Top 5 Tips for Directing Actors

August 19, 2019

You may not be directing the next box office hit, but directing videos for your business is just as important. Video is directly tied to your brand’s success and can positively impact customer engagement, revenue and your brand’s identity if it is directed well. So, how do you direct actors? Put simply, directing actors takes strong leadership skills and a solid understanding of the video’s tone.

But let’s break it down a bit more. Take in these five tips for directing actors before you shoot your next take (see what we did there?).

1. Be the Expert

Part of directing a video means you’re the go-to expert on all things. From pre-production plans to coordinating technical aspects of the film and interviewing subject matter experts, it’s up to you to make the idea behind a video come to life on-screen. Do your homework before casting actors and really dive into your subject. Think about what questions or concerns actors might have once on-set and have a response ready for them.

2. Establish a Chain of Command

If there is one thing a great director is not, it’s a lone wolf. Not only do you need to have a team of people working with you to create a film, but you also need to be comfortable delegating responsibility and establishing a chain of command. When it comes to directing the actors themselves, that task is yours alone. Make sure you don’t confuse your talent by allowing members of your crew to interfere with your direction.

3. Keep Your Calm

Like a commanding officer on the battlefield, you’re the person each member of the team looks to for guidance. If you’re frustrated, tired or otherwise preoccupied with other things, your actors will notice. Following the previous tips will help keep you clear-headed and capable of leading actors to create a great video.

4. Empower Actors to Perform Well

Actors do best when they have what they need to carry out a role. Assist them by giving actors the tools they need to perform well. If your video involves scripts, let your actors become familiar with the script and ask questions well before you’re on set. Each actor is unique, so get with them one-on-one to learn what they need from you.

5. Pay Attention to Your Actors

Strong attention to detail doesn’t simply mean you need to understand all the components of making a video. It also means you need to read body language and emotions to ensure your actors feel supported and up to the task of carrying out a role. When asked about his method for working with known vs. unknown actors, Scarface’s Brian De Palma remarked, “When they see that you’re very concerned about protecting their performances, watching what they’re doing, and giving them the right suggestions at the right time, they become very easy to direct and look for all the help they can get.”

The Best Directors Direct Themselves First

Being a great director clearly requires that you understand all aspects of filmmaking, but it also requires the ability to control your own emotions and stay on task. The next time you’re planning a shoot, think about your previous video production and evaluate what went right and wrong. Aim improve yourself as a director with each new video.


Posted in: Making Decisions, Video Production, Video Production Company, Video Production Process, Video Production Tips


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