Learn how to get the best performances from your actors—professional and non-professional alike. Get tips for casting talent, rehearsing scenes, and directing actors on set.
- Whether you're working with a professional actor or a non-actor who's going to be on camera for the first time, as a director or producer you should have your toolbox ready. Above all, building a great relationship with our talent is key to getting that great performance. Hi, I'm Kelley Slagle, and I'm going to share my unique perspective on working with actors and non-actors with you, drawing from my experience both behind and in front of the camera. I'm currently a freelance director, producer, and editor. With my production company Cavegirl Productions, I've produced 13 short films, a feature film, and a documentary.
I produce and edit short and long form training, industrials, and promos for corporate and nonprofit clients. I've also been a working actor since 2002. In this course we're going to cover tons of information that will take you from finding your talent all the way from managing talent on set in many different scenarios. First, we'll cover starting your casting process, including the importance of casting not just actors but relationships and the particular nuances of casting child actors. We'll go through acquiring union talent for your production as well.
I'll also provide you with some casting resources and give you best practices and tips for auditioning your actors. Your next important step in working with talent is thorough preparation. In order to direct and guide actors and non-actors properly, you have to be certain of what you want to begin with. We'll talk about breaking down your characters and dissecting your scenes by asking yourself a lot of pointed questions. Productive rehearsal and meeting with you talent is important no matter what type of project you're working on. We'll talk about the planning of your meetings and rehearsals and how best to conduct them.
So what makes a great performance? We'll discuss some big concepts, motivation, your actor's objective, their intention, and the usefulness of subtext to create drama. Proper communication with your talent is key. I'll discuss knowing the difference between collaboration and control, how to use action verbs instead of adjectives to get what you want from your talent, the importance of inviting questions and opinion, and how to implement other directing techniques to keep things fresh. Once you're actually on set, you'll want to get to know your actors further and prep your talent in scenes.
We'll go over on set communication like productive feedback and how you can best help the actor do their job by providing the tools they need and a safe working environment. Then we'll get into the specific needs of working with non-actors in your productions, emphasizing assessing your talent in a particular situation and the importance of preparation. We'll talk about how to engage your talent on set and how to make them comfortable, useful tips and tricks that come in handy when working with non-actors, pointers on giving feedback to non-actors, and whether or not to consider having them use a teleprompter.
Finally, I'll take you through some specific special scenarios you might run into that require some extra thought, working with special effects, conducting documentary interviews, dealing with sensitive subjects, working with child actors, and directing B-role talent. Let's get started.
- Casting and auditioning actors
- Breaking down scripts and characters
- Directing actors
- Working with non-actors
- Special scenarios