Category Archives: Film Directing

Film Editing Techniques: Cutting On The Action

Using the cut In Action

The biggest challenge of a video editor is to make the editing unnoticeable. cutting on the action is one way to do that. That is why it’s the first thing they will teach you in each video editing course out there. In this post, I will teach you everything you need to know about cutting on action from the shooting stage and to the editing.

 

Cutting on the action definition

Cutting on the action is a cut that is done in the middle of an action. The shot changes to a different angle when the character that the viewer has most focus on is in a middle of an action.

The advantages of cutting on action

As a video editor, your first job when cutting is to look for the action. This is a great technique to create an unnoticeable cut because the audience is too distracted by the action to notice the cut. Cutting on the action also helps to draw the audience into the story. For example, you can have a character typing on the computer and while he types, we cut to his fingers. Another advantage to the Cut on action is that it’s the perfect seamless continuity technique. Even if you’ll shoot each angle in a different location, it is most likely that the audience won’t notice that.

Planning the cut on action in shooting

It is the director and the cinematographer’s job to make sure the two shots are shot in a way that will be easy to connect the shots. On our typing example, the actor will have to do the action twice at each angle and at both times, he’ll have to type the same way. The most important element to pay attention to is that the two shots will be shot with a direction distance of at least 30 – degree from each other. Sometimes you can do cut on the action without changing direction, but it requires the right plannings.

The most important element to pay attention to is that the two shots will be shot with a direction distance of at least 30 – degree from each other. Sometimes you can do cut on the action without changing direction, but it requires the right planning.

When to do the cut

Some video editors like to debate about when it’s the right time to cut- at the beginning of an action, the middle or towards the end. Some claim that if you cut in the beginning of a cut, then you leave the viewer with a long shot until the next cut. Others will claim that cutting towards the end of the action will be too late and the viewer will already be bored.

I  wouldn’t suggest to limit yourself with any rules about it. Simply try different cuts and see when it work best. With time, you’ll develop the sense that will help you understand the right timing for the cut, but  basically, you should find a spot where the action looks the same at both shots.

 

Directing A Dialogue Scene

How to Direct A Dialogue Scene

Shooting a dialogue scene can be a chalanging task. You need to make the text interesting even if it’s not. There are several techniques to use that will make that happen and I will explain them here.

 

A dialogue scene starts with the subtext

Before planning a dialogue scene, you need to understand the subtext of the scene. A Subtext is a content that is not said directly by the characters, but it exists in the observer perception of the scene. sometimes it’s in the observer’s subconscious and he even not aware of that.  The subtext of the scene should be drowned from the film’s premise.

All the great dialogue scenes show that, but here is a great example for a subtext in a scene. Look at the funny trick Woody Allen uses to show us what the characters are really thinking

Plan your shooting script

When shooting a dialogue scene you should plan the shooting script, so it will express the subtext of the scene and the dialogue in it. Read my post on types of camera shots to understand the psychology behind each shot.

The classic way to shoot a dialogue scene is to start with an establishing shot, to let the audience know where the characters are placed. Then you’ll need to break the scene into the shots you think are right for the scene.  A very popular shot on dialogue scene is Over The Shoulder because it shows us the character that talks and the reactions of the characters that’s listening. When shooting Over The Shoulder shots you might want to use the Depth of Feild technique. You want the focus to be on the talking character so the shoulder of the character that listens should be a bit blur and to take only one-third of the frame.

Here is a great scene that is built in a classic way

https://youtu.be/F-bsf2x-aeE

Quick tip

When the dialogue is important and you want the audience to focus on what the characters are saying, keep the shots simple as you can, while staying loyal to your story’s premise

Use inter-cuts

Think about the inter-cuts you want to add to the scene, if you want to give the editor maximum flexibility to work with. The inter-cuts can be Close-ups on the listening characters, their hands (if they’re doing something that is important to the scene), their eyes, objects on the set & etc. Of course, when using intercuts you should think how are they contribute to the scene and its subtext.

