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Video/Film - experience with working with actors? (1 Viewer)

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So, the story goes that I've been involved in an amatuer short film over the holidays. It's my first non-stage performing experience (and one of the few times I've acted full stop) and I've found it interesting. And frustrating. And educational. You know how it goes :p

The piece I'm involved in is quite "conceptual" and there are no vocals being recorded, there will just be narration that goes on top. So, the plot and script is quite open - the director/writer/person who's basically organising everything will give me very rough direction, and off we go.

As "the actor" I'm having issues with how things are going - there is a considerable lack of direction and motivation ("oh, just come down from there and sit down and like, sob or something"/absolute silence for five minutes as I do whatever I think is best and hope it's alright). Coming from a stage background, I'm used to head honchos who are very "involved" and always work hard on drawing out of the performers what they want as opposed to just letting the performer do whatever they want. So, I find this all a bit frustrating...


SO EE2 DIRECTORS -

Just from my curious perspective (and because there might be some good discussion from this), how have your experiences been with actors so far? (past EE2 students are welcome to contribute)

* Do you plan everything well in advance down to the finest detail? Do you plan a rough outline and let the actors ad lib a fair bit? Or a combination of the two? Why?

* (almost the same question) Are you possessive of all "controls" or are you willing to let the actors make new suggestions, and possibly even take them on board?

* How flexible is your script? Why?

* How do you deal/would you deal with actors who seem to just not understand the concept, or look/act like they don't want to be there? How aware of their mood are you, and what kind of things do you do to keep them motivated/inspired?

* How important/not important is it for you to keep your actors motivated and understanding what has to happen and why? How much time do you spend prepping your actors?

* How do you deal/would you deal with totally unexpected circumstances such as actors not being able to make it/new actors coming in at short notice, props or actors themselves who are not able to do things you assumed they would be able to do, bad weather, time restrictions, and anything else that could possibly happen? lol
 
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Porcia

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glitterfairy said:
The piece I'm involved in is quite "conceptional" and there are no vocals being recorded,
can you explain what this means?

or maybe you meant "conceptual"?

either ways, it sounds good... im a director of visual arts film and mine is in its entirety: spontaneous. speaking from experience, i advise against this because theres only so much u can do with spontaniety.

i defintely dont do a script, nor storyboard

and actors, to quote chandler, are secondary. thats not a quote but hey :D pretend it is
 
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rofl this is what happens when you have basically no sleep... spelling goes out the window.
 
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Thanks Komaticom, I have renewed faith in student filmakers now. :)

I wondered (still do, actually) whether I'm too impatient with amateur film makers. Not that I have much experience with that medium specifically, but I'm used to a pretty high level of organisation (two-way street - if they organise well, then I'll happily deliver my part well), so when things go really slowly and I know it's not my fault I find I'm very unforgiving... I never show it, I just call them nasty names in my head ;)

But surely, some of this is common sense?!?!

Like all situations though, I guess it could be worse. But still. *growls*
 

BeardEh

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* Do you plan everything well in advance down to the finest detail? Do you plan a rough outline and let the actors ad lib a fair bit? Or a combination of the two? Why? Technical aspects, such as lighting and significant actions are set in stone, they happen the way i want them to. smaller actions during dialogue i give the actors some more freedom, so long as i think its in character.

* (almost the same question) Are you possessive of all "controls" or are you willing to let the actors make new suggestions, and possibly even take them on board? i listen to actors because its another perspective, i know i changed a couple of things in my script during shoot based on my actors suggestions.

* How flexible is your script? Why? not very, i wanted to know what i was doing before i started shooting, i did make changes during the shoot though

* How do you deal/would you deal with actors who seem to just not understand the concept, or look/act like they don't want to be there? How aware of their mood are you, and what kind of things do you do to keep them motivated/inspired? if actors dont want to be there i dont want them there, i need this to work

* How important/not important is it for you to keep your actors motivated and understanding what has to happen and why? How much time do you spend prepping your actors? before each shot i act it out for them, showing them what i want

* How do you deal/would you deal with totally unexpected circumstances such as actors not being able to make it/new actors coming in at short notice, props or actors themselves who are not able to do things you assumed they would be able to do, bad weather, time restrictions, and anything else that could possibly happen? you have to be malleable and able to think on your feet definately, i rewrote elements of my script based on extenuating situations, so long as you keep the themes consistent your safe
 
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glitterfairy said:
* Do you plan everything well in advance down to the finest detail? Do you plan a rough outline and let the actors ad lib a fair bit? Or a combination of the two? Why?
I can't say I plan everything well in advance but i certainly plan things as much as possible. I have a rough storyboard because I tend to have flashes of inspiration so I like to have some flexibility. I don't mind ad libing but if I've written a script I like to stick to it as much as possible.
As far as other planning goes I usually have a basic schedule I'll try and stick to.

