A Word On Directing

If you’ve read any of my books you know I place a lot of emphasis on technique. However, in class I approach the craft differently. In class I talk to the actors in result oriented terms. Why? Because on the set, if you get any direction at all it will most likely be “Move here. Say this line like this. Show this emotion.” This doesn’t mean the directors aren’t good, it’s just that time is money and the directors tend to speak to actors in result oriented terms because it’s the quickest way to convey what they want.

Case in point:Sarah Dacey Charles. Sarah is an actress and has studied with me in San Francisco and most recently in New York. She is very talented  and has a ton of theatre credits and is branching out into the world of film and TV. She was hired recently to be in the pilot episode of Zach Braff’s new TV show, Alex Inc. and wrote about it in her blog.

Here’s an excerpt she posted recently:

“Zach (Braff) not only stars in this series but also directs.  As a director– he just KNOWS what’s funny. When he directed me,  he showed me how to milk my one line for all it’s worth.
“Sarah (Zach said), I want you to raise your pitch on this word, lower it on this word, pause for two seconds here, and then drive through the rest of your line as fast as you can. Can you do that?”
“I know I’m kind of micromanaging your moment…”
“Please, micromanage me, Zach.  I love it!”

I saw the episode and am pleased to say that Sarah “killed it.” Her delivery was prefect and her scene, for me, was the highlight of the show. I’m posting this (with her permission) to illustrate how an extremely talented actor will speak to other actors when he’s directing. Time is money in TV and film and directors need to cut to the chase in order to get what they want.

The more prepared you are the easier it will be for you to “take” direction. That’s why it’s vital for you to show up on the set with a fully developed character who is ready to play and is flexible enough to incorporate the director’s vision. A lot of times the director will be inspired by what his/her actors do during the camera rehearsals. And in TV and film those camera rehearsals may be the only rehearsal you get.

Sarah concluded her post with this: “At the end of day, Zach shook my hand and said, “You’re really funny.” I smiled but thought, ‘No,  Zach, YOU are funny, I just took the note.”‘

If your technique is solid and you’re prepared then everybody’s life is easier.


In the WTF category – here’s an interesting piece of news. If you have a copy of my first book “The Science and Art of Film Acting” you should think about selling it (and of course, replacing it with the new book). Why? Because it’s selling on Amazon right now for $500.00. This is not a typo. Check it out.  https://www.amazon.com/Science-Art-Film-Acting/dp/0578101793

Like I said – WTF??!!


Lots of people working:

Tom Day is guest starring on Dick Wolf’s newest, still untitled TV series.                               Leslie Russell shot a spot for KRFC Design Center.                                                          Jody Watkins did a commercial for Dignity Health.                                                         Jerry Topitzer shot an Certa Pro-Painter commercial.                                                        Tricia McGuinn just wrapped the play Hir in Philadelphia.                                                Bill Cannon shot another episode of the Discovery Channel’s Investigative Series.           Kara Boland turned a one-off, co-starring role in the web series Everyone Else Has into a recurring guest star role.


Commercial Level 1 starts the 14th of May and goes to the 25th of June. Last commercial class before our summer hiatus. Click here for more information.

On-Camera Scene Study – starts the 8th of May and goes until the 26th of June. This is the last scene study class before the summer hiatus. Click here for more info.

The Book is on the move. Here’s where it’s been the past few weeks:

Marsha -Spring Training, Phoenix

Blue Peanut Man – M & M Store, NYC

Aspiring show girls in Vegas





Julie – sunning and studying  in Sarasota

Tommy – prepping his role in NCIS, New Orleans

Tricia – working on a scene at the Super Bowl







Jim, sailing and studying in New Zealand



So hey, if you find yourself somewhere cool, like Jim here in New Zealand, and you have the book with you, snap a shot and send it to me and I’ll post it.




Signing off for now. See you up on the big screen.

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