IFH 370: The Art of Directing Actors with Judy Weston

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Today guest is the legendary writer and educator Judith Weston. Her book Directing Actors: Creating Memorable Performances for Film & TelevisionandThe Film Director’s Intuition: Script Analysis and Rehearsal Techniques is a must-read for any film director.

Judith consults one-on-one with directors and writer-directors of film and television as they prepare to bring their projects to life. Some of her students include Alejandro Iñárritu, director of The Revenant, Academy Award winner for Best Director, and Birdman, Academy Award winner for Best Picture and Best Director; Ava DuVernay, nominated for 16 Emmys and six Critics Choice Awards, and Selma, nominated for Best Picture Oscar; Steve McQueen, director of Best Picture Academy Award winner12 Years a Slave; Taika Waititi, writer-director of Jojo RabbitThor RagnarokHunt for the Wilderpeople and many more.

Literally thousands of film and television directors, screenwriters, writer-directors, and actors around the world have attended Judith’s workshops or consulted with her in preparation for their projects. Judith’s reputation and influence are international and well-established.

After 30 years of teaching workshops and classes, Judith, in 2015, closed her studio space and shifted her focus to one-on-one consultation for directors and writer-directors.

Her ground-breaking book Directing Actors was published in 1996. Judith’s second book, The Film Director’s Intuition, was published in 2003. Both books are written from the point of view of film directors. And directors all over the world have come to rely on them. But so many others have told me they have found them helpful—screenwriters, actors, professionals in film, television, photography, theater—and really anyone who wants to live creatively. She recently undertook a thorough revision and updating of her signature work, Directing Actors (FREE AUDIOBOOK VERSION), in order to make it available as an Audiobook. Judith herself is the narrator.

Enjoy my insightful conversation with Judith Weston.

Alex Ferrari 2:01
Now today's guest is definitely the way to start off 2020 we have the legendary educator and writer Judy Weston, whose book directing actors creating memorable performances for film and television was a seminal book. In my early directing career, I read it when I was in college, it is one of those books that is on most directors shelves. And if it isn't on your shelves, you need to buy that book and read it. It is a wonderful book about actually how to work with an actor how to pull a performance out of them how to guide a performance out of them how to talk in the language an actor understands. It is so, so important. I've seen so many independent filmmakers, and big you know, studio filmmakers who have no idea how to talk to actors who don't understand the language that they speak, don't understand where they're coming from. And it's frustrates everybody involved. And judy is there to help, you know, bridge the gap between the actor and the director. And we dig deep into her methods, what she does, how she does it, who she's consulted and worked with in Hollywood, which is a who's who of Oscar winning directors. So it's pretty, pretty amazing to have this conversation with her. So I was really excited to get her on the show. So without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Judy Weston. I like to welcome the show. Judy Weston, thank you so much for being on the show.

Judy Weston 3:41
Thanks, Alex.

Alex Ferrari 3:42
I appreciate I truly truly appreciate you coming on the show. Because your book directing actors, it was such a big part of my early directing education because a lot of the things that are in your book, they weren't teaching to me in film school, especially the film school I went to they really didn't focus a lot on the directing aspect of things. So your book was like a treasure trove, and still is a lot. I mean, there's nothing that's gone stale, all these techniques, you know, actors are still actors, directors are still directors, and your book was so instrumental in helping me in my directing career. So first of all, I want to just as a fan, thank you for writing it. Thank you, thank you for writing it and putting it out into the world and and we'll talk more about the book and the new version of it that just came out and other things. But before we get into it, I just want to ask you, how did you get in? How did you start on this journey on helping directors, you know, direct actors?

Judy Weston 4:36
You know, I was thinking about this, I knew you were gonna ask me this because people always start interviews with this and I'd listen to some of your others and, and, and, and I realized when I was thinking about it, and I realized how much I just like talking about myself and talking about my work. What I'd like to do is do the work and you know, help people like you say, but it I mean, the short answer of how I got into it as I was an actor, you know, I was an actor. And I began to see that some directors were good, and some were not. And I began to notice certain things. And I think it was the second I come up from theater. So in theater, you do a lot of rehearsal, and you have a lot of collaboration. And you never view your Will you never argue about changing lines in theater, but you can argue with your director all you want. So that's, you know, that's different about theater than film. And, but I loved I love getting into television and getting into film, I loved it right away. But the second job, I got the first job I got, I had the, like, maybe the best director in the world, and john Cordy. And the second job I got was for an afternoon special. I was living up in San Francisco, and they used to, that's where I'd gotten started acting, and they used to shoot up there was great place to shoot. Right? And, and cast the smaller roles from the local people. So I got this job as Miss Palmer, the, you know, the teacher, right after school special. So, and I, you know, so happy at my second job, that was very exciting to get a second job very soon after my first one. And I bounced up to the director on the first day. And I said to them, Oh, thank you. I'm so happy to be here. What shall we do with Miss Palmer? And, and he looked at me, like, I had two heads. And he said, Well, just do what you did in the audition. You were great. And, and I just thought, okay, okay. There are directors who don't know how to talk to actors, or who aren't interested in talking to actors and aren't interested in hearing ideas, or talking about or even talking about ideas, you know, even expressing their ideas are having ideas. And they're, they're kind of piecing things together. Like, it's a jigsaw puzzle. So, um, so I filed that away. I mean, I was an actor, I, I wasn't interested in teaching at that point, I wanted to, you know, work as an actor. And, but I, but I had been told by my acting teacher, Jeanne Shelton, you know, one of my major mentors, a mother figure, if you will, that I would, we had a special relationship and, and she always told me that someday I would teach. So at a certain point, when I started teaching, I remembered, you know, I remembered this, I'm sure, very wonderful. I'm sure you did a very good job with this after school special. And, you know, Miss Palmer that and I thought, you know, directors really need to know more about what actors do. You really, really need to know more about actors. And so I started out, I was just doing an acting class. For directors, I just said, I'm going to make it you know, once a week for eight weeks, people will, you know, they won't mind signing up for that. And, you know, I'll just teach them some acting. And I had, I had been teaching a class called acting for non actors. So I discovered that I was good at that I was good at getting people to, I was good at getting a performance out of somebody who never acted before. And, and so that and I thought, well, they'll figure it out themselves. If they get in the actors, shoes, they'll figure out for themselves, what's going on with actors, and they'll have more empathy, and they'll be able to communicate better. But people still kept asking me questions they kept asking me and the main questions were always, why do I need to know this? And how can I use it? And, and at first, I always I had the idea. Well, it should be obvious, it should be obvious you I'm teaching you about verbs. So it should be obvious that you should use verbs when you communicate with actors, but it wasn't so. So that was just fantastic. I always learned much more from my students than then I'm sure I ever taught them because they, you know, they, they they kept, they kept at me. Why do I need to know this? How can I use this? And so I thought, well, I got to figure that out. And so and they really pushed me to figure out exactly how, you know, precise ways that the tools that actors use, like, like backstory, emotional, or what I call emotional history, emotional history, verbs, objectives, you know, what the character wants from the other character imageries subtext imagery, the things that are going the memories and the and the ideas that are going On in the characters mind, and how those, you know how those could be directors tools, as well, you know, in addition to actors tools,

Alex Ferrari 10:09
So I'm going to give you I'm gonna tell you a story of when I first directed my first short film in college, please do your stories. So when I first when I got a group, I went to an acting studio, and I went there and befriended a bunch of actors, I said, Hey, guys, we're doing a short film. And it's, it was shooting in an apartment, it was some college, you know, like a bunch of college kids sitting around talking, it was, you know, the experience of that I had at that point in my life. So we got all these actors together, and they came over and, you know, had all my technical stuff, I was shooting with the cameras, and I had like, little crew together and everything. Then the actors started doing, they went outside to they started, like, kind of yelling and going like trying to shake something out of themselves, like bla bla, bla, bla, bla, bla, bla, bla, I had never seen anything like this before. And I'm like, Oh, my God, these people are crazy. And at that point, I realized all these people speak a completely different language than I do. They don't, they don't we are, it's like Earth and Mars and Venus. You know, it's like it literally, it's just speaking another language. And I was able to communicate with them. And I was empathetic, and I was able to get, you know, to a certain extent, there was some result that directing and there, there was some other things, you know, on the nose stuff that you do when you're a young director. But that was the first moment I realized, like, I need to understand how these, these collaborators speak, just like I had to learn cinematography, language, music, composing language, production, design, language, all the other departments. As a director, you need to understand their languages, but actors specifically because they're such an integral part of the storytelling process. And then that's when I picked up your book, and I started learning more about it with other too. But I feel that there's so many directors, so many directors that that run, when they get an actor like that, are actors like that. They're shocked. And they just don't know what to do, let alone with all the pressure of trying to actually make a movie, let alone a bunch of actors yelling and screaming and doing things that they've never seen before. Right, right. Did you ever take an acting class, I did, I took a couple acting classes. In my, in my day, I realized that I do not want to be an actor. Because it is I when I took the acting class, I realized, first of all, I became I became so empathetic to what an actor does, and how they do it. And the exposure that they put themselves out there to do what they do good actors, at least, to do what they do. And from that moment on, I was always very kind to in castings, and things like that, but from what I became your, your kind of person I tried, and that matters, that counts. I try, I try. But I always realized that even in castings, which are brutal, I mean, I've seen casting directors shred, you know, actors, you know, and if I had any sort of power in this situation, I made sure to stop it. But I've seen it, I always made sure to be extremely kind and courteous, and, and just just empathetic to what they do. Because it's, it's so it's such a sad thing, because you as an actor can prepare and do everything. And you might be awesome. And you might know your lines and everything, but you walk into that room, you just not might be you're not what they're looking for. And it's nothing, it's nothing personal. It's not you, it's not a judgment on you, your talent, I'm looking for someone who's six, five, African American, or and you happen to be five, eight, an agent and like it doesn't, it doesn't work, you know, it's your acting is fantastic. But it's not work for the part, or I have something in my head that it's not matching what's walking in. So I became very empathetic. And I think that's one of the keys of a good director is to have empathy for what they're doing. I think that's the starting point, then you build that relationship. Is that a fair statement?

Judy Weston 14:00
Oh, I think that's very important. I mean, you know, one thing that I used to tell my acting that the class I taught was called acting for directors, I taught it for 27 years. And this workshop was and was limited to 12 people, 12 directors, and I used to tell them, right in the beginning, I used to say Do you realize that actors think of people who are not actors as civilians, that they feel in a completely different world. And you know, that they're, they're in a fight they're in a battle. They're in a you know, they're, well not not a battle. It's fun, you know, they love it, but so they're not going to get killed, like

Alex Ferrari 14:49
I use. I use the analogy of battle all the time. I always say I always tell people I have shrapnel constant. I have a lot of shrapnel inside of me from this business. So I completely understand

Judy Weston 14:59
That but but But actors, you know, they feel like people who are different from everybody else on the planet. And that includes everyone else on the on the film set,

Alex Ferrari 15:09
Which says a lot, because we're crazy.

Judy Weston 15:14
But not it but but actor still, actually sometimes I sometimes I make the analogy to, it's it's like, like teenagers, you know that that not that actors are more childish or more, you know, less mature or less developed than, than adults but, but that, but the way that adults think they like teenagers but they really don't, that teenagers are too out of control. They're too, they're too out of control. And, and adults think, you know, they love their children, and they, but they really don't like teenagers and, and that I think that actors feel that way, sometimes on a phone set that, that people, you know, they love them, they, they need them, but they don't really like them. They don't really like, you know, they're there, that they're that actors are loud, and they hug too much and things like that. And, and, and they mean, they, you know, can be temperamental, and, and if they're not temperament, you know, if they don't express the temperament, they're feeling they shut down. And, and you can't get them back just by dialing up dialing a knob. So, you know, it's so they bond together, you know, they, they hang out together, and they feel more comfortable. And, and it's, you know, you have to get invited into that. And, and to as well as to respect it and to see it as a craft, and not just like, you know, a childish thing that we're running around. And, you know, being to advertise

Alex Ferrari 16:53
It and pretend you're pretending

Judy Weston 16:56
Yeah, but but to it, but anyway, it can be just so exciting to, for a director to understand enough about actors that, that you know, how to invite yourself in, and or get invited rather, you know, and that's, that's what we, that's what we mean by trust, is that, you know, as is. And one thing I want to say about, because one of the questions, directors always asked me, where they would always ask, How do I get actors to trust me? And? And my answer is you to get if you want someone to trust you, you must trust them. That's the, that's the, that's the secret. And it's a very simple one. It's hard to remember it sometimes. But it's a very, very simple one, and has to do a lot with my principle of opposites. I think opposites are, you know, crucial in so many ways. But if you want somebody to trust you, you must trust them. And, and, and, you know, directors are often young directors are mistrustful of actors. They're, they're sort of instantly in damage control. They're, they're looking around saying, but as soon as the actor does something strange, they're thinking, Oh, she wants to ruin my movie? And how can I? How can I? How can I rein her in to keep her from ruining my movie? And I don't know, actress are not like that at all. They really, really want to help. They really want to, you know, they want to be they, they they want to be engaged with the director, they they may want to fight, but it's, you know, it's ideally, they're fighting over ideas. They're fighting over interpretations. And, and, you know, not not over. I mean, actors know, that they're that the director is the leader. And I don't, I don't I don't think of it that way is that as most of the actors I know, they're not fighting for control. They're fighting for ideas. And, and, and and Excuse me, I know you want to say something, but but it's always always good to treat people as if they're fighting over ideas and fighting over the work. Instead of fighting for control. It's always better to keep go to keep the focus on the work and not on the ego.

