The Actor’s Handbook
AN ACTOR, DIRECTORS & FILM MAKERS HANDBOOK
A Director’s Perspective
© 2012 Mark Piper
An actor, actress, player or thespian is a person who acts in a dramatic production and who works in film, television, theatre, or radio in that capacity. The ancient Greek word for an actor, (hypokrites), when rendered as a verb means “to interpret”;in this sense, an actor is one who interprets a dramatic character.
A film director, or filmmaker, is a person who directs the making of a film. A film director visualizes the script, controlling a film’s artistic and technical crew and actors in the fulfillment of their vision.
Honour the Writer
Story Development – The Idea
What is the story telling
The story is about a (description of your hero) who, after something major happens to them, wants to ( solution the hero seeks?) by (what is the hero’s plan?). This become increasingly difficult because of obstacles and complications in the way. ( what are the obstacles and complications)
Title of Film
Three Act Structure
The First Act of a screenplay consists of usually about 25% of the story and is called the Setup. In a 100 page screenplay it would be the first 25 pages or so.
Toward the end of the first act there occurs the first turning point, an event that turns the story in another direction.
The Second Act, also called the Confrontation, continues for the next 50% or so until a second Turning Point occurs.
There is almost always a Turning Point in the middle of the Second Act.
The second plot point takes us into the Third Act, or Resolution, for the final 25% or so of the story.
Born in Moscow in 1863, Konstantin Sergeyvich Stanislavsky had a more profound effect on the process of acting than did anyone else in the Twentieth Century. At age 14, Stanislavsky’s group organized by his family, and soon became its central figure. Throughout the late 1800s he improved as an actor and began to produce and direct plays. He asserted that the theatre could not be meaningful unless it moved beyond the external representation that acting had primarily been. Over forty years he created an approach that brought to the forefront the psychological and emotional aspects of acting. The Stanislavski System held that an actor’s main responsibility was to be believable as well as understood. Merely being recognized and heard was insufficient.
To reach this “believable truth,” after years of research with actors of the Moscow Art Theatre, Stanislavski began employing new and original methods, such as “emotional memory.” He felt at that time that to work on a particular emotion in a role that involved fear, the actor might remember something that frightened him from his own life.
Stanislavski believed that an actor needed to take his or her own personality onto the stage when he or she began to play a character. This innovation was a clear break from previous modes of acting that held that the actor’s job was to become the character and leave his or her own emotions behind. Later, Stanislavski concerned himself with the creation of physical states, believing that the repetition of certain acts and exercises could bridge the gap between life on and off the stage.
In his travels throughout the world with the Moscow Art Theatre, Stanislavski earned international acclaim as an actor, director, and coach. Among his collaborators were the writers Tolstoi and Anton Chekhov. While Stanislavski’s new method of acting supported actors in breaking from the exact lines and actions of the script, it also demanded that they pay closer attention to the important unsaid messages within the writing. This prompted writers such as Chekhov to create subtle works that were more emotionally alive.
* Today in the United States, Stanislavski’s theories are the primary source of study for many actors. Among the many great actors and teachers to use his work were Stella Adler, Marlon Brando, Harold Clurman, Sanford Meisner, Bobby Lewis, Uta Hagen, Marian Seldes, Wynn Handman, and Lee Strasberg. Many of these artists, including many of the celebrated graduates of the Stella Adler Studio, continue to demonstrate the potency of Stanislavski’s powerful ideas.
* “Take it from a director: if you get an actor that Sandy Meisner has trained, you’ve been blessed.” – Elia Kazan
* A leading acting teacher who trained some of the most famous performers of the stage and screen, Sanford Meisner was a founding member of the Group Theatre. The Group Theatre, a cooperative theater ensemble, became a leading force in the theater world of the 30s. Meisner performed in many of the group’s most memorable productions, including The House of Connelly, Men in White, Awake and Sing, Paradise Lost and Golden Boy. While still a member of the group, Meisner became the head of the acting department of New York’s Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater. After the Group Theatre dissolved in 1941 Meisner devoted himself to teaching, appearing only occasionally on Broadway and in films (most notably, in Clifford Odets’ 1959 The Story on Page One).
* Over the course of forty-eight years at the Neighborhood Playhouse, Meisner honed his skills as an acting instructor. Growing out of the days with the Group Theatre and the Russian theater theorist Constantin Stanislavsky, Meisner created a series of exercises for actors. For Meisner, acting was about reproducing honest emotional human reactions. He felt the actor’s job was simply to prepare for an experiment that would take place on stage. The best acting, he believed, was made up of spontaneous responses to the actor’s immediate surroundings. Meisner explained that his approach was designed “to eliminate all intellectuality from the actor’s instrument and to make him a spontaneous responder to where he is, what is happening to him, what is being done to him.”
* The primary tool Meisner employed in preparing his students was spontaneous repetition. Among his many exercises was one in which two actors looked directly at each other and one would described a feature of the other. After this, the two actors would simply say the phrase back and forth. Because the phrases (such as, “You have soft eyes”) came from a physical reality apparent to the actors, the statement retained meaning no matter how often they were repeated. Another example of Meisner’s method has two actors enter a room playing specific roles without specific lines. They begin to speak and the plot is formed out of nothing but the surroundings. The actor’s concern is to remain in character. Techniques such as these allow actors to move beyond the printed script and address the underlying emotional or philosophical themes of a play.
