Working with Difficult Actors

At the moment I’m working on a short film project where I’m directing this time around and bringing in a team of professionals to tackle key roles such as camera, lighting, sound etc which I would normally put upon myself to achieve.  I think I need to take that next step up and focus more on directing as I need to fine tune my skills and progress as a filmmaker.  This is not to say that I will not be going back to the one man style filmmaking that I love but for this next project I feel the roles need to be defined.

This brings me to this latest post on working with actors that we may think as a filmmaker/director are difficult to work with and seem to have every question/suggestion under the sun about your project.  I’m experiencing this at the moment and felt a little bugged to be honest as opinions and visions of the project were being thrown around which clouded my original vision.  I think it is fair to say that I now know that for the outset as a director you need to go into a project with a very clear vision of what you want to achieve and also have a reason for every action that is taking place in your film.  Actors need this reassurance about their characters and when they see a window or a crack in the story of how your present a certain scene in your film they will question it.  It’s not because they are having a go at you and trying to undermine you but they are merely wanting the best out of the project and I guess feeling safe and trusting in you as the director.

I also finding out now you should be limited in how much input you provide a actor regarding your project.  I’m not say cut this all off and take a stand but 9 times out of 10 if you ask an actor for their input in your story they are going to tell you and the flood gates will open, trust me on this as I now know.  We can look at this two ways, the actors has an ego and wants the film a certain way or they might have been spun and abused in the past by other directors and want that trust.  It’s more the latter to be honest.  Open communication is great when it comes to working with actors on their characters and the story of the film but remember to have a reason for every action of direction you are going to take as a director otherwise you may not come to ad end result that can end up messy.  Be diplomatic and stand up in what your vision is but also allow some room to listen to others as this can sometime better a performance or part of a movie.  It’s a balance I guess and you need to be prepared.

On that note please take a look below at Clint Eastwood and how he has worked with difficult actors so to speak in the past!

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