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Film Workshop – The Art and Craft of the Film Director


“I have taken several directing courses and Peter’s course by far, takes the gold star. This impressive, condensed seminar saturates years of experience and learning and presents it in an easy to use package. A definite recommendation.” Trevor McWhinney – Vancouver, Canada

“The Art and Craft of the Director” is a 3 day intensive workshop with Peter D. Marshall that discusses Film and Television Directing tips and techniques. This course was designed for any Filmmaker who wants to know the answer to the question, “How do I become a successful, working film director?”

Those who attend this three day intensive workshop will have the opportunity to discover:

* what is expected of a director in pre-production
* how to break down your script to understand the story
* the secrets of getting a good performance from an actor


“Peter’s course in directing is a great insight into the process of film direction from a practical perspective. Combining theory with nuts and bolts, I got a good idea of how to make the emotional content of a scene work – and how to isolate the problems when it doesn’t. Great involvement in the process.” Chris Baudat – New Westminster, Canada

Here are just some of the insider tips and techniques you will discover that will help kick-start your film directing career.

* the differences between directing television and feature films
* why “politics” plays a major role in your success as a director
* the breakdown of a director’s pre-production activities
* how to effectively communicate your vision
* why “listening for the truth” is your best directing tool
* the importance of the actor-director relationship
* the three qualities of an actor you look for during casting
* the seven categories of actors
* how to guide an actor’s performance on the set
* the nine necessary questions an actor must ask
* the four sources of conflict
* the quick reference guide to script and scene analysis
* the breakdown of the four main character personality traits
* why you must know the objectives of every character
* how the director creates the sub-world of the script
* the creative use of camera techniques
* why you must understand “film montage” before you direct
* how to use storyboards for action scenes
* the four parts to staging and blocking a scene
* the guidelines for working with the crew on the set


“First, I would like to say thanks to Peter Marshall, he has been an inspiration to me. It was a great course, very helpful and useful. I got a good idea about directing and it’s politics and how it works. Peter’s workshop was very effective and overwhelming.” Shaima Tahboub, Dubai, UAE

The Three Day Workshop Format

Workshop Objective – When this 3 day workshop is completed, you will see for yourself how any director, even someone with very little experience, can effectively block a scene and get a believable performance from an actor!

Overview – for three days, you will have the unique opportunity to meet other filmmakers like yourself; to learn and discuss your craft; and to share your experiences as artists and story tellers.

Day One – a combination of lecture, class discussion and film clips.

Day Two – a combination of lecture, class discussion and film clips. You will also get an assignment for Day Three.

Day Three – a short lecture on blocking and staging plus the hands-on part of the workshop. The class will divide into groups. Each group will pick a theme and determine the situation (story), the scene objectives and the character objectives. Each group will also pick a director and 2 actors. The director will then block the scene with the actors (with participation from the group) and choose camera angles that best portray the scene objectives and the character objectives.


“Very in-depth class with a great way to express the director’s role. The role playing was a fantastic way for me to learn to compose a scene, deal with actors and understand what is needed for the story, Peter, you have obviously put a lot of work into preparing and delivering this workshop. I learned a lot. Thank you.” Alexandra Pacheco – Burnaby, Canada

“The Art and Craft of the Director”

DAY 1

1. Class Introductions
2. How to Make a Movie 101
3. What is a Director?
4. The Director as Story Teller
5. The Three Types of Director
6. Watch and Discuss Video Clip
7. The Business and Politics of Film
8. How to Work and Survive in “The Business”
9. Educational and Reference Materials
10. Production Categories
11. Differences Between TV and Feature Films
12. The Director’s Pre-Production Activities
13. Watch and Discuss Video Clip
14. The Production Management Team
15. The Director’s Top-Three Creative Team
16. The Production Team
17. On-Camera Players (The Talent)
18. Watch and Discuss Video Clip
19. The Reductionism Breakdown Theory
20. Practical Breakdown of Scripts and Scenes
21. Drama is Conflict
22. Five Sources of Conflict
23. Script Breakdown Formula
24. The Classic Three-Act Structure
25. General Script and Scene Analysis
26. Watch and Discuss Video Clip
27. Script Analysis (Quick Reference)
28. Scene Analysis (Quick Reference)
29. Other Script Structural Elements
30, The Director and the Script
31. Director Tips & Guidelines – The Script
32. Watch and Discuss Video Clip