Alex Ferrari 19:26
Yeah, gosh, yes. My latest movies called on the corner of ego and desire for a reason. It's not about him. It's about filmmakers. It's so there's, I completely understand what you're saying. And I'm going to give you my experience, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. I find it that actors at least from from my years of directing, actors want a safe space, and they want to feel protected by their director to go out on the limb because they do the great performances in history. are actors going out there without a net In a safe space, because they, they have to feel that there's somebody there to catch them if they go too far, or if they wander, or anything, and they need that safe space to play. And if you can give an actor that safe space, you're able to create that bond with them. And then they can grow more, and they can do more, and they can experiment more. But the second, this second, an actor does not feel safe. That's when they shut down. That's when they start trying to take control because they're in damage control for themselves. A lot of times I've seen it, it's happened to me early in my career. I've watched it on sets where actors literally have no relationship with the director. And they just, they're just like, Well, look, I'm here, I'm going to now this is about me, I got to protect myself. And I got to make sure my performance, and they just block it. And then this is all this is all but it all stems from having that safe space, having someone that you know, this person has your back. Is that in your from your experience, is that fair to say?

Judy Weston 21:01
Here's how Yes, exactly. But here's how I, here's how I translate or, or what you're talking what we say about safe space, so important for any creative endeavor. And the way I think of it in a way that I think is more easy to remember more easy to do, is its permission to fail. So one time as a student of mine, after the workshop, she created this beautiful, artistic painting, for me, and on the theme of give yourself and everyone you work with permission to fail. And that's, that's the key thing is that, you know, you can have the idea that you want to give a safe space. But if you're, if you're criticizing, if you're correcting if you're if you're in or if you're you know, if the disappointment is written all over your face, then it's so helpful to keep a forward movement to keep focused on the glass half full instead of the glass half empty, you know, focused on what what's going going well, and then kept saying, well, let's keep working. You know, let's keep working I, you know, you can say you can say something like that, I think we've got more than you can say, you don't have to pretend you like it if you don't. But you can you can say things like, I think there's farther we can go I think there's another layer we can get, you know, you can put it in that in that positive forward way. And you don't have to tell them what it is, you know, you If a If an actor isn't what you think of is there. You can ask them, say to them, you know, I think we can go. I think you can go further here. But you don't have to tell them what to do. It's, you know, you don't have to tell them how to do their job. You can you know, it? I think that's a place where directors get mis mixed up, where they think well, I don't have the language so I can't tell them how to fix what's wrong. Well, you don't have to tell them how to fix what's wrong. You can you can tell them. You know, I go back to some of the you know, some of the greats you know, like William Wyler, back moldable old super old school. Well, I'll just mention to your readers, they may never have heard of William Wyler, but

Alex Ferrari 23:38
it's Billy Wilder. Yes, of course. Ability by William Wallace. Oh, no, it's a different one that Oh, okay. Okay. Did I get that wrong? William Wyler. You might you might I know Billy Wilder, but I don't know. I don't I have not heard of William Wilder. I might be I might have heard of him. I just don't remember off the top of my head.

Judy Weston 23:57
Okay, okay. Well, Director of Well, okay, nevermind though. He directed Ben Hur. He directed a bunch of things back in the day. Anyway, a bunch of Academy Award winning movies, but he's been dead a long time. Anyway, he used to after every after every take, he would just say Do it again. He would never give any particular direction he would say Do it again. And Chrissy shot a lot of film. You know, he's he's cost the studio's a lot of money. Because he would shoot and shoot and shoot without and and then eventually though, the actress would figure it out for themselves. Exactly. Presumably the camera running

Alex Ferrari 24:48
Yeah, in like my last film I did I I basically was a lot of improv and those films and and I just kind of gave the actors a really beautiful You know, chorale to play. And I'm like, Okay, guys, let's have some fun. Let's play. And that's my first film was very experienced, like extremely experienced actors. My second film was young actors. And it was wonderful to watch how I just like, hey, let's just play. And the difference between the season the actor in the in the younger actors, because the season actors were like, this is fantastic. I've never had so much fun in my life, there's no pressure, because it was so stress free, and it was like an anti film set. And then the second one everyone was they had no idea. They were just like, this is fantastic, too. But they were more scared if they were more scared of like approval and things. And I had the pleasure of directing Robert Forster in a project. Yeah, who just who just passed. And oh, he was wonderful. He was one of the sweetest souls I ever met. And when I worked with Robert, I was a young is going back 10 years, I was a young director. He was Academy Award nominee Robert Forster, who's worked with Quentin Tarantino and many other big time directors. And he was as courteous to me and work so hard on the project, as if you will be working on a set with content here. Now, it was fascinating to watch. And even when I gave him direction, he would turn to me. And honestly say, was that what you wanted? Are you okay? Do you want me to do it again, he was kind of like coaching me a little bit on how to because I was intimidated. I was like, Jesus, this is you know, I mean, it was fascinating to to work with someone like him he was. So he comes from an older generation, obviously. But that generation of work ethic, and he's like, it was a short film he was doing for me as a favor. And he came in and he just did his work. And it was wonderful to work. When you work with seasoned actors, you realize, Oh, this is what it's really supposed to be like, with a seasoned dp or seasoned production designer, anybody? It's fascinating. It really is. One question I want to ask you, um, we talk a lot about this. It's something that you and I both understand what it is, but I really think the audience will benefit from your explanation of it. What is result direction?

Judy Weston 27:16
Okay. It's best Explained with Examples. And that's how I started out the first chapter of directing actors with these examples of result direction. So for what, for one example, line meetings, that that's the simplest, that's as simple as I think that most people recognize, you know, telling the actor, let's pick a line. Let's say the line is, when are you coming home tonight? And, and the actor says, when you coming home tonight? And then the director says, Well, don't say it that way. Say, when are you coming home tonight, you know that that line lines, that's a library. So that's a that's very clearly that's the result. That's so that's the result the way you want the line to be said. And that's maybe the simplest and most easily understandable example of result direction is, is telling the actor how you how you want it to be said and, and it's and really directors really have to get away from it really. I mean, what I just did, oh, the simplest way to translate what I just did was with intention or verb, when I said, What are you coming home tonight, you know that I had the I had the verb the intention to invite you to come home, and to be welcome whenever you got here. And when I say when you're coming home tonight, I have there's I'm accusing. Right. So that's my verb is to accuse. Or you could call it an accusatory tone. I like to use the verb to accuse. And, and, and if if, if directors start to understand the difference between, you know, I just want to hear it the way I hear it in my head, versus what's going on underneath. What is this character doing? What does this character want? What effect does the character want to have on the other character? Does the does the character want the other character to feel welcome and to feel to feel warm? Or does the other does the character want the other character to feel threatened, you know, like, like you better do what you what you're supposed to do, or else you'll be in trouble. And so so that's a simple example of you know, instead of the we're asking for the result, to give some thought to, you know, what the intention is underneath. Another one of courses is to ask for mood, you know, can you make it more quirky? Can you make it can you make it funnier? Can you be angrier, those can of things, those are result directions and emotional result be angrier. be cuter, you know, things like that be more disappointed.

Alex Ferrari 30:12
So let's say instead of saying your anger you would maybe would you suggest like talking to the actor I'm like, okay, instead of this part, you obviously could say I want you to be angrier.

Judy Weston 30:24
And it's very, it's, you can say what you can say that yes, of course. Yeah, of course you can. But I want to tell anybody No, be the language police.

Alex Ferrari 30:33
Okay, can you make it a little angrier? No. But then if you can talk to them in the sense of the scene, like, you know what, instead of doing get angry, I'm like, you just found out that she's cheating on you. Go with that? Is that a direct? I mean, if that's the tone you want, cuz if he like, I, you know, what was that that line? What was the line? You just said? Are you coming home for dinner? If you say you just found out that she's cheating on you, and you say that line, it's gonna have a completely different energy behind it? Is that a good way of doing it?

Judy Weston 31:06
Here's the thing, I really think it, you know, should connect to the script somehow, of course, and it should also be a collaborative with the actor. So I always, I always will ask, I've always will start with a question. I'll always ask the actor, what do you think is going on here? Okay, instead of jumping in with telling them, what I how I want them to do it. And especially if you're saying you just found out that, that she's cheated on you, if it's not in the script? I mean, that's, uh, you know, of course, you can make that adjustment, you can make that, you know, as if you just found out that she's cheated on you. That's perfectly permissible to make adjustments that are different from the facts that are given in the script. But But I don't know, I don't feel quite right. Just unloading that on an actor, you know, because I'm still asking for a result. You know, I'm just pretending that I'm not. I it's really a little bit lengthier process of asking, what do you think is going on? What do you want from this in this scene? And, and one thing I want to find out first, by asking that question is, do they have an idea that they're really invested in? That I would be very well served by listening to? Okay, okay. So, um, you know, if they, if I say, what, what's your idea about the scene? What do you want here? What are you working on? And if they say, Well, I, and they've remote, well might say, I know, you want this angrier than what I just did. But I have this idea that I'm going to trick her into thinking I'm not angry. And then, you know, and then surprise her with, with with the disaster later on, then, you know, that's a real idea. That's, you know, that and that's, that's worth that's worth looking at, that's worth paying attention to. And then, and then you can say, I totally, and you can still say I totally understand that. That's a great idea. I really love it. Here's the reason why I think he starts out with accusation right out of the box, then you give them an you know, you give them a reason. And, yeah,

Alex Ferrari 33:33
So. So. Thank you. That was that was fantastic. I think I was very beneficial. For everyone listening. The The one thing I see when I look at a performance, especially when you're looking at shows or movies is the honesty behind it. And that honesty is something that you can smell. You can say most people can't pinpoint it. They'll just go, or I didn't really connect to that or it didn't. That's why anytime Meryl Streep just gets in front of a camera. You feel like she's g ism. It's magical, how she just embodies whatever she does so effortlessly at this point in her career. And she's been doing it for she's been doing it for decades. But her the honesty in those performances. And if you look at the best actors and best actresses and supporting over the years, there's an honesty to those performances. That is, so you just can't put anything on it. That you can't you can't define it. It's not something that can be definable. But when you don't see it, you can see it. When you don't see it in the performance, you can feel it. So it's like sometimes my wife who's not in the business, will be watching the show. And she's like, she's a horrible actress. And I look at her I go Yeah, I understand what you're saying. It's like because it's like so one dimensional. There's like there's nothing. There's no gas behind the pedal, if you will. How do you nurture an honest performance? Is that something that is Brought, the actor needs to mean how can you pull that out of them or nurture them to be able to perform to perform that way for you?

Judy Weston 35:08
So the principle that I like to talk about and promote and encourage people to embrace is the idea that it's not a collection of single performances. But it is a configuration of relationships, that the story is about relationships and not about performances. And you know, it's not about the individual characterizations. It's about the relationships. And when you talk about Meryl Streep, one of the things about I remember a long time ago, back when, inside the Actor's Studio was a big deal. And of course, I watched everyone, and I used to tape them and rewatch them and and, and Meryl Streep was on. And then that guy, that interviewer that everyone complained about?

Alex Ferrari 36:05
Lifted, lifted. Yes,

Judy Weston 36:07
I know, I know, he was he was so well meaning and he put the whole thing together. So you know, you have to give him props. But he could be Well, anyway, so one time we said she was on, and he was asking her a whole bunch of stuff. And then all of a sudden, he said to her, how much of your performance do you get from the other actor, and I'll never forget the look on her face, the camera was on her, and she went red, she went red, she looked like she'd been slapped. And she said, Well, all of it, I get all of my performance from the other actor, I have no performance until the other actor is there. And it was like she was hurt to be that at the suggestion, because, you know, she's known as a kind of a technician and, you know, as making every character completely different from everyone else. And, and she used to be faulted for that, you know, not anymore, you know, now she's kind of accepted for the queen, she always was. But, um, but the idea that she crafts her performance all by itself in the laboratory, and brings it in and, and presents it to the camera was complete, she was letting us know, that was completely wrong. That was completely not what she was doing, that she creates prompts for herself, she, you know, she would give her a lot of herself a lot to work with. But then she would give herself over to the other to the other actor in the scene. It's the term that actors use for this is listening. But it's much more than just hearing, it's much more than just something you do with your ears. It's it's a, it's a surrender, it's a service, you take all of your preparation, and all of your preparation, of course, hopefully will have been honest, you will have been done done honest preparation, not just, you know, making something up because you think it would be cool, or you think it would be interesting, but something that you honestly know about life, either it's because you know about it from your own life, or from observation of other people and, and, and imagining people in circumstances that you've never experienced and research you, but you do all of that you do your your personal exploration, your observation, your research, you're imagining you do all that, honestly, ahead of time. But then when you get on the set with the other actor, you get you forget it, you you you almost let it go and you give yourself over, you respond in the moment to the other actor. That's how it looks honest. That's how it looks natural.

Alex Ferrari 38:59
That's excellent, great answer. Great answer. Now, if you're not getting the performance you want out of an actor, what are some tips you can use? Besides, you know, taking a stick out? I'm joking. No, but believe me, there's probably some directors listed. But like, What do you mean, it's a wrong thing? Not to take the stick out? No, um, you know, if there's a way to if you're not getting the performance you want, because we've all looked directors have all been there. We have not gotten the performance we want out of a certain actor, and vice versa. The actor has not been able to get the

Judy Weston 39:31
Give me an example though. Like what what were they not? What were they doing that you didn't want or not doing that you did want?

