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Film Workshop: Directing Actors

(May 2 & 3, 2015) – Vancouver, Canada
“Directing Actors”
Raindance Vancouver
Contact: Nadia Dimofte
Tel: (778) 887-3307
Toll Free: 1-(855) 595-7246

“Peter D. Marshall’s Directing Actors workshop was a wonderful opportunity for the team to step away from the day-to-day grind of production and focus on improving our directing skills. The workshop was well thought out and had a nice balance of lecture and hands-on training; and Peter’s feedback was thorough, thoughtful and constructive. Whether we are working on something scripted or a documentary, each of us has had an opportunity to apply something we learned in the workshop to our current TELUS Studios productions.” Sandi Gisbert, Senior Producer, TELUS Studios

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!

Directing Actors Workshop with Peter D. Marshall

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 Proof.

As Mark Travis (author of the book Directing Feature Films) says: “As far as relationships go, I think the one between actors and directors is the most challenging. It is simultaneously demanding and misunderstood.

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.”

And Judith Weston, in her book Directing Actors, says: “All interaction between actor and director is experienced by the actor as direction, so think of every conversation with actors as part of the “rehearsal” process. By “rehearsal” I mean any time spent considering the work seriously.

Rehearsal includes getting to know the actors, not just in a superficial social way, but as human beings and as artists. Take time to get below the social mask with them. Find common ground. Find out their values and ideas. Find out their problems, concerns, and insecurities.”

Directing Actors Workshop with Peter D. Marshall
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

Day One

1. Introduction
2. The Director/Actor Relationship
3. The Actor’s Language (21 Words You Must Know)
4. The Film Director’s Performance Mantra
5. General Script Analysis
6. The Audition Process
7. Top 3 Qualities Directors Look for When Casting
8. Main Performance Traits Directors Look for in Actors
9. Other Characteristics Directors Look for in Actors
10. How it Works: The Audition (Casting Session)
11. How it Works: The First Callback
12. How it Works: The Second Callback
13. Creating Good Character Descriptions (Bios)
14. DEMO: How to Conduct a Proper Casting Session
15. The Director’s 9 Part Scene Breakdown Process
16. DEMO: The Script Read-Through
17. The 10 Step Rehearsal/Blocking Process
18. DEMO: The Cast Rehearsal
19. Class Work: (Prepare Scenes for Day Two)

Day Two

1. CLASS EXERCISE: Scene Presentations with Actors
– Participants collaborate to direct a scene with professional actors
– Participants get hands-on directing experience

2. Playback Scene Presentations for Class Review
– Each scene will be recorded for playback and class discussion
– The actors will also participate with creative and constructive feedback

3. Watch Actual Filmed Scene from TV Episode
– Class watches scene from TV Episode
– Discuss choices made by director

4. That’s a Wrap

How to contact Peter D. Marshall

If you are interested in finding out more about “Directing Actors,” contact me to find out the dates for the next workshop or to discuss how we can bring this workshop to your city.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Peter D. Marshall