Use the master shot technique

The master scene technique is a method used by lots of directors. What you do is shooting the whole scene in wide angle from the start to the end and then you start shooting all the inter-cuts. This way if one of the cuts you shot didn’t go well, you can always come back to the master shot. I recommend reading my post on The master scene method to learn how to do it well.

Think about how you want to edit the dialogue scene

You should also think about the editing of the scene.  If it’s a quick paced editing then the shooting script should take it under consideration. If needed, consult with your video editor as to understand what he needs to get the kind of editing you are planning for the scene.

 plan which lenses you want to use

The lenses you’ll choose for the scene will affect the emotion the audience gets from the scenes. There are many types of lenses, and you need to consult with your cinematographer what he prefers. Many like to use the Zoom lenses because you can play with their focal lengths in different ways. They are great for documentary films and action scenes. Cannon has some pretty good zoom lenses.  The most popular lenses to shoot with are the prime lenses. They are very affordable compared to others and very sharp. They are also good to shoot in low light locations. Personally, I like to use the Rokinon Cine Lenses, but there are many others.

Make the dialogue scene entertaining

The planning of the shooting should also take into consideration the length of the scene and it’s atmosphere. For example, if we are shooting a long dialogue scene, then maybe we’ll want to move the camera during the dialogue. Moving the camera can be done handheld or with a steady cam or even with a dolly. another way is to shoot it all in one take without any camera movement. That’s a less interesting way to shoot, but sometimes it will fit better to the atmosphere of your scene.

Blocking for dialogue scene

Blocking is planning where the actors are going to be in the scene and their movements inside the scene. When blocking a dialogue scene, you need first to understand the subtext of the dialogue. For example, if the characters lines mean they are getting closer to each other, they can show it by walking towards each other. If one character fears the other, it can walk away. Making your characters stand and not move at all, can also have subtext meanings in it. When you plan the blocking you should use the mindset of a choreographer.  Think about all the elements in the scene and how you can use them to express the subtext of the dialogue.

 

 

Writing A Shooting Script

A Guide to Writing A Shooting Script

The shooting script is the filmmaker’s way to communicate well with the other departments of his production. It also saves time and money and if your shooting script is detailed enough, they’ll be fewer chances to make mistakes that may crash your film.

The shooting script is really the film on paper so it is a very important tool to deliver your director’s vision to the crew along with storyboard and floor plan. In the shooting script the director is breaking down the screenplay into shots, so it is kind of another draft of the script written by the director, Therefore the shots you write in the shooting script will define the scene.

The preparation for the shooting script

Before you start working on the shooting script, make sure the script is written in the right format. It is very important. If the script is not formatted in the right way, you are working with a broken tool and you won’t be able to know how long each scene is. You can read my post on film script format to learn more about the subject but for now, the most important element is that the scenes are numbered.

Now,

read the script again and this time, think about the general atmosphere of the script. Don’t go into too many details at this point, just think about the general atmosphere. Your next step will be to decide how to get that atmosphere from your shots. I recommend reading my post on the director’s vision to understand how to do this.

Writing the shooting script

When writing the shooting script, you should think about 3 main aspects:

1. The camera, 2. The lightning and 3. Blocking of the characters.

The camera

When we say camera, we mean camera angle shots and the type of lens you plan to use. Think about the shot you want for each action. I like to write it down first in the script itself since it helps me to visualize the film better. When you are done, go through all the script and see if something pops up to you in a wrong way and if the staging in each scene is clear. Now, go through the shots again and think what type of lens will bring you the best results.

Lighting and colors

Now it is time to think about more image techniques to create your atmosphere, so this is a good time to talk with your photographed director (if you haven’t done so until now) and see if he has any ideas. Your object now is to make sure that the theme or premise of the film is expressed by these shots.

Blocking of the characters

The third step is to think about the blocking of the characters. How do you want them to move within the frame? Every move they make will has a meaning, so bring some good thoughts into this.

The shooting script format

Click to see shooting scripts templates and shooting script examples to see what does a shooting script look like.