DAY 2

1. Watch and Discuss Video Clip
2. Mise-en-Scene / Subworld
3. The Director’s Visual Concept
4. Colors and Their Meanings
5. Watch and Discuss Video Clip
6. Understanding Camera Techniques
7. Director Guidelines – Working on the Set
8. Storyboards and Shot Lists
9. Class Work (Read Script, Shot List & Storyboard)
10. Observing Human Behavior and Emotions
11. Class Exercise (Power of Observation)
12. Watch and Discuss Video Clip
13. Character Analysis and Development
14. Character Objectives
15. Character Personality Traits
16. Text, Subtext and Context
17. Class Exercise (Objectives and Subtext)
18. Watch and Discuss Video Clip
19. The Four Types of Actor
20. The Casting Process
21. Director Guidelines – Casting
22. Director Guidelines – Working with Actors on the Set
23. Class Work – Discuss Scene Breakdown & Character Objectives
24. Watch and Discuss Video Clip

DAY 3

1. Watch and Discuss Video Clip
2. What is Blocking?
3. The Five Parts to Blocking a Scene
4. The Psychology of Movement
5. Basic Blocking and Staging Techniques
6. The 180 Degree Rule
7. Director Questions for Blocking
8. Watch & Analyze Video for Blocking
9. Divide Into Groups – Work on Themes & Objectives
10. Practical – Staging & Blocking a Scene with Participants
11. Watch Video
12. That’s a Wrap


“Peter is a great instructor. He is very willing to share with us his experience in film directing. He creates a very relaxed and cordial environment for the class and gave us the opportunities to ask and share ideas in class. He is quite knowledgeable in the subject and he said many key concepts that left lasting impressions. Its been a great experience learning from him.” Kevin Peng – Singapore

How to contact Peter D. Marshall

If you are interested in finding out more about “The Art and Craft of the Director,” 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
pdm@actioncutprint.com

More Testimonials and Comments from Workshop Participants

“The workshop for me was a chance to unblock my creative being and step into a place where I felt safe, inspired and supported to try new things. I was able to review concepts, hear set survival stories, and learn new approaches to directing. Most importantly, I was able to actually direct and work with actors and subtext- actually get a scene on it’s feet and receive feedback. This workshop was truly transformative because Peter set a precedent of support and collaboration. I learned things not only from Peter, but from each special guest as well as from all of the participants. I know as I go and direct my first feature film I am not alone!”  Hannah Sink, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

“I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the course or which areas of Directing you would be covering.   In the three days I was amazed at how much you covered yet you emphasized and drilled into our heads the importance of the creative and artistic aspects and responsibilities of Directing. I thought the course was true to filmmaking and provided insight to the business and politics. I also enjoyed the guest speakers and found they provided variety from, not only directing backgrounds but from screenwriting and acting experience as well.” Eli Zagoudakis , Vancouver, Canada

“I really wasn’t sure what I was going to get out of the work shop. As Stunt performers we rely on the technical side of our craft to keep ourselves from being seriously injured. This weekend pushed my boundaries on an emotional level that will stay with me for a long time. If I take just one good lesson away from this weekend it is this. Without a believable performance we will fail, listen for the truth, and capture the moment.” Jeffrey C. Robinson, Vancouver, Canada

“It was definitely a well spent weekend.  At first I was concerned that we were not going to learn the material that was important to me, the the technical aspect.  When it became clear that that was something we needed to know you provided it.  But now I see why you don’t emphasize that knowledge area… its too important to concentrate on telling the story. It feels like what I’ve learned is just a drop in the bucket… but now I have a base to learn more from every set I’m on and every movie I watch…” Jon Krait, Vancouver, Canada

“It was truly an honor and a pleasure to work with you, the workshop was great and we all had a great time and learned tons. Thank you for everything you have done.” Gaston Morrison, Vancouver, Canada

“Thanks for the informative and entertaining class. The guest speakers brought valuable and unique perspectives to our craft and they deserve our thanks as well. You all actually re-inspired my passion for filmmaking and I have been using the knowledge you gave me to watch others work and continue learning from them. ” J.J. Makaro, Vancouver, Canada

“What a true pleasure and joy it was to participate in this expertly executed and cultured three day workshop. As a young, working actress in Vancouver I was astounded by the valuable and constructive knowledge I obtained in such a brief, yet intensive three day period. I walked in with the expectation to meet and network with film makers as well as to absorb as much information about the industry as I could. Not only did it surpass those expectations but it reaffirmed my commitment and passion to my craft and to my chosen profession.I have met and shared marvelous connections with my fellow workshop participants. We laughed, connected, cultivated ideas and information and worked together in teams in a wonderfully creative process.”  Meghan Marshall, Vancouver, Canada

“Your workshop’s blend of instruction, viewing select movie clips to emphasize process/technique, expert guest speakers imparting wisdom & passion, synergistic collaboration with enthusiastic colleagues, and finally, the last day’s powerful hands-on exercises of directing and acting delivered an invaluable package of defining moments I’ll take with me for life!” Sherman Hu, Abbotsford, BC Canada

“Peter, this was an absolutely fantastic workshop filled with information, knowledge, and passion. Thank you” Diego Marquina Quinzanos – Mexico City, Mexico

