Analysis/Reflection 6 (Q6)

Consider Sandra’s lecture “Directing Actors” and describe at least a couple of points that you took away from it (even if you’re not the director).

I wasn’t the director, but I felt some points in Sandra’s lecture rang true when we shot our short film two weeks ago.

It seems obvious, but Sandra mentioned that the director has to direct the actors, tell them what to do in a concise and succinct manner. Since most of us had no prior experience or knowledge of filmmaking, we wouldn’t have a comprehensive idea of what the role of each crew member entailed. On the day of shooting, we had a schedule we wanted to stick to; there wasn’t time for our director Georgia to dilly-dally and ponder over what to tell the actors. Georgia was fantastic as director though – she was decisive and to the point. She communicated well with the actors and directed them in the way Sandra would have advised us to – with straightforward and succinct sentences.

As there is always a schedule to adhere to, there is often little time to think and mull on set. Hence, I would recommend directors to believe in a good amount of preparation. It is crucial to understand each of the characters inside out, so you have a steady grasp of how you want the actors to portray them and how you can direct them.

It is also important that no one (absolutely no one!) besides the director directs the actors. I’ve heard stories of other Film-TV groups tussling on the day of shooting, e.g. when the DOP attempts to direct the actors. It is confusing for the actors and the director. The actors are meant to listen to the director and the director alone; any other’s opinion might leave the actors (especially inexperienced ones) wondering who he/she should listen to. Also, if the DOP (or any other crew member) directs the actors, there would be an inconsistency in directing and directing style and the director might be unable to follow up.

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