Alex Ferrari 39:38
They're either getting in their own head, and they're, let's say they're saying the line and they're saying it the same way, no matter how many different ways you tell them to change it. They still are saying the exact same way and they think in their head that they're changing it but everyone listening is going not insert you're not changing it. And I think they get caught up in their own head and then they start spiraling, they'll start spiraling down a dark hole, and then it could go, it can go dark. So if you're not aware of that, you can lose them, not only for the day for possibly for the project. So if you start seeing things like that, what are some tips or techniques that you can use to try to bring them back out?

Judy Weston 40:17
Well, that particular thing of actors getting stuck in line readings, you should find out on casting, you should not cast an actor who does that. So one of the things for casting, I have this whole set of ideas that I think are helpful for auditions. Where, first of all, you let you they come in, you let them do you say, I really want to see what you've brought in. And you know, have them do what they want. But you say ahead of time, I want to see what you've brought in. But no matter how perfect it is, we're going to work with that a little bit what I'm going to give you some some other direction. And then even if you love it, you should still work with them, give them some other direction, and make sure the lines come out differently. That's where you have to make sure that the actor can change their line reading with a different adjustment. Because there are actors who have been improperly taught or, you know, untrained or, or improperly trained, who fall into line readings like that. And sometimes the only way you can get out of that is by changing the line on them, you know, just before the scene starts, that's what, you know, some, some directors do. And so, yeah, it really it's a it's a really, it's failing in their training you and you shouldn't work with you, but you need to find it out in in auditions. Now, if they are a very good actor. And it's a total shock to you, maybe it's somebody you didn't even audition because you you know, because they either they don't audition or, or things are, are so perfect. You could take them aside. And and you could say, you know what, the funniest thing is happening. I feel like the library, we're falling into a lot. And you could you don't have to say you are falling into you say we're falling into a line reading here. And I don't know what to do about it, it feels it's starting to feel a little stale. And I can you tell me what to do. Now, obviously, this should be said with nobody else around, please. Thank you. Yeah, this, this is something that's very important to say, to all your wonderful listeners is, I believe every time you talk to an actor, it should be in private, every single time. Now, if you're saying something like I just described, which is so sensitive, that never, you know, you have to really look around, make sure no one's in earshot. Not even another actor. But But even for very innocuous and even banal seeming interactions with a director with an actor, it's really better to have privacy there. I mean, the, the absolute worst thing you could do is to yell and direction from be behind the monitor, you know, or behind the camera, the camera where everybody in the whole set can hear to say, you know, to yell it low, make it angry, you know, make it angrier, or, or, or that was horrible, whatever it is, I was horrible. And that was that wasn't it? That wasn't what I told you. You know, I mean, that would be the absolute horribleness. And, and, you know, I mean, I'm going to assume that the directors who are listening to your podcasts are aware enough that they would never do something like that. But, um, but but, you know, always go up to the actor, always go up after every take, go up to them, even if you have nothing to say, even if you go up to them, and you just smile at them and say, you know, I got nothing to say but we're going to go again, you know, that that to make a personal connection, and anything you say to them, you know, if you say, I think we should try a different adjustment. What ideas do you have that that you say that privately or even if you very specifically say I want you to really punish her this time, you know, that you you don't let anybody over here that but especially the crew, not to let any of the crew over here because here's why. Here's why is that you know, the crew then becomes an audience and they become a assess, you know, judgers, they become judgers, they hear the direction, and then they're watching the actor to say she can do that this time or not, you know, and And the there's no need for that. There. That's not what they're hired for, they're hired for, you know, they're very, very skilled at what they do. And that's what they're hired for. They're not hired to, to judge whether, you know, whether the performance and, and, and you know, and sometimes people ask me, they say, well, gosh, you know, what if it's, you know, you're shooting in a small location, a small room and the sound guy and the, and the camera operator, they're, they're close by, you know, it isn't possible to talk to the actors without them over hearing. And I have to say, Well, yes, it is, you know, you could whisper.

Alex Ferrari 45:44
Yes. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Judy Weston 45:57
It's not that hard. But But, you know, you could whisper but you could also talk to the people, though, particularly the sound Person of the camera operator that are, you know, that are going to be close up. And it's going to be, you know, difficult for them to leave their equipment and move away, you could say to them ahead of time, you know, I am going to want to speak to the actors privately after every take. And I'm, I'm not going to banish you from the room for each of those occasions, but, but I'd like to ask you to not listen, I'd like to ask you to turn your attention away. And, and allow and give us the privacy. You know, and you could say, Are you willing to do that? And they're not going to say no, of course no, then they're going to try their best. And then besides that you can whisper

Alex Ferrari 46:50
The good, always a good metric on if a scene is really powerful. If you can make a grip cry, that's generally a really good indication that you've nailed something. I've had that happen. A couple of thoughts on my Sam, like, you just made the crip cry. That was fantastic.

Judy Weston 47:12
I always when I was when I was acting in you know, TV shows or whatever, I always, I was used to the theater. So I loved an audience I, you know, I like to, I'd like to have an audience. So I was always playing to the, to the, to the room, to the room, you know, to the to the technic to the crew. And so I used to like it when sometimes because I never, I never was the lead in a big in a in a television, movie or show but but I used to like it if if it's, you know, one of the crew members would come up to me and afterwards and say, yeah, you are a real actress. So I really thought you were great. So So especially Chris, sometimes it just meant that they they were irritated with the star. But now I want to be so mean, oh, no crews, no

Alex Ferrari 48:06
look crews, it's my job as a director to create a safe space. If I've had I've had crew people walk up and say that just the crew not cruel, but just dumb things, or something that throws an actor off their, their their game. And as soon as I find out about that I fire or either have a stern talking to or fire that act that that crew member because you can't have that kind of energy on set if you're trying to create a good environment for not only for the actors, but for everybody involved.

Judy Weston 48:38
I know I mean, sometimes I think it's you know, it's the crew wants attention to they want to be respected and it you know, but it's not a zero sum game. You know, it doesn't have to be if the actors are respected, the crew is disrespected, it's not zero.

Alex Ferrari 48:54
We're all in this together. We're all in this together. Now, one one area of directing that doesn't get spoken about much, but it is something that we all a lot of directors will have to deal with is directing children. Any tips on directing children? Because I've directed I've directed children a handful of times in commercials, and it's fun to say the least. But I've never had to polish a very dramatic performance out of a child or anything like that, though. I've heard some horrific stories out directors get those performances, which are illegal here in the States, but I've heard them elsewhere. That's been pretty, pretty brutal as well.

Judy Weston 49:30
I know I think I know the movie you're talking about, but we won't get into that but yeah, but uh, well, you know, I, I think you know, people should know that when a child is younger than seven and a half or eight. Then if you make them go through really difficult, terrible emotions, they will be damaged. That is the way it is, Do you have children?

Alex Ferrari 50:02
I do. And they're about their, their, their that range range.

Judy Weston 50:07
So when children are, let somebody told me this once and it just opened everything up, when children are, when they get to like seven and a half or eight, probably, then they start to have an independent imagination. They start to have independent, well independent ideation. And they can look around at the world and make up their own mind about what's going on. But when they're younger than eight, everything that comes in, is there like a sponge. You know, they they believe everything. That's why they believe in Santa Claus. They're told they're Santa Claus. I mean, it's very unlikely, right?

Alex Ferrari 50:47
Sure. There's just listlessly Santa Claus is real. Let's just put that out there. I don't know where this rumor started. It is horrible. Let's just put it out there. I just thought, let's put it into it. Santa Claus is real. Just in case my daughter's ever listened to this. So let's just put that right to this. Santa Claus is real. I'm hoping to get at least one or two more years out of it. So please.

Judy Weston 51:12
Yes, yes, Virginia. So, um, but they will believe whatever they're, they're told, because they don't have any Intel eight, eight. It's, and it's not, it's not a question of, you know, some children are more mature than others. It's wiring in the brain. It's, it's the, it's the development of the brain. So if a child is younger than eight, and and you're asking them to go through horrible things, they will be damaged that and and, yeah, you know, so you don't want to do that one of my students, Jennifer Fox, she directed this movie for that was bought by HBO, it's called the tail. I don't know, if people have heard of it, it was, it was kind of a big deal. It was about it had to do with the, you know, child sexual abuse. And the girl was so 13 and, and she'd cast an 11 year old to two. But and she talked at great length, how she avoided any possibility of any, you know, damage to the girl in these really brutal sex scenes, and, or rape scenes. And, and she, she did what whenever there, there had to be scenes, whenever it had to be shot where both the child and the perpetrator were in the same shot, she had an adult body double. And, you know, and shot it so that, you know, that wouldn't be noticeable. And when there had to be close ups of the girls face. The it was just the girl, the actor playing the perpetrator not present and and Jennifer saying to her, this is like a bee is stinging, you know, thing. So, uh, you know, that kind of thing to take it, to take it to take it out of there. So

Alex Ferrari 53:14
You got to put it, you have to put it down to their level. You can't say, Okay, now you're getting raped. And this is the way it is? No, no. I mean, I know you and I look at us like, this is funny, but but that's what that's what people will do. I've seen it. I'm like, dude, you can't say that. But to bring it down to the level of the child and just go. And I love that stinging the beast thinking thing is wonderful. It's a wonderful analogy of it, because that's how you have to direct the child. You have to speak that if you have to go through two levels of language, the actual language and the child language. So you have to kind of do both.

Judy Weston 53:51
Exactly. And and then you still do it if people are interested, you know, look up interviews with Jennifer Fox about this movie, The tale. There's really good stuff there. The other place to look for great advice about working with children is on the extras. The DVD extras of a movie called rabbit proof fence. You do know I know. I know that I know that movie. Yeah. I am blanking on the director's name. How could that be this wonderful? Australian director?

Alex Ferrari 54:28
Yes, it was an Australian film. I forgot the name of it too. But we'll look it up. Don't

Judy Weston 54:33
worry. Okay. Insert it later. Okay. Because I don't think it'll be in the show notes. I'll

Alex Ferrari 54:39
put it in the show notes. Don't worry.

Judy Weston 54:40
Yeah. And um, and it's a wonderful movie. Well, as you know, since you've seen it, it has three leads children. Their ages are nine, seven and five. That's really dangerous spots. Dangerous spots and Um, anyway, he goes, he goes into great detail, he does a commentary on the whole show, working with them. And then there's an extra, you know, little feature add about the casting, and the, you know, rehearsal with with them, which is fantastic. Now, some of that, it, there's a 40, the 40 minute featurette is on the YouTube, so you can find it. Rabbit proof fence making of featurette. And it's really, really helpful. You know, and as I listened, I listened to it a number of times. And, and if I boiled down what he did, he looked for, for children who had who could play an objective, and who had imagination, and who were not afraid of the camera. And, you know, that's, that's the main thing and it took a long time to, to find them. That's the other thing, if you have a dramatic lead. This was a drama rabbit proof fence. You must take all the time you need to find your lead. I had read, you know, beasts of the Southern wild, what, which is wonderful movie quarter. And they found that little girl. I mean, you can't imagine anybody else in the world playing that role. Well, the director said in interviews that he met with 4000 children 4000

Alex Ferrari 56:39
Spielberg, I mean, as a Kubrick for the shining, he met I think around four or 5000 kids at the time as well. I mean, they all do the good ones, you have to just keep looking until you find the right one.

Judy Weston 56:51
I was just listening to I can't remember where I where I heard this. But somebody's talking about the director of To Kill a Mockingbird. So now we're at, you know, Lisa, Southern Wilds just a few years ago, rabbit proof fence was I don't know, maybe 10 years ago, something like that. And but it Kill a Mockingbird made a long time ago. And and what this director used to say for the rest of his life, people would say, Where did you find those children? And he said, I searched for six months. So this is something that has always been true. That, that you have to, you know, to find a child that has the imagination, and the and the commitment, though, there's an objective, you know, the objective has to do again, with listening. It's like, I want something from you. And I'm paying attention to you as to whether or not I get it, you know, are Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 57:54
And I think also another element of that is this true connection. You know, as a director, you're looking for a connection with your actors on a, you know, on a different level than just performer and director, especially with children, there has to be a rapport. There has to be a comfort level, there has to be that intangible thing when you're working, especially when commercials are different. But But if you're working in a, in a narrative scenario, there has to be some sort of thing there. Because if there isn't, that's the thing, you're going to fall back on when the things get really rough or tough. In the in the scale of just making a movie, that connection, that rapport is so so important. I remember watching Spielberg some behind the scenes of close encounter of the Third Kind if you remember that that scene with a little boy, that you remember the little boy in close encounter that. I bet they Yeah, yeah, there was a there's a little boy in close encounters and the the scene where the aliens open the door, and we don't see the aliens yet we just the door opens and the little boys there. And then one to get there to direct them. Spielberg had one scene, a guy dressed up as a werewolf, jump out really quickly. This kind of jarred them. And then he was like, scared for a second. And then Spielberg jumped out as a bunny rabbit dressed in a bunny rabbit outfit. And he knew it was Spielberg because he's the director. And he jumped out and then he just started to smile. And that's how he pulled the performance out of that child. And that's why Spielberg, Spielberg, and he did that back in 7776. It wasn't like, older Spielberg it was young Spielberg. That's just genius.

