Anything Goes : To Filmmakers/Producers: What Do You hate for Actor's to ask you on set? by Actress Cherylwonner

To Filmmakers/Producers: What Do You hate for Actor's to ask you on set?

Filmmakers & Producers: Kindly post your comments. I will be posting more discussions in the lounge so be ready to respond and share.

Ruy Valverde

Yes ! the phone , omg . and when they ask ..." Do you think I can leave b 5pm ? "

Ruth Davies

i hate wen a actor ask me if wee working aver time god i dont nowww

Mark Ratering

no

Tawan Bazemore

I hate when I am asked about set-drama.

Angelo Bell

I hate when actors ask any questions about time (when can I leave, etc), and I hate when they ask to see the dailies or the scene we just shot.

Patrick Hampton

I hate when actors talk about working around their schedule. We all have lives thank you. When you are on set we are all here to make a piece of art.

Laurence Williams

A break

Craig Incardone

"let me try that again in a different character" "Were you rolling on that?" Where's the blow?" "Is that a wrap on me today" "I think I can do yesterday's scene better tomorrow when I actually read the script!" (Sorry! just having fun, but a few of those actually happened!)

Viljami Eronen

" how many seconds we got on film today? "

LB McGill

@Cherylwonner smart lady :p

Elizabeth English

"What's my motivation in this scene?"

Julian Nabunya

i thought i was the only one that becomes mad with the phone thing .... or it was just happening in here .... , some other silly question , ... can i see what we have just shot ? i hate that impatience

Patrick Hampton

@Elizbeth I agree with the question. As an actor you should be prepared or Atleast fake it when you are ready to role. If an actor does ask that question it gets me to think did he actually talk to the director. There is a misunderstanding in the script or the directors vision.

Patrick Hampton

I really enjoy this post. So lets flip it around. I have a unique perspective because I work all around the camera from production, directing, writing, acting, ect. As an actor what really gets me on set is getting called early to set when the shot isn't setup. Having to stand by because a light is being tweaked or the crew isn't ready and still running around. When the set is settled and prepared then you bring the actor on for the final little tweaks needed.

LB McGill

In a perfect world. An actor is usually paid for the day, unfortunately much of that time is spent sitting and waiting. I understand it's frustrating, but also unavoidable. It's why actors take up knitting :p

Craig Incardone

Wow LB! I agree 100%. Actors sometimes forget how easy it is to make them look like crap with bad lighting, bad camera work, bad lensing decisions and generally bad directing. My advice to those actors that think they are called in to early when the crew is usually there hours before them. Shut up, sit, and when we feel the look is right, ACT!!!!!! (Just a little venting here!)

Michael Lockett

Like every other job some people are on the bottom rung at some point. Until the actor is the driving force behind a picture i.e. Brad Pitt, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep etc. they (the actor) needs to show up, know their stuff and be prepared when it time to roll. Making films is a collaborative effort where everyone needs to pull on the same rope in the same direction. Undeserved prima donnas muddle everything for everyone. For me personally working with models and actors I have found that what irritates me and most people on the set is the question, "Why am I waiting?" which is normally followed by "I thought the shot was set up." In rare instances I have heard directors say we're tweaking X, Y or Z to make you and your performance look better. You do want it to look good don't you?"

LB McGill

monsters are made with bad light :p

Craig Incardone

Yep!

Mike Chinea

Anything and everything. Sorry, I apologize for that but I couldn't resist.

Patrick Hampton

@craig there is a medium that needs to be met. If you have crew members running of set grabbing more equipment when you bring the actor on set. I had an experience as an actor (don't forget I shoot too and know proper lighting) where I literally there for hours. I could see what was going on because I was told we were ready shot. Next thing I know everyone is running around setting up the shot. Which pushed the production back in schedule. Or when I have a huge emotional scene and they are adjusting lights in the middle of it. Of course I wouldn't pull a Christian Bale, still that should be almost prefect when you bring the actor on. Minor tweaks need to be applied when you bring the main talent on. Like I said I have a unique perspective. The bottom line that cost the production money that could be spent on other things. Time = money and more so in film. So be prepared.

Craig Incardone

I do agree on that, most times,as a DP and I've also Directed, I won't allow my gaffer to touch a light when we are ready to roll and actors are on set. I love the gaffers I work with but they will tweak if give them room to. Most of the time, when in crunch, minor tweaks don't make the shot any better than it was when i've told them to stop. And yes, it drives actors nuts and i'm totally on your side.

Stephanie Paul

Actors who do not listen, Actors who do not take Direction, Actors who talk on set during takes, Actors who are not focused, Actors who ask what time lunch is and when can I be wrapped when they just arrived, Actor who complain about wardrobe and make up and are rude and mean to ANY crew member, Actors who think that they are the only important person on that set and treat crew of lower positions with disrespect, Actors who do not know their lines, Actors who do not understand the business of Acting. I recently had an actor on his phone on and off all day, disagree with me when I gave him redirection, and then at lunch ask me how long was "all this going to take" after I told him the previous day we had a long day the next day. I don't care who he is I will NEVER hire him again :-)

LB McGill

Tell us how you really feel Stephanie! Stop holding back :p

Michael Lockett

Your comment Stephanie should have been followed with the Sound FX of a rifle shot echoing on the open plain. Magnifique.

