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Old February 24th, 2002, 11:29 AM   #1
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Books - how to work with actors

I posted this one on the Totem-forum a few days ago but got no replies so I moved it here, maybe somebody has an interest in it. And if not, well, my bad luck. :-)

This has nothing to do with technology, no, it is even a bit artsy..

Being a nerd in communicating actors to do what I want, I was wondering if those of you who work with actors could provide a list of recommendable books, like the one in the DV forum on digital filmmaking.

And maybe we could discuss our own approaches making these poor fellows understand what we expect them to do, I am sure we all have our specialities.

For my part (I only work with amateurs, yes, the budget) I find it very difficult especially with amateurs as their acting abilities are very different. And showing them storyboards and practicing dialogue proves not to be enough. I would like to explain it more but I am pushing my english to its limits already. I hope I can share a little more when the disussion evolves.

The only book I have had a look at so far is:

* Acting for the camera - by Tony Barr

This one is from the actors POV explaining how to prepare for a role. A good introduction from the actors side.

There are so many other books covering the directos POV, which ones have you read, what do you think of them?

Cheers,
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Old February 24th, 2002, 07:54 PM   #2
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Peter,

Can't say I know any book titles, but I do remember hearing about a technique used sometimes by directors to get more natural performances from amateur actors.

All you have to do is shoot the rehearsals. Have your cameraman shoot while you step out from behind the camera, closer to the actors (but out of camera view), so that they don't suspect you're filming. If you're doing the shooting yourself, turn off the recording light and just tell them you're rehearsing the angles and focus.

I used to use a similar trick with models when I was doing fashion photography. New models were usually so nervous at first, they looked "wooden." So, I'd pretend to shoot a roll or two at the beginning of the shoot...but with no film in the camera. If you keep talking to them, keep reassuring, and keep shooting, then they loosen up pretty quickly. Now, with digital photography, there's no film expense involved. So, you can just shoot away until they relax.
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