Judy Weston 59:38
Now, I was gonna say it's young Spielberg, but yes, yeah, he seems like a kid himself.

Alex Ferrari 59:44
Yeah, and still is some it's too many too many ways. Now, I could keep talking to you for hours today, but I'm going to ask you a few last questions. I asked all my guests. Yeah. What advice would you give a filmmaker or director trying to get into the business today?

Judy Weston 59:59
Okay. Do you mean other than go to film school? Yes, I think people should go to film school. I, you know, I'm not one of these people that says film school is unnecessary. Film School may be out of reach financially. For some people, that's certainly understandable. But I don't buy these people who say, Oh, you know, let's say they, they can afford to go to film school and they and they say film, school is a waste waste of time, I don't buy that. I think it's very important not to just try to be a filmmaker all by yourself, you have to, you have to work with other people. That's one of the best things about film school, even, you know, hopefully, you have good teachers and a good curriculum. But even if you don't you have other people that you're working with, and you can learn from them. And, you know, film is a collaborative, collaborative medium. And it's, it's good to start practicing with that, it's good to start practicing with the idea that you have to trust these other people, you have to communicate with them, you have to listen to their ideas, you have to learn from them. So I I'm a believer in film school, I think, I think it's a good idea. Now, I know, some people can't afford it. And now I am supporting political candidates that are trying to propose ways that anybody who wants to go to college can do that. But,

Alex Ferrari 1:01:27
But there's a lot of affordable, there's a lot of affordable film schools out there can even even community colleges have, you know, there's so many options out there

Judy Weston 1:01:35
even, you know, even in Hollywood, there's Santa Monica College, there's, there's la CC, you know, there's, there's community colleges, so I'm, I'm a, I'm a believer in that I'm a you know, and, and a big part because of the community because of learning from other people, and not just thinking about how do I become a filmmaker, but, you know, how do I build my community? How do I build my, my, you know, my relationships, and my, and, and, and my, my, my tribe? How do I, how do I find my tribe, so I, I, that that's what, that's what I feel now, if you're, if for whatever reason you feel like you can't bear, I do reject the idea that film, school is a waste of time. But if you feel like for whatever reason, you can't bear to go to film school, you know, the school is just that disorienting to you, or whatever, then you have to find some other way to make connections, I mean, networking as a part of it. And, and, and being you know, finding people to collaborate with and, but you know, you start whatever way is right for you, if color is your thing, then figure out how to tell a story with color. If, but, but I do feel that all directors should take an acting class at some point, I agree with you. And and and if you end it, not an end to not do it, because you're going to decide whether or not you're good at it. It doesn't matter if you're good at it. It's it's a question of, of, you know, exposing yourself taking a chance you have to have a teacher who's not going to criticize you. That's I mean, when I don't teach that class anymore acting for directors, but part of what made it work was that I was very supportive, but but, you know, anyway, I was taking an acting class and do find your tribe.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:42
I will I'll tell you, I had the unpleasant experience of having to act in my last movie, playing myself no less. That's the only reason I took the job was because I was playing myself. And man, I hate when I was editing it, I made sure to cut myself out as much as humanly possible. So I do truly believe I agree with you 100% actor a director should definitely take an acting class so they can feel what it's like, why

Judy Weston 1:04:09
you should take a class, you know, yeah, I like Quentin Tarantino put himself in Pulp Fiction is what's industry. Well, for some

Alex Ferrari 1:04:18
Mr. Wolf, it was he knows. Jimmy he was Jimmy

Judy Weston 1:04:23
Koch some colleague of Mr. Wolf i think but but anyway, Jimmy Yeah. And you know, it was a little bit of a dead spot but you know, and otherwise, you know, almost perfect movie but but so I don't think you I don't mean that directors should go in front of the camera, but they agree.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:42
Agreed. No director should not be in front of the camera. I'm not saying that at all. Please. No, no, no. Okay, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

Judy Weston 1:04:51
Yes, I prepared for this because I heard you ask other people. It's this everyone is different. That's been the hardest lesson for me. Because I am a very inward person. I'm an introvert. And I don't think I hopefully I don't sound like one in this interview, but I am. And, and so, so much is going on inside my head. And it tends to be sort of impossible for me to understand that the same kinds of things are not going on in other people's heads. So that's where I've made a mistake a lot of times, is, you know, jumping in when I think other people, you know, I think there are certain assumptions that everybody has. So to really, really listen, because everybody is different. And as far as how that applies to directing and teaching, every actor is different. And every, every client that I work with, I'm not teaching workshops, now I'm doing one on one consultations, with film directors preparing to, you know, to make their movie, and, and every single client is different. Every single script is different, every single, you know, and to be insatiable, about, you know, turning myself over to them, listening to them, finding out what they need, instead of imposing my idea about what they need. And I have to learn that every day. It's still it's always a struggle, because I have very strong ideas.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:30
Fair enough, fair enough. Now, what is the biggest fear you had to overcome? Just getting into this business in the first place? Or or being an actress or or writing your first book? or teaching your first class? What is that biggest fear?

Judy Weston 1:06:45
Oh, gosh, well, as an actress, I was less afraid on stage than offstage. I was a shy and frightened person, offstage and onstage, you know, but on stage, I wasn't afraid. So I don't know how that happened. But, but I just was so lucky to find to find it. So my biggest fear, my biggest fear was that I wouldn't get to do it. You know, once I started teaching, I loved it so much like the first night that I taught my very first class, I couldn't sleep the whole night, I came home, and I just couldn't sleep the whole night. And that used to happen. After every tech class, I taught for a long time. And my only fear was that I wouldn't get to keep doing it. So I don't know I that would be, I think you have to find a part of the, you know, if you want to be in the business, you have to find a part of the business that, that that that makes you feel like your home, you know, enough? I think you do,

Alex Ferrari 1:07:53
And the three and three of your favorite films of all time.

Judy Weston 1:07:56
All right, I know this was coming to so I decided what I decided to do is to start with just in the last year and a half. You know, I mean, because I'm an older person and I don't know that your your reader your listenership wants to hear, oh, the 70s nothing good after it happened after the 70s in American films. But so, so I decided to think about the my three favorites of the last, I was gonna say a year, but then I stretched it a few years to include first reformed, which came out a year and a half ago, first report by Paul Schrader with Ethan Hawke. And then currently parasite is in the film is in the theaters now. Which is so have you seen it? I have not. No. All right, you've got to see it's brilliant, brilliant movie. And then earlier this year, the last black man in San Francisco. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 1:08:52
I heard wonderful things about that. Yeah.

Judy Weston 1:08:54
So those three movies of the last three last year and a half or you know, movies that I really want everybody to see that I that move, move me tremendously. Now, if you want to include television, then of course we'd all that's a whole other conversation. Yeah. It's so good. When they see us, you know, because that was directed by one of my students Ava DuVernay. And, and then oh, and then, you know, yesterday, I saw Jojo rabbit and I thought, well,

Alex Ferrari 1:09:25
I'm dying to see Jojo rabbit I hear it looks so amazing. And I just hope it does. I hope it's it's it looks like it's as good as it I hope it is.

Judy Weston 1:09:35
I think it surprises people a bit. I loved it. I loved it. I loved it. And that and then tyka has taken classes with me too. So um, so it's very dear to my heart and, and I love movies where you have to kind of you have to kind of figure something out about the filmmakers heart, right and, and there are what you could call their intention. Then Jojo rabbit to really understand it and enjoy it, you have to kind of find your way into Tycho's heart. And of course, I've seen all his movies. So I sort of, and I've worked with him and and, you know, some already there but, but But anyway, it's really worthwhile even if you don't know him already. And then and that's true of Ava is that, you know, they, you know, you you, you get clues to, you know, the heart of another human being. And, and it's true of parasite. And it's true of last black man in San Francisco. And it's true of first reformed and, and so anyway, that's awesome, somewhat current movies. I won't go back and talk about a woman under the influence. Well, of course, Jones has a video.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:46
I mean, it's fantastic Friday afternoon, I'm not going to mention that. I mean, well, the fantastic of if you can absolutely mentioned both those films are fantastic and should be watched by everybody. Now, currently, you just released the audio book version of your, your seminal book, directing actors, which just came out a couple of weeks ago. So yeah, that's exciting. Where can people find the book, your other book, the film directors, intuition and more about you and what you do.

Judy Weston 1:11:14
Okay, I have a website, Judith Weston, calm. I have Facebook page, Judith Weston studio for actors and directors. And on there, you can find the links for the audio book. It's on Audible, of course, but it's also on a whole bunch of other places where you can get it maybe, you know, possibly cheaper, like libraries, you can get it through libraries. But one thing I want to mention about the audio book, is that directing actors was written, can you believe this? 23 years ago, it came out? Yes. So when I when I got this opportunity to do the audio book, I went back to reread it sort of thought, Well, I have to prepare to, you know, I want to read it, I want to be the reader. So I'm better, you know, read the thing again. And I found that there was a lot that I wanted to change. So I went and changed it. I said, You know, I said I'm going to do this. And they said okay, so it's it's quite, it's updated in a very, very significant way. Each each chapter is updated in a significant way. And so I, I, I'm very proud of it. I'm very, very happy with it. And and I hope people like it and find it useful. And yes.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:41
And well, first of all, I want to thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me and my tribe. And it's been wonderful talking to you. So thank you so much for taking the time. And I appreciate all the work that you do to help actors, work with actors work, the work you do for directors to work with actors better. So thank you so much.

Judy Weston 1:13:00
Thank you very much, Alex.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:03
I want to truly thank Judy, for coming on the show and dropping those major knowledge bombs on the tribe today. Thank you, again, so much. If you want to get access to her new audio book version of directing actors, which just came out, you can get actually a free copy of it if you sign up for audible and just go to freefilmbook.com sign up there. Or you can go to the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/370. for links to her website, her other courses, books, consulting, and everything else that Judith has to offer. She is a wealth of information. So thanks again, Judy, for coming on the show. And guys, if you haven't already, and you've read Rise of the filmtrepreneur please take five seconds and leave a review on Audible or Amazon. It means the world to me if you really love the book, just take those 1015 seconds guys and leave a review. It really means a lot on the rankings and getting that book out to more and more people. And thank you again, all for such rave reviews, such amazing messages and emails I've been getting. So thanks again, so much. And as you noticed this week schedule was a little bit a little bit different than usual. And this is going to be the standard schedule for podcast release. So it's going to be Monday's film to foreigners podcast. every other Wednesday will be the bulletproof screenwriting podcast, and every Friday it will be indie film hustles episode, and I wanted to let you guys know that like I promised last year I am focusing a lot of energy on indie film, hustle TV, and I just added three new premium courses. They are the film intrapreneur side hustle courses, one masterclass on freelancing, how to become a freelancer, another class on how to make money with affiliate marketing, creating that little side hustle money little extra Revenue Streams while you're building your film entrepreneurial Empire and working on your script or working on your movies. And lastly, how to make money with Amazon. As a side hustle many different ways you can generate revenue with Amazon, not just the affiliate side, but many other ways that Amazon can help you make money. Amazon is a juggernaut in the online space and gives independent creators and independent filmtrepreneurs and entrepreneurs opportunities that no other website gives. So definitely check those courses out if you're a member. And if you want to check them out, just head over to indiefilmhustle.tv or ifhtv.com and sign up. Thank you guys for listening. As always, keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.



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What is Result Directing and Why You Should Avoid It

There are movies where the actor’s performance is so artificial, it made the movie boring, predictable and unwatchable. There are also movies where the actor performed so naturally, you wonder if the actor actually had a real-world experience that he/she is bringing to the role. More often than not, the reason for bad acting on screen is Result Directiing.

Credit: Lux

What is Result Directing?

It means the director of a movie getting the actors to perform by describing the result he/she is after. For example, a director telling an actor, can you be a bit angrier, can you give it more energy, tone it down, or enter the room with more menace.

Actors act without thinking about how their emotions will affect their performance. They don’t think about how their emotions or behavior will appear on camera. It’s a natural instinct. Giving an end goal result will do more damage than good to the actor. What it does is to make the actor find a way to make it work with the end result in mind. It becomes vague, general, directionless and the actor begins to wonder what he is doing. It ends up becoming a guessing game between the actor and director.

Now the actor becomes more self-aware and watches his performance. He has to look for a way to act the way the director wants. Most times, in an effort for him to look more serious, angry or sad, the reverse is usually the case. He ends up looking funny or happy. This is because he’s more concentrated on delivering the result rather than acting out in a natural way. Actors especially the new ones in the industry don’t end up reaching their full potential. They work with one too many result oriented directors.

There are alternative ways directors can get actors to act the way they want. The preferred alternative is by offering the actor a “playable direction”.

Playable Direction

What this means for the director is describing results which are “playable” to the actor. He can use facts, events, verbs, objectives etc. to describe instructions. For example, instead of asking the actor to be angrier, the director can ask him to act as though someone else maltreated or punished him. This brings a genuine and natural performance from the actor.

The relationship that exists between a director and an actor is so critical. Result directing can go a long way in damaging such relationship. The bottom line is directors have to cultivate the habit of talking to their actors. There must be a connection. This allows them to understand each other better. The actors will also know what to expect from the directors.

Some actors may think that result-oriented direction is what they need. But in the real sense, it affects their performance. They are unable to achieve the full potential of what that movie role might have provided.