Stephanie Paul

I know LB I am a bit on the shy side when it comes to professionalism :-)

LB McGill

lol- a real wall flower!

Mark Ratering

I always tell the actors to bring robes..I know sitting there naked before the shot can be uncomfortable. Lighting only takes two minutes and if the donkey gives it's cooperation on set in 5 minutes.

Craig Incardone

"There's you, there's jo jo, the donkey, what's with the midget?"

Evan Marlowe

I just want actors to known their lines and prepare. They can ask me anything they want if they give me those two things.

Don Starnes

: long comment ahead: expand it : If the actor has prepared, then there are no dumb questions and I welcome them all. Responding to other posts in this thread: -- Preparing -- Talk about nudity, character, hours, food, clothes, makeup, lighting requests, etc., when you are hired (not on the shoot). All of these are as important as your lines. -- Actors waiting around -- Block. Light. Rehearse. Shoot. If you aren't there for the blocking, then you aren't an actor, you're a model, and you'll be a poorly lit one at that. All real actors are glad to be there at the start of the day. -- When do I get to leave? -- A professional crew doesn't waste anyone's time. An amateur crew always wastes everyone's time. If you are working on an amateur film, expect to be in it for the long haul. -- Tweaking -- Experienced directors and actors are happy when the DP or Gaffer tweaks, because experienced DPs and Gaffers don't lightly interrupt directors and normally do their tweaks quietly between takes. Tweaks done by skilled crew make a huge difference between a good film and a bad film. Experienced directors are happy to let smarter people make them look like a genius. Experience actors are happy to let skilled crew enhance their character and make them look good. -- Pulling a Christian Bale -- The reason everyone laughed at Christian Bale is because professional actors are just that: professional (unlike Bale). I've seen actors burst into tears and give heartbreaking performances while a grip holds a bounce card in their eyeline. It's called film acting. Both the actor and the grip showed up to do film work. -- Being prompted for lines -- It happens. That's why The Good Lord made Assistant Directors and Script Supervisors. Camera Assistants blow focus. Sound people overmodulate or miss a line accidentally on occasion. A prepared actor can blow a line, get prompted, and move on. A prepared Camera Assistant can blow focus, ask for another take, and move on. Preparation makes it all work.

Mark Ratering

Well said Don

Bob Goodman

I do recommend all actor's to avoid being "needy". Be fuly prepared, have focus, stamina, understand the jargon and etiquette and a solid technique at the ready! Break legs!

Rachael Saltzman

Asking for drugs or hookers. Or alcohol while working. Other than that, it's fine.

Mark Schaefer

I've got to admit, as a director, I've had WANNA BE actors on set, ask for drugs. Sorry, no way in Hell will that happen. Also, another note, I've had actors tell me how the actor should act out the part. That's funny, I thought I was the writer and the director, you would think, I would know how the actor should act out a line? huh?

Ruth Davies

Mark Schaefer. you rith what you did. how can i actor tel you how to do your film. hu the think the are try. to take your place. the are ediots. the dont think the chud be thank you for been on your film god pepplel

Michael Lockett

Ruth, you message is incoherent. Can you please resend it so we can all understand your point(s). There's nothing wrong with an actor asking the director, "what about trying the line like blah, blah, blah to play up or down something underlying in the script." Having good communication but knowing the chain of command/responsibility is key to making some movie magic happen.

LB McGill

I've learned a great deal from my actors. Sometimes they see things that I don't, sometimes they add something very funny that was never in the script. You can't have them running all over you and respect needs to be established from the beginning, but if my actor feels strongly about another way to do things, I always listen, consider and decide from there.

Wayne G Sweat

In case anyone was reticent about posting, I for one, appreciate your feedback tremendously.

Stephanie Paul

I think this is a "FANTASTIC" cyber conversation. It is letting us see the team players and the intelligence set aside from the self indulgent artist without an ounce of understanding for their true craft of being professional and having the ability to act truthfully under an imaginary circumstance, while honoring the script and the directors vision.

Sean Nash

"I don't like this line - do I really have to say it?" A more agreeable alternative might be: "Can you please help me understand how this speech is progressing character or story, because at the moment I'm not sure why my character is saying it." In a tight, well-written script every line should be progressing character or story (or ideally both), othertwise it's not earning its keep and should be rewritten or cut or, better still, replaced by Actors doing what they do best - using the instruments of their bodies and faces to tell the story in a way far more eloquent than mere words.

JR Olivero

Where's craft services? Other than that, you can ask me anything.

Shadow Dragu-Mihai

Well I disagree with some of the comments above. As a director, I want my actors to ask questions about their character at any time - especially if rehearsal and discussion outside the set has not been thorough. It is a collaborative business and the director-actor relationship should be special and sacred. the actor is the one bringing the script to live and let's face it (having reviewed the comments above) most scripts really are NOT as well written and tight as we would like. If I have cast an actor, I already believe they can do the job, but even a great actor has difficulty with mediocre dialog. So it is absolutely NOT unprofessional for an actor to ask about their character and delivery. To think so is just silly. On the other hand, asking how long the scene will take, wondering if we can move a scene for their convenience, "do you have an extra script?" and things like that are just amateur and should not normally be tolerated. They indicate unprofessional attitude.