* Meisner’s role within the theater community remained important throughout his long career. Among his more famous students were actors Robert Duvall, Grace Kelly, Diane Keaton, Joanne Woodward, Lee Grant, and Peter Falk. Gregory Peck said of Meisner, “What he wanted from you was truthful acting…He was able to communicate, and the proof of that is the number of people that have come out of [the Neighborhood Playhouse] over a forty-year period who’ve gone on to become people who set standards of acting.” Though troubled with a number of physical problems, including losing his larynx, Meisner continued to be an active part of the theater community for his entire life. During his final years, he split his time between the Caribbean island Bequia and New York.
- ATLANTIC ACTING SCHOOL – Inspired by the Group Theater, Stanislavsky, and a passion for ensemble acting, David Mamet and William H. Macy formed the Atlantic Theater Company in 1985 with a select group of undergraduate drama students. This original group of students formed the Atlantic Acting School, a part of NYU’s Tisch School of Drama since 1985. Atlantic has the only conservatory program in the world offering an in-depth training in the influential Practical Aesthetics Technique. This simple, honest, and straightforward approach demystifies the process of acting and gives students a clear set of analytical and physical tools. Committed to preparing its students for all aspects of a career in theater, film, and television Atlantic pairs its technique training with comprehensive instruction in the fundamental physical tools required by the craft; Voice, Speech, and Movement. Students are guided with care through the process of learning Practical Aesthetics while training in one of the most rigorous courses of actor training in New York City.
Having published over five books in his theory, Morris claims that his method is derived partly from Lee Strasberg’s Method Acting. However, Strasberg’s Method focuses too much on craft, according to Morris, and not enough on the actor’s instrument. Facing struggle in finding truth, he contemplated his theory while heading the Directors Unit at the Actor’s Studio in Los Angeles. Morris’ method recognizes the fact that actors have emotional blocks, tension, insecurities and other preventions to achieving a fundamental state of being, and works to clear these blocks, rendering the actor truly organic. In this sense, Morris stresses that acting is essentially living and being. There are seven major obligations to material, according to Eric: 1) Time and Place, 2) Relationship, 3) Emotional Obligation, 4) Character Obligation, 5) Historic Obligation, 6) Thematic Obligation, 7) Directorial Obligation. After recognizing these 7 obligations, there are the choices the actor utilizes to render these emotions, and finally the approach to which the actors use these choices.
Is a phrase that loosely refers to a family of techniques by which actors try to create in themselves the thoughts and emotions of their characters in an effort to develop lifelike performances. It can be contrasted with more classical forms of acting, in which actors simulate the thoughts and emotions of their characters through external means, such as vocal intonation or facial expression. Though not all Method actors use the same approach, the “method” in Method acting usually refers to the practice, advocated by Lee Strasberg, by which actors draw upon their own emotions and memories in their portrayals, aided by a set of exercises and practices including sense memory and affective memory.
Method actors are often characterized as immersing themselves in their characters to the extent that they continue to portray them even offstage or off-camera for the duration of a project. However, this is a popular misconception. While some actors have employed this approach, it is generally not taught as part of the Method.
Method acting has been described as “revolutionizing American theater.” While classical acting instruction “had focused on developing external talents,” the Method was “the first systematized training that also developed internal abilities (sensory, psychological, emotional).”
Method acting continues to evolve, with many contemporary acting teachers, schools, and colleges teaching an integrated approach that draws from several different schools of thought about acting.
The Chubbuck Technique
Ivana Chubbuck is an acting coach and author and is the founder and director of the Ivana Chubbuck Studio. Her students include Brad Pitt, Charlize Theron, Halle Berry,Terence Howard, Jake Gyllenhaal, Elizabeth Shue, Catherine Keener, Djimon Honsou, America Ferrera, Eva Mendes, James Franco and Kate Bosworth.
Her book is entitled: The Power of the Actor: The Chubbuck Technique. The book is described as: “The 12-Step Acting technique That Will Take You From Script to a Living, Breathing, Dynamic Character”.
The Power of the Actor has been adopted for use as a textbook in many colleges and universities across the country, as well as being translated into a number of languages around the world.
TYPICAL DIRECTORS PROJECT SCHEDULE
DIRECTOR’S SCRIPT MEETING :
Attendees – Director, Writer, Producer,
Presented – Script, Work flow Doc, One-Line Schedule from breakdown
Hard Copies circulated, if any changes made, revised versions emailed
- Discuss script, director’s vision, production methodology incl key concerns & strategies
- Discuss locations to begin scouting
- Discuss casting to begin process (any children or animals etc)
- Diarise future meetings incl script deadlines, loc survey, casting, auditions, rehearsals, SAFETY, etc
- Decide on deal terms for cast & crew (eg hours, travel, pay, rights etc)
- Confirm post path (to schedule & book)
- REVIEWS DOCS & TRIGGERS RELEASE OF PRE PRODUCTION MONEY
==> LOCATION SURVEY – photos required
==> CASTING – shoot video, casting meeting with Producer to finalise
PRE PRODUCTION MEETING -:
Attendees – Director, Writer, Producer (+ Production Manager, 1st AD, Art Dept)
Presented – Revised Script, Revised One-Line Schedule, Celtx Props List
Hard Copies circulated, updated during meeting if needed
- Finalise locations (view photos etc, to issue & sign location agreements)
- Finalise casting (view DVD, to issue & sign cast contracts). Cast extras.
