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Saturday, August 12, 2006

New directing techniques

A long time ago I made a video about working with the actor featuring a guy who since became a great friend, Jeff Bellamy. Look out for Jeff in Everyday Man - one of favourite film that has never quite made it onto the internet yet. He's also in Yonathan Gal's new film - if that ever gets out of post!

Anyway. The point of this post is to talk about a new technique I've been using in working with actors recently. Its come out of the auditions I've been doing for the Circumference trailer. I noticed something - and it became more and more annoying until I had to find a way to do something about it. Its what I call - the falseness of acting. Not bad acting. This is not the actor's fault. This was my fault as a director. I couldn't find quite what was wrong - what was happening that I didn't like. If I couldn't communicate that then I was failing as a director.

Everyone I've met for both of the parts has been great. They laugh, they smile, they listen, they think. Turn the camera on and pling - they become someone else. Someone who is too obvious, who is too easy and too simple. In fact, as a director, all I want is for them to be who they are, but just in a controlled way. So if I say smile, I get a warm genuine (all in the eyes) smile rather than a cheesy posed (all in the mouth) smile. And this really matters for this film as I know people fall in love with people's eyes. AND my biggest problem - this is a no dialogue trailer. So it has be there - we have to see it.

Here is what I did. I told them a story. And we talked about it. And they felt it. And then I made them relive it. Now watch the subtlety as these thoughts and feelings flicker across there eyes. You can see it. Its really there.

Basically, in a nut shell, my new tip is internal dialogue. Just because you have no vocal dialogue does not mean that you don't need to write some. But write it for the inside of the actor. It will make a difference.

Still from behind the scenes of 'The Adventures of the Tattooed Man' - shot for Britannia
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Suki Singh said...

Great advice from a great cheeky man. I think you've made some vaid points. Do you mean read this extra story to them or tell them a story as the camera is turning or write it for them to read to themselves before turning over in camera? Another thing is music, I know you are not a fan of music dear Tim, but what about playing some while they acting without talking? Anyway, interesting points you've made. Do you think it's worth while directors doing an acting course?

Tim Clague said...

Music - not my usual bag - but another good idea. I think directors should do more acting / go on an acting course. I think psychology is another field of study that we don't look at enough.

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