Directors: How to Get Believable Performances from Actors

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Taught by Peter D. Marshall

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Class hosted by: Peter D. Marshall

Director and Film Directing Coach

Peter has directed over 30 episodes of Television Drama such as John Woo's Once a Thief, Wiseguy, 21 Jumpstreet, Neon Rider, The Black Stallion, Scene of the Crime, Big Wolf on Campus and Largo Winch. As a First Assistant Director, Peter has worked on over 12 Features (including Dawn of the Dead, The Butterfly Effect, Happy Gilmore, The Fly II); 16 Television Movies; 8 Television Series; and over 20 Commercials. He has written, directed or produced over 50 hours of documentary and educational programs and his documentaries and dramas have won, or been nominated for, 14 International film awards. Peter has worked for directors such as John Woo, Zack Snyder, Phillip Noyce, Ed Zwick, John Badham, Roger Vadim, Dennis Dugan, Anne Wheeler, Bobby Roth and Kim Manners. He has also worked with actors such as Peter O'Toole, Morgan Freeman, John Travolta, Kathy Bates, Michelle Pfiefer, Marcia Gaye Harden, Madeleine Stowe, Mel Gibson, Ashton Kutcher, Goldie Hawn, Judy Davis, Halle Berry and Adam Sandler. Full Bio »

Summary

THIS 4-PART CLASS IS AVAILABLE ON DEMAND!

As a director, one of your most important jobs is eliciting great performances from actors. Fail at that, and your film or series could crumble under the weight of bad acting. Although the best directors shape performances with a deftness that may seem effortless, it is not. In fact, becoming a great director of actors is hard work and takes years of disciplined practice. Like playing a violin, it is a skill that must be nurtured. Yet if you can achieve this crucial skill and relationship, you’ll be able to greatly elevate your films and projects and champion your actors at the same time.

The film director’s working relationship with an actor starts in the first casting session, continues through the various rehearsal stages, onto the set and ends in the ADR session. Most trained actors begin by trusting the director, but if you can’t direct actors in a language they understand, you may have a difficult time getting actors to trust you. And if actors don’t trust you, you will have a difficult time blocking them on set and getting layered performances from them. It’s important to meet actors where they are, and we’ve brought in the perfect person to explain how to do this.

Peter Marshall is a director and film directing coach with over 40 years of experience including 12 features, 16 TV movies, 8 TV series, over 30 episodes of TV drama, 50 hours of documentary and educational programming, and over 20 commercials. Through his career, Peter has worked with and helped elevate the performances of actors such as Peter O'Toole, Morgan Freeman, John Travolta, Kathy Bates, Michelle Pfiefer, Marcia Gaye Harden, Madeleine Stowe, Mel Gibson, Ashton Kutcher, Goldie Hawn, Judy Davis and Adam Sandler. He has also had the opportunity to work alongside and learn from other directors like John Woo, Phillip Noyce, Ed Zwick, John Badham, Roger Vadim, Dennis Dugan, Anne Wheeler and Zack Snyder. Peter’s long and impressive history has given him a deep understanding of how to work with actors of all sizes and levels and understands what he needs to do as a director to elicit great performances.

Over the course of four sessions, Peter will dive deep into the relationship between the director and actors and teach you how directors can build a relationship built on trust with actors by creating a safe place for them to perform. Peter will first explore how to understand human behavior and emotions and use this to better support your cast. He will then explore the main strategies of proper script analysis you can use to help actors achieve the performance you desire, including his “9 Part Scene Breakdown Process”. In the next session he will delve into how to work with actors in prep and finally will break down the process of working with actors and getting the performance on set, including his “10 Step Actor/Director Blocking Process”.

 

Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class. Although Peter is no longer distributing or reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate!

 

 

Praise for Peter’s Stage 32 Class

“I really enjoyed the webinar. I liked the fact that the density of material was rich enough I was always busy taking notes. Thanks for covering the artistic and the logistic side of directing.”

- Brad L.

 

“Hey Stage 32, I wanted to thank you and Peter Marshall for such an enlightening class. I have so many notes and as a new Director I have to say I feel a bit more relaxed, knowing what steps I need to take to be more prepared for a shoot. Peter is so generous with his knowledge. I have his Directors class downloaded and I'm excited to view it”

Diane L.

 

"Very helpful, in depth and extremely well-structured."

-Memi K.

 

What You'll Learn

Part 1 - Understanding Human Behavior

Films directors must observe people going about their daily lives so you can discover what motivates people to take action – what makes people tick? Peter also goes over why you must understand human emotions and feelings to help actors achieve organic and believable performances – from the first audition to rehearsals to shooting on the set.

Part 2 - Script Analysis: The 9 Step Scene Breakdown Process

Peter explores the main strategies of proper script analysis you can use to help actors achieve the performance you desire. Peter runs through why good directors focus on directing the subtext, and how to apply the fundamentals of the “9 Part Scene Breakdown Process”.

Part 3 - Directing Actors in Prep

Working with experienced actors can be both intimidating and frustrating. Peter gives an in-depth look into what you need to speak the actor's language, including specific words and phrases. Peter also identifies the top 3 qualities you should look for in casting.

Part 4 - Directing Actors on Set

Peter covers how to reveal a character's thoughts or emotions through actions as well as the physical movement of actors relative to the position of the camera. Peter explores the “10 Step Actor/Director Blocking Process” including key blocking frames and other proven blocking tools and strategies.

About Your Instructor

Peter has directed over 30 episodes of Television Drama such as John Woo's Once a Thief, Wiseguy, 21 Jumpstreet, Neon Rider, The Black Stallion, Scene of the Crime, Big Wolf on Campus and Largo Winch.

As a First Assistant Director, Peter has worked on over 12 Features (including Dawn of the Dead, The Butterfly Effect, Happy Gilmore, The Fly II); 16 Television Movies; 8 Television Series; and over 20 Commercials. He has written, directed or produced over 50 hours of documentary and educational programs and his documentaries and dramas have won, or been nominated for, 14 International film awards.

Peter has worked for directors such as John Woo, Zack Snyder, Phillip Noyce, Ed Zwick, John Badham, Roger Vadim, Dennis Dugan, Anne Wheeler, Bobby Roth and Kim Manners. He has also worked with actors such as Peter O'Toole, Morgan Freeman, John Travolta, Kathy Bates, Michelle Pfiefer, Marcia Gaye Harden, Madeleine Stowe, Mel Gibson, Ashton Kutcher, Goldie Hawn, Judy Davis, Halle Berry and Adam Sandler.

FAQs

Q: What is the format of a class?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Classes are typically 2 to 4 week ongoing broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.

Q: Do I have to have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online class, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the class.

Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the class software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The class software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live class. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer 

Q: What if I cannot attend the live class?
A: If you cannot attend a live class and purchase an On-Demand class, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.

Q: Will I have access to the class afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand class, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.
 

Reviews Average Rating: 5 out of 5

  • Very helpful, in depth and extremely well-structured.

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