As for directors, take a step back, see things from the perspective of the actors. Work together to make that movie a success!

Download the Entire Directing Actors Masterclass Course – (30% OFF – CODE: HUSTLE)









IFH 154: How to Direct the Character, Not the Actor with Mark Travis

Right-click here to download the MP3

This week I have the pleasure of having directing coach Mark Travis on the show. I was introduced to him after I watched his stellar workshop Hollywood Film Directing, which he co-instructed with Gil Bettman (he’ll be on the show soon). Mark Travis is the author of the best-selling books

  • The Film Director’s Bag of Tricks: Get What You Want from Actors and Writers 
  • Directing Feature Films: Learn How to Get Authentic Performances from Actors!

Mark Travis has developed a new way of directing actors called The Travis Technique. Mark teaches directors how to direct the character (not the actor) in order to create instantaneous authentic performances, even on tight schedules and tiny budgets. Here’s a bit on The Travis Technique.

Acting is too often just pretending. And most directing is demanding and controlling and result oriented.  And consequently, the final product suffers. But it doesn’t have to be that way. When you use The Travis Techniqueyou can achieve instantaneous and authentic performances from actors that are deeply felt by audiences.  The Travis Technique is an organic approach to directing actors that are guaranteed to create authentic characters and performances by shifting the focus from directing the actor to directing the character.

Mark Travis first created his techniques out of the necessity to generate the most authentic performances within actors under a tight schedule and often an even tighter budget.  In the last 20-years, the Travis Technique has grown and is now used by some of the best directors, actors and writers in Hollywood and the international film market. Mark has taught The Travis Technique to students all over the world in over 50 film schools.

When actors, directors, and writers use the Travis Technique, it’s not just a performance anymore.  It becomes REAL!   The Travis Technique creates organic authenticity in every performance and under all circumstances. This translates immediately onto the screen and gains enormous attention for the director, actor, and writer.

Recommended by Hollywood’s top brass: Mark Rydell, Art Seidelman, Randal Kleiser, George Tillman, Asaad Kelada, Jan Eliasberg, John Badham and other A-listers. For over 20-years Mark Travis has been sharing his award-winning techniques on writing, acting and directing worldwide.

Most directors make a critical mistake: They direct only the actor, not the character. And that is just one of the many techniques directors must master.  They also must learn how to expertly stage scenes, understand exactly how camera angles intensify or diminish a shot amongst hundreds of other skills to become a renowned, in-demand, and working director.

Winner of over 30 directorial awards, teaching internationally in 50 prestigious film schools, for the past 20-years Mark Travis’ workshops and seminars have covered the entire filmmaking process including all stages of preparation, pre-production, production, and post-production.  Mark has been instrumental in launching successful directorial careers in the US and internationally.

Sought out by the most experienced directors, Mark now teaches his signature Travis Technique: a simple, immediate, and powerful Directing Tool, directors can use to achieve instantaneous authentic performances that translate brilliantly onto the screen.

Enjoy my conversation with Mark Travis.

Alex Ferrari 2:20
So guys today, we have on the show Mark Travis he is a directing guru, and there's not many of those guys around. You know, we have a lot of screenwriting gurus like Michael Haig and Chris Hogan, authors who really concentrate on the screenwriting aspect of things, but we don't have a lot that actually focus on the directorial aspect of filmmaking. So when I was like kind of just looking around the internet, I came across his DVD set called Hollywood film directing. And Mark is responsible for creating something called the Travis technique. And we go into pretty detailed explanation of what it is in the interview. But just a quick overview of what the Travis technique is, is the ability to direct the character as opposed to directing the actor. And when Mark explains it, it's it's pretty revolutionary as a director, having the freedom and the ability to to just talk to the character as opposed to talking to the actor, playing the character. And I know it sounds a bit confusing. A mark will definitely break it down for you in this epic interview. Now there's interview, those go on for a couple hours. So this is a long interview, but it is chock full of knowledge bombs, Mark brings the goods and really gives us chess a ton and ton of great information. So if you're interested in directing, or learning how to work with actors, or just want to get the most out of your actors, perk up your ears, boys and girls, because this one's going to be a doozy. And if you guys wait all the way till the end, I will be giving you a coupon code for a new course that I've just launched. So definitely worth checking out and listening to the entire episode. So without any further ado, here is my conversation with Mark Travis. I'd like to welcome to the show, Mark. Travis, thank you so much for being on the show, man.

Mark Travis 4:19
Thank you. Thank you for asking me

Alex Ferrari 4:21
No worries. You know, I saw your I found you on the Ryder store on how to be a Hollywood director. I was very intrigued. So as I did more research, I was like wow, this is an interesting concept because there's not a lot of directing stuff out there. Not real stuff at least. So I was really interested to to watch and once I saw what you were doing it was I knew I had to have you on the show because you can hopefully answer some some questions I have. And

Mark Travis 4:48
I would I would be happy to. I want to make one little comment but what you just said Alex? Yes, not not much, but directly out there. And that's true in a way. There's also a lot out there about the record. But is very there isn't that much out there about the practical aspects of directing or writing directing stories? Certainly theory sure theory or books you can buy on any director Scorsese or Spielberg what they did, but to get down to the nuts and bolts are what directors to do sadly. There's not enough anywhere near enough.

Alex Ferrari 5:22
Yeah, exactly. And there's also an even less of that on a video. Yeah. Which is where i was i was i was the books, there's a million things, but on video, there's very little Yeah, at all. So that's why I really wanted to have you on the show. But how did you get started in the business?

Mark Travis 5:39
Well, I started out in theater. And I went in undergraduate school, I went to Antioch College in Ohio, which may or may not know, which is an amazing liberal arts college, which is a work study college where you go to school only half the year and the other half of the year, you actually are out working in real jobs that they find for you. And it was while I was there that I discovered my passion for theater. And I started actually started out as a set designer. And because I'd been studying architecture and design, and then I moved from that into acting, and an interesting stories I designed to set for a play that was running. And I remember sitting in the audience and my read my set, because I thought it was a beautiful set, which I still think it was. But I had this sort of epiphany, I was watching the actors during the performance, and I realized they were having a lot more fun than I was. So then I shifted this while I was still in college, I started to try off of plays, I got into a play, and another epiphany happened, I was standing on the set. And I'm the lead and this ad would all be played. And I'm talking to the director who's giving me notes and I realized, wait, he's having more fun than I am. So then I decided to shift to direct the nice, continued to do all three, and include writing but I continued to do set design writing, acting and directing while I was in college. Then I went to Yale drama school, to study directing to get an MFA in directing. And so my whole focus was always on theater wasn't on film at all. The school, the undergraduate school I went to didn't really offer a fifth film. And Yale didn't really offer film me off that you could sort of dabble in film if you wanted to. But it was really it's a theater school. And then after I finished at Yale, I decided to get out of the snow region where I was born and raised and come to California. And that's when I started to discover the whole world of film and television.

Alex Ferrari 7:51
Awesome. And and, yeah, it's, it's interesting, it's interesting, sometimes the actors are having a lot more fun.

Mark Travis 8:00
You know, it is I think, in this highly collaborative business that we're in Alex, you know, I think, you know, because we're always working with other people. And we're, and if we really take our job seriously, and try to do the best we can, it's hard work. It's really hard work. And it's, it's a strain. And I think, you know, the grass is greener, you always look at the other people say, your job must be easier than mine, you know, whatever, that whatever they're doing. And so I think there's a, there's a bit of envy, for what other people do. And I know that as a director, I always envy what the actress can do, especially when I'm fortunate enough, which is very, very frequently to work with really good actors, and I watch what they do. And I'm just impressed. And I wish I could do that a little bit. I can't do it to the level they can. So I think there's a bit of jealousy, envy, mixed with admiration in this highly collaborative business, which is all very, very healthy.

Alex Ferrari 8:57
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you sit you look at someone like Meryl Streep, or Daniel Day Lewis, and you just sit there going, Jesus, How the hell did that happen? It's so now let me ask you a question. And I'm gonna ask you a lot of directing questions in this in this episode, as because because of what the work that you do, when working with a How should a director work with the screenwriter, which I know that's a lot of issues a lot of times that happens with that. So what's the best way in your opinion to work with a screenwriter as a director?

Mark Travis 9:27
Well, it's a great question because I have very strong feelings about what is I think directors should not do what they usually do right at the beginning when they work with a screenwriter. And this actually comes down to even how a director should read a script. Most directors will read a script and that's it's an instinct that you have to fight against. When you read a script is stopped directing. And you know, you start to read a script, you say, Oh, I okay, I can see how I could do that. Oh no, we're gonna have to change that. You already. You're directing and you're critiquing the script. And to be quite honest, at that point, the first, your first couple readings of a script that you're considering doing. This may sound strange, but the script doesn't matter at that moment at all. What matters is the story. What matters? Is there a story worth telling? And can you get your mind out of the script out of directing, and actors and cameras and angles and all of that stuff. And think about a story because basically, at the end of the day, that's all you've got to have on the screen is a story. That's what people go home with, is a story. So when a director starts working with a writer, the first thing to talk about is the story, not the script. Now, a lot of people have said to me, oh, it's the same thing. I'll tell you. No, it's not. You know, it's, you can take any film. You can take any film that's out now that's very popular, like Manchester by the Sea or something. And I can tell you what this Yeah, that's a story about a guy who has to go back to his hometown to take care of his nephew because his brother died. And now I'm telling you the story. Now, the script is really one, only one way to tell that story. It's that script is here's a way to tell it, there are a dozen other ways you can tell the same story. So to start to focus on the story you want to tell because basically, that's what you're trying to serve. And to begin working with a writer the first day of director needs to do first of all, this is something I learned from Harold Clurman, who you may or may not know who he is, whoops theater, who was I studied with the actors studio. And he would say, the first time you meet with a writer, you must express enthusiasm. And that's interesting, but you realize how important that is Express enthusiasm. First of all, if you aren't enthusiastic about the script and the story, you're going to tell, if there's no enthusiasm at all, then you shouldn't be there. So there is must be some enthusiasm, something within you that is very excited about this, express that to the writer, let the writer know about your level of enthusiasm or your area of enthusiasm. So you start from there. Too often I've seen and I've worked with a lot of a list directors and I've seen them work with writers and they'll sit down say, Okay, I read the script. Here's what we hear here are the problems, they go right for the problems. And then not saying this is a great going now it back into the story. So express that in thews e Azzam, and remember that working with a writer. And this also applies to working with actors, actors or writers who work much more are much more aligned in their work process than directors are. But working with a writer, you're talking to somebody who has spent months, maybe even years work working on this story. And basically, this story has come emerged out of them out of their sensibilities, their passions, their fears, their desires, wherever it came out of them deep, someplace deep inside them, the story emerged, and they shaped it. So it's their baby. And the last thing they want to hear is criticism naturally, but they're going they know they're going to have to hear criticism. But the first thing they want to hear is that you respect and honor the baby, the child that is being being formed here. If you don't do that, if you come if you come in with a critique already, and here's what you're going to have to do. What happens to the writer, which will also happen to an actor when you're working with them is their heart will start to shut down. Which means that they will start to build little walls around their creative process because the world that doesn't feel safe. Your job as a director, with writers and with actors, is to create the safest environment possible. And you can you can create it which means keep other people away from them. And you create this environment where they feel that they can continue to play and imagined and create. And if there's too much criticism, or even the way the criticism is stated to them, how you articulate your problems can be damaging. It's a very it's a it's the working with writers and working with actors is the most delicate ships in the whole process. And too often, they're abused.

Alex Ferrari 14:40
Especially when not both actors and writers but writers are legendarily abused in Hollywood they just they get no respect but without them there's really no there's like there's nothing. Now watching you're watching your DVD set, the beginning of your the beginning of your course. Can you I would love you just to talk a little bit about that. Cuz I found it so wonderful of what, what a director really is how, you know, like, what are the tool sets that they're using to tell their story and you broke it down in such a wonderful way? Can you talk a little bit about that?

Mark Travis 15:15
When I'm sitting here, Alex trying to go? What did I do? Here's ago?

Alex Ferrari 15:19
I know. The specific the specific one was about how what does a director use to tell his story? You know that there's a bunch of different people who you're hiring to to put you got it now?