The shooting script is a table with details about the shots. It should contain these details: Number of the scene, Number of the shot, the explanation as to who is in the shot, what is happening in it, time of day, the special camera needs (like Steadicam) and the location of the scene. If there are camera movements, write them down too. you should also write the dialogues in each shot and special sound effects that are important for the scene. If the rhythm of the scene is important (like in most action scenes, for example), then write down the timing of each shot too.

Homework- write your own shooting script

  Your homework is to find a screenplay (you can find many on google), choose a scene you like. It is better to find a scene you don’t know well and to start. If it possible, find the real scene and compare the director choices for shots with yours

Film storyboard – The director’s tool

How to make film storyboard

film storyboard definition

A film storyboard is a pre-production tool that is a must tool for every film director. As the director of the film, you are in charge of everything that gets in the frame and the storyboard is a tool that helps you deliver your director’s vision to the rest of the crew members. You can see the film storyboard as a transition tool between your script to the film. It is also a tool that helps the production of actors blocking and camera setups.

The great advantage of the storyboard is that it makes you think in a visual kind of way, which is what filmmaking is all about.  The storyboard is a series of pictures that each picture represents a shot in the film. It looks kind of like a comic book. It describes the shots that are going to be shot by illustrations of how the frame is going to look like.

Some beginner directors fear the storyboard stage, but with time and practice, you’ll learn to develop your visual thinking very easily.

The storyboard drawing is also a good chance to try things. If you can draw well or you are using a storyboard artist and you are not sure about a few shots, you can ask the storyboard artist to try different shots until you’ll find the one you’ll like.

When to start working on a film storyboard?

The most important tip I can give you about drawing a storyboard is to plan it carefully in your mind before you start the drawing. Know exactly what you want to see before you take it out to the storyboard.

Your next step will be to write a shooting script. The shooting script is a list of all the shots in every scene. You can start the work on the storyboard only after you decided which shots and camera angles are required to express your interpretation of the movie script.

Do I need to know how to draw?

Well, you don’t have to, but it will help. You don’t have to be a sketch artist, but if you’ll learn the basic rules of drawing like the rule of third, learn how to draw basic figures and basic rules of perspective, you’ll be good.

There is some great storyboard software you can use, so I recommend checking it up too.

How many details does a film storyboard need?

Most of the time the details you’ll need will be, the number of the shot, the camera angle, camera movement if there are any and a short description of what’s going on in it, but it really depends on the kind of film and scenes you are drawing. In dialogue scenes, you usually won’t need to go into deep details, but in action scenes, more details will be needed for the length of every shot and sometimes even how fast the object in the shot is going to move around the frame.

Basically, there are 3 details you need to have with each picture:

  • If there are special effects or camera movements, you should write them down
  • What happens in the shot. that includes dialogue if they are important to the shot
  • The location of the shot and time of day

It is a good idea to take pictures of your locations before you start drawing and if you are using a storyboard artist, you can even take him to the location.

 

Homework

Your homework for today is to find a script of a movie that exists (you can find many scripts in google), print a few pages from it and start drawing them as you see it. Then look at the real movie and compare what they did with what you did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Film Directing: Make Your Audience Emotionally Engaged

How to  Make Your Film Audience Emotionally Engaged?

Many film school students make the mistake of thinking that film directing is simply telling a story. That is not true.When you get a script, you want the audience to be emotionally engaged in the film and to do that you need their watching experience to have different layers of fun.

I’m going to talk about something that not many film schools are talking about – Film directing is not just about telling “the facts”. In fact, the facts are just the cover to tell a deeper story with deeper meaning.

Don’t sell yourself

Before we start talking about how to make a film that will thrill your audience, it’s important for me to explain, that I’m not talking about selling  yourself to the audience. Don’t do something just because the audience seems to like it right now. If you don’t believe in your film, your audience will feel it. If you want to make a film that will truly be remembered, You must think about your way of telling the story.

Find a good story

Your first step is to find a good story. Notice that I didn’t write “a good script”. First of all pay attention to the story itself. Does the story work without the stylish dialogues and scenes?
It’s hard to define a good story, but generally speaking, it’s a story that will challenge the audience, but more important a story that interests you. You are about to do a lot of story analyzing, so you better like it. Also, make sure the story’s world has to be reliable and also the characters. It also needs to have the dramatic structure.

