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Piece #75 - My Directing Method

Being a director like I have for several years, there are things that I've had to deal with in this business. This isn't the professional method of directing, but this is my perspective on how to be a director in any medium. I will probably address the proper method of how to treat actors, but that is not the sole focus on what I'm going to share. As a director you will have to deal with people who think they know it all and you can't say anything that will benefit me. The problem that most amateur actors forget is that acting is an art form, but it's also an occupation. I think people tend to forget that acting is work...hard work.

One of the things that I try to let the kids know is that it's a very difficult business to get into. I feel like they need to hear the truth about the world of entertainment. I tell them that they have to 'want' it very badly and do almost anything to get in. An internship is a great way to get your foot in the door, but it will take more than simply getting coffee for the 3rd chair to the director of a small budget film; you know what I mean? You have to be willing to sacrifice everything from other interests to even relationships, I'm sorry to say; anything that might interfere must go.

You would think this would be the easiest thing to do, but casting the play or musical can be difficult and grueling. Having several people coming in to audition for you and to have to remember all the people is a real trick. As a director, you have to have a bit of a preconceived idea of what your vision is for each character and then try to match up actors to characters. I've read countless stories of actors who thought they weren't 'right' for the role, but the director saw the potential before the actor could. That's the magic trick, trying to see the potential of the actor even though they may not see it in themselves.

After the read-through, which is not significant to me, I get right to the blocking where I basically tell the actors where to stand and move on certain lines. This is where I have the most control because after this, it's up to the actors. Once I've laid the foundation, the actors are charged to memorize lines and their blocking. I like to tell the actors that the best thing you can do when it comes to the memorization of lines is repetition. They need to just go over the lines many, many times to get it in their long term memory.

Once all the other elements have been put in to place, the molding of the play happens during rehearsals. I realize many actors tend to be apprehensive to do for the character and so they ask me for direction. Here is where many directors can go in different methods, many of them would straight out tell the actor what they have to do; I, on the other hand, like to tell the actor 'what is your impulse?' and 'what do you think the character would do?'  I want the actor to take ownership in the character and decide for themselves what the best course of action would be. There have been very few times when I've had to tell an actor to do something a little different than what they were thinking. The funny part is they almost come to the realization and make the adjustment before I had to say something. A director needs to be flexible. I realize there are time crunches and people are expecting results immediately, but you can throw that on the actors. Sadly, the director has to take the brunt of the force.

Directors don't always get the notoriety that actors have, but that's not what this is all about. Many directors get that instead fame or fortune for that matter, but being able to pull off telling a story and entertain an audience is your ultimate goal...at least it better be! A director must have an overall look of what the play, movie, musical, etc. should look like and how it would unravel for the audience. I really believe a director needs to be well organized, have a lot of patience, have empathy for the actors, be the grand conductor of the piece of literature for the stage and most of all...humble. Just remember that every person that helps in the effort should get the attention they deserve because it's not all about you...the production is about everybody!

Song of Inspiration [Check it out on iTunes or Android!]:

Song: "For Those Who Wait"

Artist: Fireflight

Album: For Those Who Wait


Here's the video to the selected song:





By the way, I do actually have a director's chair...they are not cheap!

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