Wayne G Sweat

I obviously don't have the vast experience that many here do, and I want to reiterate that I appreciate all of your posts; but when I ask questions as an actor it's to make sure that my interpretation of the character is in harmony with the directors vision of the overall production. It's not inconceivable that multiple people reading a script will have different interpretations. But honestly, I don't think anyone was objecting to that sort of communication, but rather unprepared actors, not studying the script and not attempting to understand their character.

LB McGill

yes that's it exactly.

Mark Ratering

Asking about "character" on a set is silly, and expensive. To develope a character while shooting with production costing $10,000-$30,000 a day can really hit the wallet. I watched the greats work Newman, Price, so many more and they alway had the "character" perfect, worked out the only thing the directors would talk about was intensity or timing.

Wayne G Sweat

Agreed Mark Ratering, and it doesn't give the actor time to work on the nuances of the character either if they wait for clarity until the last minute. Ideally, there's time between when the actor receives the script and the first day of shooting to develop the character and ask questions. But I stand corrected, the question was "what do you hate to be asked 'on set'".

Wayne G Sweat

Mark, how much do you pay that donkey?

Mark Ratering

I married the ass!!!

Mark Schaefer

Don't get me wrong, sometimes an actor who has a deep knowledge of the script can make a suggestion that will make the story better. I'm just saying it's a rare occurrence. And, when actors try to start directing, it will eat up your time like nothing else. Time is money... of course it is. As I'm sure many of you know this, but big budget feature films typically shoot 4 pages of script a day. (feel free to chime in on this) I usually shoot about 12 pages of script a day. I once shoot 18 pages in a day. That day took many months of preparation and it was an 18 hour day. But it felt great knowing that 1/6 of the movie was already done. I don't mind questions about the character or what the character is trying to accomplish. That's all good and fine... It's just when the actor thinks he knows the character better than the writer / director... that's just ludicrous.

LB McGill

@Samuel - a director keeps hold of the through line, you can't do that and hang onto the story if you let all the actors run rough shot over you. IMHO I let them bring their ideas, I listen, I consider and at the end of the day, there is one chief and that chief is me.

Mark Ratering

I don't see where we disagree. Hitchcock story boarded and went over the direction before his shooting, He said the shooting was boring. Any problems or where the story and/or direction was before the film was going through the camera was worked out. The director knows all the parts and the story the actor knows his one part that he plays, done perfectly of course

Mark Ratering

And Loralie that has to be done before shooting or we as producers will go broke.

Mark Ratering

And Mark as we have said The Great Dennis Hopper demanded 17 takes and a budget cannot live with these sorts of demands.

LB McGill

@Mark- yes which is why I run rehearsals, but many directors don't. @Samuel yes of course. But for instance. I have a line in my movie where my actress says the word "row" She insists on saying it defeated, I insist that it must be infactic. We are both right for the character, but it's my choice for the story that must prevail.

Mark Schaefer

yes, I agree. I also do the majority of the editing, so in the end, I can ultimately choose what makes it into the final cut. Of course, having extra choices is good and fine so you can choose later. But, as experience has taught me... Having too many choices makes the editing process very confusing and time consuming. On my 1st feature film, I would shoot too many takes. Then when editing came around, it was a total mess. Which take was 1% better?. Now, I honestly try to limit my takes to 2-3 per line. I just have to know what I want before I hit record. It helps! :) just my $0.02

Patrick Sullivan

Mine would be when they ask when they can leave. I've given them a call time, and a estimate end time. But on set, things can always happen to throw that estimate a hour back or so, and it seems like everyone on set understands that, but most actors.

Dixie Sedgwick

Be on time, don't ask questions about your character that you should have asked in rehearsal, be flexible, remember your actions so when we do a reverse shot/angle actions are consistent otherwise in the editing room it's a nightmare and you may possibly be cut out!

Jacob Solinger

When actors ask me questions that are slowing down the production, taking us off track, time related etc. I assume I am not running my set correctly. A well manage set does not have these problems. Communication channels should be established up front by a designated person. Rules, schedules, etc. should be discussed in a staging meeting before every shoot. Character discussions should be done in rehearsals, readings, or before the shoot starts. Well managed sets remove 95% of all problematic questions. Of course there is always the one actor you can not manage, but then casting is everything, so once again look at our own skills before we look for excuses.

Rakhil Dolgorukov Tepes Sharkey

Can we have sex now. Granted, its my hubby who asked. But, you don't ask the director of the project this, even when you are married to them. Very unprofessional.

Max Leonida

Really I'm pretty undecided, since I could be telling an entire bible of weird, bizarre and pretentious requests I had from actors and actresses... But undoubtly the one I hated the most was when an actress asked to my assistant to bring some decent scrambled eggs during an important shooting. No matter she was the protagonist: after that silly pose I fired her...

Endless Meghan Warner

I agree with Cory. The only thing to get under my skin more so than this is someone who either didn't read the script all the way through or someone who didn't pay attention the details pertaining to their scene -- i.e. blood.

Cameron Deane Caulfield

As a young and new actor. I always know my script from front to back (my lines and my fellow actors) I never ask when can I go home (I want to stay on set). I follow the directors lead, though if I could add something, I will find a quite time to mention it. I do start an on set swear jar! (alot of potty mouths on set :). A kid has to earn a living.