Have a good main character

The audience has to connect with your character. I’ve talked about how to do that in the Developing Characters post, but generally, you need to have a character that the audience will care about and that will be strong enough to lead us in throughout the story. The audience should really want her to survive and succeed.

Understand your story

The director needs to be able to make complicated interpretations of the script. To do that he needs first to completely understand the story. The process starts with understanding your story’s structure and the dramatic conflict that is developing throughout the film. Back To The Future is a film that you can see the director knew every little detail about the plot, the characters, and their town.

Your director’s vision

Director’s vision is the director main tool to translate the script into a movie. If you’ll find and completely understand your film director’s vision, you’ll make great films. Your director’s vision will guide you through all the important decisions on set.
Your director’s vision is an outcome of the message you are trying to portray in your film – the film’s premise. Only after understanding your vision, you can start directing actors and camera.

Working within a genre

The genres job is to organize some parts of our life and you can find genres not only in films. If your movie is connected to a genre, make sure the script is following the basic genre rules of its genre. Gener films are great to play with because the audience is ready to see a movie with strict rules. You can take these rules and play with them so you’ll have your own twist on them.
First, see the story within the genre rules and then start playing with them, see what rules can you break or stretch without upsetting your audience.
Playing with a genre rule is fun, but it must be connected somehow to the theme of your film. It has to deliver a message. Breaking the rules just to break the rules is worse than simply following them.

Use production design to make

Production design is a film element that many low budget films tend to forget about, but if you’ll handle it right, it can be one of the most important element of your film. After you developed your characters, you can understand the movie’s atmosphere and theme and you can start working on it.  The production design will create your film’s look and should reflect the characters emotions and the movie’s theme. You can also use a storyboard to make things clearer. If you’ll put your mind (and some cash) to it, it will take your film to the next level.  

Know your audience

What kind of emotion do you want your audience to feel towards the film? Is it love? Is it respect? Do you want to impress the audience with big budget production? There are many ways you can turn the film’s watching experience into something worth remembering, but you need to know who is your audience and what you are trying to get out of him.
Every film director needs to find his own way to touch the audience.
In Blood Simple, the Cohen Brothers are making the audience laugh while feeling revolted. Kubrick makes us feel uncomfortable as he built the violent scenes in A Clockwork Orange so we’ll be shocked on one side, but wouldn’t be able to keep our eyes off.
Every director has his own style and you should find yours. This is why it’s important to shoot shorts as much as you can. That way you can test different things and see what works and what doesn’t.

Make your audience participate

A cool trick to make the watching experience more fun for the audience is to make them
a part of the film. One way of doing that by letting your audience know something that the hero doesn’t know. In the movie Hot Fuzz, the main character suspect there is a murder in the town. Everybody laughs at him, but we know he is right because we’ve seen the killer. Horror movies use that trick a lot. We know something bad is going to happen and that’s what gets us excited -the waiting for it.

Filmmaking is all about emotions

Personally, I like films that make you think, but if that’s all they do and they don’t have any emotion attached to it, then the movie was a waste of time. Find the emotion you want the audience to feel in each scene. Every scene should have an emotion attached to it and that emotion should dictate all your directing decisions. For example, a close up is a much more emotional shot then medium shot.

Tips for Directing Actors

Directing Actors

Directing actors is not easy. Especialy if you have a few main characters in one scene. You need to choreograph every one of them and to pay attention to each one of them during the scene. That is why many directors don’t like or even afraid from directing actors and want to focus more on the shooting part. Now, you may like it or not, but actors are one of the most important parts of your film and directing actors is in my opinion about 50% of directing, so you better learn how to deal with them

If a director can’t make an actor to understand how he sees the character, his all film vision might be damaged. Actors are the ones that bring life into your characters and into the lines of the script. If the actor is good, every face and movement he’ll do will be full of meanings just like every shot angle you choose to shoot. To get the best of your actors, you have to create, as a director, the best atmosphere that works for both of you.