- Confirm to begin rehearsal schedule
- Schedule any make up & wardrobe tests
- Confirm and allocate all props/costume/art dept requirements
- Review post production schedule & any particular sound needs. Post flow chart.
- Consider publicity – any on set, marketing schedule re festival list etc
==> Assessment re if safety precautions/report necessary
A) TECHNICAL SURVEY / RECCE -
Attendees – Director, 1st AD, DOP, Art Dept, Continuity, Sound
Shooting Schedule circulated and taken on recce
B) PRODUCTION MEETING –
Attendees – Director, Writer, Producer, All Crew, Teacher Presented – Final Amended Script, Full Shooting Schedule, Shoot Paperwork
Hard Copies circulated, any script amendments from now colour coded
- ALL READ THRU DAY-BY-DAY SHOOTING SCHEDULE, raise any issues
- Confirm all equipment & camera tests
- If Safety Report needed, circulated to all.
- If shot list, option to give copy to 1st AD/Producer
- Distribute blanks of shoot paperwork eg 1st Report, continuity, camera sheets, sound
- Confirm all art dept requirements covered – costumes, props etc
- To then issue call sheets with maps, advise all re call times/pickups, poss Teacher drop-ins
- TRIGGERS RELEASE OF PRODUCTION MONEY
==> TONE MEETING – Director & Producer to discuss any last concerns re script/realisation
All shoots to be based on 10 hour days with 45 min to 1 hour for lunch and travel times for location moves in schedule. Times to must be strictly adhered to – nobody to be late.
- EDITORS CUT 1ST ASSEMBLY
- DIRECTORS CUT
- PRODUCERS CUT
==> SOUND SPOTTING SESSION – Sound Designer, Editor, Director. SOUND MIX.
POST DEBRIEF – on Delivery
analysis of production prep, process, roles, challenges, etc
Present Marketing Plan & Strategy
* Being an Actor is a craft You must learn technique and theory and practice a lot.
* I believe theatre should be a part of your training
* 1. KEEP TRAINING
* Long and short courses by recognised teachers and industry people are good, as are drop-in classes.
* • Meditation
• Alexander technique
• Keep fit
• Keep healthy
* • Get speech tuition
* • Use your own video camera and do scenes
* 2. PLANNING AND TARGETING
* Being a professional actor is a business. Be proactive. Create a
plan of attack of what you want to do:
* Source from the internet, newspapers and industry magazines the different projects in planning or in production. Create a plan and then discuss with your agent.
* 3. TYPES OF ROLES FOR THE ACTOR
* • Extras / background artists
• 50 worders Speaks 50 words or less –
• Daily roles
• Main cast, guest and semi-regular roles
• Theatre / Musical Theatre
• Feature Films
• Short Films
• Presenter / Reporter
• Voice Overs
* 4. WORKING WITH YOUR AGENT / PLANNING
* A) Preparing your CV / Resume
* Essential information required on a resume includes your Film / TV / Theatre experience and training, an overview of skills (eg. driving, horseriding etc), and a photo 10 x 8 (A4 size).
* B) Show Reels
* Most agents and casting consultants like showreels to be on DVD format. Showreels should be short and sweet but still showing acting range. Three scenes of about 1 minute each is usually enough with the scenes showing a range of characters. Do not use theatre pieces on your show reel (unless they are for theatre) as they usually don’t transfer well on to film’
There is a growing trend for Actors to have their own websites / blogs as a marketing tool,complete with CV’s, photos and video.
This is a good thing as the website can be accessed anywhere in the world at anytime by casting agents, directors etc
* 5. THE CASTING AGENT
* Go See
A Go see is when a casting agent will meet and greet new talent). Some agents do Go sees on a regular basis, and some as often as weekly.
* It would be good to take a hard copy of your resume, photo and DVD if you have booked for a Go see.
* A survey of casting agents has revealed the following basic requirements:
* Q. I am currently holding some seminars for emerging actors and one part of it covers working with casting agents. So I can represent casting agents properly, I would appreciate it if you could answer the following questions:
* 1. Resumes and photos – what do you like to see on a resume? What size photo?
* 8X10 HEAD SHOT. RESUMES ARE GOOD IF YOU CAN FIT THEM ON ONE PAGE – CONCISE AND TO THE POINT.
* 3. How do you like an actor to approach you? (a) unrepresented (b)
represented by an agent? Should they ring you first or send in a
photo and resume?
* IF REPRESENTED – BY AGENT OR UN REPRESENTED – SEND IN HEAD SHOT AND BIOG BY EMAIL REQUESTING A GO-SEE.
* 4. Go sees – what is your current policy?
* WE DO THEM ON A REGULAR BASIS, HOWEVER, EXPECT TO WAIT A WHILE AS WE ARE INUNDATED WITH REQUESTS.
* 5. Auditions – can an actor request to read the whole script before
* IT DEPENDS ON THE PROJECT AND IF A SCRIPT IS AVAILABLE. IF IT IS, THEY ARE WELCOMED AND ENCOURAGED TO COME IN FOR A READ.
* 6. Can they see a character breakdown?
* IF AVAILABLE, IT WOULD NORMALLY BE PROVIDED WITH TEST SCENE.
* 7. Can they request to stand or sit during the audition?
* YES, UNLESS DIRECTED OTHERWISE.