Mark Travis 15:34
Yeah, okay. Yeah, the, I mean, first of all, what a director is, I mean, this is another topic, which maybe we'll pick up a little later, where I feel that the word director is the wrong title for what we do. It's because it guides us in the wrong direction. But a director, job is actually to take this story that's in a script for him at this point, or maybe not, and Shepherd it and guide it all the way through a process that it will eventually become a film, then a director's. The essential thing that the director has to do is protect the story, understand the story and protect the story. Through this process through this process, which can be actually brutal and can actually destroy or diminish the story, the director has to realize that the story emerges from the writer, so he must respect for the writer has to be huge. I as a director, and I know there are many other directors who will do this will I will keep the writer with me. The writer is with me all the way through the making of the film. That's much many times to the chagrin of the producer who says why do we need them and all that, but doesn't matter because my feeling is that person who wrote that script is the original source. Even if their rewrites have to be done, even if we have to, we're going to do some rewrites by another writer, I want these these writers there because they are constantly supplying a source of information that is essential to the making of the film. And the other thing is that, as I'm directing the film, I'm getting deeper into the film and deeper into the process, I will become more myopic, it becomes tunnel vision, as you probably know, you get in there, pretty soon, you can only see that one prop that you're working with at that moment, or that one scene. And we need to as directors, we need to because we were down to the My notion that we're very micro, the writer being there. Every time I've shot something with the writer there. I know, the writer now can step back from the process step out a little bit out of the process of being more objective to the process, and observe what I'm doing not that the writer is telling me how to direct. But the writer now is watching to make sure that the story is moving in the direction it needs to the writer because one of my most important allies and the entire working process of the film, and the act, then secondly, to understand that in the telling of any film, any story, at the core of the story is you, the writer, and the actors, the actors are essentially at the core of the story, because the actors are going to bring life to the most important part of the whole story, which is the characters. There are these characters, fictitional characters or biographical characters, whatever they are, but they're being recreated or created or recreated by the actors. And the actors have a very, very important job because that's where the heart of the story will live. It's going to live in the characters, it's not going to live in any other aspects not going to live in production, design, cinematography, all of that, although that's all the stuff I'm talking about now is a support system, which we use to tell the story as a film. But it's the characters it's the characters that the audience attaches to. And so how I work with them and how you treat them. So you and the earlier you bring them in to the process, the better. But directors must develop their ability to work with actors. And I can tell you, from my experience and experience of 1000s of directors that I've worked with, working with actors is the most difficult thing a director has to do. And consequently, too many directors ignore it.

Alex Ferrari 19:31
Yes, as we can see in many Hollywood blockbusters today

Mark Travis 19:36
Unfortunately, there's a system of Hollywood filmmaking that encourages them to ignore it. Okay, just get really good actors will just get some really good actors and you'll be fine. And I've been fortunate enough to be called in to consult on a lot of films, Hollywood film studio films, some which I can mention some I can't. Where it's a first, second or third. It's a it's a really Typically new director and they say let's bring in Mark to help him out. And these directors have very little skill or knowledge of how to work with actors. I've heard producers Don't worry about it, or if you hired him, you'll be fine. And I'm sitting at the table at these big consulting table, talking about film, I think, no, no, we've all seen some of the best actors in the world give horrible performances. So that idea that you hire a really good actor, you got to get a great performance doesn't mean anything. Yes, hire good actors. But also, you need a good script. But also you need a good director, who knows how to work with actors, and to encourage them stimulate and ignite them in a way that these characters can emerge from them. That's why you're there. That is the main reason you've been hired. And unfortunately, not even a lot of producers don't understand that. So those are the main thing now then there's the rest of the system, right? That's the rest of the system, which is, well, it's pretty much everything else. Everything else, which and I can tell you, because I've you know, I've been teaching, directing, not only in Los Angeles and the US, but around the world for about 25 years now. And I go to a lot of film schools, I've been, I don't know, 17 different film schools and how many different countries and one one of the things that is sad, I find it really sad, and it's almost consistent in most film schools, is students will be brought into the film school and they're within moments, a camera is put in their hands, right moments, they're asked to go out and shoot a scene, right? And they're not talking about what you and I are talking about now. There's they're not talking about what is the story? How do you tell a story they haven't been trained in how to work with actors is that here's a scene and now there's a location that house over there, why don't you do this go shoot it over there, then they send them off, they shoot it, they bring it back, and then they start editing. And this whole idea of become a film director you You must start with film and cameras and the technology i think is so wrong. Now this obviously as we talked about earlier, my background is theater. My feeling is the first thing of film directors should do is direct a play. Otherwise, I'm going to take all those toys away from you. You're not the dean you're not gonna be able to select the tapes you want. What you're going to have is a story maybe it's just a 10 minute play that would be fun, you have a story and you have a handful of actors make it work make it work with just that in other words, take away the toys take away all the tools and techniques and tricks that directors want to use and see if you can make it work now that's hard and I tell directors they should direct later I tell them a lot of them don't blame I said this directing theater is harder than directing film and it is it's much harder because you need to work with this story and you need to work with actors in a very different way in theater only because there are no cameras right guys you can't push them to get that performance you want to say I got it I got that that's the take I want to use you can't you have to work with the actors so that they can night after night give a full fledged performance of that entire play whether it's 10 minutes or two hours It doesn't matter. Do you have the ability to do that and and then logically reasonably put the whole production into the actor's hands that's what you're saying on opening night you're saying it's yours it's not mine anymore?

Alex Ferrari 23:51
I was what I you know, I always wondered that about playing replay directors or directors that do plays is like you basically work and work and work with the actors but on show night at Showtime there you have no control. No, it's it's basically the train leaves the station. You have no control of anything anymore.

Mark Travis 24:08
Yeah. Yeah, what the one thing I like to say you're absolutely right Alex. One thing I like to say when I'm especially when I'm talking with a lot of new directors, I say when you direct theater, theater and film but pretty much the same up to a point where you get when you direct theater, you have the play, then you get the actors and the financing or whatever, and you have an opening night and you'll rehearse for whatever period of time 2346 weeks or however long it is. And that opening night a curious thing happens. And this is right on the point of what you were just saying Alex, and I've directed 6070 plays I have lost count. And this happens every opening night, every opening night. I will go through postpartum depression has nothing to do with how well the play is. Doing right at the play could be going brilliantly. And I had one production I did about four or five years ago, and it was going so well that the pressure was even worse. It was just painful now that that it took me a long time, you know, and early in my career to figure out what was going on. But I realized what it is, and there's nothing I can do about it. But that postpartum depression is really, I have given I've given it up, I've released it, it's not mine anymore. And that's because theater is an actor's medium. Because it's the actors who deliver the product to the audience, not the director, the director has guided them, but the actors every night take over. And it's their version that night with all this small nuances or whatever, of filmmaking is pretty much the same. You get the script, the actors, the financing, and you go into production, and you shoot a lot of stuff, whatever you shoot, it's at the end of the production process, when you're shifting from production to post production, is a curious change. The actors go into postpartum depression, not the direct. And I've talked to so many actors, because when you realize what an actor has done in a film, no matter how many scenes they're in, they have given you the director, way more material than you need. They've given you how it is, let's say you got a five, five minute scene and you've done average of three takes and you've done 20 setups, do you realize how much material the director has. But for the direct cause, this is great. I can create what I want out of all this material. And that's absolutely right, you should. But to the actor, the actor is going I have no idea what he's going to do with my performance. I have no idea how he's going to finally shape it. And I once met Donald Sutherland. I was talking to him and he says, Yeah, that's why I don't go see my films anymore. You'll do a film, you won't go see it. He says, because it's so depressing. He says, He says he'd rather live with the memory of everything he did. Then the memory of how it was reduced down to something that sometimes he says it's not recognizable. So that's it.

Alex Ferrari 27:15
But is it also on the is it us on the other hand, that you know, a lot of these actors who you know, are up for Oscars this year, you know, their performances were constructed strictly in post production, like they took the best of the best of the best of the best of the takes, according to the directors point of view, and basically honed their performances together. So there is the other side of that, too. They like they take the best. And sometimes it's sometimes it ends up well, sometimes it doesn't. But it is it is I see your point. Now the in a in a play, the director loses all control of his vision, and the actor loses all control of their vision in the filmmaking process. And you just trust.

Mark Travis 27:56
Yeah, so filmmaking is a director's medium. And you actually write about what I've worked had the fortune fortune enough to work with a lot of amazing editors. And I've worked with Carol Littleton and pulsator and people like that. I met once watching Carol Littleton, she, I met her when she was editing et and I was watching her when she was editing the Big Chill. And I watched her shape a performance I'm sitting in the other room I went oh my god. And you're right i mean and that's that's the filmmaking business and sometimes act. As you look at there, you created a performance that I never gave back the just last week I was doing sound mixing and I'm just I'm not mixing ADR on a scene from a film I'm doing now. I brought the actors in and there's the first time they'd seen the cut of the scenes show the cut of the scene and brother and sister scene and the guy playing the brother looked at it Daniel looked at anyone whoa that's good. I never did that. Did I say well you did it but not in that order. He says it works does I says yeah, it works. He says thank you I said You're welcome. Now everything that's on the screen he did sure but what we did in post we moved moments around to create pace, more nuanced performance than he actually gave right now that's quite honestly that's my job. Actors know that but they're out there. fearful of the opposite of cheerful distrust. You need trust. Yes. Yeah. You I did this great moment. Why isn't that there? I had this thing that it was. You have complained about great performance in American Beauty. complained because a couple of moments were cut out of the movie, which he felt was so essential. To his character that it worked on. And so he felt sort of robbed of an aspect of it. Now, this happens all the time.

Alex Ferrari 30:08
All the time. Yep. All the time. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. Now, with when working with a director, and you've worked with many directors in your career, what is the one trait that a director should nurture within themselves? Whether it be leadership or person, person to person skills, or political, you know, how to be a public political? What, what is that one thing that really that you would say, like you if you're going to do anything, you really should nurture this?

Mark Travis 30:47
Well, the ones you brought up are all good leadership skills, and all that, what what I think is, this gets back to my little bit of resistance to the term director is humility. Okay. humility and collaboration, I think we as directors, and there are also a lot of writers and actors and producers who have the same problem, we develop a certain level of confidence that that leads us to arrogance, hmm. And we have to remember that we are in a, in a highly collaborative medium. You know, and if I'm a director, I'm working with a writer, I'm working with actors I'm working with cinematographer production is I'm working with, hopefully, everybody, I've hired highly skilled people. And all of these people, believe it or not have great ideas. And a lot of these great ideas are not going to work because you, as the director have your vision. But a lot of these ideas can work. And how do you stay in a collaborative mindset is my my job I feel as a director is I want to hear every idea, every idea that anybody has, and I have a way of doing that. So it doesn't get become chaotic. Because my job I feel is to I'm going to pick through all these wonderful ideas, and create something that is beyond what I could have done alone. I've often asked directors, you know, do you want to make a film that's limited to your own creative abilities? And you go, No. Would you like to have something that's enhanced by what the writers have done, what the actors have done, what the production has done, or one film I worked on heavily, what the boom operator thought, boom operator, who would talk to me through through this sound system into my headphones, because when he would have ideas, sharing, he had, he had brilliant ideas. So I think, if you can find a way to keep yourself open, and it's a matter of two things, keeping yourself open from the very from day one, and let everybody No, not just the actors in the race, not just those people above the line, but everybody below the line, that you are open that, that everybody is making this film, it's not you making a film, and they're working for you. This is a team effort, I can't make it without you. And I want all your input all your ideas. And set up a way that you can articulate at the beginning and set up a system by which it doesn't become chaos, because you don't want to write on the set and say cut and then you know, then 12 people come charging to you with their idea that's gonna be a read.

Alex Ferrari 33:40
And also, you're also talking from a perspective of working with very high end professionals at the indie level, sometimes, you've got to be, it's good to be collaborative. And that's why it's so important to choose your collaborators wisely. But at a indie level, sometimes you're working with people who aren't that experienced, and it can turn into chaos very, very quickly for a director. Do you agree?

Mark Travis 34:01
Yes, yes. And even those Yes, absolutely, Alex, but even those people on an indie is, let's say you have an inexperienced. Let's say we'll say an actor for a moment. Because small party doesn't have a lot of experience. He's new to the business, but he's good for the role that you've cast him in. And he is just so excited, and he has a lot of ideas. And you've heard half a dozen of his ideas already. And they're just so naive and Ill informed and not workable. Right? Here's a question, what do you do? The last thing you want to do is shut him down. Because if you start to shut him down, then his creative process shuts down and then you're going to get less from him as an actor. Actually, what you want to do is continue to encourage him so that he has creative energies flow, because first of all, you have no idea one idea he may come up with may be brilliant, but so it's a matter of setting up a way I mean, I say to when I say talk to everybody about this the beginning is I want to hear your ideas, but I need to hear them at an appropriate time. Hmm, perfect, perfect. If you come to me, I said, if you come to me, and I feel it's not appropriate all I'll tell you, I'll just say not now, later. Now all that means is this is not the right time. It doesn't mean I don't want to hear it. Find another time. No, no. So I'm not shutting you down. I'm just delaying you. The other thing I tell him, I said, Listen, if you have a great idea, I'll use it. And I'm just warning you now, I'll probably take credit for it.