Find your actor’s special gift

the first thing you need to do when you work with an actor is to find what is the unique element, that the actor can give to your character. Every good actor gets to bring something else. Some actors can bring authenticity, some can bring  comedy elements.

Find out what is your actor’s talent and use it.

Directing actors with respect

The director and actor have a unique relationship. The director is the watcher and the actor is the one being watched. That is something that puts the actor in a very vulnerable position. The actor is taking a big risk by taking the front line of the show. Just for taking that big of a risk for your movie, they deserve your respect.

A good actor will bring something personal from himself. If the actor is good he will expose very personal parts from his self  and that also makes him vulnerable. When you direct them, don’t be too harsh and watch what you are saying. Try to create a positive atmosphere. Instead of saying “Let’s do it again and this time doesn’t talk so fast”, you can say “Let’s do it again and this time tries to talk slower”.

Also, try to pay attention to all of the actors in the scene. As directors we tend to forget the small part characters, but they need attention and direction too, so watch out for that.

Develop the character’s world together

Before you start to work with an actor of his character, you should know the character very well and its background. Introduce the actor to the world the character is living in. Think about the kind of movies or music the character likes. Have a paper with everything you know about your character and let the actor add his point of you, but make sure he stays in the world of the film.

What do actors need?

  • First of all, they need a director that know what he wants. There is nothing more frustrating for an actor then a director that is not sure. As we said, they are in a very vulnerable position and they need you to guide them. They need to know that you won’t quit on them until you’ll get what you need from them.
  • Also, help them get in the scene. It’s a good idea to remind them where their characters just came from. Prepare them as much as you can to the scene. Remind them everything they need to know about their character in the certain situation they are acting now.
  • When something doesn’t work for the actor try to find out what is it that creates the problem. it might be the scene itself, the dialogue or even the set.

Like this tip? Click here to tweet it

Be clear with your directions

Don’t say stuff like “Do it funnier” or “You need to be scarier” This is a very general directing. You have to tell them how to act what you want. A good trick is to use metaphors. Let’s say your actor need to play a guy asking a girl on a date, you can tell him to act as if he is in a job interview.

Working with the actor on a scene

As the director, you must know the text very well before working on it with the actor. You have to know your viewpoint, but also to listen to his viewpoint. Often that kind of thing can spark a new idea. The main thing you and your actor need to do is to find what is the character motivation to every action she takes. What is she trying to get?

Like this tip? Click here to tweet it

Directing actors are also praising them sincerely

Be very clear with your praises and try to use them in each direction you give. What I’m trying to say is that before you tell them how to fix their acting, tell them what they did right and then what you need them to do differently.

Be patient

With many actors, it might take some time to understand what you need and want from them. Be patient. You don’t need them to be more stressed than they already are.

Working with big time actors

Many directors get scared when they need to direct famous actors. The truth is that there’s nothing to be afraid of. The more experience the actor is, the more it will be easy for you to direct them. What you need to do is to let them do their thing and show them that it is important for you to make their performance look good.

It’s OK to improvise

Personally, I enjoy the rehearsal stage the most. I like to let the actors improvise and see what they can give me each time we are working on a scene. If you let your actors improvise, you’ll be surprised at how many actors can give you good ideas you haven’t thought about. Sometimes improvising can also help the actor to really understand their character.

Like this tip? Click here to tweet it

These are some general tips for working with actors, I plan to post more articles about directing actors that will go deeper, so let me know if there is something that interest you the most.

The only exercise I can recommend you to do is to ask someone to direct you. Try to be an actor is someone film and see what it’s like. Try to see where he makes you feel bad and when he gives you good directing. I also recommend starting to read a little about acting. You can read books about acting or articles on the subject and interviews too.

Film Directing – The Triple Take Method


Shooting With The Triple Take Method

A few weeks ago we’ve talked about the Master scene method. Now I want to teach you another film directing technique called “The Triple Take method” and sometimes also called “The Overlapping Method”. It’s a very easy method and the purpose of this directing method is to cut in action while maintaining continuity.

film directors books_00000

The triple take method is a great method especially when working without a script and for documentaries, but also great for scripted scenes.

How does the film directing technique works?