“I am a completely self taught director and coming from that position it has always been extremely hard, first to find time with another working director and then to find someone who you can really talk to and listen to. In skips the unbelievable Peter D. Marshall who takes you on a journey of self discovery, shows you, arms you and most importantly enhances your spirit. He encourages you methodically to confidently go out there and direct. He has really become a mentor to me and I cannot over emphasize enough how absolutely valuable this course is. I watched, learnt, and saw seventeen individuals become born into true “feeling directors”. Wow!! This is the magic of film.” Jurgen Alan – Capetown, South Africa

“The video examples were a fantastic tool to support the theory. The blocking activity on day three was interesting and effective. Getting everyone involved was the best way to learn.” Michael Tobin, Calgary, Canada

“I found Peter’s workshop very informative. The workshop was a great opportunity to open my mind and refresh my ideas. I now have a new perspective on the power of moviemaking and the realities of the Director’s role. Thank you Peter.” Aaamir Shaikh – Pakistan

“I had an amazing time in the Peter D. Marshall “The Art and Craft of the Director” seminar. The information was invaluable and presented in a fun and relaxing environment. I would recommend it to anyone.” Dean Adams, Calgary Canada

“I found this seminar to be extremely beneficial. As an editor, I learned more about directing, acting, shooting and everything in between than I would have expected. This seminar will help me a great deal as an editor and Peter’s words and enthusiasm will stick with me. You can tell that Peter Marshall has a passion for this industry and his work. Thank you.” Brett Miles, Calgary, Canada

“My favourite day of the workshop was Sunday with all of the hands on work we were able to do. It was great getting feedback on the scenes we were working on and giving us an honest outsiders point of view on our work. This workshop has solidified my beliefs as a director and has given me more confidence in pursuing my vision.” Mark Anderson, Calgary, Canada

“Very interesting class with fascinating stories that help tie it all together. Definitely helped expand my knowledge of the art and craft of directing and raised my confidence greatly. Thank you Peter!” Matthew Tuer, Calgary, Canada

“I totally enjoyed each day of the workshop. Through the lectures, open discussion, and hands on practice, I’ve learnt the importance of dealing with the cast and crew. I also appreciate the stories told of being on set (it added comic relief and kept my interest).” Miranda White, Calgary, Canada

“Very informative, learned a lot. Peter really knows his stuff!” Max Sinclair, Calgary, Canada

“I found your workshop extremely informative, and feel that my knowledge of directing techniques has been greatly expanded. Thank you for helping in creating a comfortable environment that I was able to “act” in front of an audience.” Lisa Pearl Whitten, Calgary, Canada

“Great introduction to the Art of Directing. Smart and insightful.” Rob Matheson, Calgary, Canada

“Your class has taught me that film production isn’t as complicated as I thought it was. Lots of film fans and students talk about shots. Now I know that shots are overrated. Directing isn’t about cool shots but how simply, efficiently, and interestingly you tell your story working with the actors. I’ve also developed more confidence in talking to actors. I’ve learned that it ‘s not about telling them what to do every step of the way but bringing out a performance in them with very little directing (words) as possible.” Charles Kim – Singapore

“Great course! Learned more about directing in Peter’s course than working on a set for months as an assistant director. I recommend it to anyone who wants to really understand the role of the director on set and for anyone who wants to expand his skills on set.” Asher M. Isak – Vancouver, Canada

I just wanted to thank you for your time spent putting this workshop together. I felt that you covered many facets of what it is to be a director and was quite educational and fun at the same time. The acting/director workshop was a great tool for getting the director to not only practice his/her skills in direction but also for us as directors to understand the importance of communication from the actors point of view. I thought this to be the highlight of the weekend course.” Riley Walsh – Vancouver, Canada

“I haven’t felt so intellectually stimulated since college. Thoroughly engaging and informative. Beautifully taught in balancing logic and creativity. Whenever the next one is…. I’m there.” Tim Claffey – Chicago Il, USA

“I have taken many Directing/Editing & Filmmaking courses, all over the world. Peter is an excellent teacher. He was able to describe directorial feelings and intuition in a simple manner. Many people can direct, but teaching someone to direct is extremely difficult. Peter has mastered the sort of teaching. Thanks for helping me open my mind and unlocking my creative soul.” Melissa Stubbs – West Vancouver, Canada

“Peter’s workshop was a pivotal event in my mostly self taught filmmaking experience. The best 3 days I’ve spent. After working with Peter and the other participants in the class, I now have the confidence and knowledge to work with both actors and non-actors and help them achieve the best possible performance. In short, I now feel empowered as a director.” Larry D. Barr – Stephenville, Texas, USA

“The exercise of the last day combined with the reality check of the first two makes it a valuable approach to teaching a trade that can mostly be learned through time. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.” Pierre Beaudoin – Vancouver, Canada

