Brando recognition

When is a good actor not a good actor?   A weird thing sometimes happens when two or more people sit down in a cutting room and look through takes. They will agree on which take has the smoothest camera move or focus pull, there’ll be little disagreement about whether the shoot looks better with […]

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The Art of Screen Dialogue

Working in layers ☛ A month or two back I wrote a piece about the nature of screen dialogue, focusing on naturalism and style; back then I suggested that there was more to say about the business of making your character talk. There is. Part of the challenge of writing really good dialogue lies in […]

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Cast Away!

Some thoughts on audition technique ☛ Casting can make or kill your film. Get the wrong actors for the roles and your audience will be watching the lighting. Even if you get the right actors for each part, but they don’t gel with each other: the audience will start planning their weekend shop.  It’s vital […]

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Fear of Actors

On Directing Actors ☛ Hang around the industry for long enough and you’ll realize a surprising thing about film directors: many of us are crap at directing actors. I’m not just talking about newbie short filmmakers or genre hacks, I’ve seen very experienced directors manhandle performances and heard many an anecdote pointing the finger at […]

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Oh, behave!

Behaviour as the basic building block of story in movies ☛ A couple of years a go I attended a Q & A with Dustin Hoffman. During the interview he made a comment that profoundly impacted on my understanding of filmmaking. He said: “The movie camera is something that hates acting, but loves behaviour.” I […]

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The Campaign for Real Reels

A Brief Guide to How to Make a Good Showreel ☛ There are a lot of good actors, directors and HoDs out there with bad showreels – let’s put that right. Showreels used to be the reserve of those who could afford to have one edited. Now anyone with a laptop can make a reel […]

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