* 8. Do you like to see them dress appropriately for the role?
* TO AN EXTENT. NEAT AND TIDY IS THE WAY TO GO AND WHAT EVER WILL HELP THE ACTOR TO ESTABLISH THEIR CHARACTER. FULL COSTUME IS NOT NECESSARY AT AUDITION STAGE.
* 9. Can they bring their own props?
* WOULD SUGGEST NO. ANY PROPS REQUIRED, WE WOULD PROVIDE.
* 10. When casting, do you use mainly Showcast, ECaster, AT2 or other?
* WE HAVE PERSONALISED FILES BASED ON GO-SEE. WILL HAVE AGENTS SUGGEST AND YES, SHOWCAST, AT2 AND ECASTER.
* 11. How do you feel about country and/or interstate people
* FINE – HOWEVER, IT’S DIFFICULT IF THEY ARE NOT BASED IN THE CITY TO DO AUDITIONS AND RECALLS AT A MOMENTS NOTICE AND FOR MANY PROJECTS, MAY NEED TO BE BASED IN THE CITY IT IS SHOOTING IN.
* 12. If anyone shines in my seminars, can I direct them to you?
* “AT2 is an Australian owned and operated company, founded over 8 years ago as Artist Technologies. AT2 quickly established itself as a must-have workflow tool for casting professionals and agents and as an indispensable site for artists…
The AT2 online system currently connects over 18 000 artists, represented and freelance, and more than 400 agencies with the vast majority of casting directors…
If you are an unrepresented artist we provide you with an essential showcase for your talent.”
* “eCaster assists Casting Professionals in streamlining the total casting and management process…
Artists maximise their exposure with the provision of a comprehensive on-line portfolio…
eCaster completely automates the entire casting process from breakdowns right through to job bookings in a secure and easy to use system.”
* Showcast have been profiling actors to casting directors and other industry professionals since 1960. The Showcast printed directories and website are in constant use in film, television and theatrical offices in Australia, New Zealand and worldwide.
* You can use Showcast to print and email comprehensive and up-to-date biographies.
Now and soon always the first audition you do will be a self audition, that is your audition is filmed at home and then uploaded to the internet , YouTube, Vimeo, Drop box, etc
* • CREATING A CHARACTER
Bring something of yourself into a character
Take risks, be unique
* Work on scenes and learn how the structure, language and subtext can serve you to tell a story and develop character.
* • RESEARCH YOUR CHARACTER
* Open your communication, release any blocks, connect to your instincts and discover what happens naturally in life can happen equally as naturally on film. This is the foundation to acting.
* Experience the connections between actor and actor – the give and take, and the authentic release of the self. Realise how circumstances dictate and influence action, and how we direct a scene’s journey by the choices we make. Find your sense of liberty and play as you gain confidence, clarity and open up to the adventure of acting.
* Explore the dynamic of the arena – how big, how deep and how wide are the thoughts, emotions and the ideas of the characters. Get specific with the story, detail the drama, and release into the action with your power and passion.
* Explore practical techniques and processes that will release your power and emotion. Unlock your passion and develop the clarity of your craft.
* Practice a variety of approaches to creating characters and telling stories.
* . HOW TO AUDITION – SCREEN TESTING
whats the scene about
• Dress for the role / makeup
• Big print • Learn and read other role
Its alright to be nervous
You or your agent can ring the casting agent and request to read the whole script. Sometimes the script won’t be available for confidentiality reasons. Normally you will be given 1 or 2 scenes 2 or 3 days before the audition and when auditioning, you will generally have a reader playing opposite you.
Don’t feel afraid to ask to stand up or sit in the audition room, however, usually you can’t move around too much.
Body language is important.
Callback is the next stage in your audition procedure and you will be contacted if you are required to attend. You will sometimes be required to read a scene with the main actor.
* DEALING WITH PERFORMANCE ANXIETY
* Learn relaxation techniques. Even experienced actors are sometimes anxious prior to a performance and get what is commonly referred to as stage fright.
* There are, however, ways of minimizing the stress factors and going in front of an audience, relaxed and confident in the task at hand.
Don’t over learn the script. Know the character. Know the point of the scene. Know the turning points in the scene. Know what the scene is about. Know where you have come from and where you are going.
Get voice training – this is essential
Do vocal warmups
* Speak clearly, confidently and courageously. Giving a great speech or performance isn’t just a matter of taking a deep breath and hoping for the best. It’s a real skill and the good news is everyone can learn how to do it.
* There are very real changes that occur in our minds and bodies when we are engaged in public speaking or performance. – And there is a range of exercises and techniques that will enable even the most cautious to present with clarity and conviction.
Learn how to relax the many parts of the body that are required to ensure a smooth and measured delivery; how best to create a presence; how to employ the power of breath; how to speak with expression and how to rid your body of unwanted tension.
* • DIALECT
* The connection between vocal skill acquisition and the interpretation and development of dramatic texts within traditional theatre forms.
* The relationship between voice and text with a particular emphasis on heightened text.
* • APPROACH TO ACCENTS
* We live in an increasingly global world. Now, more than ever, accents are vital to the contemporary working actor. In particular, Standard American is becoming an essential tool for the actor in Australia with more and more production coming from the US, i.e. Queensland and that work is requiring a high level of proficiency in US accent.