“Thanks again for offering “The Art Of The Director”…a great learning experience….for me, there were many mysteries solved and 1000 assumptions debunked as to the role and focus of the director: a wonderful confidence builder.” Patrick Stark – Vancouver, Canada

“I am greatful to benefit from Peter’s wealth of experience. The workshop has been very enjoyable and truly inspirational.” Ian Jarvis – Vancouver, Canada

“I took the course to kick start the drama side of my directing career. It did more than kick start it. It gave a tool box to work with. Thank you Peter”
Michael Keeping – Vancouver, Canada

“Peter. You covered an awful lot of key points. I picked up some great “dealing with actors” tips. You have a wonderful way of communicating with your pupils. I also feel a lot more confident with what it is producers are used to seeing from their visiting directors in the prepping purpose. Thanks for passing it on.” Ernest Jackson – Vancouver, Canada

“It was rewarding to be able to put hands on paper and from no experience at all, write a plot, make a script, make the cartoons, cast actors from our group, place cameras, count the beats, everything all easy just following the ‘Marshall Rules’. Karyna Barros – Vancouver, Canada

“For me, Dov, McKee, and Peter are the triumvirate of filmmaking experts that have created “time and money”- oriented workshops that offer participants a wealth of practical information that can be applied immediately. Upon completion, I left Vancouver with everything that I need to go back to Philadelphia and begin pre-production on my first feature.” Kwami K. Kwami – Philadelphia, PA, USA

“A very good course explaining the basics of directing. A great use of film clips to demonstrate the theory. Peter uses his knowledge and experience to help us understand the theory. A worthwhile four days.” Sandra Mayo – Vancouver, Canada

“Peter is a very knowledgeable and engaging instructor. In addition to being a great learning opportunity (and a lot of fun!) this course and workshop offered valuable insight into the director’s world. Thank you.” Bev White – North Vancouver, Canada

“Fun film clips, great stories and interesting insight into what the role of the director is. Loved the last exercise. Thanks.” Jennifer Nelson – Vancouver, Canada.

“Really enjoyed the workshop – lots of all around in-depth info. Put into a more basic and clearer overview of the director and other elements of filmmaking.” Cybelle Sarrazin – Delta, Canada

“I found the course inspirational and filled with great information. Thank you so much Peter. You’re generous and talented and it’s a privilege to have attended. Looking forward to the advanced course.” Tara Cowell-Plain – Vancouver, Canada

“A powerful, passionate person. A real pleasure to listen and learn from.” Jennifer Kidd – Vancouver, Canada

“A two month course in 4 days. All the main points, but in a condensed, comprehensive and understandable format. Worth it!” Bonnie Benwick, Vancouver, Canada

“Tons of good information from a practical, working director.” Ty Haller – Vancouver, Canada

“Other than the course outline, there are no rules! This is a layed back, informative look at directing. Experience is a good teacher and Peter speaks from experience.” Jody Ryan – Surrey, Canada

“I am greatful to benefit from Peter’s wealth of experience. The workshop has been very enjoyable and truly inspirational.” Ian Jarvis – Vancouver, Canada

“A very inspiring workshop that leaves me wanting to move onto the next level. Peter’s years of experience brought many levels of information to the class.” Cindy Smith – Vancouver, Canada

“I found Peter’s course of great value. Give me more please.” Michael J. Bateman – Victoria, Canada

“The course was enjoyable and extremely well thought out. I learned a lot and it reinforced what I already knew. I will recommend the course to my co-workers.” Mike Atwater – Surrey, Canada

“Well structured workshop. Was quite and eye-opener. Has changed the way I look at cinema. Lot of information for three days.” Nikalank Jain, Dubai, UAE

“This was an amazing workshop that really inspired me to go out there and make movies.” Kim Kazi, Dubai, UAE

“Like a well directed scene, this workshop challenges you, letting you explore direction from the inside out and form the start of the process to the end.” Stephan M. Fuchs, Saskatoon, Canada

“Very in-depth. Peter runs his workshop like a well oiled set.” Jason Bohn, Saskatoon, Canada

“Fantastic. Learned so much about filmmaking in three days. And about myself. And about life. Thank you Peter.” Robin Schlaht, Regina, Canada

“Great course! Some of the tips I picked up from your workshop will definately help me to grow as a writer/director. Thanks again.” Mike Storey, Regina, Canada.

“Very good workshop. Thankful to have participated. Very insightful. To the point. Genuine.” Excellent concepts and techniques.” Kirk Loveland, Regina, Canada.

“Inspired. Challenged. Schooled. Thanks Peter for this invaluable three day experience. Excited about th epossibilities of where I can go from here.” Jolene Jahnke, Regina, Canada.

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