Directing Actors - Is it them, or me?

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  • Directing Actors - Is it them, or me?

    Hey guys.

    Now I'm really actually considering to stop doing this short (15 min) film - For one reason.

    The acting.

    I'm starting to get extremely stressed over the whole affair and every time I meet up with my actors for a rehearsal I come home tired (obviously) and extremely depressed about my movie.

    Here are some of my concerns:
    - There were no auditions. I had no idea what my actors sounded like and how they acted.
    - The film is an action and it is set inside a street with a Capture the Flag game. The main character (male) sounds gay. He's not gay, but because people stereotyped that I really don't think he fits.
    - I'm not getting the feel that I want. When I ask them to act a bit more panicky, they stay the same. If they need to jump up then jump back down to dodge a bullet, they sort of half-ass it and crouch like they were about to take a s**t. Even after I ask them it's still the same.
    - Because film is much much different from stage (the background training of the actors) I'm not to sure how to be training them.
    - My actors can not even stay serious for 10 seconds without making a sex joke or something like that. They deface my script turning a line that says "Come here" and make it sexual while acting it. Then they loose attention.

    The fact that we have had to close off a street and we are filming exactly a month away from now doesn't help, either.

    So please, help me. I'm really confused what to do. I don't want all this time and effort to go to waste. Should I get a new (4 actors) cast? Re-plan the street closure to later? Please help.

    Thanks,
    Tyler

    A very stressed and confused director.

  • #2
    Acting

    Acting is one of the most important and one of the biggest problems in student films. Many times the actors are the friends of the filmmakers. It is better if you get someone from the theater department or an actor willing to work for credit than use friends and family for your actors. Other than that i am not sure what advice to give you tonight. Maybe in the morning
    Also Sign up for Global Filmmakers Network!
    https://networking.studentfilmmakers.com

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    • #3
      Originally posted by KimWelch View Post
      Acting is one of the most important and one of the biggest problems in student films. Many times the actors are the friends of the filmmakers. It is better if you get someone from the theater department or an actor willing to work for credit than use friends and family for your actors. Other than that i am not sure what advice to give you tonight. Maybe in the morning
      Thanks man, but the people I am working with I have never known before in my life. They are great stage actors, but seem better for extreme emotion (happy/sad, and happy fun time singing (lol)) But I'm really stuck.

      Comment


      • #4
        Just try and make it work. Problems come all the time with filmmaking but always the show must go on (unless you really do believe that the end result will be worthless,). Always do auditions when casting and when you do audition them film them as well that way you can see if there face works on camera.

        Best of luck, its happened to me plenty times before,

        Amy
        www.amyclarkefilms.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks Amy.

          Well the project has gone to shit. It's a long story but my producer (or his girlfriend) ended up firing my cast behind my back because apparently it's his job to fire them.

          But on an indie level, is it? I really did want to talk to my actors about it, but he went behind my back and fired them without warning.

          Anyway, I still want to do it some time later, but not with him, XD

          Comment


          • #6
            lessons learned

            what did you learn from the experience?
            Also Sign up for Global Filmmakers Network!
            https://networking.studentfilmmakers.com

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            • #7
              Hi Tyler,

              Sounds like you Haven't got the best of crews. I think that the most important part (and also the hardest part) of film making is to find people who you can work with. Your producer had no right to fire the actors without talking to you first. Although perhaps it was for the best.

              I remember I made a short film several years ago and the editor (the first editor I've ever worked with) refused to cut a scene together because there was some issues with the continuity. As a result we had to spend another day re-filming the entire scene - which was not necessary since it was a 'just for fun short'. The day later when I went to get it edited again and all of the other footage from the previous days had mysteriously disappeared. As it turned out another film maker in the editing suits had seen my footage - was jealous that it looked prettier than his and recorded over all of my tapes! I never finished that film. True story. I now know to back up everything I shoot.

              Its OK to mess up projects when your a student. I've done it many times before and as a result you'll learn a lot from it and be able to run film sets in the future better than anyone because you know how bad things can get and you've learnt how to avoid those problems.

              I'd get another producer next time (maybe you don't need one just yet) and definitely audition all actors before filming.