* Learn a selection of the most in-demand accents. Be prepared for any audition or play with a detailed and secure method of learning and delivering accents within a dramatic context for theatre, TV or film.
ACTOR’S CHARACTER CHECKLIST Mark Piper 2012
- What is this story about? What is this character chasing? Is the audience behind him, in knowledge, or at the same level, or in front of him?
- Everything is valid
Who am I? Sift the text for every detail about your character – not just the obvious (age, profession, background etc.) but look for everything you can about his/her personality. How would you sum up this person in a sentence? Social self, personal inventory, Internal Conflicts!
* Where am I? What are your surroundings like? Do you have a mental picture of everything around you? Is it similar to anything you have experienced? Try to make a connection from your own life or from observations you’ve made. The richer the detail the more it will help you to visualize where you are.
* What has happened just before the scene starts? What are the events that have led to this scene? What was said the second before the scene commences?
* What is my emotional state at the beginning of the scene? Have you experienced/witnessed anything similar? How would you feel if you were that character in that situation? How high are the stakes for me? What will happen to me if I don’t get what I want in this scene?
* What do I want most in my life? Your character’s super-objective. What is the driving need in your character’s life as explored in the script?
* What do I want most at the beginning of the scene? Your objective. What do you want out of that other person? What do want to make them do? Answer this with – “I want to…(make them understand my point of view, convince them not to go away, stop them attacking me, fall in love with me, forgive me etc.). Does your objective change within the scene?
* What expectations do I have at the beginning of the scene? Are you optimistic or pessimistic about getting what you want? How do you expect the other characters to react to you? As the scene unfolds what surprises you?
* What obstacles are in your way? What is stopping me get what I want in the scene? Can be an inner obstacle (e.g. I want to ask her out but I’m too shy) or an outer obstacle (e.g. I want to convince him to give me the job but he doesn’t think I’m up to it).
* What tactics do I use to get over the obstacles? Usually governed by the text, but you can say a line in many ways with many different tactics. The boss might present you with an obstacle and say: “I want to give you the job but I don’t think you’re up to it” and you say “ All right. Thank you for seeing me” with different tactics to make him reconsider. E.g. 1) You say your line to get his sympathy so he’ll feel sorry for you 2) You say your line as a threat to scare him into reconsidering 3) As a come-on to make him fancy you and you can get your job back that way!
* Do I know my subtext and inner monologue? Can I write down or speak out loud my thoughts at every moment of the scene? Do I mean what I say or do I lie to cover up my true thoughts? Things you want to tell, things you are feeling
* Do I know where the beat changes are in the scene? Identify any change of your objective, tactics, action or rhythm. Avoid getting stuck on the one emotional note. Often “pause” written in a scene will imply something is going on under the surface, hence a likely change of beat.
* Can I connect with my character’s emotional state? Have I experienced/witnessed something similar? Have I connected with that emotion inside or outside the rehearsal room in a full and honest way, both with and without the words?
* What do I look like? What do I wear?
* And some other questions…
* Am I listening to the other characters?
* What is my attitude to each of the other characters?
* If someone took my lines away, could I improvise the scene in my own words?
* Am I committing to the scene with full mental and physical energy?
* Other Notes
* What is my relationship to the other characters?
What am I about to do?
How do you feel about the other characters- do you love/hate them
Do you want to get in their way?
Do they want to get in your way?
What do you want from them?
What do you want them to give you?
* What are you fighting for- goal motivation- the more conflict you find the more interesting the performance
* Before every scene starts ask yourself what has happened before? (Creating the moment before is like priming the motor to get it started)
* Remember opposites- whatever you decide is your motivation I your scene, the opposite of that is also true and could be in it.
* Every scene is filled with discoveries, things that happen for the first time. Take nothing for granted- make and emotional discovery as often as you can.
* Remember to ask yourself- am I sending out and getting back feelings or am I just talking?
* There are two points of view that every actor should bring to every scene:
1. I am right and you are wrong
2. You should change from being the way you are to the way I think you should be.
* Choose in the script what moments are important to your character and remember to play these moments- they are important!
* Ask what game is my character playing in this scene?
* When you have looked through and done the above then -add to it what you don’t know? Something hidden and unknown to us.
Actions / Beats
Contact Director before with any problems
* SO YOU GOT THE JOB
* • REHEARSALS
* Sort out problems here with script – intelligent suggestions and solutions – ring the Director if necessary.
* • WARDROBE and MAKEUP
* Know exact size of clothing / shoe/ hat (in both American and European sizes), height, weight etc
* WHAT TO EXPECT ON SET
* • The paperwork – call sheets, schedules, tax forms etc.
• Script amendments – 1st blue paper, 2nd pink, 3rd yellow, 4th green
• Roles of each Crew, report to 2nd assistant director
• A typical day’s timetable.
• Make up/Wardrobe, Props.
• Terminology, Shot sizes, etc
• Stunts – action driving scenes / Fight scenes etc.
• Be Organised
* ACTING FOR FILM & TELEVISION
* • Story and script. Arc or journey.
* • What the director looks for from the actor.
• Camera Techniques
• Multicamera (2 or 3 cameras)
• Utilize the performance space to its potential.
• Connect powerfully to the material being presented.
• Sustain energy and life in your presentation.
