Film Workshop – Directing the Film Actor

by Peter D Marshall

“If there was an Oscar Award for what they do, Peter and Trilby each deserve one. Every time they teach.” Cecil Hamilton-Shimmen, Singapore

“Directing the Film Actor” is a 3 day hands-on workshop with Peter D. Marshall and Trilby Jeeves that concentrates on the filmmaker’s main task: directing the actor! This workshop was designed for filmmakers who want to understand the acting process and how to get the best results from actors.

In the last 20 years, Peter D. Marshall has Directed episodes of TV shows such as “John Woo’s Once a Thief”, “Wiseguy”, “21 Jumpstreet”, “Neon Rider”, “The Black Stallion”, “The Famous Jett Jackson”, “Scene of the Crime”, “Power Play”, “Big Wolf on Campus” and “Largo Winch”.” Peter was also the Executive Creative Consultant on all 22 one-hour episodes of the TV Series,”John Woo’s Once a Thief.”

As a 1st AD, Peter has had the opportunity to work with actors such as Peter O’Toole, Kevin Spacey, Morgan Freeman, John Travolta, Kathy Bates, Michelle Pfiefer, Marcia Gaye Harden, Madeleine Stowe, Mel Gibson, Ashton Kutcher, Adam Sandler and Goldie Hawn.

Trilby Jeeves was the first English student to be theatrically trained in her second language for 3 years at Le Conservatoire d’Art Dramatique in Québec City. She went on to perform in over 40 plays in both languages across Canada, eventually coming back to Vancouver.

As well as performing, Trilby worked in the film industry for 10 years as a set costumer on a variety of television series and feature films. Trilby also directed “Les Monologues du Vagin” two years running.

Trilby has taught classes in buffoonery and improvisation throughout Canadian high schools and she is currently teaching her successful Buffoonery Acting Workshops to professional actors and drama students across Canada.

“I really enjoyed getting hands-on experience working with actors. Each time we ran through our own scenes and other’s scenes, ideas about the performance unfolded like onion layers. These workshops have really encouraged me to think creatively, to allow me to think outside my normal day-job role and explore the possibilities within me.” Annabelle Wilczur, Vancouver, Canada

“Directing the Film Actor”

Workshop Objective – The objective of this workshop is to explore the film director’s creative process in shaping an actor’s performance.

Day One – Covers the theory behind the director’s job, the importance of script and scene breakdown, character analysis and understanding the actor’s process.

Day Two – Covers acting exercises, guidelines for the casting session, and practical blocking and directing exercises.

Day Three – Each director will block and rehearse a scene with two actors. All scenes will be recorded for review and analysis as a group.

“You guys are very sincere and dedicated! We shared so much during the 3 days. For this workshop, we directors, producers, and artists were able to understand more of each others difficulties and inner feelings during production period. You two have enlightened us so much. Thank you, God bless!” Taykok Peng Edmund, Singapore



1. Circle Talk and Class/Instructor Introductions
2. Connecting Exercise


1. What is a Director?
2. The Director as Story Teller
3. Three Types of Director
4. The Role of the Director
5. The Tools of a Director


1. What is an Actor?
2. The Nine Categories of Actors
3. Four Types of Actors
4. The Actor’s Job


1. What does an actor want from this relationship?
2. What does a director want from this relationship?


1. Dealing with Self-Consciousness
2. Feelings, Emotions and Vulnerability


1. Objectives
2. Text and subtext
3. Conflict
4. Action Verbs
5. Result Direction
6. Obstacles
7. Beats
8. Permission
9. In the Moment
10. Listening
11. Improvisation


1. Observing Human Behavior and Emotions
2. Character Development and Analysis


1. The Three Act Structure
2. Drama and Conflict
3. Five Sources of Conflict


1. Scene Objectives
2. Character Objectives
3. Beats


1. Breakdown a Sample Script and Discuss



1. Mirror Exercise
2. Acting Exercise


1. The Psychology of Movement
2. What is Blocking?
3. Basic Blocking and Staging Techniques
4. The 180 Degree Rule
5. The Five Parts to Shooting a Scene
6. Director Questions for Blocking
7. Tips for Blocking and Staging a Scene