Cameron Deane Caulfield

This link has taught me alot, though I think most of it is common sense on the actors side! the basics. Use manors, appreciate everyone on set, do your job. Then you get, on set food, respect of your peers, and a fantastic movie! :) (paid if your lucky, or your crew has bad language) :0

Mark Ratering

most the time the kis's parents are the biggest pain on the set. If the kid does not want to be there and is pushed can be a problem. I like replacing kid's with animals but the last Lama I had only spoke french.

Tony Klinger

"what's my motivation?" is really annoying. Read the screenplay and you should know the answer. I had someone, a very well known actress ask this when her back was to camera and we were filming over her shoulder.

Lisa Roumain

I am an Actor, and I take great offense when other Actors come to set and complain endlessly, or don't know their lines, or don't respect if someone else is preparing for a scene. They should be fully aware of how many other actors learned their lines, drove for hours, rehearsed, and begged for the audition and job that YOU had the great fortune of landing! Be grateful, be professional, be humble, be a team player, be a collaborator, be gracious, be imaginative, be confident...and DO YOUR JOB!

Erick Hayden

I would say it's more about what they say then ask. Don't complain or whine about how you'd rather be doing something else with your time. Don't boast about how you did this job or that and how the working conditions were so much better. Each job is an enigma unto itself. Accept it for what it is and enjoy the experience. Sometimes it's just more challenging, but that doesn't mean there isn't fun and involving things to find in every film shoot. Regardless of how "bad" it may be. Better to keep your mouth shut about it on set and evaluate it later.

Ryan O'Harris

As a director I have heard every excuse, complaint, and or concern you can imagine. I have learned, however, that a good 10 minute staging meeting that sets the ground rules, the plan for the day, the expectation the director has of the cast and crew before every shoot resolves most of the issues before they ever happen. If an actor asks me when he or she can expect to be finished I assume I did not make things clear in the call sheet or staging meeting and make the necessary changes. When an actor asks me if they can leave early or doesn’t know his or her lines I assume I cast wrong and need to vet the actor better next time. In the independent world of film we now have thousands of want-to-be and untrained actors. If we cast them we have the obligation to make sure they know what professional behavior on a set is or don’t cast them. The industry will never change until directors set the tone and demand professional behavior from all crew and cast, and display it themselves. Too many actors now believe that training is unnecessary and that all they need to do is have a good look and go to auditions. I personally do not cast actors that are not training somewhere. With the advent of the DSLR camera everyone and their brother has become a filmmaker regardless of their ability to create real product. This also is a problem and filmmakers need to make sure they are trained and competent . Professionalism breeds professional behavior.

Erick Hayden

Amen Ryan! Good on ya for taking responsibility as a director. That is indeed one of the key hallmarks of professionalism to me. Simply acknowledging your responsibility in a situation. In this case, both the director and actor share responsibility for ethical, tactful, and responsible conduct on set. It is too true that there is a plethora of unskilled artists gumming up the works often times. And the more people like Ryan that step forward and show them what professionalism really is, the better.

Jason Ryan Coleman

I've been lucky in that I haven't had any really bad actors to work with (except on one 48 Hour Film Project I did a while back and it happens alot in advertising when I don't get to pick my talent). I agree with Ryan in that first of all you must weed out the bad apples. If they are having trouble with lines or are just flat out bad, then don't hire them. However, if one slips through, it is imperative that pre production meeting be had and that even rehearsals if possible be conducted prior to shooting. You can find out early enough if you've got a bad one and need to re-cast. Also, I don't mind people being people. If an actor is asking me questions, that's good. I want them to understand how I would handle a situation. Thats a good way for them to learn my decision making process. If they have to hit the bathroom or leave for some reason, if we have the setup time to afford it, then I'm fine with them leaving. On the other hand, the thing I HATE the most is an actor that cant be on time! If I book you to be on set, you better be on set. Lateness and "Hollywooding" as I call it, is a good way to get replaced. All of the people on set are there to put something on their reel. If you screw with that, you're gone. Crew, Cast or above the line. If you don't want to be there, BYE BYE.

Brynn Baron

I constantly hear other directors complain about actors who ask to see the last take, or want to see dailies, claiming that they don't want the actor to somehow change their performance. To me, this is ridiculous if you've cast an intelligent, experienced actor, and seems to belie a certain insecurity on the director's part, not the actor's. We don't make the lighting designer or DP or set decorator or even make up or wardrobe work in the dark, and block them from seeing the monitor to gauge how their work is landing . And yet, we expect the actor to guess how close the camera is, guess if a choice is working as well as it could, trust that they are being directed with taste and care, trust that the director's "good enough" is actually on the same page as the actor's best attempts to be honest and authentic.Many actors don't like to see their takes, but for the ones who ask, I do my best not to infantilize them, and try to view the creative process as a collaboration, with respect between artists, not a dictatorship headed by a director afraid of losing control. That certainly can happen, but it's important to remember that an actor is working just as hard on an emotional level as others are working on a physical or intellectual level. Sneaking a peek at the monitor to confirm what the director is asking for seems a small thing to ask if it reassures and helps them to make interesting, honest choices. If a director can't trust an actor to see a take or two, they've cast the role wrong to begin with. I've been on sets where even the PA's get to watch a take on a monitor, but the actor was actively prevented, and treated like a toddler for asking. To me, that's just absurd. The monitor can be a powerful tool to use while directing actors, especially if you aren't getting the performance you need for some reason. It happens, because actors aren't machines, so sometimes you can save a lot of extra takes by letting the actor see the damn monitor once or twice. Directors forget - or are just plain ignorant of the fact - that actors take on-camera clsses all the time, and frequently make great adjustments for the better after seeing themselves on-camera. I've seen it as a teacher, as a director, and experienced it myself as an actor.