• Don’t act
• Body Language
• Focus of scene
• Turning points of a scene
• Working with props
• Wardrobe and make-up
• Location Shoots
• Studio Shoots
• Green Screen? Blue Screen
* INDUSTRY WEBSITES AND NEWS
http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/ Screen Australia
http://www.screen.nsw.gov.au/ Screen NSW
http://film.vic.gov.au/ Film Victoria
http://www.screenwest.com.au/ Screen West
http://www.screenqueensland.com.au/ Screen Queensland
http://www.safilm.com.au/ South Australian Film Corporation
http://www.quietonset.com.au/ Online resource for actors
http://www.starnow.com.au/ Online resource for actors
www.encoremagazine.com.au (Encore Magazine)
www.artshub.com.au (Arts Hub)
www.filmhub.com.au (Film Hub)
www.insidefilm.com (Inside Film Magazine)
www.fti.asn.au (Film & Television Institute WA Inc)
* www.nida.unsw.edu.au (NIIDA – Summer School)
www.aftrs.edu.au (AFRTS – Film School)
www.drama.org.nz/ Drama New Zealand
* http://www.onfilm.co.nz/ New Zealand industry site
www.backstage.com/ Backstage Performing Arts Resource
* www.script-o-rama.com (Drew’s Script-o-rama)
* www.dailyscript.com scripts
* • SUGGESTED READING
* • The Production Book / Encore directory – Lists agents, Producers, Directors etc.
• Story – Robert McKee – scriptwriting
• The Writer’s Journey
• The Artist Way
• On the Technique of Acting – Michael Chekhov
• An Actor Prepares – Constantin Stanislavski
• The Stanislavski System – Sonya Moore
• Lessons for the Professional Actor – Michael Chekhov
• On Acting – Sanford Meisner
• Respect For Acting – Uta Horgen • The Fervent Years – Harold Clurman
The Power of the Actor – Ivana Chubbuck
* SHOT SIZES AND ANGLES
* Wide Shot
The wide shot is primarily used to establish location and is often referred to as an establishing shot. Since objects appear small in the frame, the wide shot can be used for de-emphasis and is ideal for conveying a character’s isolation. The following shot accomplishes both of these goals:
* Close Shot / Close Up
The close shot is the exact opposite of the wide shot in that the subject is very large in the frame. Consequently, it is used for emphasis. When the subject is an actor, anything closer than mid-chest is considered a close shot, or an extreme close-up where one part of the object is in shot. Here, the actor’s head dominates the composition.
* Medium Shot / Mid Shot
As the name indicates, the medium shot falls between the close shot and wide shot. When the subject is an actor, the upper body dominates the frame, usually the from the thighs up. Films are primarily constructed of medium shots, with wide shots and close shots used for orientation and emphasis, respectively.
There must be a clear understanding between director and cinematographer as to where frame lines cut off the actor’s body. These designations are called cutting heights:
Angle is the horizontal and vertical position of the camera in relation to the subject. Through the use of angle, the director positions the subject within the frame. It has a great impact on how the audience perceives both the subject and the action.
The camera’s vertical angle can be used to affect the perceived dominance and speed of the subject. Low camera angles– looking up at the subject– tend to increases the subject’s dominance and speed. High camera angles– looking down at the subject– tend to decrease the subject’s dominance and speed.
Perspective has several meanings in moviemaking. In terms of directing, perspective is the psychological position of the camera as it records the action. There are three perspectives: objective, subjective, and point of view (POV).
In an objective shot, the camera is placed in a neutral position and does not take the perspective of any character within the scene. It gives the audience the best, unbiased view of the action.
* Objective Shot
* Subjective Shot
A subjective shot is a view of the action through the eyes of a specific character. It is a specialized shot because the audience is put directly in the position of a character. The results can range from awkward to highly stylized, depending upon how well it is executed.
Roles in a Film crew
|Pre-production and Filmmaking|
|Sound and music||
All I want is a proper cup of coffee
Made in a proper copper coffee pot
I may be off my dot
But I want a cup of coffee from a proper coffee pot
Tin coffee pots and iron coffee pots
They’re no good to me
If I can’t have a proper copper coffee pot
I’ll have a cup of tea.
Fast falling feathers fill the sky
Fast falling feathers lift and fill the sky
Lovely lady leaping
Lipping light laughter
Lumbering laggedly loiterer lurch
Around the rough and rugged rock the ragged rascal ran
The ragged rascal ran around the rough and rugged rock
Hoom harm hame heem
Bah buh bay buh bee buh bay buh (on any consonant)
(From the looking glass and what Alice found there, 1872)
‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
“ The frumious Bandersnatch!”
He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.
And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came.
One, two! One, two! And through and through
The Vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.
“And, hast thou slain the Jabberwock?”
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O Frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!’
He chortled in his joy.
‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
ON THE NING NANG NONG (voice exercise)
On the Ning Nang Nong
Where the cows go Bong!
And the monkeys all say Boo!
There’s a Nong Nang Ning
Where the trees go Ping!
And the tea pots Jibber Jabber Joo.
On the Nong Ning Nang
All the mice go Clang!
And you just can’t catch ‘em when they do!
So it’s Ning Nang Nong!
Cows go Bong!
Nong Nang Ning!
Trees go Ping!
Nong Ning Nang!
Mice go Clang!
What a noisy place to belong,
Is the Ning Nang Ning Nang Nong!!
