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Changing Direction: A Practical Approach to Directing Actors in Film and Theatre

Book Description

This approach, honed after years of on-set experience and from teaching at UCLA, NYU, and Columbia, and endorsed by many in the industry, including director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and producer/actor Edward Asner, aims to provide a helpful reference and resource for directors and actors alike. It combines underlying theory with dozens of exercises designed to reveal the actor's craft. There is material on constructing the throughline; analyzing the script; character needs; the casting and rehearsal processes; film vs. theater procedures as well as the actor and the camera. Distilling difficult concepts and a complex task to their simplest form, the author explains how to accurately capture and portray human behavior. The author's discussion of creative problems she has encountered or anticipated after years of experience, and her suggested solutions and exercises, are immediately useful. Additionally, hear what the actors have to say in excerpts from interviews with such acclaimed actors as Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington, Glenn Close, Robert Redford, Christopher Walken, Julianne Moore, and Michael Douglas (to name a few) who discuss their work with directors, what inspires them, and what they really want from the director.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Halftitle
  3. Title
  4. Copyright
  5. Contents
  6. Foreword
  7. Preface
  8. Acknowledgments
  9. 1. Introduction
  10. 2. The Actor and Training
    1. Exercises
    2. Relaxation Exercise
    3. Concentration
    4. Recall
    5. Sense Memory Exercise
    6. Recall Exercises
    7. Physical State of Being Recall
    8. Emotional Memory Exercise
    9. The Method or a Method
  11. 3. The Actors’ Vocabulary
    1. Life Needs and Scene Needs
    2. The Who am I Exercise
    3. Scene Needs
    4. Choosing the Outline
    5. Actions
    6. Hello How are you Exercise
    7. Action Verb List
    8. Shorthand Communication
    9. Additional Layers
    10. Preparation and Personalization
  12. 4. The Text and the Throughline
    1. The Text
    2. Collaborating with the Writer
    3. The Throughline
    4. Constructing the Throughline
    5. “Ordinary People” as Prototype
    6. Writing the Throughline
  13. 5. Analysis of Script
    1. Genre
    2. Structure
    3. Position of Characters
    4. The ARC
    5. The Givens
  14. 6. The Character Outline
    1. Protagonist or Antagonist
    2. Analysis of Character
    3. Making the Choice
  15. 7. The Casting Process
    1. The Character Description
    2. Casting Resources
    3. Categories
    4. Articulating the Description
    5. Casting Directors
    6. Reading the 8 ×10’s
    7. Understanding the Training
    8. The Interview
    9. Graceful Rejection
    10. The Audition
    11. The First Reading
    12. The Callback
    13. Casting Children
    14. Making the Final Choice
    15. Adding the Camera
    16. Matching and Chemistry
  16. 8. The Rehearsal Process
    1. The Table Reading
    2. Introductions
    3. Discussion of the Throughline
    4. Collaborating with the Actors
    5. Scene-by-Scene Rehearsal
    6. Movement in the Scene and the Use of Props
    7. Starting the Scene
    8. The Jump Ball
    9. The Moment to Moment
    10. Communicating with the Actors
    11. A Sample Scene
    12. Designing the Arc
    13. Choosing Needs
    14. Rehearsal Schedule
    15. Use of Improvisation
    16. Nudity and Sex
    17. Fight and Action Scenes
    18. Rehearsing Children
  17. 9. The Actor and the Camera
    1. Catch the Details
    2. The Camera as Actor
    3. Establish Geography
    4. Choice of Shot
    5. The Eyes of the Actor
    6. Close-Ups
    7. Number of Takes
    8. Coverage
    9. Locations
    10. Adjusting to the Camera
    11. Emotional Demand
    12. Nonactors
    13. Imbalance
    14. Preparation is Everything
  18. 10. Film and Theatre: Similarities and Differences
    1. The Language: A Similarity
    2. Size: A Difference
    3. Adjustments
    4. Audience
  19. 11. What Do the Actors Say?
  20. 12. Tips for the Director
    1. Necessary Attributes
    2. To Compromise or not to Compromise
    3. Additional Attributes
  21. Appendix A. Additional Exercises for Workshop or Classroom
  22. Appendix B. Suggested Reading and Viewing
  23. Glossary
  24. Index