The main idea here is to start each shot with the last action of the shot before it, so those two actions are now overlapping. Let’s say you have a scene where the actor is opening his house door, entering his home, walking to the TV, opening it and sits on his couch. You will shoot him opening the door and getting inside the house in one angle, then you want to shoot him walking to the TV in a different angle, so you tell the actor to stop, change the angle and now you will shoot him walking towards the TV, but the actor will to go a few steps backwards and start the shot from the part of stepping inside the house, so you will have that action in both angles. Now he is walking to the TV and you want to shoot the part where he turns it on in a different angle, so again, he will take a few steps back and play the action including turning the TV on. Now we want the part of him sitting on the couch in a different angle, so we’ll tell the actor to stop, we’ll change the angle and tell him to start from the part of turning the TV on (which we already filmed in the angle before).
Click Here to Buy From Amazon

Like this tip? Click here to tweet it

As I said it’s a very simple method, but I would shoot also a master scene to make sure the editor will have somewhere to turn to if something went wrong and we didn’t notice. Also, remember it’s a very technically scene that might be hard for the actor to work with, so don’t use it on emotional scenes.

Best Online Filmmaking Courses

Horror Film Music

 

Disclaimer: Some links in this Horror film music article are for scary films so this post is not recommended for young kids under the age of 16 or anyone that is scared from horror films

Writing Music for Horror Films

horror-videoeditingMusic and sound are the best ways in horror films to built suspense and to in hence the scary parts. That’s why you can see many horror films directors that have the same soundtrack composer again and again.


Many composers like to work with horror films because you can do a lot more in it. Music for horror films are usually more aggressive and there is more room for experiments. In this article, we will discuss the Horror film music.


Here is a few thing you should learn to make scary horror film music

What’s the Horror film music purpose?

The main thing you need to think about when composing the music is what is the purpose of the music in your film. Sometimes it might just be, to let us know that the killer is coming. Usually for this job, the composer will use a very minimalist music like in jaws or Friday the 13th In this case, the simplest the theme is – the better. Sometimes it can be just a repeating note that keeps returning again and again and gives us the creep like in Psycho.

“The horror in music comes from the silence”

John Carpenter

Use the movie’s theme to create the Horror film music theme

Think about what kind of feeling you want the audience to have, when they watch the scene. It will help you a lot to understand the film’s premise first. For example, in the very recommended movie, Suspiria, that deals with witches, Dario Argento, the director, said he wants the audience to feel like the witches are always in the room, even if we don’t see them. That was acclaimed perfectly in the main music theme of the film.

 Use contradiction to play with the audience head

The contradiction can also be a great tool to create scarceness. You can see that kind of style in the main themes of movies like Rosemarie’s baby, Where the movie use a lullaby song to create a very creepy atmosphere. Another good example is Nightmare in Elm Street, Where the composer uses a children’s game song to compose a very scary theme. The emotional contrast between something pure from our childhood and this nightmare we see in the movie is very powerful.

What’s the best way to play for horror films?

Every composer has its own way of making the music. You don’t have to be attached only to an orchestra. In the 80’s it was very popular to use electronic music and we always have the classic Goblin’s music in the movie Suspiria from the end of the 70’s that uses prog rock music and was one of the first horror films to use synthesizer it’s soundtrack. Some movies rather use guitars etc. It’s really up to you and the director.

Always test the horror film music

When working on horror film music, you can’t just let it play in the background.It has to contribute to the image in the scene. You have to test it in front of an audience and see how does it affect them. What emotion does the music invoke in them? Play the music to an audience without showing them the film and ask them later how did the music make them feel.

Like this tip? Click here to tweet it

I hope this article helped you to understand more the world of music in the horror film. If you like me writing about the genre, let me know, as I enjoy writing it.

 

Film Directing – Auditioning Actors for Film

Auditioning Actors – Rules & Tips

Auditioning actors is a field that many beginners at film directing are taking for granted, It’s a very hard and long process that many directors choose to not be part of. I think the reason is because this is a stage where you have to make great decisions. You don’t want to do a mistake at this stage. In these days you have more options than ever, so making a mistake is even more scary.