Alex Ferrari 35:38
And that's at the end of the day, at the end of the day, I always tell people that like if a PA shows up and gives you a great idea, guess who's getting the credit for that? You'd be foolish not to. Yeah, but there is that point, you're saying that you have to create an environment that is not chaos? Because I've been on those sets where everybody all of a sudden, thinks that the director and there's no, it's just such a fine, delicate balance, isn't it because as a director, you want to be open, you want to be collaborative, but if you're too open to everyone's ideas, then everyone start thinking, well, this guy has no vision. And then you get and then you might have a mutiny on your hands. And I've seen that happened as well. So it's just a really fine balance. It's a fine

Mark Travis 36:16
balance. Yeah. And you don't want to work with the directors that I've worked with directors, where I, I've consulted with the director for months prior to the shoot. And then I've, because they wanted me there during production, I'm there, and I have trouble getting it. And I got it because I could because there's so fearful of things going wrong and there's so controlling, and later I know even while we're in production, it's hard for me to talk to him about that problem. Right? So it's so it's, it's something it's something that's very delicate The other thing is, which is one of my books somewhere is how to say no to somebody, and all they hear is yes. And I can't explain it to you it's called the two plus two plus one, two plus one plus one two plus one plus one please, please explain. It's a sandwich and what you say let's say someone comes up and makes a suggestion on a camera angle. And you're and you're under a lot of pressure as you always are. And you're thinking that's the most ridiculous is that right? But and this person is your key grip. Okay? Of course you want him to be happy and keep working you don't want him going around grumbling and so how do you say no, and all he hears is yes, and it's really quite simple. The first two this is the two plus one plus one the first two things you say to him are positive then comes the negative and then one more positive. The first two positives could go something like this. And you could say to him to say his name is George Hey, George, George you know you keep coming up with the greatest ideas it's really interesting and I want to thank you for bringing me that word because it's really a fascinating idea. Unfortunately I'm not going to be able to do it but I want you to keep coming up keep thinking that way okay. Now buried in there is unfortunately I can't do it that was the no all right. What he hears is Oh, he's happy because I have ideas and he wants to hear more ideas he's not doing this one but he wants to hear more and he goes away happy that's the psychology Yeah, it goes away hearing Yes. Yeah. And and I've done this for people who can't do that it's a lie. I said don't make it a lie. Make it the truth. Be honest about it Don't lie to make every statement you say it's true. But you have to now the thing is what I just did took about what 10 seconds I'm done. Yeah, I'm done and George is off going and I'm and that that question or that suggestion is closed now with I don't have to worry about it coming back again. And so I so it doesn't take much time you just it was developed. The one of the things in terms of film directing canon one of my books is based on this film directors bag of tricks, which is this idea Alex, there's a lot as we talked about a little bit earlier from books and some videos and whatever even film school. The techniques working with design, sound editing, mixing, the CGI, all that stuff. It's all these techniques of directing that you can learn. And I I would suggest that all of that together. is half of directing. Only half The other half, which is equally as powerful is your ability to work with other people. Mm hmm. It's psychology. When it every single day you're doing it with the actors, you do the writers you do it with all those people you're working with, how you handle them, and how you keep them open and creative. How do you say no to them? How you say yes to them, how you encourage them, how you inspire them, how you communicate to them, how you connect with them as people is equally as important. And I've seen some directors that are highly skilled and the directorial area, and I watch them in terms of how they work. People work with the people. And sometimes it's horrifying.

Alex Ferrari 40:38
Oh, yeah, I mean,

Mark Travis 40:42
these are, these are directors who have made wonderful films, or the director, but I talked to members of the crew, and they asked after the film, because I saw the film I said, great. I said, Oh, yeah, but making it was a horror. And I heard the stories about what they went through them, and I go, that's not worth it. And that. And another part of directing, I think directors have to remember, except with the actors and the writer aside, but the rest of the rest of the crew below the line, which is huge, and it can get sometimes up to 1000s of people. But that those people, my contention is most of them are not, I'm gonna say this in a harsh way. Most of them. I'm not terribly concerned with how well the film goes. Most of them, I think, quite appropriately, really concerned about how they are doing while they're working on the film, their experience, day to day. That's what they take home with them. That's what lives within them afterwards, if they see the film later, and I've seen a lot of films I've worked on and the crews then they go, Oh, that's too bad. It didn't work. But their experience of making the film was great. They feel good about what they did. So I think we have to remember that that's what these as we're trying to put together a film where we're thinking about the final product, these people are thinking about what they're doing today. Right? So how we treat them, how we encourage them, how we acknowledge them, how we praise them. I mean, if you see a grip, you're standing around, getting ready to hit the suddenly he starts moving grip equipment to get ready for the next shot that he's anticipating to say thank you, thank you. Just be just be aware of that, that that thank you can make his day that he was acknowledged. For see we're getting ahead of the curve seen well. This is what's

Alex Ferrari 42:51
important to them. At the end of the day, it's it's it just goes back to some really old fashioned values be nice, be respectful, be polite, basic stuff, really basic stuff. Now what is I want to add one more call for

Mark Travis 43:04
good? Yeah, all that be nice, we appreciate? also be willing to admit that you don't have the answer.

Alex Ferrari 43:10
Oh, that's a big one, isn't it? Oh, that's a big

Mark Travis 43:13
one. What do you what do you got? I know the number of times someone said, Okay, what are we going to do? What are we going to do here? How do you want to do this? And, and I've thought, you know, I've gotten myself a place I could do this cycle? You know, I have no idea that go I said No, I don't. So let's figure it out. Now the let's figure it out means you and I together are going to work this out. Now I'm collaborating. Now they feel important. Okay, let's work this out. Not too many directors are afraid to say they don't have the end.

Alex Ferrari 43:43
That's the thing. That's the thing. I feel like I've been on a lot of sets. And I've worked with so many directors in my career as well of being in the post business and being on on production. And you just can tell when a director is just comfortable in their own skin and confident in their ability to be able to do the job. And when something comes out, although all the best ones like how do we do this? Like, I don't know, let's figure it out. That's always the best answer. But but that's the very minority of the bunch of people I've worked with. Most of them are very scared that if they say I don't know, that they're like, oh, like, Oh, they know I'm a fraud. And I don't it's this kind of ridiculousness of it. But I get it. Because I mean, I've been directing for 20 years as well. And I get that I get that feeling because I've been there early parts of my career. Now the point is like, Yeah, I don't know, let's figure it out. And that's just confidence. And that I think happens over time to that. It's rare to find that in a young director, unless you're Orson Welles.

Mark Travis 44:40
And also, I mean, if someone, you're on the set, you're shooting or some you're, you're in production, which is where the biggest pressure is sometimes. And you get asked a question by somebody. Even the producer doesn't matter who it is, and you have no idea what the answer is. You're lost. Trick This is this phrase from my book bag of tricks is to say to the person I don't know, I don't know, tell me what you think. Now, tell me what you think means the other person is going to start. Because they probably have an idea. And you know what it's doing for you. It's giving you time to think you're putting it, you're putting the ball on the other side of the net. So you deal with this for a moment, I'll listen. And while they while they're talking, even though their idea may be totally ridiculous, gives you a moment to sort of gather some thoughts, rather than them asking you the question and you scrambling to come up with something because you feel you must have the answer. You don't. As I say to a lot of directors, you don't have to have the answers, but you have to make decisions. Right? You know, I don't know. And then down the line, maybe five minutes later, okay, I'm deciding it's going to be blue. We're going that way. Everybody, we'll go Okay, fine. Make a decision. But you don't have to have the answers. Me part of production really is coming up with answers. It's questions every 30 seconds.

Alex Ferrari 46:06
I know. It's actually brutal sometimes

Mark Travis 46:10
Oh, yeah. Yeah, it's it's really brutal. It's

Alex Ferrari 46:13
not as far as casting is concerned. What is your casting process? Because it's, you know, casting is such a huge part of the filmmaking process.

Mark Travis 46:19
Okay. Glad you asked that. Now, you've seen the DVD. And I'm assuming a lot of people who are listening to this have not seen the DVD you're taught you're talking about which is, which is actually called Hollywood, film directing. And anybody who gets in touch with me, I can put them in touch with it. But in the DVD, Alex, you saw a process called the interrogation process, the interrogation process was where I am the director, and actually bypassing the actor. In terms of working with the actors, and directing the actors, I bypass the actors thinking, and I'm talking only to the character. And I'm actually interrogating the character and asking the character, a lot of tough questions. So I'm good. Now I want to get back to your question about casting. I have very, very specific thoughts and ideas and beliefs about the director, actor relationship. And then the director, character relationship, which is two different relationships. In the casting process, most directors 99%, directors will run it in a very, very specific way. The same way actor comes in, have a little talk about this the character if necessary, the actor will read a scene with a reader. And the director will either say thank you very much interested, or the director will work with the actor and ask for some kind of adjustments, do it a different way, I think it should be darker, lighter, angrier, or whatever, I see him as a bolder character, I don't see him as that insecure, whatever it is, they'll talk after the reading, they will talk to the actor give them adjustment, and then they will ask the actor to do it again. That process to me is part of, it's gonna sound strange part of the problem. The problem, as I see it, and working with actors is too often we as directors, too often all the time, are asking actors to create a character in a certain way, or deliver the character or perform the character a certain way. What I like to do is talk to the character, let the character emerge from the actor. And many times to the actress surprise, see how the character handles the situation. So back to the casting. I'm casting, I have the actor command, we talk a little bit, they will read a scene. audition is done soon as they finished reading the scene. Or moment right now, I will not talk to the actor at all. I talked. So let's say we're doing a scene in the states from American Beauty or something like that. And someone's reading for Lester. As soon as he finishes reading, I will start talking to Lester. And I will talk to Lester about what he just experienced in the scene. Now,

Alex Ferrari 49:23
when do you tell the actor? Are you going to do this prior to that or absolutely not? Oh, you don't?

Mark Travis 49:28
There's no preparation? Okay. I'll tell you why. That's a great question, Alex. I'll tell you why. And a lot of people have asked me about the interrogation process and do you prepare the actors for this? No, I don't. And my experience of doing this for 1520 years I've been doing this is that if I talked if I talk to the I can give you some more examples if I talk to the My prepare, okay, okay, that I gotta go back if I if I tell the actor about Beforehand, do you want the What do you stop the act, I'm

Alex Ferrari 50:02
going to start prepping, they're gonna start prepping for I don't

Mark Travis 50:04
want them prepping. I don't want the actor, this is gonna sound strange. I don't want the actor to be working on something. Now he's working on the preparation for how I'm going to talk to the he's going to talk to the character. Now what am I going to do? Now the actor is trying to do what he's been trained to do. He's been trained to how to control and shape the character. I'm actually not interested in that. I am interested in the character that exists already inside the act. This is an important part of my process. I believe, once I've cast an actor in a role, that the character that he or she is to play already exists, already exists inside the actor 100%. The problem is, the actor has to get out of the way and let the character emerge. Now that's a very difficult thing to do. But that's how the interrogation process works. That's what it does. So

Alex Ferrari 51:03
how so how did the actors react? When like, Can you just give us an example of like the process? Yeah. Are you done talking? And then you just automatically just ask them?

Mark Travis 51:12
If you were there next, next, next time I do a casting, are you here in Los Angeles? Yeah, yeah, I'm here. Okay. Next time I do a casting I'll call you. Oh, please. Well, no,

Alex Ferrari 51:20
I would, I would be fascinated.

Mark Travis 51:21
I'll tell I'll tell you exactly what happens if I mean, and I've done now, I got to this backup a little bit. The last time I did this was for a play I directed here. And the writer and the producers who of course, were there. I didn't warn them either.

Alex Ferrari 51:38
Even better.

Mark Travis 51:40
Nope. And what they saw, because I'm really interested. This is just me, Mark Travis, I'm interested in what happens in human beings. When they get hit by something and they're unprepared for it. If you have to prepared for it, you you're trying to control it. What happens? I'm going back to your question, I will less to read and write as soon as it's done. I say, well, Lester, that didn't go very well did it. Now the actor is suddenly hearing me talk to his character, not to him. And what if you watch the actor, it's a split second is a split second of confusion. It's a beautiful movie I

Alex Ferrari 52:21
was about to say must be brilliant.

Mark Travis 52:24
And then then, is the key moment of adjustment. And I would say 90% of the time, the actor will go back right back into the character and start rattling back. Yeah, yeah, that didn't go well. Well, what are you gonna do? She's your wife is Yes, she's my wife. I mean, are you gonna let her keep talking. And you realize that the actor, the actor, now totally happy. Because this is what the actor came in to do. The actor did not come in to have a discussion about the character, the actor came in to show how he can portray a character. And I'm just saying to them, just be the character. Forget the acting part. I don't want to talk to you, I don't want to even talk to you about actors choices, all that I just, I just want to see the character. Now what I'm doing there, Alex, which I don't, which I explain people later, if necessary, or not, what I'm doing, along with my belief system, that the character already exists inside the actor, I want to see with that particular actor, the Lester that exists inside him, not the one that he's going to shape and plan the one that's already there, if we just release it. So when I go through a casting process, I am not really seriously I'm not casting the Best Actor for each role. I'm casting Lester, I'm casting the Lester, I want. Another one I'm making notes on this lesson is slightly different than this one, this one. And I need to read I need to remove the actress control because the actors control of it. Unfortunately, sadly, the actor will come in trying to assuming he knows from reading the script what the writer wanted, assuming he making some kind of guess what I the director depending on how well they know me might be looking for. So it's all getting filtered through the actor. And he's trying to give me what I want or give the writer or the producers what he thinks they want. Now I'm getting a lesser that's filtered through all of these assumptions that the actor is making. I'd rather see the Lester just pure. I can change the Lessard slightly if I want to. You understand. Otherwise get the ad. Is it really ironic that one of the biggest obstacles actors have is their own ability to think? Yes, and this is an I'd made this up Respect, because I respect the actors work, I respect all forms of training that the actors go through all forms of preparation that they go through all the research they go through. And I think yes, do that you must do that, that is going to, it's going to make you a better actor, a stronger actor. But all of that, depending on how you handle it will get in the way of the character. Because your job is to become the character, and how can you become the character when you're trying to control it when you're making assumptions about the character, what he's thinking and feeling. And many times I do this, a lot of lot of actors that I work with here who have worked this way, and by the way, actors love this, a lot of reasons. One reason is working this way, they cannot make a mistake. Right? If I ask an actor to play a scene a certain way, there's a good chance they will miss it. They won't get it or they won't get it to my satisfaction now

Alex Ferrari 56:00
within a second or 10 seconds of preparation that you give them yeah, I really truly hate casting because of that part. Yeah, but

Mark Travis 56:07
let's do this. But we I need it lighter and more frothy. Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 56:10
Can you be a little bit more? Yeah. actors like frothy What the hell is Friday

Mark Travis 56:16
and more frothy? If I if I now use now, you've got the actor trying to translate lighter and more frothy? What the hell does that mean? What does that mean to him? He's the director that

Alex Ferrari 56:29
didn't teach me this in course, that teach me this in acting class.