Jacob Solinger

As an acting coach for 30 years I can tell you that letting an actor watch his/her own performance when the film has not wrapped is not practical or productive. The absolute worse judge of any acting is the actor. Well maybe the actor's mother. I just finished shooting a feature with 18 actors and dozens of background actors. What would happen if they all wanted to look at the footage? We would not have time to finish the movie. An actor is one part of a very complicated artistic endeavor. The conductor is the director and like an orchestra conductor he/she must retain control of the total product produced. What if the actor sees the footage and decides he/she wants it re-shot? Should that be allowed as well? When will we be able to finish any film under that situation. Films today are not shot linearly. So an actor will often not even know what the shot before him/her or after is, and can not honestly judge the performance. Continuity is an absolute requirement of any film. Actors can not be allowed to constantly change the nature of their performance, character, etc. to overcome a feeling that they can do better. The answer to all of this is "REHEARSAL." Many directors do not give the actors enough opportunity to rehearse a scene in order to feel confident that the decisions they made are the best they are capable of. I understand the urge to want to see your footage so you can improve on it. It just does not work. Finally I will just say that a talented and experienced actor will know how well they performed the minute the director calls "cut."

Erick Hayden

The fact is that there are points to be made on both sides, though I lean more towards Jacob's POV on this. A good actor should be able to tell if he's hitting the mark without seeing the footage. I personally love to watch my footage after I'm done just to see if there's anything I can improve on to increase my clarity for my next performance. Not to tweak or change the current one I'm in, but to deepen it, strengthen it. Otherwise, seeing footage isn't a necessity. Though it is nice to check in just to ensure that you are hitting the mark. Though I would only suggest this for very experienced actors. Plus, as a director myself, I know how to keep it in context and not let watching footage mess with my current performance, rather just let it enhance it. But it is a very tricky thing to do. And if you're at all squeamish about watching yourself on film, it's best to wait to just watch the final product and use that as your gauge to help you improve later.

Rachael Saltzman

Here's why I don't - many actors will obsess and lose focus after seeing themselves, hurting any performance the rest of the day.

Evan Marlowe

Maybe it's just me, but I rarely work with an actor who asks to watch their performance. Those who do are typically insecure about the way they look, and aren't focused on their acting. I guess it comes down to the actors having trust in themselves and me.

David Reid

This is a great conversation - as a novice actor, I have learned a lot on what to say, where to say it, and more importantly, what not to say. With that being said, I have one question - are we going to finish this up soon? I have to go back and reread my post. :) Thanks again for the incredible insight and feedback.

Angelique Little

Yikes! I can't imagine asking when I could go home. I'm always so thrilled to be on set, I never want to go home. As an actor, I've always been a silent observer -- it's how I learned to make films myself. I've kicked myself for not doing more networking on set but I have too much respect for the process to muck it up advancing myself. I've always felt that actors shouldn't speak unless they're on camera and are saying their lines, don't understand their directions, are famous and will thrill people by being chatty, or it's lunchtime and they're making friends with crew members. As for watching footage on set, seriously? That's what the director and the DP do. Unless you're Matt Damon, you don't get to choose your footage. I guess it comes down to respect for the process in which actors are a small, albeit very visible, part of the whole.

Matt Graham

As a Director my big issue is actors either double booking or pretending they did not know wrap times was not what they thought. An actor basically had to leave my set and let everyone down as he "had to pick up his kid". Now, I get that but had myself or the producer had known we would not have cast them as that affected not just us but a whole crew we now have to wrangle back again just for that scene. And the scene cannot be dropped as it "introduced" that character. But all in all, I find most actors 100% professional, a great ally on set and the reason I love working in film.

Rick Irvin

As a producer I can't stand when an actor or crew member has to have a certain food request that sends me or a PA to go to two different places. "I don't like El Pollo Loco, can you go and get me sushi"? Ugggghhhhh....

Craig Richards

It's hard for me to imagine, but the first thing many actors ask when they arrive on-set is, "How long do I need to be here." As a producer or director, enthusiasm from my cast and crew can make a shooting day a dream come true or a nightmare. One of the reasons I tend to hire the same crew over and over is because I can count on their great attitudes contributing positively to the creative production environment. I hope actors will read this thread and learn from the mistakes of others.

Michelle Jb

Any question relevant to bringing out a great performance is a relevant question. Anything else is a distraction and a sign of unprofessionalism.

James Giordano

When's lunch & when do I get paid.

Russell Buchanan

Unfortunately most of the actors are not the star who gas a manager looking after all the money and comfort stuff, most actors/extras etc are thinking this even before they arrive on set. But, not smart to ask the director anything unless very important, some directors may be thinking the same thing though, lol. .

Daniel J Brant

I suppose a lot depends on the type and size of the production and the atmosphere on set. Personally, I'd say that most questions are okay- just make sure you ask the right person. If it's of the "when's lunch?" variety, an Assistant Director, the Production Manager or an organised Production Assistant is a good place to start. If it's more about your performance, motivations or the blocking, then the Director is probably best qualified to answer. If you're an extra or a one-line performer on a big shoot, you might feel awkward asking the director, so you're usually best asking the AD in that instance. As a director, the only questions I've been asked that kind of annoy me are when the actor hasn't read the script or done any preparation at all- the "so where am I and what's this scene about?" type question!

