This blog is inspired by Machelle Allman, AKA @venetianblonde on Twitter! Thank you, Machelle. Your comments on our previous post on directing actors sparked this idea.
ACTORS – Don’t waste the time of your fellow actors by asking stupid questions. Okay, okay. I know. There are no “stupid questions,” but we all know, especially when we are in a rehearsal for a play, actors who tend to dominate the conversation with all of their issues and problems (one of my favorite director-isms, thanks to Aimee Bruneau, is “come with solutions“). Now, don’t take this the wrong way. I am not saying that we actors should not discuss ideas, especially during table work sessions (please oh please tell me directors are still making time for this), but I am saying, take your other actors into consideration when you are passionately discussing your issue with the director on company time. Maybe some of your questions could be addressed privately, saving precious rehearsal time for more important things. Oh, and, needless to say (I hope), SHOW UP ON TIME. And, early is on time in my book.
DIRECTORS – Be prepared! Storyboarding comes to mind…If you know exactly how your day is going to go and which angles are being shot when, your shoot will go much smoother, saving us time and you production costs. And, if at all possible, rehearse! This will save time on set, as you won’t have to adjust us as often.
PRODUCTION – Take your actors’ time into consideration while shooting by hiring a top notch First Assistant Director (Rick Walters comes t0 mind, for local hires). If setting up a shot is going to take a lot of time, and perhaps you are too invested to notice the actors pining away, drifting into boredom, stewing in frustration, or shivering in the cold, your 1st AD can tell your actors to “Get back to your dressing room and chill. We’ll call you when we are ready.” I love an AD who does just that. Looking out for the “talent” (ugh, I really hate being called “the talent” – anyone else?) really pays dividends. Keeping your actors fresh is going to count when you get to the editing room and start watching your takes.
Also, we appreciate call sheets and daily breakdowns which include script. I want to know when I am expected on set and exactly what we are going to do. If I am shooting on Day 1 and Day 2, at the end of Day 1 I want to know when I am called the next day and what the agenda is. Making sure the director stays on schedule and within the bounds of the schedule is also key. And, don’t allow your director to push beyond the hours agreed upon for each day of shooting, unless overtime is paid and agreed upon before production starts.