Why, how impolite of him. I asked him a civil question and he pretended not to hear me. That’s not at all nice. (Calling after him) I say, Mr. White Rabbit, where are you going? Hmmm. He won’t answer me. And I do so want to know what he is late for. I wonder if I might follow him. Why not? There’s no rule that I mayn’t go where I please I—I will follow him. Wait for me, Mr White Rabbit. I’m coming , too! (falling) How curious. I never realised that rabbit holes were so dark…….and so long……and so empty. I believe I have been falling for five minutes, and I still can’t see the bottom! Hmph! After such a fall as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling downstairs. How brave they’ll all think me at home. Why, I wouldn’t say anything about it even if I fell off the top of the house! I wonder how many miles I’ve fallen by this time. I must be getting somewhere near the center of the earth. I wonder if I shall fall right through the earth! How funny that would be. Oh, I think I see the bottom. Yes, I’m sure I see the bottom. I shall hit the bottom, hit it very hard, and oh, how it will hurt!
ELLIOT (FROM E.T)
Coke. You see, we drink it, It’s a, drink, you know, food. These are toys, these are little men. (Showing him star wars action figures) This is Greedo, and then this is Hammerhead, see this is Walrus Man, and this is Snaggletooth and this is Lando Calrissian See…….and look, they can even have wars. Look at this. (He play-acts with two characters who both shoot and kill each other, making appropriate noises) Look fish. Fish eat the fish food, and the shark (a toy) eats the fish, and nobody eats the shark. See, this is PEZ, candy. See you eat it. You put the candy in here and then when you lift up the head, the candy comes out and you can eat it. You want some? This is a peanut. You eat it, but you can’t eat this one, ‘cause this is fake. This is money. You see. You put the money in the peanut. You see? Car. (E.T. takes the car and child-like puts it in his mouth to eat it.) Hey, hey wait a second. No. You don’t eat ‘em. Are you hungry? I’m hungry. Stay. Stay. I’ll be right here. Okay? I’ll be right here.
The clock struck nine when I did send the Nurse.
In half an hour she promised to return.
Perchance she cannot meet him. That’s not so.
O, she is lame! Love’s heralds should be thoughts,
Which ten times faster glides than the sun’s beams,
Driving back shadows over louring hills.
Therefore do nimble-pinioned doves draw love,
And therefore hath the wind-swift Cupid wings.
Now is the sun upon the highmost hill
Of this day’s journey, and from nine till twelve
Is three long hours, yet she is not come.
Had she affections and warm youthful blood,
She would be as swift in motion as a ball
My words would bandy her to my sweet love,
And his to me.
But old folks, many feign as they were dead-
Unwieldy, slow, heavy and pale as lead.
O God, she comes! O honey Nurse, what news?
Hast thou met with him? Send thy man away.
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (LORD OF THE RINGS)
LUKE: I can’t. It’s too big.
YODA: Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere. Yes, even between the land and the ship.
GOLLUM/SMEAGOL: We wants it. We needs it. Must have the precioussss. They stole it from us. Sneaky little hobbitsesss. Wicked, trickssssy, falssse! No! Not Master. Yes, precious. False. They will cheat you, hurt you, lie. Master’s my friend. (taunting) You don’t have any friends. Nobody likes YOU…..Not listening. Not listening. You’re a liar and a thief. (shaking his head) Nope. Mur……derer….!(starts to cry and whimper) Go away. Go away! (cackles) Hahahahaha! (cries, whispering) I hate you, I hate you. (Fiercely) Where would you be without me! Gollum, Gollum. I saved us. It was me. We survived because of me! (resolute) Not anymore. (surprised) What did you say? Master looks after us now. We don’t need you. What? Leave now and never come back. No!!! (louder) Leave now and never come back! (bares teeth, growling) Arghhhh! LEAVE NOW AND NEVER COME BACK. (Smeagol pants and looks around for Gollum)We….we told him to go away! And away he goes, preciousss. (dances around, happily) Gone, gone, gone! Smeagol is free!
Luisa (Age range 14-22)
This morning a bird woke me up. It was a lark, or a peacock; something like that. So I said hello. And it vanished, flew away, the very moment I said hello! It was quite mysterious. So do you know what I did? I went to my mirror and brushed my hair two hundred times, without stopping. And as I was brushing it, my hair turned mauve, No , honestly! Mauve! Then red, then some sort of deep blue when the sun hit it… I’m sixteen years old, and every day something happens to me. I don’t know what to make of it. When I get up in the morning and get dressed, I can tell….. something’s different. I like to touch my eyelids, because they’re never quite the same. Oh, oh, oh! I hug myself till my arms turn blue, then I close my eyes and cry and cry till the tears come down and I can taste them. I love to taste my tears. I am special. I am special! Please God, please, don’t let me be normal!
“When it was my turn, I would step on the stage and pose. (Stand up on tip toes with arms curved overhead like a ballerina and then relax and be all perky and bubbly) I wanted everyone to see my costume. It’s so pretty! It has little tiny roses and sparkly rhinestones and my Mommy says I look just like a Fairy Princess. Then I would twirl around and give the audience a saucy wink.
My Daddy said that guys always like saucy girls and then Mommy said “George!” (Say George with a scandalous voice) and then they started kissing and I had to close my eyes. (Put hands over eyes and then spread them and peek through before dropping them) Parents! (Shake head ruefully) ………Then , as the music got slower, I would change my face and be more serious and dramatic. (Actress gives a dramatic, angsty face) But now I can’t even dance!”