Angelique Little

Good answer, Daniel! It's all about knowing the jobs of everyone else on set. Who to go to for what.

Jimmy France

It depends who you ask I suppose. The more experienced and higher paid will have time for everyone. They will have been asked everything in their time. Atmosphere on set is rightly so critical. Politeness goes a very long way, and we do work in the communications industry.

David Japka

Can I schedule an audition at lunch?

Randall Roffe

anything

James Giordano

It bothers me when people don't just appreciate the fact that they have a job. It's hard to get a job Actor, Producer, whatever.

Catherine Reyes Casaol

my acting teacher at the time told us to NEVER yawn on set because we don't want the director, the producer, or any of the other people to think we're bored. he said if they think that way about us, they wouldn't want to work with us anymore.

Jacob Solinger

I am not sure I would approach it like that. I would allow myself to believe that the actor needs to be stimulated, involved, or taught better. If necessary when I have a tired actor in class I will keep them on the stage as much as possible with one challenge after another for the entire night. I very quickly find out if the actor is truly suffering from exhaustion or I am suffering from a bad case of poor teaching. If they can not be motivated I will talk to them. If it persists I will suggest they find an acting coach that is more stimulating or a job that let's them sleep and be more prepared for class. No matter what, the situation can not be allowed to continue. Everyone has a bad day or couple of days so I hope no one takes such a short sided view of why people are tired. On a set, find other ways to stay alert (non-chemical) or face the rumor mill. It's sad but true.

Raquel Deloatch

Can I leave early to go on a audition? Actors that are addicted to their cell phones.

Jason Ryan Coleman

Catherine that is ridiculous. People get tired and yawning is part of our physiology.

Catherine Reyes Casaol

Jason! That's not my opinion! That's my teacher's! Tell that to my teacher!

Jason Ryan Coleman

You know what they say,"Those who can't...teach." Wait a minute, I taught a class once....maybe that doesn't apply after all. Ha he he. Anyway, It all depends on the relationship that a director creates with his/her talent. None of this petty stuff matters if the relationship is a good one.

Raquel Deloatch

You create relations by working with a person on several projects.

Trevor Rose

I am not a finished filmmaker (yet) ... but what I would hate (or at least be annoyed by) is being asked something that the person should already know, because they had been given everything they needed to know it already, and they should have known that it was expected of them to know that thing by that time when they asked ... fair enough, if they were struggling to understand it, that is different ... but if it is clear they just hadn't bothered ... that would be annoying (as if I didn't have enough to do already without answering a stupid question for a person to lazy to figure it out) ... aside from that, pretty much anything else would be ok.

Wayne G Sweat

Trevor, did it ever occur to you that there was more than one way to interpret a matter? I double check with the director to make sure that my interpretation matches his(her) overall vision. It's nice to ask questions before the day of the shoot, but tonight, a great example. We rehearsed a scene before rolling, I saw an issue that could create a continuity problem and offered a suggestion to the director. He liked it. So on we went. A thoroughly enjoyable shoot.

Wayne G Sweat

When I walked out to my car at the end of the shoot the same director came out and told me that I would be really proud of my acting when I see the movie. I guess he didn't mind me offering the feedback after all.

Trevor Rose

of course it did ... which is why (if you read my extremely clearly stated comment), I specifically said that it would annoy me IF I had a reasonable expectation that they SHOULD have known & understood ... why on earth would you leap to the conclusion that this does not include someone legitimately showing that instructions given to them were ambiguous ?? ... did I not also quite clearly state that if the person had reason to be confused that I would not be annoyed by that? ... and thirdly, did I not also state that what would bother me is IF they had clearly not bothered to make the effort to understand it ... why oh why oh why ... with my message being that clear did you not see that I was making allowances for all reasonable confusion, and ONLY saying that I would be annoyed by someone who hadn't bothered to make the effort?? I cannot imagine how you have interpreted my comment in any other way.

Ryan Henry Knight

I hate when they say stuff like "I don't know what to do." or "Oops, I messed up." Especially when I don't yell "cut". That irritates me, because most of the time they don't know what I'm looking for. In their mind, they might've messed up, but sometimes in my mind it could be what I'm looking for... if that makes sense.

Raquel Deloatch

R.H Fang has a good point. Two other things that irritates me when another actor is trying to direct another actor. There is one director on the set. All other actors needs to keep the desires to direct to themselves until they are directing their own project. If a Director gives you the entire script. Read the entire script. Don't read just your parts. And if you have the script and there are no changes in dialogue some to the set prepared. If you don't know what the director want ASK.

Michelle Jb

Raquel, your sentiment applies the same way in drama class. And it's always, ALWAYS the LAZIEST person in the class that thinks they know how it's supposed to be done.

Randall Roffe

The best actors and directors I know basically don't talk at ALL during a shoot. All the talk happens beforehand IF it is necessary. Read about John Ford, there is a real good biography. He expected his actors to just DO IT, and not to talk about it

Raquel Deloatch

Yes, that was the expected normal behavior,, back in the day. They not only talk, they had they texting and posting pics on FB. Character development or staying in character during the shoot.. They are clueless.