* (almost the same question) Are you possessive of all "controls" or are you willing to let the actors make new suggestions, and possibly even take them on board?
Depends on the actors I'm working with. My EE2 film, for example, I used a couple of mates from State Drama Company who know what they're doing and I'm quite happy to discuss things and make changes with them.

* How flexible is your script? Why?
My EE2 script wasn't very flexible due to time constraints but also because it had to convey certain ideas and couldn't be changed much without sacrificing its integrity. Others, I'm willing to be flexible to a certain extent, which I can't really define - it depends on my mood, the actors etc.


* How do you deal/would you deal with actors who seem to just not understand the concept, or look/act like they don't want to be there? How aware of their mood are you, and what kind of things do you do to keep them motivated/inspired?
To be honest I've never encountered this problem but hypothetically, I would try talking to them first and if they didnt lift their game then give them the hoist. I always try and make sure we have regular breaks in between shooting to ensure that everyone is fresh.

* How important/not important is it for you to keep your actors motivated and understanding what has to happen and why? How much time do you spend prepping your actors?
For my EE2 video i sent the script to both actors a couple of weeks in advance so they could learn lines and I also gave them character descriptions to work from as well as a brief outline of the basic ideas. I saw them occasionally at social events in advance so i was able to discuss it with them there aswell.

* How do you deal/would you deal with totally unexpected circumstances such as actors not being able to make it/new actors coming in at short notice, props or actors themselves who are not able to do things you assumed they would be able to do, bad weather, time restrictions, and anything else that could possibly happen? lol
Find a solution. Simple.


Also, in regards to actor direction I tend to agree with Komaticom in that you should have a very good idea about your characters and the dynamic in every scene. I also think, however, you need to be somewhat felxible with an actor's interpretation of their character and you have to be prepared to make minor changes (if you agree) to some aspects based on the actor's ideas about the character.
 

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* Do you plan everything well in advance down to the finest detail? Do you plan a rough outline and let the actors ad lib a fair bit? Or a combination of the two? Why?

I try to plan most things in advance, like the script and the storyboard, but I definitely leave room for flexibility. Sometimes opportunities in locations or events just seem to pop up at the right time, and i like to be able to work around the spontaneous happenings. Other times actors just have something really good to contribute, and i think it over before including it or not.



* (almost the same question) Are you possessive of all "controls" or are you willing to let the actors make new suggestions, and possibly even take them on board?

Not posessive at all. By all means anyone around while filming can make suggestions, but it's really up to the director to have the final say anyway. Though the director might have a vision of what they want, the audience also knows what they'd like to see.


* How flexible is your script? Why?

I agree with what others have said, if there's a specific problem with a line, as long as the same kind of thing is being said it tends not to be important. Just as long as it doesn't change the character, story or if it's a really important line.

* How do you deal/would you deal with actors who seem to just not understand the concept, or look/act like they don't want to be there? How aware of their mood are you, and what kind of things do you do to keep them motivated/inspired?

If they didn't understand tben i'd go have a hot chocolate with them and discuss what they think it is, and what my perceptions of it are. If they still weren't interested and didn't want to be there, i'd just ask 'Why are you here?' As far as i'm concerned, there's no point in them beng there if they don't want to be. It shows on camera, nothing is lost.

The mood is very important. You need people who are interested, and if they're passionate then that's even better. I have to say i'm not a very good motivator though. It's sometimes a good idea to mix the scenes you're filming that day, like a long one with a short take, just to keep things different.

* How important/not important is it for you to keep your actors motivated and understanding what has to happen and why? How much time do you spend prepping your actors?

It's essential they know what's going on at all times. They have to know the story, dialogue and their character fairly well, otherwise it just tends to show through the acting. And then you get something half as good as you might have gotten.

Prepping is really important, i usually spend just enough time until i'm sure the actor is confident about what is going on.

* How do you deal/would you deal with totally unexpected circumstances such as actors not being able to make it/new actors coming in at short notice, props or actors themselves who are not able to do things you assumed they would be able to do, bad weather, time restrictions, and anything else that could possibly happen? lol

I would probably curl up against a wall and cry a little. :p Then you just have to deal with it, find some alternative, or it will never work. I've never dealt with short notice additions so i'm not sure, but as for props and actors, i suppose it's just important to be flexible. There is always something else you can do that can communicate the same thing, sometimes even better.
 

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