Auditioning actors is also a great chance for the director to hear his texts being played  for the first time and it’s a great opportunity to test scenes that you weren’t sure about them. That’s why I’m going to give you some tips for setting up auditions. I think that there is nothing worse than getting stuck in production. When you find a good actor that can act and listen, you did 90 percent of your actor’s directing job.

The main idea is to play with the actor. Try different approaches to him. For example, you can let a guy play a female role in the script and vice versa and see what happens.

Casting Director

The auditioning of actors is a complete field we can talk about for hours. That’s why, if you have the option, use a casting director, It can be great. Today the casting directors, in my opinion, don’t get the respect they deserve, but I really think it’s an important role.
These are the skills needed for a casting director: good communication, better identification of talent, good management ability, the ability to direct and paying attention to detail.
The director needs to explain to the casting director what he wants what his vision for the film is and the specific role

Advertising the audition

The possibilities for advertising your auditions are diverse. You can advertise on Facebook, acting groups, industrial sites, acting schools and so on. Once you post you are looking for actors, you will probably be flooded with e-mails from dozens of actors. That’s why you should try to a specific description of the part as you can. You should describe the character name, age, important characterization points and two interesting sentences about it. If the physical description is important, you can add that one too.
Most actors will send you photos and resumes. Often there is a temptation to check only the images, but it is very important to read their resumes too.

Rent a room for auditions

Do not audition actors in your home or your friend’s home. It shows the lack of professionalism and can be a little intimidating for actresses. It is worth investing a few dollars renting rehearsal room.

Auditions forms filling

While the actors are waiting for their turn, give them to pre-fill a form that will include date, the name of the production, below that, make room for actor information: name, address, home phone and mobile, email and the role he is faced.

Schedule your auditions

All the actors auditions should be between 10 and 20 minutes, tops! You should have someone to be with the actors that are waiting in the hallway. There should also be refreshments.

What are you looking for when you cast an actor

You really should know what it is you are looking for when you are auditioning actors. Maybe the role you are casting is one that demands the actor to give parts from his life outside. Does the actor ready for that kind of  vulnerability? I will talk about it later on this post and will explain how to do that, but I will mention it now too – you need to check if your actor can listen – not only to you but also to the actor he is playing with. The important element you should check is can the actor take the lines you gave him and make them sound like they are his own.

Pay attention to the small details


When auditioning actors it’s very hard to find in a few minutes if an actor can really act, so what you have to look mainly is his charisma and screen presence. Note the actor immediately as he enters the room. Pay attention to his body language, is it conveys security or insecurity? note his walking style, the way he sits, does he talk too much? Did he come unprepared? If the actor got some information about the character he is faced, pay attention to what he wore in honor of the audition.

Audition Management


Actors audition begin with an introductory interview. The actor will talk to the camera and say his name and age and preferably also a phone number, in case the form get lost. You can ask questions like, what have you done lately? What was the most enjoyable role he played so far? What were your experiences of previous productions? and so on.

“The most important job of the director is casting. If you can cast your film in an interesting way, then you’re 50 percent there.”

Susan Seidelman

You should also tell them about yourself. Your experience and how did you get that movie. Explain how many days of filming are ahead, and how many days of rehearsals are needed. note their responses. If they are too hesitant, you might want to give them up.

Like this tip? Click here to tweet it


Sometimes you may prefer to do only the first reading of the text. At this time, the actor gets the text for the first time at the audition. He will probably ask questions about the text (you can learn a lot about the actors from these questions). I like to start by just telling them to just do their thing. That way I can see what they are able to bring without my direction. When they start acting, note his acting and the character he brings you. Does he have something good you have not thought of before? If something does not work for him, try to let him do the part standing up. Sometimes it is a good idea to give them a direction just to see if they can follow a direction, so it’s a good thing to bring one even if you don’t feel it is needed.  Let them read the text for themselves first, then adjust them a little in order to see how they understand what you are saying, then give them a completely different direction. What is important here than the way the actors act, is how they change their acting in accordance with your instructions.

