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How to Direct Actors

Directing actors for stage and film can be a daunting task, but here are some tips to help you get the best performances for your work.


  • Step 1: Be prepared Know the material better than anyone else. You need to be in a position of authority and to have the respect of the actors you are directing.
  • Step 2: Help them prepare Prepare actors by setting aside ample time to read over the material without acting.
  • Step 3: Take questions Open yourself to answering questions about the characters and the story. Possess the knowledge and patience of a teacher.
  • TIP: Use material the actors are familiar with as examples.
  • Step 4: Let them be artists Allow your actors to use their talent to portray their character. If you've prepared yourself and helped them prepare, then it will be a growing process for both of you.
  • Step 5: Keep them informed Keep the actors informed about what is going to be done each day. They need to know what to be prepared for with their material and with their character.
  • TIP: Keep them healthy and happy by providing food and water. They need to be able to do their job well so you can do yours.
  • Step 6: Push them Push the actor to find more in a character. Your job is to get the most out of what you have, but never push too far.
  • Step 7: Get to know actors personally Take the time to know your actors personally. Every actor's method is different. The better you understand your actor, the easier it will be to get what you want from them.
  • FACT: The first actor to receive an Academy Award was Emil Jannings in The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh.

You Will Need

  • Knowledge of the material
  • Patience
  • Itinerary
  • Motivational techniques
  • Stage or space
  • Food and water (optional)

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