              Amy
              www.amyclarkefilms.com
              Last edited by amyclarkeuk; 12-27-2011, 11:31 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks guys for all your support. I live in a small town surrounded by smaller towns and its quite hard not just being able to go to a drama school or ring up and hiring equipment from down the road so thanks


                @KimWelch

                Haha. I have learnt to follow my gut feeling.

                If you (or anyone) is a TL;DR person, then feel free to skip, but you might find it interesting. lol.

                When I wrote the script, It was for 4 actors - 4 males. I had in my head the exception of 1 of them being female and I was OK with that.

                The first actor we found (not auditioned or anything) was female, then she suggested that her friend comes and acts beside her (the main male character)

                Now that I look back on that (and fully knowing that actors should be 'best friends') it may have been better to have actors that weren't (close) friends because that could sort of create a barrier between me and them AND also have the power to over throw my decisions.

                ANYWAY

                This is where it gets interesting.

                Jordan (producer) has a girlfriend. She wanted to act. I said no (for extremely obvious reasons - my mind was set on 1 female, 3 male - and the script was WRITTEN for males. After I said "no" to her nagging, she started bitching to me...

                Basically, her saying I was a shit director because I was stubborn and not open to suggestion. There is the first *DEAR GOD* moment.

                So, I dunno why, but I let her act as another part. I didn't mind the whole affair (apart from the actual actor) and I was adjusting to the idea of it, apart from the fact that the movie required certain roles to be filled and that a female couldn't quite fit them.

                ONWARDS.

                I decide to re-write the script because the original script was full of things that weren't on the location we had (a street) and were originally designed for a forest. I decide to re-write and get all the problems ironed out. This was 2 months before the shoot, and Jordan said it was a bad idea. I had the script fully re-done in 2 weeks (with school and exams etc)

                Now, this is where Jordans girlfriend gets right into it. She wants to quit her actor part and organise for the film instead. I say no, because we don't have anyone else to act. Then she sways Jordan (I know he wouldn't do this on purpose to his BEST FRIEND) to fire my cast before talking to me.

                After conversation with them:

                Tyler. You couldn't tell them. I know for a fact that you wouldn't. And if you had, you wouldn't have told them the entire truth.

                Yes, I would have.

                GIRLFRIEND:
                Bull.
                You would have made out like you were not as rude as you were. You would have tried to protect yourself and your reputation.

                ME:
                So why are you so hell bent on ruining my life?

                GF:
                I'm not ruinig your life. Im just getting crap done and out of the way.

                ME:
                No your not. You hate me.
                You wanted me to fail.

                GF:
                Professionally, yes.

                ME:
                So you were interfering.

                GF:
                I didnt want you to fail!
                I wanted it to work. It was when you made it fail, that I snapped.

                ME:
                So thanks Jordan for getting her involved.
                As I thought, she made the project go to shit.

                JORDAN:
                I got her involved in the admin side
                due to it faling
                'i dint want it to fail
                I told you that at the very start
                Quote
                If this Project fails i will pull out quiet qucik or get someone to help with it cause i hate seeing projects fail
                end qoute

                And that's basically it. So yea, trust your gut feeling.

                *************
                @amyclarkeuk

                Jordan was one of those people who felt like he knew everything, but only because he worked with people who knew everything.

                He didn't really have an interest in film, and instead of getting barriers for the set, he would go onto a website and print out business cards.

                Now I'm working with one of my even closer friends who has gotten right into film. Investing in a DSLR, all the cool stuff. We haven't talked about the chance of our friendship being broken but because we want to co-direct each film I think that if one of us does pull out, then the other can support themselves. And I know for a fact that my friend knows no more than me about the industry, if not less, so there is nobody here that will take overall control (I hope it won't be me :O)

                And loosing all that hard work would have been heart-breaking. I bet tears were shed :'(

                *********

                One last question, I was given a screenplay to produce by some random person. I had an argument to Jordan and his girlfriend about how we would go about this.

                She brought up the fact that the writer (client) has to direct it. I thought differently. I believed that unless directly specified, a person sold their screenplay to a producer. The producer would then hire people (including a director) to make it. On occasions, the director would write the screenplay himself. The moves that are like that (Avatar, Inception) are always the best ones in my opinion.

                So, what are your thoughts?

