Get Electrified Performances from Your Actors

Written by Paul Cram

(1.) Cast an Actor that Barely Needs to Act. If an actor’s persona is already 80 percent of the character, you need only to rely on the other 20 percent to be filled by their acting ability. A casting director is invaluable for finding actors that are close to the scripted characters.

(2.) Create a Safe Work Space. Actors thrive in an environment in which you’re the only one talking to them about their performance, directing them, and shielding them from comments, criticism, and suggestions from everyone else.

(3.) Direct Characters Not Actors. Tap into the scripted character’s goals and use those to steer the actor. Verbalize your direction with action verbs in individual scenes.

(4.) Repeat Praise. Even if you’ve told an actor they’re doing well, tell them again. Actors need constant affirmation. This doesn’t mean you have to gush, a simple, “that’s good,” after a take can suffice. Actors are the most insecure artists in the world. When affirming communication is open and often, it eases things for when you have to give negative feedback to adjust an actor’s performance.

(5.) Know What You Want. Know what you want to happen in the hearts and minds of the audience. Know this and you can guide me any day.

Paul Cram’s website is www.paulcramactor.com.

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