1. The Director’s Acting Mantra
2. Director Guidelines for Casting


1. Tips for Rehearsing Actors on the Set
2. Directing the Actor


Directors will direct one actor (Trilby). Each director will do the following:

1. Create a story and determine themes and objectives with the actor
2. Block and rehearse their scene with the actor in front of the class
3. Discuss their scene theme and objectives with the class


1. Reviewing the Principles of Editing (Montage)


1. Directors Prepare & Breakdown Scenes for Day 3



1. Each director will block and rehearse a scene with two actors
2. All scenes will be recorded with one camera


1. Review and analysis of the scenes as a group
2. Director Evaluations


1. Questions and Answers

How to contact Peter D. Marshall

If you are interested in finding out more about the “Directing the Film Actor,” 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

More Comments and Testimonials

“Really, really enjoyed the class! Been waiting for a class like this for a long time, and it has finally happened. All my answers are there. What I have been looking for all the years that I have been directing, has all been put into perspective. All a clearer picture. I have gained so much from this experience and treasure. Thank you..” Ian Seymour, Singapore

“Peter’s class is very inspiring and motivational. An excellent, comfortable and supportive learning environment. Looking forward to the next one.” Trevor McWhinney, Vancouver, Canada

“One of the best (workshops) I have attended in my career. Excellent teachers. Learned so much from them. Incredible.” Ram Murugese, Singapore

“This course raised my bar!” Wu Min Xiu, Singapore

” I appreciate Peter’s valuable experience and POV’s and the practise this course allowed me to play with and further develop my directing skills.” Frederick Heartline, Vancouver, Canada

“What a learning experience! Lots of fun. Can’t wait until the next one. It was a treat to actually work with actors.” Jennifer Kidd, Vancouver, Canada

“This was a great experience. Peter is a fountain of knowledge. His attention to detail is impeccable. I have learned a lot, as an actor, about the filmmaking process. Students and actors can benefit from his knowledge and experience.” Paul Herbert, Vancouver, Canada

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

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Qib December 20, 2009 at 6:40 pm

Hi Peter,

Its me again lol, how does this film workshop works? Do I have to wait for your next update for the next upcoming workshop? When will that be?



Parminder June 2, 2010 at 6:05 am

Hi Peter

next time workshop in INDIA,Please send me email


Somz September 20, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Hi Peter

Come down to AUSTRALIA and do a workshop!!!


praveen kumar October 8, 2010 at 10:25 pm

hi peter thank u for giving very genuine & valuable information.pls let me know the best books regarding film making

simone rubio November 9, 2010 at 5:51 pm

I’d like to know when are going to have another workshop “directing the film actor”.

Thank you!

Peter D Marshall November 14, 2010 at 9:43 pm

Hello Simone,

Thank you for your interest in our Directing the Film Actor workshop. We plan to another one sometime in the spring of 2011. We will keep you posted on the date sand the location.



Ces Magbiray November 25, 2010 at 9:03 am

hi. is this still open in Singapore? if so, when?

STEVE ROUSE February 5, 2011 at 5:51 am


Just saw this page, and would like to some time to talk you about a movie I well be shooting , and to see if you are interested in looking at the script and coming aboard . As Producer/ or one of the key figures in my film hope you get this thank Steve Rouse

Torch light films

Manasrawee February 9, 2011 at 11:05 am

Hi, I am interesting in your workshop :). Please let me know if you are coming to New York 🙂

sebastien April 4, 2011 at 8:48 am

hi peter, i would love to work with you and to show you what i can do, i have a lot of script i would you to read them and make some correction, when ever you have time you send me an email, and i will send you my work .. thank you

Philippe Ernesta July 6, 2011 at 8:46 am

Hi Peter,
I would be very interested in a crash coarse and attending your directing work shop would do the trick. but unfortunately I’m way from any of your venues, in that respect, would it be possible to make use at the advantage of modern technology such as the net for example. and my case wouldn’t be complicated as some notes would be well advantageous.
Thanks and looking forward to your consideration.

