Edwin Culp deposited Directing Actors for Non-Directors: Creative Research Strategies for Fiction Films on Humanities Commons 3 years, 2 months ago
Throughout film history, many famous scenes and even entire films have been devised with actors improvising on certain general parameters that ultimately depict a character, often vaguely portrayed. These turns to improvisation and narrative experimentation tend to come forward every time filmmakers propose a new rupture, frequently accompanied by technological changes that have made the filmmaking process cheaper or more immediate. From their uncomfortable pauses, mumbled dialogues and candid unawareness, fresh emotional intentions emerge in filmmaking every certain time as refreshing new waves. Digital technologies have recently furthered the issue, as they allow filmmakers to make cheaper and more immediate productions that rely heavily on the work of actors and their ability to react to unexpected circumstances.
Despite being one of the most creative resources readily available to young emerging filmmakers, a didactic approach to actor-director tools as a creative research approach is rarely taken into account in Filmmaking courses and curriculums. Even more uncommon is for these courses to go beyond the training of directors to efficiently obtain a specific result from an actor. To devise an improvisational mechanism that embraces the mistake, the accident and the error in a film school environment usually focused on virtuosity is not a minor challenge. In this paper, I argue that by using acting techniques and improvisation strategies to impregnate the whole film production and learning process, directors —and also cinematographers, art directors, image and sound editors— can devise an experimentation space to explore creative aspects of fiction filmmaking. Firstly, I will go over the main points where the techniques for Directing Actors can be useful for filmmaking students (and professionals alike). Then, I will present two exercises that I have used in my own teaching experience.