Directing Actors for Camera Short Courses
Dates and Fees to be confirmed
Tutor InfoDictynna Hood is a director and screenwriter. Her first feature film 'Wreckers', starring Claire Foy, Benedict Cumberbatch and Shaun Evans, premiered at the London Film Festival October 2011 and is on release with Artificial Eye. See www.likelystory.co.uk for further information about Dictynna.
EligibilityThe course will appeal to students with an interest in practical filmmaking who wish to learn more about directing actors for the screen. No prior knowledge is required, but a strong interest in film as a medium. Please note that students must be willing to act in all the practical exercises as well as direct during the series of workshops, though no experience of acting is necessary.
What will I learn?The student will be able to:
Have exposure to screen acting and understand its differences from stage performance
Demonstrate the energy and focus required to work with actors
Learn how to explore and analyse scenes from a director's perspective and how to communicate with actors
How to look for the subtext and what is not spoken in a text
Understand how to help actors encompass the role and build a character
Understand body language and how it affects performance
Create effective blocking for a scene
Decide how to shoot a scene
Show knowledge of the workings of a set and a knowledge of the terms and vocabulary used on that set
Work on practical exercises, including improvised scenes and scene studies from existing screenplays
Put down a scene study to DV (unedited)
Week 1 - Introduction
Introduction to the course. Objectives, criteria. Getting used to thinking visually, being in the space, working with long and close shots. A sense of place. Building rapport.
Week 2 - 'What's my motivation'
Stanislavski in a nutshell. Through practical exercises, learning about effective ways to help actors give substance and motivation to a scene. How does a scene break down into beats? What is the 'event' of the scene? Portraying emotion through props. Screen clips 'As Good As It Gets'; 'The Piano'.
Week 3 - Working with emotion
Through practical exercises, learning about helping an actor access emotion in a role. Your relationship as director with the actors.
Week 4 - Preparing a text
Beats and units, preparing a text for rehearsal or shoot. Analysing a scene. Subtext. Directing scene studies (1).
Week 5 - Building a character
Through practical exercises, how to help an actor build a character. Status relationships. Screening clips from 'Festen'.
Week 6 - Working with improvisation OR Guest seminar on comedy
How improvisation can help you as director shape your film with your actors Or a special session on directing comedy.
Week 7 - Visuals - Steve McQueen or Alfred Hitchcock?
Do you design your visuals around actors or vice versa? Are you Steve McQueen or Alfried Hitchcock? Directing scene studies. Clips - David Lynch; Kubrick; 'Festen'/Cassavetes/Frears.
Week 8 - Preparing a shoot
From casting to shooting - the director's preparation.
Teaching and Assessment
The student will:
Work on a series of practical exercises to gain an understanding of the craft from both a technical and creative perspective
Demonstrate text analysis from a director's perspective
Demonstrate effective communication with fellow students (as actors)
Put a scene study to DV (unedited)
Prepare a two to three page reflective journal on the student's experience of the course or write a two to three page essay on a director you admire
Method of informal assessment:
Tutor observation of the students' participation in exercises and scene studies, and contribution to group exercises and discussions
Reading of reflective journal
Assessment of scene study on DV (unedited)
Evidence of assessment:
Directing a scene study on DV camera
Reflective journal of 2 - 3 pages documenting the student's experience of the course.
While we encourage you to read the books on the reading list for your course, we recommend that you speak to the tutor before investing in the purchase of any text.
Acting in Film: An Actor's Take on Moviemaking by Michael Caine, Applause Books, 2000; ISBN-10: 1557832773 ISBN-13: 978-1557832771
Directing: Film Techniques and Aesthetics by Michael Rabiger, Focal Press (now in updated editions) ISBN-10: 0240802233 | ISBN-13: 978-0240802237
Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre by Keith Johnstone
ISBN-10: 0878301178 | ISBN-13: 978-0878301171
An Actor Prepares and Building a Character by Constantin Stanislavski