LINDA July 14, 2011 at 9:41 am

I am a scriptwriter and a production coordinator, I want to learn directing so I want to know how I can be part of your course.


Bill Ninda July 19, 2011 at 4:11 am

Am in film industry in Uganda but I want to improve my acting.

Bill Ninda November 20, 2011 at 8:04 am

Am an actor in Uganda but I would like to learn more about acting if possible next year so give me the details.

dalena November 22, 2011 at 2:23 am

I am interesting in your work shop of Film Directing and Film making tips, please let me know the schedule.

Robie Truong November 22, 2011 at 9:13 pm

pleae notify me when the next workshop hold in Asia or South East Asia.

Peter D Marshall November 22, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Robie, I sure will. Where do you live?

Fred Makori December 21, 2011 at 1:13 am

Hello, how are you doing hope all is well. Seen the workshop and I was wondering how can I become part of it I am interested

Shawn Chou February 4, 2012 at 4:22 am

Please let me know when there are workshops available in LA.

Emily Holden February 16, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Kia Ora,

Im just wondering if this is free to join up. If not please ignore this messge. Ive come from NZ to do film research and learn as much as I can about Film Directing and Screen Writting. Unfortunately Im out of work at the moment, with no money and just depending on the charitible service providers while im out of work and researching.

If this is a free online course please sighn me up.

Kind Regards Emily.

Peter D Marshall February 17, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Hi Emily,

The “Directing the Film Actor” is not a free course. At the present time I have no workshops planned. When I know the dates of the next one, I will contact you.



mmk.maruthi February 18, 2012 at 11:47 pm

hai peter i want improve my direction

Emily February 20, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Ok Peter thanks, Hopefully I can make the 4 month Directors Course in Melbourne, Is that $2000.00? Thru AFTRS.

Dushyant Kapoor March 12, 2012 at 1:33 am

plzzzz give me a certificate for directing filmsss. u can watch my directed videos on or chennel dushyant167…

jayaraj May 2, 2012 at 11:49 pm

I am going to direct a tele seriel.I have the experence of directing a tele film and worked as a camera man for about 12 tele films and 2 home cinemas.So please give me some importent advice for this big project mega sereal….

jayaraj May 2, 2012 at 11:54 pm

please give me some advice for directing a mega sereal.I have the experience of making tele films as a camera man and directer.

SHOLA ADEKOLA May 31, 2012 at 4:06 am

I just want to know if you will like to have this workshop in my country NIGERIA,we are interested in hosting you if you will come.
thanks till i hear from you

SHOLA ADEKOLA May 31, 2012 at 4:09 am

I just want to know if you will like to have this workshop in my country NIGERIA,we are interested in hosting you if you will come. or is it possible that I come to new york for the workshop?
thanks till i hear from you

Peter D Marshall May 31, 2012 at 9:30 am

Hello Shola, I have tried several times to come to Nigeria and teach some film workshops, but so far nothing has worked out. If you have a group of filmmakers who are willing to host me, let’s talk 🙂 Cheers,


Benjamin Lee October 24, 2013 at 9:53 am

Hello Peter,

It would be great if you could do a workshop in SINGAPORE. I know Singapore Media Academy ( do invite speakers down to do Master Classes but none on directing the actor. Would be great if something works out. Thanks.


Peter D Marshall October 25, 2013 at 9:35 am

Benjamin, I have been to Singapore twice before teaching my workshops (Mediacorp was one.) I would love to come again 🙂 Do you know anyone we could contact at Singapore Media Academy? Thanks, Peter

Emily Holden November 6, 2013 at 11:13 pm

I need to get in touch with Peter Marshall do you have a phone number please as I have sent emails but no reply so I think it would be better to ring instead?

Cheers Emily Holden.

Felix October 5, 2015 at 7:26 pm

Peter, can I get on ur list when ur in the San Francisco area. We have nothing here like what u offer.

abu kabore February 1, 2016 at 2:47 am

hi I’m Abu from I dint attended any film making school what I should do to direct movie to be good.

john wanyoike February 9, 2017 at 2:37 am

just going through it via internet. its such a beautiful encoutor wishing that you can come in kenya. i have gained alot as a director.

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