Set a relaxed mood

Keep in mind that the actor is very tight and probably you will be stressed too. Try to calm him down with respect. If the actor does not fit, you may want to tell him gently in place, instead of having him sitting on the phone days in anticipation for your call.

Working in pairs

If there’re roles such as lovers couples, mother, and son, etc., you should invite them to audition together and see the chemistry.
Generally, you should let the actor act with another actor so that it is easy to produce emotional responses.

Shoot the audition


If it possible,
shoot the audition and if possible, let someone else do it and tell him to shoot it from several angles. On the other hand, it is advised that the camera man won’t be too noticeable because it can put pressure on the actor that way.
The camera man should take as many close-ups as he can, to see facial expressions and as many medium shots, to absorb body movements.

Sometimes it is advised to shoot actors when they are not aware of the camera. Suppose as assistant director gives the actor notes between takes, He can sit where the other actor is sitting then the camera man will take the actors reactions while he listens.

Decision-making and Last tips


If you’re debating between two actors on one character, it is better to go for the actor with more experience and talent than the one that looks better.

In low budget movies, it is very easy to find yourself compromising the process of auditions with actors you do not feel complete with them. Try not to let that happen. If the actor is not really enthusiastic about the part, the audience will feel it.

Just remember, as Jack Nicolson once said, Once you cast someone for a movie, that person is perfect for the role.

Film directing – Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Film Director?

The Film Director Requirements

Learning how to direct a film is kind of fun stuff, but there are a lot of responsibilities that are coming with it. Eventually, you are going to be in charge on a lot of money, so let see first if you have what it takes to become a film director.

Know the filmmaking craft

Before you start directing a film, make sure you know the film directing fundamentals and film directing techniques. It’s been known that the job of the film directing is to tell a story with pictures and sounds, but the truth is that In film directing the story is being told also through actors, art design, clothes design, dialog styles and more. You are in charge on all of that. That’s why the director must have knowledge in all the filmmaking departments like script writing, camera and lightning techniques, sound design, video editing etc. If you’ll look at the most respectable directors, you’ll see that many of them have a gift at least in one of these departments. Find yours and develop it.

Visualizing abilities

In the article The film director’s vision I talk about how to translate the script into visual shots and concept that it unique to you. On the next articles I am planning to talk about the tools that will help you do that like storyboard and shooting script,
but the bottom line is:
While you are visualizing your movie (which is the main job of the director in In film directing), you’ll need to do it through the departments mentioned above. You will learn how to develop your visualization skills with practice.

Like this tip? Click here to tweet it

Film as many short films as you can

Like everything else in life, film directing is all about practice. Shoot as much as you can and offer yourself to participate in as many productions as you can. Shooting a lot of shorts will also help you to get your deepest artistic voices, out of the system until you’ll find the one that works best for you. You have to be ready to deal with the fact that most of your first shorts will be bad ones and that you can only learn In film directing by making mistakes.

Find your own true voice

As a film director and an artist, you will have to find your inner voice- the one that separates you from all the others. You’ll have to be real honest with yourself and listen to it very good. I recommend reading my article, Find your inner voice, to learn better how to do that. Understanding your true voice is not enough. you will also have to keep it as your guide through all the trip. That means to watch out from what other people say, but also to watch out for yourself. Don’t try to show out how smart and artistic you are and focus completely on what the movie really needs.

Become a leader

The different betweena In film directing and other arts like a poetry or a painter is that the film directors have to lead a big crew after him. You’ll have to be good with people and also know how to push them to their limits, so you can take out the best from each one of them. You’ll need to be able to guide them, inspire them and supervised them all at once.You’ll have to make decisions that sometimes will be against the view of your crew. You will also have to lead with confidence. There is nothing worse for actors and crew member than to follow a director that is unsure of his actions. If you don’t know what to do in certain situations, don’t be afraid to console with the right crew members and then make a confident decision. Sometimes the producers will try to change things in your script to lower the expenses. Unless you really agree with their changes, it will be your job to defend the script. With all of that, you’ll have to remember that you are working with artists, and an open mind is needed too.

Recommended books on film directing