                And once again guys, thanks so so much for your support. It's nice having someone who actually knows and can relate to my problems

                -Tyler

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi Tyler,

                  Your right about the script. If someone has handed the screenplay over directly for you to produce then surely they want you to direct it? Some writers want to direct too but I think most people start out with the writing directing dream then choose one or the other. I'd contact the writer and be sure about where he wants the project to go.

                  I still want to write and direct my films, however I have realised that my stories are better if I send my scripts to other people for feedback then draft, then get feedback, then draft.... to the extent that the script I'm writing now is just the core of my original idea surrounded by the input of others. I'm unsure if I can even put myself down as the writer any more.)

                  I hope that your new business partner will work out better than the last one. I work with my boyfriend a lot on film sets - a lot of people have said it wont work, but it does because were close and can be more honest with each other and try our best not to argue in front of people,)

                  Best of luck,
                  Amy
                  www.amyclarkefilms.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks.

                    I hope this helps many others on the forums aswel.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Most Likely You

                      Most likely you. Great actors are serious about their work.

                      You stated that they are "great" actors but then tell a story about them being unprofessional. This can be due to a director losing control on the set.

                      Recommended reading: Judith Weston - Acting for Directors

                      Also, if you're in Los Angeles or check out her travel schedule, her workshops are phenomenal.
                      Victor(ious) Ramirez
                      www.isvictorious.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Directing can seem very abstract compared to many other departments. I read an article called, The 7-Step Film Directing Formula
                        by PETER D. MARSHALL that really helped shine a light on something that could help bring the necessary performance out of an actor. The first 3 steps speak volumes,THE STUDY OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR, STORY, and PERFORMANCE. The link is below:

                        http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2SEvI3...archives/5361/

                        I also found it helpful when dealing with stage actors to relate to them that they don't have to "go all out" because with film there is no one sitting on 300ft away that can't see them. Also, describing that when working in front of the camera it has the power to pick up and magnify the smallest of movements, and that the power they have as an actor is in the eyes, made a huge difference in performance.

                        They usually relate good with numbers as well. For instance, if I had someone that was really intense, I would say something like, "Your intensity level was awesome! It was a 10! Let's try a take or two with your intensity at about a 7, and see how that works." That get's the the point across to come down a notch without shattering their self-esteem. I hope this helps.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Char-Lay Douglas View Post
                          Directing can seem very abstract compared to many other departments. I read an article called, The 7-Step Film Directing Formula
                          by PETER D. MARSHALL that really helped shine a light on something that could help bring the necessary performance out of an actor. The first 3 steps speak volumes,THE STUDY OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR, STORY, and PERFORMANCE. The link is below:

                          http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2SEvI3...archives/5361/

                          I also found it helpful when dealing with stage actors to relate to them that they don't have to "go all out" because with film there is no one sitting on 300ft away that can't see them. Also, describing that when working in front of the camera it has the power to pick up and magnify the smallest of movements, and that the power they have as an actor is in the eyes, made a huge difference in performance.

                          They usually relate good with numbers as well. For instance, if I had someone that was really intense, I would say something like, "Your intensity level was awesome! It was a 10! Let's try a take or two with your intensity at about a 7, and see how that works." That get's the the point across to come down a notch without shattering their self-esteem. I hope this helps.
                          Thanks man!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Tylerb View Post
                            They usually relate good with numbers as well. For instance, if I had someone that was really intense, I would say something like, "Your intensity level was awesome! It was a 10! Let's try a take or two with your intensity at about a 7, and see how that works." That get's the the point across to come down a notch without shattering their self-esteem. I hope this helps.
                            Please never do this with real actors. For example, if you say, "that was a 5, let's do a 10!" The actor may believe they were doing a 10. Now where do you go from there? You will lose the actor from that point.

                            There are no directing formulas.
                            Victor(ious) Ramirez
                            www.isvictorious.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm not a fan of the numbers system either. Learn a good list of action verbs and direct with linguistic choices like "interrogate" or "console." For the love of christmas, don't use result-oriented direction like "be more angry."

                              Directing Actors by Judith Weston is a good place to start.

                              http://www.amazon.com/Directing-Acto.../dp/0941188248
                              Director Blog: www.JasonHuls.com
                              Company: www.TenWingFilms.com
                              Twitter: @JasonHuls

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