FILM & TELEVISION CONSULTANT
About Mark Piper
Spanning over three decades in the international Theatre, Film and Television industries, Mark Piper’s award-winning career has seen him on the initial teams Producing and Directing many international drama programs. Water Rats – Director Pilot Episodes (Australia), Mercy Peak (NZ), Beastmaster (USA), Ponderosa (USA), Neighbours, Home and Away, All Saints – Co Director Pilot, Blue Heelers, Always Greener, Halifax F.P (Australia), and Gute Zeiten Schlechte Zeiten – Adviser and Pilot Director (Germany), are just some of the popular series that Mark has worked on.
Beginning his career as an Actor in New Zealand, Mark went on to running Director Roger Donaldson’s ( “The World’s Fastest Indian” ) company Aardvark films, and then worked on such films such as “The Blue Lagoon” with Brooke Shields, “Tim” and “Attack Force Z” with Mel Gibson, and “My Brilliant Career” with Sam Neil and Judy Davis.
Mark, in 1995, led a unique project with Care Vietnam, in conjunction with the Vietnamese Government entitled ‘Qio Qua Mien Toi’; a 32-part Drama series, of which Mark Piper was the Executive Producer. This was a TV series utilised on behalf of the Government to highlight the HIV & AIDS problem emerging in Vietnam; Mark was involved from the outset to set-up the concept and assisted in sourcing finance through French private investors as well as sourcing key personnel from Australia to mentor the Vietnamese crew. This has inspired Mark with his current project in development “Buscar – oneworldonwlove.”
More recently he has been working with internationally acclaimed actors Eric Bana, Chris Hemsworth, Isabel Lucas, Kylie Minogue, Julian McMahon, Simon Baker, Sharni Vinson and Nick Bishop.
Mark has just completed judging the 2011 International Emmy Awards – (Best performance by an Actress category)
Mark is currently a Board member for Screenworks and on the Selection Committee for Flickerfest International Film Festival
SUMMARY OF PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
|Piper Pictures 1980 – current||
|Go Wyld Productions||
|NIDA, International Film School, Actors Centre 2007 – 2009||
|Network 7 1980 – 2009||
|Hallmark Channel USA 2001||
|UFA / RTL Germany 2001||
|Network 9 1996 – 2001||
|Care Vietnam, Vietnam Government 1995||
|Network 10 1985 – 1988||
|South Pacific Films, NZ 1991||
|Feature Films 1976 – 1980 Assistant Director / Unit Production Manager||
EXPERIENCE & ACHIEVEMENTS
Director & Producer
Piper Pictures Pty Ltd 1990 – 2009
Piper Pictures was established as a vehicle for unique and creative Film and TV projects conducted across Australia and in various international markets. The business also offers Business Consulting, Mentoring, Training, TV & Film Consultancy and is engaged across national and international projects. In addition, Piper Pictures has produced a variety of workshops designed specifically for actors, directors and producers, often entering the industry for the first time.
Key Responsibilities & Contributions
- “BUSKER”, is a Feature Film and Television drama series, currently in development which has been created by Mark Piper with a scheduled launch for 2010.
- PHOBOS ‘fear kills’ is a low budget Horror Feature Film, Mark Piper is the Producer and the project is currently in Post Production phase.
- Led a unique project with Care Vietnam, in conjunction with the Vietnamese Government entitled ‘Qio Qua Mien Toi’; a 32-part Drama series, of which Mark Piper was the Executive Producer. This was a TV series utilised on behalf of the Government to highlight the HIV & AIDS problem emerging in Vietnam; Mark was involved from the outset to set-up the concept and assisted in sourcing finance through French private investors.
- Director and Consultant of the Pilot TV Drama Series – Gute Zeiten Schlechte filmed in Germany and based on successful Australian series. Engaged by The Fremantle Group who have reinvented and franchised popular Australian serial dramas to other countries. Asked to go to Berlin for one year to direct the pilot and advice in the set-up of the series including casting, locations, style and look of each series.
- Engaged as the Director for Water Rats, TV Drama Series about Australian water police which was successfully sold to 179 Countries. Involved in the set-up of the drama show on Sydney Harbour, Directed pilot episodes, initial casting, locations, and set up and style; successfully managed complex water logistics.
- Key Director and involved in the initial setting up of Network 7 Australia’s internationally successful dramas, Sons and Daughters, Neighbours, Blue Heelers, Home and Away and All Saints and many other dramas over a 25 year period.
- Directed a one-off episode of Home and Away “Hearts Divided” in 2003 which was subsequently used as a template to refresh the look of the entire series.
- Engaged on the Blue Lagoon, feature Film; invited to Fiji to coordinate logistics of shoot from USA and Australia to an Island in the Yasawas Islands Fiji. Coordinated all building of sets and setting up of film on Island before main crew arrived, then joined the production as the Assistant Director for Film.
- Teacher & Mentor for Drama Directors Network 7, NIDA, Actors Centre, and International Film School and for various workshops conducted nationally.
EDUCATION & QUALIFICATIONS
New Zealand Institute of Business
MEMBERSHIPS & AFFILIATIONS
Member Australian Directors Guild (ADG)
Board Member 10 Years ASDACS
Screen Directors Guild of New Zealand
Selection Committee Member for
Flickerfest International Short Film Competition
National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA)
Film and Television Producer