we are affected by our combined life experiences, we can
also be influenced by a great many factors.

People do things for lots of reasons and some of these reasons
are completely unconscious.

So looking for just one reason for someone’s actions can lead to
serious misjudgments and misunderstandings.

An important factor in how we see ourselves is how (we perceive)
other people see us. Other people’s reactions and ideas matter to
us and they greatly influence how we act in life.

This is because we tend to judge what we are like by the way
other people think of us and how they respond to us.

Therefore, who we are and how we see ourselves is closely linked
with the ways in which we interact with other people.

How we interact with others is also influenced by our physical
state – are we physically, emotionally and mentally healthy – or
stressed out and unhealthy.

We also differ in motivation.

Some of us want to get ahead in our work lives, while others are
content to just have a healthy family and a happy home.

(4) Who are They? (Understanding Others)

We tend to judge other people’s actions differently from the way
we judge our own. And when we judge someone else’s actions, we
usually think it’s because of their personality or character.

To get to know anyone deeply, we must make a point of discovering
how their previous “life lessons” have led them to interpret the
experiences they have had.

Cooperating with other people is something we tend to do
automatically – especially when there are other people present.
But the tendency to avoid disagreement and confrontation is

Openly disagreeing with other people is deeply stressful. It
isn’t easy for us to challenge the majority.

We also spend a lot of time thinking about what other people
think. Being able to imagine ourselves in someone else’s place is
the basis for most of our social interaction.

How we explain things to ourselves also has an influence on how
we interact with other people.

Our natural tendency is help other people who seem to need it.
But social beliefs sometimes interfere with this and we end up
ignoring people because we don’t think they need our help.

But we do have choices. We can either do as we are told or act in
accordance with our own conscience.

(5) What makes us different: our society and culture

Social beliefs are powerful, shared ideologies which can direct
the actions of whole societies.

These “group” beliefs have a strong influence on how we interpret
certain events, how we explain what is going on to ourselves and
how we act.

To understand a person, you must also understand their society
and culture because much of what we learn as we grow up is about
acting in the ways “our society” expects.

Humans are social animals and our relationship with others is
very important to us. As we grow older, our “sense of self” is
partially determined by our cultural beliefs and our interactions
with other people.

We tend to analyze every situation we are in and do what we think
the situation requires. Our social beliefs tell us what behavior
seems to be appropriate in a given situation.

For example, we usually obey authority figures and do what we are
told, even if we personally disagree with what they are asking us
to do. But unthinking obedience can lead to terrible
consequences. (re: Nazi Holocaust, Rwandan genocide, Jim Jones’
1978 group suicide, the 2014 Korean ferry sinking where students
were told to stay on the sinking ship.)

Different cultures can also make different assumptions about
individuals and what it is to be a human being.

People with different social beliefs often end up talking past
one another, which could lead them to not understand each other –
or worse.

Cultures (Western)  – they see the person as a separate
individual who can choose to belong to whatever social group they
want to.

Cultures (African) – they see the person as being a member of the
community. How they live their lives concerns the rest of the
community and not just their own responsibility.

Culture (Japanese) – places emphasis on social harmony and the
individual is expected to keep their inner emotions private and
act in a socially acceptable manner at all times.

(6) What makes us different: In what period of history did we live?

Human behavior can vary from one period of history to another and
from one environment to another as society changes.

Example: living standards, health issues, education and longevity
in mediaeval times were much different than they are today.

What we learn is also different in each generation and each

We are also partly influenced by our genes and our evolutionary

Next Month – Part Two of “Understanding Human Behavior”

6. 101 Short Film Ideas

Looking for a challenge this week?

Want to make some short films?

Just in case you’re scratching your head, trying to think up short
film ideas… My friend Jason Brubaker put together a simple guide
called 101 Short Film Ideas.

Here’s my special affiliate link:

Now before you rush out to buy the guide, I have to admit, it is not
perfect. The ideas aren’t full paragraphs. Most are just one sentence
(a log-line) with a fill-in-the blank aspect.

But if you’re creative and take time to combine ideas, I think this
makes for a great brainstorming tool.

Anyway, again, here is my special affiliate link:

Warm regards,


P.S. With this guide, you are welcome to use these ideas as your own.
But if you get the guide, make sure you actually DO the work. (Nobody
is going to make short films for you.)

P.P.S. Here is my special affiliate link:

7. Film Directing Coach – Peter D. Marshall

Actors, Singers and Athletes Have Private Coaches. So Why Not
Film and TV Directors? http://actioncutprint.com/filmdirectingcoach/

Hilary Swank used an acting coach to prepare for her role in Boys
Don’t Cry. She won her first Academy Award.

Singer Renee Fleming has always used a vocal coach. She has won
several Grammy Awards.

Rafael Nadal’s coach urged him on from the sidelines during his
Wimbledon tennis tournament win in 2010.

Arnold Palmer improved his game with the help of a coach. Even
Tiger Woods has had several coaches.

As a matter of fact, winners in nearly every profession
(athletes, actors, singers, business executives) know that
without the right coach, they won’t perform at their peak.

They know that without the support of an experienced and
qualified coach, they would constantly struggle to achieve

So if these top professionals in their respective fields use
coaches, why not film directors?

So why hire me as your film directing coach?

Along with my international teaching experiences and my 39 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.

With that in mind, I would like to introduce you to my Film
Directing Coaching services via Skype:

8. 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 section.

So if you want over 6000 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) Jerry Bader: The Method is new Neo Noir Crime graphic novel
series available for movie and TV option. A down-and-out actor
with a knack for impersonations finds his circumstances
completely reversed by a chance meeting with a look-alike

Follow on Twitter @mrpwebmedia

Teaser: http://youtu.be/xAMySWG_Dc0

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Tel: (905) 764-1246
Twitter: @mrpwebmedia

MRPwebmedia Marketing & Branding eBooks

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Brand Universe A Big Idea Marketing Strategy

Double Take Marketing Techniques

Free Website Confidential – The Ish Effect

Free Website Confidential – Commercial Noir

9. Filmmaking Links of Interest

1. 6 Filmmaking Tips from Peter Weir

2. Watch: That Famous ‘Jaws” Beach Scene, Shot by Shot

3. Making A Horror Film? These Six Steps Could Make YOU A Legend!

4. The Complete Mark Duplass Filmmaking Bible on Becoming a
Successful Director bit.ly/1NoxCxq

5. Three Problems with the Current State of the Film Industry

10. 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.

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