3 Directing Techniques For Actors

Here are three techniques actors can use to direct themselves on camera. They’re from my next book titled “How To Direct Actors Like A Pro & Look Like A Genius Doing It” to be released in January. Directing Technique #1: Before you roll camera on an actor, tell the actor that for everything her or his character says, there are five other things the character could say but chooses not to say and to play those five other things. This technique will pull the camera and the audience past the conflict of the scene to the inner conflict of the
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How To Create A Cinematic Villain

Villains love the sound of their own voices. What they do with their voices is often more unnerving than what they say with their words. They prefer controlled voices. They prefer textured voices. They like voices that can be soft and innocent one moment and pure venom the next. They want voices that can seduce you or terrify you. They want their voices to be the ones you can’t get out of your head, and they’re not afraid to speak so softly it feels like they’re lightly tapping on your brain. They want a voice that will chill the the
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Why “The Moment Before” Should Be “The Scene Before” On Camera

The script creates the plot and the actor creates the story. In other words, the script creates the “what” and the actor creates the “why”. What is happening versus why it is happening. The why is the part that moves the audience. The less you let the overall story talk your character out of her or his own story the stronger and more vivid your character will be on camera. Actors are taught to create “the moment before”. On camera, to create the character’s story create “the scene before” and carry that into the current scene. You create what your
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How Actors Can Save The Film Industry

See if this plot sounds familiar.  An evil corruption has swept over the land threatening to extinguish all that was once good in the world. The future is resting in the hands of a heroic force which has lost it’s way and which must learn to believe once again in magic if it is to rediscover its long lost power and save humanity. It’s the story actors are living right now in the film industry. The evil corruption is high concept, genre driven, franchise fueled, tent pole movies. The heroic force is actors. The power actors must rediscover is the
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What Directors Want Actors To Do With Their Headshots

If you ever find yourself prepping for an audition and you’re having a hard time grasping the character they want, the answer is in your headshot. When you’re called in for an audition, it’s because they like your headshot. The reason they like your headshot is because they saw their character in your headshot. Whatever you and your photographer captured in your headshot, the filmmakers looked at it and saw their character. What they want you to do is walk and talk and live and breathe as the headshot version of you. Your headshot is the character. In many cases,
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3 Things That Will Make Directors Love You

Directors aren’t looking to see how well an actor fits a direction to the scene or makes the direction work with the scene. Directors are looking to see how well the actor can turn the scene into what they want it to be. If actors want to be hired and re-hired by directors, they will try the director’s direction  even if it doesn’t fit the scene. Great directors of acting know that playing against the scene creates a more three dimensional performance on camera. Here are three things that make directors want to work with actors again and again while
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Why Actors Should Think Like Movie Stars

Actors are taught when the other actor in a scene is speaking, they should give their focus to the other actor and let the other actor have her or his moment. In editing, we can cut to the actor listening if we want but why would we? On camera, someone just listening isn’t interesting. A character struggling with her or his own emotional experience while another character is speaking is what creates cinematic power on camera. What the camera loves more than anything is a character caught up in his or her own emotional experience. This doesn’t mean actors shouldn’t
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How To Create A More Truthful Character On Camera

There are things we dislike about anyone in our lives we know well. It doesn’t mean we dislike the person. It means things the person does or says, such as habits the person has, preferences, beliefs, tastes, or qualities, we don’t like. When we meet someone for the first time, we often walk away thinking how nice and likable the person is. The better we know someone, the more we see a person’s flaws, and the more that person sees ours. If an actor doesn’t dislike anything about the character, one could argue the actor doesn’t know the character very well.
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The Seven Words You Never Hear In Acting Class

On camera, when actors give every line a different line intention to make a scene interesting, it makes the scene confusing because the scene has no cinematic cohesion. When actors move in the frame to appear naturalistic, they instead appear awkward. When actors are completely still, they appear natural. On camera, “acting is reacting” comes across as overacting. Everything actors create using the actor’s process the camera sees as wonderful raw material but the actor’s process wasn’t designed for the camera. It was designed for the stage which is why the seven words you never hear in acting class are
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The Secret To Being Memorable On Camera

What’s the difference between an actor and her character?  One thinks she is the character and the other wishes the actor would stop saying she is the character. The idea that “you are the character and the character is you” is insufficient on camera. Actors are taught to approach characters this way for the purpose of responding honestly and without prejudice as they play the scene which they see as great acting. However, all of their great acting is wasted on camera because it’s not happening to a recognizable human being. It’s happening to an actor. What’s the difference between
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