Forget the fancy equipment and special FX, the most important resource of any film are the actors involved with the film. This masterclass takes a look at working with actors and building your relationship with them. With this course we explore and interview two working actors with an in depth knowledge of the role and throughout the course we look in depth at how to work with actors from a director’s point of view.
We explore many aspects from getting the right actors to work with you to what you can do to get the most out of your actors from casting to working on set.
Discover the tools and resources actors need to work at their best during your film project, you’ll be surprised how the little things can make a big difference to the quality of your final product.
We cover a lot in this course, here's a quick glimpse:
You don’t need any prior knowledge of directing or working with Actors to take this course. This course is taught by Adrian Mead, an accomplished writer and director who has worked with major networks in both the UK and US.
Adrian has been a working in the industry since 1999, when he began to develop his career as a writer and director of film and television drama. Since then, Adrian has built up numerous credits for BBC, ITV, Sky, Channel 4 and CBBC.
Adrian is the winner of BAFTA Scotland and Cineworld Audience Award for his film “Night People”. He has worked in TV, Film, Radio and Animation both as a writer and Director.
Adrian starts off the course by talking about what you mindset, as a Director should be. You need to learn to use what you have available to you and to get the most out of it. What changes can you make to the script? To the shoot? Being a Director is about getting the very best out of the resources available to you.
Where and how can you source your actors? It's not always as easy as you might think it is. Especially when you obviously want to find the best! Adrian talks through some options you have.
Providing an environment to find the best actors and to get the most out of them is an important element for any Director. Even before a casting session, it is very important for you to start thinking about how and where to run your session and what you want to achieve from it.
There's nothing worse than being under prepared as a Director. You want to research other directors, directing style and your actors. Imagine having an actor that doesn't like to ad-lib in your movie that you want to be predominantly ad-libbed!.
We’re joined by working actors Anita Vitesse and Jordan Young for a relaxed and highly informative interview where we ask the questions that will help every director, experienced or not, with creating a positive environment when working with actors to ensure you’re getting the best results.
We start by asking what attracts professional actors to a project.
Adrian continues his chat with Anita Vitesse and Jordan Young about how they prepare for their auditions and what you, as the Director can do to help them with this process.
Maybe you've been involved in lots of castings or maybe you have no idea what to expect. Our actors have been to a lot of auditions so they have a unique perspective on what makes a good casting and what can put them off working for you before they even get through the door.
This is the start of your relationship with your actors so it's always good to remember that this is a two way thing. If you provide a great experience in your casting sessions, word will spread and other actors will want to work for you.
Acting is a tough profession so as the Director you will want to do everything in your power to get the best out of them. It's not about telling them what to do on set, it's about each other and working together to achieve the best possible results.
Adrian talks to Anita and Jordan about what a Director can do to get the best out of them.
Acting and actors come in many forms, each actor has different experiences and different qualities. Depending on what you want to direct, you will also need very different qualities to a director who focuses on a completely different area. Here, we learn about the differences between working in front of camera and in the theater.
As a Director, part of your job is to get the best out of your actors and this starts a long time before you get to the set. So, what does an actor need from you before shooting a scene? Let's find out.
You want your production to be the best possible piece of work you have aver created, you should always want that but that doesn't mean the journey can't be an enjoyable one. Sure, it will be stressful and you'll be working to strict deadlines, but as a Director, you need to remain level headed and create a collaborative, creative and fun environment for everyone to work in.
A read through is an important activity prior to any film involving actors and a script. It’s a great chance for all of the people involved with a film project to get together, often for the first time, and read through the script with the actors reading their parts in a relaxed environment. The read through gives the perfect opportunity for any rewrites to the script to take place as it’s much easier to hear how the actors gel together and whether or not certain dialogue would work better in a different way.
Adrian explains the meaning of ‘blocking’ a scene, in the context of working with actors. The act of physically planning a scene with your actors to create believable actions while expressing dialogue or emotions. This helps with time management for a shoot and allows you to pre-plan your shots better along with making the situation more believable – an example of this will be covered in the lesson following this.
We also introduce the different subjects covered in module 3.
We’re joined by our two actors to give a demonstration of blocking a scene, following the earlier read through, any rewrites have now been made and we have an idea of how we want things to work. Blocking the scene allows us to visualise the scene and decide on camera angles, actors movements and uses of props to ensure everything looks as natural as possible.
Following the scene blocking we have the perfect opportunity to provide feedback to our actors and also receive feedback which will get everything looking and running as smooth as possible.
With your blocking of the scene worked out, you need to get an idea of the camera angles that work best with your scene. Another run through of the script allows you as a director, to walk around the actors. Working with actors is about getting the best out of them, so as they work their magic, this additional run through allows you to visualise the camera angles you’d like to use.
Adrian gives another perspective on the previous lesson (Lesson 3.2 – Angles) and we demonstrate the directors point of view during a run through of the scene by using the camera to demonstrate the directors point of view.
Following the blocking of the scene you need to give feedback and direction to your actors without simply just telling them what to do. Consider factors with your scene like the mood of the actors on the previous scene to the one you’re filming and address this with your actors rather than causing an editing nightmare. If things are looking a bit flat you can always experiment and allow your actors to play a little with a scene which will add realism as explained by Adrian.
Having the perfect actors and location are obviously of huge importance yet you still need to make your shots professional and frame them correctly. Here we give a demonstration of the commonly used shots when filming and also give examples of when they would be used.
Our final edited scene is here using the shots the director decided on and you can finally see all that work come together. It’s only a basic scene with a small amount of dialogue so you now should have an idea of the amount of work you need to put into each scene of your own short film.
GetFilming is an online film school and community, we bring together the very best experts currently working in the film, TV and online video industries with our community of aspiring filmmakers.
We work with professionals such as Adrian Mead, Rob Bessette, Evan Abrams and Dave Miller. Our tutors have worked with everyone from Sky, BBC, HBO, AMC, ITV to clients ranging from Subway and Adidas to Gibson and everything in between.