Directing Actors: Creating Memorable Performances for Film & Television

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Internationally-renowned directing coach Weston demonstrates what constitutes a good performance, what actors want from a director, what directors do wrong, script analysis and preparation, how actors work, and shares insights into the director/actor relationship.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 314 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Wiese Productions (July 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0941188248
  • ISBN-13: 978-0941188241
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds

Customer Reviews

A reminder that directing is above all connecting

 on December 8, 2017
By charles malcolm
If you are not engaging with your actors as collaborators and find your stories falling flat of what you imagined, it’s probably because you’re convinced that the director is supposed to come up with the solutions, the ideas, and humanity, but in fact, this book reminds us that a director’s goal is to find the truth of the story with the actors and help them be comfortable enough to share it in front of the camera.

MUST HAVE! for actors and directors, even writers

One person found this helpful.
 on March 4, 2010
By Creative Type

Execellent Book!

 on October 4, 2013
By Pennegan
This book has a lot of practical information that you can apply, its definitely for the serious director who seeks to analyze scripts and break down the clues that the writer sought to bring across. It’s about giving the actor the freedom to pursue the performance but still being prepared when they need guidance. It teaches you how to simplify your directions so you get better results without a lot of complicated talk, however I find from my own experience that some actors need/like the complicated talk, so this book teaches how to make sure that talk leads to what you want it to lead to and doesn’t just go off on a tangent, even so, there is no substitute for knowing the material as a director inside out.

No other book on acting or directing comes close

4 people found this helpful.
 on October 17, 2006
By Dick Oliver
This book isn’t just for directors. It is an invaluable resource for actors as well. I’ve taught film and video acting for a number of years and never found a book that was worth having students read even part of. Until this one. Unlike most books on acting which focus on techniques that may work great on stage but are worse than disastrous on film, Judith Weston goes under the surface of acting and directing to the core of what a close-up camera needs to see. That, in a nutshell, is “lending the character your unconscious,” so that absolutely nothing looks (or is) fake or “pretend.” Even more importantly, she provides down-to-earth, extremely effective techniques for directors that support and demand genuine, affect-free performances. She discusses the creative process of the director at a level that is not idiosycratic or based on her personal “style” (as so many books for directors and actors do). Her advice is both common-sensical and deeply insightful, it’s what every good director knows but often can’t articulate consistently enough. Don’t miss this book if you work in film or video, whether you are a director, actor, teacher, editor, DP, AD, or even a gaffer. After reading Weston, you will see every aspect of the actors performances more truly and clearly, and find yourself finding new ways to get the most out of every second on screen. One of those books that changes your life by telling you what you already knew more clearly than you ever thought it could be said, and giving you fresh new ways to put it into practical use. Highest recommendation.

Understanding the Actor

 on November 25, 2015
By Scott FS
Not quite as good as her other book, but still an interesting perspective from the director’s point of view. I liked her other book, ‘A film Director’s Intuition’ better. But a careful reading of this book will give you a different perspective of working with actors, who are a different breed, and not the easiest people to fully understand.

Digestible, Practical

One person found this helpful.
 on June 21, 2011
By Exir
This book is excellent because most of its precepts can be immediately put to practice. I’m an 18-year-old just starting out as a director. I’ve been directing some one-act stage plays, and although theater is a little different from film and television, I still find the book a good fit for my purposes. The chapters are clearly delineated into different topics so I’m finding it very easy to fully digest a topic and develop that particular skill before moving on to the next chapter. I’m still refining my craft, so whenever I finish a rehearsal, I flip to the relevant chapter in this book and double-check if I’ve been doing things correctly. Sometimes I even carry the book as a trouble-shooter.

Great Book For Actors and Directors

 on November 21, 2017
By Steve R. Testa
This is a great book. It is very thorough. A top level film and television director that I know recommended it too me. After reading it I can see why. Get a copy you won’t regret it.

Fantastic book for directors

 on September 11, 2017
By Marcus Cox
This is a great book for anyone making the move into directing or working with actors in general. The book is full of great tips, ideas and strategies. I would highly recommend it!

Great book for directing actors

One person found this helpful.
 on April 9, 2015
By Devin
Extremely insightful, I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in becoming a director or if you’re already an established director on the technical side of things and need a little help on the acting side of things. This is great information for actors to know as well.

Wonderful and Insightful

 on April 27, 2017
By Trisha Mann
This is an excellent resource, coming from the experience of both a director and an actor. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in directing.

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