Viljami Eronen

i hate when actors ask me.. When do we eat.

Michelle Moore

As a casting director, it drives me INSANE when experienced actors will break character during an audition and say, "How'd that look?" or "Let me do that again". It is my job to know when it looks right and whether or not I need or want you to do it again. I may know in ten seconds you are not right for the part and have 50 other candidates to get through. But if you slow me down every time you come in my office, I will think twice before trying you for anything in the future. And if you screw up my edit by talking to the camera or otherwise breaking character at the end of the take... I might just cut you all together, even if I think you gave a decent read. Sometimes I just don't have enough time!

Adnan Ssenkumba

So u want them to die on set

Craig Richards

When an actor is respectful of the process and set protocol and for the time of those they encounter, especially the Casting Director, Director, AD and their own agent and manager, it goes a long way to making them standout professionals. When they aren't respectful, they're viewed as disruptive and bring onto set a sense of negativity that can diminish the fragile balance of creativity, problem-solving and productivity, in my experience.

John C. Taylor

Hey Cheryl, I agree with Craig but I'll focus a bit on the Sound Dept. and Actors. When a Sound Mixer asks for a level, don't just say "Testing 1, 2," etc, say some of the lines at the same level you plan on doing them when the camera rolls. If the levels are going to be all over the place (soft to loud etc.) let the mixer know. Also, if a wireless mic is used, be respectful of the mixer's equipment. You are wearing about $2000 of delicate gear. Please, just don't just rip it off after the scene is done. Let the sound team deal with putting it on and taking it off. Thanks for asking. John

Ed Vassallo

Cheryl, if it is my production, I don't necessarily want someone who is nice and keeps the 'balance' and takes no risks. No am I worried about an actor who doesn't please the keys (Sound/wardrobe etc etc) I want someone - first and foremost is going to fight for what he or she believes makes the character more compelling and honest. I have had such nice actors who I loved as people but in the editing room gave me mediocrity. I'm not saying I like actors who act like dicks, but if its about the work - by all means be difficult. If you want to speak at any level you choose, it is the sound departments responsibility to find your level and make it work. I basically want my actors to be as comfortable as possible so they can take the risks that are so hard to take. Nice people and an easy set has become so over rated and the work has diminished greatly. Ed

Russell Buchanan

Finding the balance so all creatives can do their job is always a plus. Ni dick heads please, just people who know their stuff and do it.

Ed Vassallo

I love NI DICK HEADS. They are very rare found only in small parts of southern california

Angelique Little

In an ideal world, all preparation for shooting happens off set. Everyone shows up as prepared as possible. The production designer isn't asking questions on set that could have been dealt with before. Nor is the cinematographer or the sound engineer. They know what's expected of them, they know the specifics of the shoot and what to expect when they get there. The same should be true with actors. Their work is at home, in rehearsals and prior to the shoot. It's up to the director to organize readings and rehearsals, give notes and be available for questions from the actor. Discussions about character should happen prior to arriving on set, when the entire production is not held up while those discussions take place. That being said, some productions skip these important preparations due to time or budget constraints, inexperienced directors or other issues. Subsequently, they'll have more to deal with on set. Additionally, things change and evolve once shooting begins -- which is what makes working on set so exciting! -- and unforeseen problems and opportunities arise. An actor who has done everything they can prior to arriving on set to learn the story, get into character and engage in their performance, may still need to interact with their director on set. But whatever questions and input they have at that point will be new ideas or potential problems identified during the shoot that should just take the performance up a notch. @Ed, I think actors can absolutely be brilliant AND easy to work with. Those two things are not mutually exclusive. The myth that actors have to be difficult, challenging people to give a great performance is just that, a myth. If actors are sacrificing performance for niceness or making "too safe" choices, that certainly is a problem but then, hopefully preparation with the director will have identified that. If a director doesn't know how to get great performances, they can hire better actors by working with a top-notch casting director, get training to learn how to give direction, take acting classes themselves, hire an acting coach, choose better scripts or work with actors more prior to arriving on set.

