Friday, November 20, 2009

ON ACTING: The Director

The director is primarily the audience’s representative, their "eyes" and "ears", on the set. He guides the camera and microphone to what he thinks is most important for the audience to see and hear at any particular moment. (The editing of the rhythm and succession of the images on screen in film, to be done later in the editing room in collaboration with the editor, can also be seen as fulfilling this “audience-witnessing-through-directorial-guiding” requirement. It can be seen as placing the various and sundry already filmed actor(s) in the best or most kinesthetically impacting time and space film continuum.)

Unfortunately I’ve known many amateur directors (and more than a few professionals) who define their task with actors exclusively physical: “Well…the actor’s were seen and heard. I did my job.” Or: “Hey, it was beautifully shot and edited.” Left unsaid: “Don’t blame me if the actors’ performances sucked!”

The truth is, the director has not done her job if the actor’s performances sucked. If that occurs, the director is only performing half her task in the physical mounting of the performance.

Her job, if she is any good, is more than just getting performances seen, heard and filmed. She must also insure that the author’s intent in the piece (or as she so defines it!) is realized, and that the actor performances are worth being seen and heard: that the actors’ truth-in-reality is being witnessed through the physicalization of the performance.

The director is the means to an end. The actor’s performance is the end. That is why Stanislavski said: “The great director dies within the actor.”


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