Directing

How to Direct New Actors

How to Direct New Actors

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This video on how to direct new actors for film illustrates simple tricks to help filmmakers create better work and draw fantastically real and breathtaking performances from their new talents.

Casting – Look for the people in your life that are close to the real people. Like for example, you’re doing a short film about a detective, you need to find a real detective or someone related to that job like a police officer who can bring all that knowledge and all that life experience to the role because what ends up happening, is when you give them scenes to do and you give them words of dialogue they actually package it and put it into their own experience which ends up giving it an authenticity and a texture that you can’t fake.

FREEDOM WITH DIALOGUE – It’s best if you give your new actors the freedom to change the script and put it into their own words so that they can memorize it easier and that it could come out more naturally.

BACK-UP PLAN – Always prepare for different outcomes from every scenes and come up with different solutions in case the first one doesn’t work.

LET IT ROLL – When working with new actors, it’s better if you don’t always cut because it would make them feel conscious and will definitely affect their overall performance. It would be best if you, as a director, will let them go through the scenes. This way, you are allowing them a momentum where they can forget that the camera is there.

SHOW THEM – If they’re unable to give you the performance that you need, you have to actually give them an exact model of what to mimic so that they can get there.

Video by Film Riot

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before we get into today’s episode I
wanted to give you guys a heads up on a
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assets check out the notes below for
more info on that and now to me wearing
a different shirt
not long ago I told you guys about a
short film called the cage which as I
said then is one of my favorite short
films to go online in the very long time
the film was written and directed by
Ricky Staub Ricky partnered with his
company neighborhood film and with film
supply which is a great cinematic stock
footage company to make the film and the
cage was the first in the film supply
presents a series where films supply
will be releasing short films created by
their filmmakers and in this one ricky
relied on non actors to bring his world
to life these are real people from the
real neighborhood that his story takes
place in and the result that he was able
to get from these people who never acted
before was incredibly impressive so I
asked Ricky if he would be kind enough
to give you guys some tips on how to
pull convincing dramatic performances
from new actors and he was awesome
enough to do it so I’ll let him take it
from here.  hey my name is Ricky Staub I’m the
director of the cage so excited to share
with you about my process working with
non actors everyone in the film that I
worked with was either a neighbor of
mine or a close friend as many of you
have worked with non actors in the past
on films or will in the future there are
a lot of things that I learned that I
think will be really helpful for you and
I’d love to share think of people in
your life that are is close to the real
people as possible I casted a woman
named Aisha who was my next-door
neighbor for five years when I lived in
this neighborhood and I wanted her to
play a mom who was struggling to connect
with her son but she was also
prostituting on the side in her home
Aisha in real life isn’t a prostitute
but I know that she’s been in that
neighborhood where things like this
happened but then she also has her own
children and her own son who she loves
and adores and has struggled as a mom to
raise say that you know you’re doing a short
film about a detective you know your
first thought would be well great I’ll
just get my dad to play a detective in
my film but the problem is your dad
probably has absolutely no experience
being a detective unless of course he’s
a detective and so my thought is that
you actually have to go find someone who
is a detective or a police officer who
can bring all that knowledge and all
that life experience to the role because
what ends up happening is when you give
them scenes to do and you give them
words of dialogue they actually package
it and put it into their own experience
which which ends up in my opinion giving
it an authenticity and a texture that
you can’t fake unless you’re an a-list
actor the other thing that I think is
important when working with non actors
is giving them freedom with dialog I
know that for a lot of directors or
writers this probably makes them cringe
but for me I was actually the writer
hand director on the film and so I was
completely comfortable with writing
scenes as a framework and not complete
law they were able to take what I wrote
and put it into their own words so that
they could memorize it easier and that
it could come out more naturally for me
I could never do for myself there’s
almost a sense of approaching it like
you would a documentary you may not be
quite as close to the subject matter as
the people that are actually in your
film and so there’s a good listening
that needs to happen
one of the things that I kept in mind is
that there were always two versions of
every scene for me one was a fully built
out narrative scene and one was oh my
gosh they’re not hitting the emotional
marks or they’re not acting well so
here’s a way that I can have the scene
work if I just pull out my camera tricks
and make it more of a poetic version of
the scene or a more visual version of
the scene and I think this helped me out
a lot because it helped me feel like I
had options and case scenes weren’t
working I think the best scenes are the
most visual so how many scenes can you
have that don’t require dialogue so if
you watch the cage the actual first real
scene in the film actually has zero
dialogue
I went into that scene knowing that they
wouldn’t speak at all but there was
versions of every scene that I had shot
that had those types of elements that no
matter what I’d have something usable to
tell my story another approach I like to
take which probably every DP and every
ad is gonna scold me for saying is that
I actually don’t like to cut because
what happens is when you cut it takes
these people that are non actors out of
the scene and gives them a time to break
or feel self-conscious or question their
performance where if I’m just constantly
rolling and having them go through the
scene over and over and over again in my
opinion it gives them a momentum where
they can forget that the camera is there
as the directory you know you’re
defending that final product and things
like that while technically might create
problems ultimately if it gives you the
best creative output that’s a huge win
or hardly what you been typically when
you’re working with actors you want to
give them the freedom to explore their
character and give you something new but
if they’re unable to give you the
performance that you need I think you
have to actually give them an exact
model of what – mimics so that they can
get there I think nothing makes them
actor more comfortable than the freedom
to be foolish which a lot of non actors
are naturally gonna be really really
really uncomfortable as a director if
I’m making a fool out of myself or
screaming and yelling and getting into
the scene this naturally I feel draws
them into the ability to go well if he’s
acting crazy then I can act crazy
thank you guys so much for having me be
a part of the show in this episode I
hope what I’ve shared is actually
helpful for you and if you want to reach
out or have any questions the best way
to reach me is actually on Instagram you
can find me at neighborhood film or go
to our website neighborhood film company
calm and reach out happy to answer any
additional questions and connect with
other filmmakers so thank you again for
letting me share
okay Josh come on no get your buns in
here this is so stupid
it’s amazingly terrible you’re gonna
love it you don’t know now but you’re
gonna look okay whatever let’s just get
this over with and the booms in the shot
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dude you can’t interrupt me when I’m
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think domain.com now hit it no rap solo
no hot dog hot cha just tell me not calm
stop playing catch up because the calm
is the bomb if you need a way I’m
psyching it’s on nanner calm oh this
really sucks that was awesome you killed
it no that’s awful.  oh okay
that’s it big thank you to Ricky and
film supply for a Guinness up with this
info film supply is also licensing all
the footage plus other footage from
neighborhood and over 200 other
filmmakers you can find that footage and
a ton more about the cage like more BTS
on the film blog posts and so on at film
supply.com /the cage and we have links
for all of that below as well and I’ll
see you guys next week when I do some
sculpting with mashed potatoes

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