Ed Vassallo

@ Angelique. Never said it was mutually exclusive. Many talented actors are absolute delights, however many are very nice and can remember lines and work repetitively with very little talent. I would suggest you read this missive from Arthur Penn. What he says is ABSOLUTELY happening to the craft and business of acting. SEE BELOW: "I do not want to know another thing about what a nice guy or gal someone on the stage is: This is entirely irrelevant to me. Some sort of desperation has crept into our theatre--all of our arts, really, but we're discussing theatre--where we feel a defensive wall is erected around the meretriciousness of our work by highlighting how hard someone has worked; how many hours they've put in at the soup kitchen; how many hours they spent researching the aphasic mind in order to replicate the actions of one; how many ribbons sweep across their breast in support of causes; how much they love their lives and how lucky they feel to be on Broadway! There is very little art, but there is a great deal of boosterism. Fill the seats; buy a T-shirt; post something on the Internet; send out an e-mail blast. I'm in my eighties, and I think I should have left this earth never knowing what an e-mail blast was. I saw a play recently that was festooned with understudies: Not the actual understudies, but the hired, primary actors, all of whom performed (if that is the word) precisely like a competent, frightened understudy who got a call at dinner and who raced down to take over a role. No depth; no sense of preparation. These were actors who had learned their lines and who had showed up. And that is all. I spoke to the director afterwards. By all accounts a nice and talented and smart guy. I asked him why a particular part in this play--a Group Theatre classic--had been given to this certain actor. He's a great guy, was the response. Prince of a fellow. Well, perhaps, but send him home to be a prince to his wife and children; he is a shattering mediocrity. But nice and easy counts far too much these days. Another director told me--proudly--that he had just completed his third play in which there wasn't one difficult player; not one distraction; not one argument. Can I add that these were among the most boring plays of our time? They were like finely buffed episodes of Philco Playhouse: tidy, neat, pre-digested, and forgotten almost immediately, save for the rage I felt at another missed opportunity. All great work comes to us through various forms of friction. I like this friction; I thrive on it. I keep hearing that Kim Stanley was difficult. Yes, she was: in the best sense of the word. She questioned everything; nailed everything down; got answers; motivated everyone to work at her demonically high standard. Everyone improved, as did the project on which she was working, whether it was a scene in class, a TV project, a film, or a play. Is that difficult? Bring more of them on. Is Dustin Hoffman difficult? You bet. He wants it right; he wants everything right, and that means you and that means me. I find it exhilarating, but in our current culture, they would prefer someone who arrived on time, shared pictures of the family, hugged everyone and reminded them of how blessed he is to be in a play, and who does whatever the director asks of him. Is Warren Beatty difficult? Only if you're mediocre or lazy. If you work hard and well, he's got your back, your front, and your future well in hand. He gets things right--for everybody. No friction. No interest. No play. No film. It's very depressing. I don't want to know about your process. I want to see the results of it. I'll gladly help an actor replicate and preserve and share whatever results from all the work that has been done on a part, but I don't want to hear about it. I've worked with actors who read a play a couple of times and fully understood their characters and gave hundreds of brilliant performances. I don't know how they reached that high level of acting, and I don't care. My job is to provide a safe environment, to hold you to the high standards that have been set by the playwright, the other actors, and by me. I hold it all together, but I don't need to know that your second-act scene is so true because you drew upon the death of your beloved aunt or the time your father burned your favorite doll. Now the process is public, and actors want acclimation for the work they've put into the work that doesn't work. Is this insane? Read the newspapers, and there is an actor talking about his intentions with a part. I've pulled strands of O'Neill into this character, and I'm looking at certain paintings and photographs to gain a certain texture. And then you go to the theatre and see the performance of a frightened understudy. But a great gal or guy. Sweet. Loves the theatre. Every year or so, I tell myself I'm going to stop going to see plays. It's just too depressing. But I remember how much I love what theatre can be and what theatre was, and I go back, an old addict, an old whore who wants to get the spark going again. I don't think we can get the spark going again because the people working in the theatre today never saw the spark, so they can't get it going or keep it going if it walked right up to them and asked for a seat. It's a job, a career step, a rehabilitation for a failed TV star or aging film star. I got a call from one of these actresses, seeking coaching. I need my cred back, she said. This is not what the theatre is supposed to be, but it is what the theatre now is. I don't want to just shit on the theatre: It's bad everywhere, because it's all business, real-estate space with actors. It's no longer something vital. I used to think that the theatre was like a good newspaper: It provided a service; people wanted and needed it; revenue was provided by advertisers who bought space if the paper delivered, but profit was not the motive--the motive was the dissemination of truth and news and humor. Who goes to the theatre at all now? I think those in the theatre go because it's an occupational requirement: They want to keep an eye on what the other guys are going, and they want to rubberneck backstage with those who might use them in the future. But who are the audiences? They want relief not enlightenment. They want ease. This is fatal. I talk to Sidney Lumet. I talk to Mike Nichols. I ask them if I'm the crazy old man who hates everything. You might be, they say, but you're not wrong. They have the same feelings, but they work them out or work around them in different ways. The primary challenges of the theatre should not always be getting people to give a shit about it. The primary challenge should be to produce plays that reach out to people and change their lives. Theatre is not an event, like a hayride or a junior prom--it's an artistic, emotional experience in which people who have privately worked out their stories share them with a group of people who are, without their knowledge, their friends, their peers, their equals, their partners on a remarkable ride." ~~ director ARTHUR PENN

Angelique Little

Completely agree, Ed! And as someone who has worked in a lot of different fields, I'd have to say this is true in every industry. I've always been passionate, outspoken and given 100% of myself to an endeavor and can tell you is almost never appreciated. Not by bosses or co-workers or even clients. Makes their job harder, right? As Penn says, it's a business. It's not about making a great product, it's about churning it out and selling it. But then the mediocrity doesn't apply just to actors, either. It affects the writing the most. When Hollywood hires younger, less experienced people to make movies to save money, they must also hire nice, non-threatening actors to work with. I mean, a really smart actor challenges a director in a way they may not want to be. I remember hearing a great story about Clint Eastwood working with a young director who said he'd do the shot more than once (or twice) but the director better not use the first take. Meaning, don't waste my time because you don't know what you're doing. A less feisty, experienced, famous, talented actor would never say that. It really comes down to the definition of "difficult," doesn't it? What to one person is a pain in the ass is to another person the very essence of creating art. Which only reinforces that the director is in charge and it is up to the director to set the expectations of the actor and establish the relationship.

Wayne G Sweat

Thank you Ed.

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