Tips on How To Direct Actors

Being a director means knowing how to handle all kinds of personalities. Remember, you won’t just be working with a varied crew; you’ll also be working with actors. As a director, it’s your job to direct them and ensure they manage to create the scene you have envisioned for your film or story.

When directing famous or non-famous actors, there are several things to keep in mind:

  1. Always inform the actors of the subtext for the scene.

It’s one thing to give them the dialogue but it’s important to give the actors a background of what’s really happening. For instance, if a scene requires John to act one way even if he really means the other, then you have to inform the actor and you will direct him according to the subtext. It’s essentially what the character really means to do as opposed to what they’re saying or doing.

  1. Always be polite and positive when giving notes to any actor.

Directing means having leadership and people skills, this includes being sensitive to feelings of the person you are directing. Famous or not, its possible for an actor’s performance to be totally off from what you require especially if they don’t fully understand what’s happening. This is where you step in as director. If you have to give them notes, approach them closely and don’t shout your orders so the rest of the crew or the other actors can hear it. It’s better to be tactful and state what you need and the direction to the actor personally in a low but firm voice. Throwing a tantrum because an actor “can’t get it right” is never good for any director. It shows you in a bad light and most actors wouldn’t want to work with you again.

  1. Always know what you want and what your project is about from top to bottom.

Directors who know their project from inside out and show good leadership skills will always inspire actors to do their best. If you have a clear vision of what you want and politely but effectively communicate it, you would be surprised just how far actors (and the crew) will go to help you achieve your vision.