Become an "Actor's Director" - How to Get the Performance and Win the Respect of Your Cast

Hosted by Scott Rice


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Scott Rice

Webinar hosted by: Scott Rice

Director, Executive Producer at Two Shot West

Scott Rice is an Emmy Award-winning director who has worked with Matthew McConaughey with whom he co-teaches a class at the University of Texas. Scott has directed projects for Sony Pictures, A&E, MTV Networks and more. His films have been distributed by Hulu, Showtime, Comedy Central and PBS. After studying under world-renowned film scholar David Bordwell, Scott began his career as a 3D animator and art director for Activision. He scripted the groundbreaking hit game SOLDIER OF FORTUNE and has since written on assignment for Elizabeth Avellan (SPY KIDS) among others. Scott is also an ADDY award winner for his commercial work. His national commercial clients include Shell, Las Vegas, MasterCard and Sears. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

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. But there is a place to start: Set the goal of becoming an “actor’s director.” You’ve heard the term before, but what does it really mean? Why does it matter? And how can you become one?

And, who better to know what it takes to become an actor's director than Matthew McConaughey's teaching partner at University of Texas, Scott Rice. Scott is an Emmy Award-winning director who has directed projects for Sony Pictures, A&E, MTV Networks and more. His films have been distributed by Hulu, Showtime, Comedy Central and PBS.  After studying under world-renowned film scholar David Bordwell, Scott began his career as a 3D animator and art director for Activision. He scripted the groundbreaking hit game SOLDIER OF FORTUNE and has since written on assignment for Elizabeth Avellan (SPY KIDS) among others. Scott is also an ADDY award winner for his commercial work. His national commercial clients include Shell, Las Vegas, MasterCard and Sears. 

As Scott explores how to become an “actor’s director,” he will share a volume of best practices and wisdom born of a rich 25-year career. Scott will begin by explaining what it means to be an “actor’s director” in general and will go over what you need to be familiar with ahead of time in order to be one yourself, including a basic rundown of the craft and challenges of acting and how to use empathy. He’ll illustrate what a strong actor-director collaboration looks like, how to harness the power of ‘yes’, and how to correctly ‘watch’ a performance while on set. Next Scott will delve into how best to prepare before production, including navigating scene work, the read-through and rehearsal process, dealing with shot listing, and creating a schedule while keeping your actors’ needs in mind. He’ll also discuss how best to handle walkthroughs and blocking and when to use stand-ins. Then Scott will teach you the best ways to interact with actors on set, including how to meet with them ahead of time, and how to hold yourself and speak while on set. He’ll spend time talking about the casting process and ways to serve as an “actor’s director” while auditioning and interviewing talent. Scott will then offer tips on how to work with non-actors, including children and animals, and share Steven Spielberg’s techniques for these challenges and how to use improvisation. He will delve into strategies for solving problems that occur on set, including how to identify a weak performance, getting out of a ‘black hole’, when to move on and circle back, and how to decide what you really need to move forward. Scott will share 8 things you should avoid while on set in order to be a better “actor’s director”. In the end, Scott will leave you with a thorough understanding of what it means to be an actor’s director and, more importantly, provide actionable advice for how to become one yourself.

Scott will accompany his presentation with exclusive material from his nationally recognized film course which goes behind the scenes of Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey’s latest films. Scott will illustrate successful actor-director relationships through anecdotes from McConaughey and notorious directors including Gary Ross (THE HUNGER GAMES), Jeff Nichols (LOVING), and Harmony Korine (SPRING BREAKERS).


Praise for Scott's Stage 32 Webinar


"Scott was a great choice for an instructor. Very knowledgeable and a good teacher"

-Blake N.


"Scott was a fabulous presenter. He definitely brought his A-game today. Thanks, Scott!"

-Paul T.


"It was terrific. Great instructor. I loved his insights and recommendations. He clearly stays on top of his profession and is always learning."

-Crystal B.



What You'll Learn

  • What Does It Mean to Be an “Actor’s Director”?
  • Things You Need to Be Familiar With to Become an Actor’s Director
    • A basic rundown of the craft of acting and challenges actors face
    • How to use empathy as a director
    • The importance of practice
  • What a Strong Actor-Director Collaboration Looks Like
    • Pre-shoot meeting
    • The power of “Yes”
    • How to trust the actor’s prep
    • How to correctly “watch” a performance on set
  • How to Best Prepare Before Production
    • Serving as the “Pillar of Stability”
    • Scene work
    • Perfecting the read-through and rehearsal process
    • Shot listing and other prep
    • Actor-centric scheduling
    • Walkthroughs and blocking
    • When to use stand-ins
  • Interacting with Actors on Set
    • Pre-shoot meetings
    • Delivering the line “Action!”
    • “Private/Public” voice
    • Why feedback is important
    • How to set the on-set “tone”
  • The Casting Process
    • Auditions
    • Interviewing
    • Diversity / Inclusivity
  • Tips for Directing Kids, Non-Actors and Animals
    • How to listen to get what you need
    • Working with children under 6 and the value of twins
    • Steven Spielberg’s techniques
    • Using of improvisation
  • Solving Problems on Set
    • Identifying a weak performance
    • Getting out of a black hole
    • Moving On, Circling Back
    • Deciding what you really need
  • 8 Things You Should Avoid to Be a Better Actor’s Director
  • Q&A with Scott

About Your Instructor

Scott Rice is an Emmy Award-winning director who has worked with Matthew McConaughey with whom he co-teaches a class at the University of Texas. Scott has directed projects for Sony Pictures, A&E, MTV Networks and more. His films have been distributed by Hulu, Showtime, Comedy Central and PBS.

After studying under world-renowned film scholar David Bordwell, Scott began his career as a 3D animator and art director for Activision. He scripted the groundbreaking hit game SOLDIER OF FORTUNE and has since written on assignment for Elizabeth Avellan (SPY KIDS) among others. Scott is also an ADDY award winner for his commercial work. His national commercial clients include Shell, Las Vegas, MasterCard and Sears.


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