In a recent interview I was asked if the technique I use in my classes made actors director proof.
First of all I think there are a lot of really good directors working in the film and TV industry now. A lot! But having said that I know directors, just like the rest of us, can have bad days — for a myriad of reasons. And regardless of why they’re having a bad day – they’re sick, the new baby kept him/her up all night, the shoot the day before ran way over, or the project they were hired for wasn’t a good fit for their sensibilities – regardless of what is throwing them off their game, in the final analysis it is going to be you up on the screen not them.
Because of that you have to make sure you’ve done everything you can so that no matter where the director’s head is you’ll still come out looking good.
I’ve been teaching now for twenty plus years and as a teacher I am constantly evolving, growing my craft – just as actors should be evolving and growing their craft. In the five years since my first two books (film and commercial acting) were published I learned a tremendous amount from my students about what worked in those books and about what could be better. I incorporated that info in to the new book The Science and Art of Acting for the Camera. click here As acting is a living, changing craft so is teaching acting. Remaining static is one of the worst sins an actor or a teacher can commit.
So, how does this relate to actors being director proof? If you don’t have a technique you can rely on you won’t be able to fully develop your character, you won’t recognize the arc of the scene. And if you can’t do those two simple things then you will miss all the other information available to you in a script. Having a technique is like having a treasure map that highlights all the good stuff so you’ll have a fountain of information to draw from if/when you discover your director is off his game, for whatever reason.
Please understand this isn’t about alienating directors; it’s about supporting them, giving them options. The more you know about what is doing on in the scene the more “choices” you can offer the director. The great thing about all of this is if your director’s having an “off” day you’ll still look good. And is he/she is having a good day you’ll look great.
Either way, it’s a win-win…for everybody. And, oh, did I mention the producers? Yeah, you being at the top of your game is good for them too.
Two-Camera Scene Study class starts December 5th 2017 and goes ‘til February 6th 2018 (off Dec. 26th and Jan. 2nd).
Commercial Level 1 class starts 13 Nov. and goes to December 8th 2017.
For information regarding these classes go to: http://www.johnhowardswain.com
Tommy Day – booked a co-starring role on the new network TV show INSTINCT.
Caitlin Kerchner – is one of the leads in the web series OTHER VOICES.
Diana Craig – booked co-staring roles in GOTHAM and BULL.
Bill Cannon – shot two commercial projects: SWITLIK MATTRESSES and RIVER SPRING RETIREMENT COMMUNITY…drum roll, please…on the same day. Way to go, Bill.
Steven Jones – shot a national network commercial for BDO.
Jody Watkins – booked a commercial for Jendu Pharmaceutical.
When you’ve booked something let us know so we can share the good news.