Mark Travis 56:33
And now I'm gonna have to do it again. And I'm going to have to end so it'll who knows what they'll do. But let's say we're doing the Leicester thing again, we do the Leicester scene and I'm talking to Lester and i i Alex and thinking I want it lighter. I want it more playful. Okay. That's what I'm thinking. But I'm not going to tell the actor that because that's that's result directing and it's a disaster. And I'm talking to Lester said it didn't go very well. Then the gardener i said i can i this is what I say in the casting press. I said, Listen, listen, Lester, you got to get another shot at this. So you better not screw it up this time. He says, Yeah, I was a guy scared, because you could screw it up. You know, there's not gonna be any sex ever again. You know that right? That needs got Yeah, I know. Now I've just put pressure on him. But less, you know, you're not yet you know, that little playful thing you do to her that gets returned on? Yeah. You haven't done that for a while. We might try that. No, I just told Lester, how to approach the scene, not the actor. Right. And I went back to something I reminded him of a quality I think he used to have, and I'm going for lighter and more frothy. But I want it to come from Lester, not from the actor. This is a very fine line distinction. But if you see this process, you'll see how it works. And getting back to making no mistakes less the actor will do Lester again. It may be lighter and frothy and play more playful. Whatever it'll be, it'll be different. It won't be wrong. It won't be a mistake. I can't blame the actor. For what? Because he could say well, that's just the way Lester did it. I said, Yep, you're right. That's just what Lester did. That's the way his Lester handled it. So he will always be true to his Lester. So it's a very it's a very critical aspect of directors working with actors how. And now the thing is of actors getting out of their own way, the actor cannot do it by themselves. They need that other person like you saw on the DVD, who will actually work with them, and ignite the character inside them ignite the thinking process the brain of the character to the point where the actor's mind shifts into the back and lets the character just exist on his own.

Alex Ferrari 58:52
That's it. I'm gonna hold you to that, please call me on the next casting you do, because I really would love to see this. And I had the follow up question to that. What happens to the other 10% of the actress when you do this to them?

Mark Travis 59:05
The other 10 other people who don't? Can't handle it?

Alex Ferrari 59:10
Yeah, what do they do?

Mark Travis 59:11
I've run into problems where they can't, can't handle it. Now. The rare when I can sense it a little bit in the casting process, I can sense that they're, they feel hesitant to sort of totally engaged in this improvisation that I'm doing with the character. And that to me is a warning sign. Yeah, it doesn't mean it's not going to work. But I go, Oh, I can see they're hesitant, but I know I can get past that hesitancy later. If the character I'm seeing I think is really interesting. That's what I'm seeing. And that hesitancy is just a fear. And it's a fear that some actors have of just letting go. You know, there are a lot of actors who are very confident about their work and very skilled in what they doing or doing and

Alex Ferrari 1:00:01
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Mark Travis 1:00:12
But very fearful of getting up giving up the control they have. There was one actor I was working with who I had cast in a play. And he was playing the father, really good actor. And we were doing the interrogation process in rehearsal. Now he had done it in the casting, and I could see, he was not that comfortable with it. And now I have a cast of seven people. And we're doing it in rehearsal. And he had tells me and it sort of announces to everybody else, okay, I don't really like this process. I'm not comfortable with this, it's been very honest, I'm not comfortable with it. And I'm not really good at improvisation. Now, we're all sitting around there, and I'm going to keep working, I have to keep working. I won't call on you, I won't do this with you at all. But you have to stay, you have to stay in, in the, in this rehearsal in the room, he says, fine. So we're sitting in a circle, we're just sitting in a circle. And I'm interrogating the cat. Now I'm Tara gave me his wife and his children. And he's just sitting there. Now very purposely, I interrogate the wife and children, and I get them talking about the Father. The father is the lead get us and the father is the lead in the play. So the whole play sort of revolves around him anyway. And I now, and I've done this many times before, and I know that that actor who as I can't handle it will only be silent for about three or four minutes. Right? And pretty soon, and what he did, his name is Jim what Jim finally there's Okay, wait, wait, no, no, no, no, listen. And he, as the character started to emerge, all he needed was the permission to not do this. Which and again, that's getting back to what you and I were talking about Alex earlier, how can we create a safe environment? I didn't want to force them to say you have to do this, because now I'm in sort of a dictatorial environment. I don't want to do that. I said, No, you don't have to, you don't have to do this at all. But I just want you to stay here. Well, that's easy. You just stay in the chair. And then he became engaged. And then for the rest of the rehearsal, he was fine for the rest of the whole, the whole rehearsal, not just that day, but

Alex Ferrari 1:02:25
it's actually really interesting. It's a really interesting technique. It really is. I've never heard of that technique before. And I look forward to using it in the future. It sounds it sounds really good. Now. The next question I have is a question that I know a lot of filmmakers and directors have dealt with. I know you've dealt with it multiple times in your career, because if you're a director, you will deal with this. And I've never found a good answer to this question. So I would hope you can. If an act of pressure and I it's massive, its massive. Its massive, sir. It's massive. If an actor's being difficult on set, what do you do? When I say difficult there's many levels of difficult there's Liz Lindsay Lohan difficult, which is a whole other world. But I'm talking about literally either being defined on set being publicly defined to your direction on set, trying to be little you on set, or just refusing to take your direction. What do you do with an actor like that? And we're saying and we're suggesting that this isn't, we could do it two ways. One is an actor that does not have a gravitas if you will, like it's it's it's an unknown, or just an actor who's working to act or something like that. And then there's the movie star, which is another avenue. So how would you work with that? I know this isn't a complex question. So please do your best.

Mark Travis 1:03:45
I will do my best first of all the Lindsay Lohan thing, which I mean if you're dealing with someone who has emotional psychological or diction dependency problems, you've got

Alex Ferrari 1:03:57
that that's a whole nother that's why I said that's a whole other world

Mark Travis 1:04:00
but that aside because then you go to the producer and you say you handled it because I don't I don't want to get into that. Yeah, but getting back to what you're asking and you have any actor for whatever reasons is difficult. My first assumption and I believe this to be absolutely true. And again, this is there are a lot of these techniques are that are in my book, film directors bag of tricks, which is how to work with writers and how to work with actors. So sometimes under some very difficult circumstances like this, but in this situation, when an act is even, first of all, as a director, be aware of can you be aware of warning signs that have come earlier? Even slight resistance. Even if I suggest to an act, okay, this is what I want you to I want you to go over there and pick up the hammer on this. Okay, fine. Got a problem, I got a problem. The my assumption when an actor starts to become resistant, or it becomes very resistant, like you said, won't come out of the trailer is doing it publicly. And my first assumption is fear, not my fear, their fear, they are afraid of something, this resistance, this determination to defy authority, determination to draw attention to themselves and take over take control, to disrupt, to sabotage or whatever. It's fear based, they're afraid of something. Now, I may not know right at the beginning what it is, hopefully, if you watch for the warning signs, you can get an idea of what it is. And it could be a number of things depending on who the actor is, their expertise, their level of fame, of famous they are, I know, a lot of very well known actors, and I've talked to them about this, their fear of giving a horribly miserable performance and something that's going to haunt them for the rest of their career. We're a beginning actor doesn't care. They're just happy to be working. Right? But so with that actor, if you rather than address directly the resistance, you need to somehow address the fear. Now addressing the fear, it means not pushing against that, I'm not going to do that, Oh, yes, you are. First of all, if you get into an argument, you're both going to lose, just be aware that you will both lose, nobody's gonna win. You may get them to do that shot that they didn't want to do. may get him to actually physically do it. But did you really get what you wanted? In that shot? No. And even if you think maybe you got it's close enough, but then what you've got is a history of resistance and conflict between the two of you and you forced him to do something, which means the whole relationship is now devolving. In other words, don't try to win the argument you're in. And this also comes down to working with writers too, and producers and stuff. But listen, stay with actors. Don't try to assert the actor is fighting, you know, in the back of your mind, he or she is afraid of something, then you stop and just capitulate literally completely. They say, Okay, I'm not No, I'm not doing that. I'm not gonna do that shot. Then you say, Okay, great. And you change the subject. Now that the subject you change to, let's say, you're doing a shot where the actress has to run across the field and fall down or something like that, I'm just making this up. And for whatever reason, she doesn't want to go back in the story, change this template, go back to something earlier in the story, a scene earlier just moments earlier. And maybe it's the scene before that you have shot or about to shoot and go back to what I call a point of agreement. Let's get back to the point of agreement. say, Okay, let's Yeah, we won't do that. If I said, you know, the scene that comes right before this that we shot two weeks ago. Yeah. Remember when you were in the kitchen arguing with your daughter? Yeah. You say that was a great scene, by the way, we're cutting it together really looks good. No, thank you. Now, I'm at a point of agreement. I'm a first of all, I just complimented her, which is part of the two plus one last one. And I say, you know in that in that scene, what your character was dealing with the new and you clarify what you did there, what you agreed on.

If you can go back to a point of agreement, and now you're talking with Zach, do you know what now you're collaborating again, you're not arguing at all. The argument is gone. No, she still may not want to do the scene which he runs falls in the field. But your your task now is to get her past the fear. And you still don't know what the fear is. So but you start working from there, you start working up to start talking about what you're doing, and working up to this scene of running across the field and falling down and say okay, and then after this argument, she comes running out of the house we shot you're running out of the house from the inside now we're outside. And now you're still at a point of agreement. She goes yeah. Now this is the trick. Switch to the character. Talk to the cat and I say this say she's playing a character named joy. I say okay, now joy. You're running out of the house. What do you want to do? Now I've eliminated the actor, and I'm just talking to the character and I'm interrogating the character at this point. Finding out She, how she's thinking. I can tell you 50% of the time we'll end up with running across the field and calling down. You got a 5050 shot. I got a 5050 shot. If we don't love that, there's another 5050 shot, she'll come up with something better. As the character, you'll say, as I said, Okay, what do you want to do? She says, I want to hide I want to hide. There's there's that little shack in the back. I want to go in there and hide. I don't want anybody to see me.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:30
Now you're doing this just to have you not in front of a bunch of people.

Mark Travis 1:10:33
Yeah, just the two of us.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:35




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IFH 106: Directing Actors & How to Become an Actor’s Director with Per Holmes

Directing actors can be one of the most difficult parts of wearing the director’s hat. Actors speak a language that a director must understand if they are to pull and nurture an amazing performance. Unfortunately, film schools do not teach this must need a “foreign language” course.

I’ve worked with every kind of actor there is. From Oscar® Nominated to fresh out of acting class. Pulling a good performance can be tough and I would get very frustrated sometimes because I couldn’t speak their language.

Then I met Per Holmes. Per created a gaming change course years ago called “Hollywood Camera Work: Mastering High-End Blocking and Staging.” I loved this course and it’s a must for any filmmaker.

When I heard he was creating a “Directing Actors” course I was in. I was able to take the course right before I shot my first feature film “This is Meg” and it helped me immensely. I was able to speak the actor’s language and nurture the performance I needed for the story.

Directing Actors, Hollywood Camera Work: Mastering High-End Blocking and Staging, Per Holmes, Visual Effects for Directors, Hot Moves: The Science of Awesome, directing, film director, film directing, actors, acting

I asked Per Holmes to be a guest on the show because I’ve never taken a course where the instructor was so detailed, thought out and passionate about the subject. Directing Actors is INSANE.  Here’s a bit on the course.

Years in the making, Directing Actors is the most comprehensive acting and directing training in the world. Created by Per Holmes, the course teaches a better way to be a Director, by having extremely strong technique, and the right philosophy and personality on the set.

Through almost a thousand examples, we cover literally every acting and directing technique, every interaction between Actor and Director, and we cast, rehearse and shoot 9 scenes.

Directing Actors is the result of Per Holmes’ personal obsession with resolving once and for all the best way to work with Actors. Every known technique has been tested, and the results are surprising, sometimes shocking. Directing Actors has involved almost 150 people through 7 years of development and 3 years of shooting and editing, including almost a hundred talented Actors who have gracefully allowed us to show the process without any filters.

Get ready for some MAJOR KNOWLEDGE BOMBS. BTW, Per has given the Indie Film Hustle Tribe a gift, 30% OFF ANY of his course. Trust me Per does not do this EVER. Just use the COUPON CODE: HUSTLE. The links to the courses are below. Enjoy!

Right-click here to download the MP3

Alex Ferrari 9:51
May I introduced to everybody Mr. Per Holmes, who is the creator of Hollywood camera, camerawork.com and he is an amazing amazing human being doing God's work. But film but films God works. So Per, thanks for being on the show, sir.

Per Holmes 10:08
Thank you.

Alex Ferrari 10:09
I appreciate so. So I wanted to get started with a little I'm gonna go back deep in your past a little bit you've got started I know it's scary I know when they do it to me I get scared too. When you start you started out in the music business if I'm if I'm correct, I'm

Per Holmes 10:23
Not completely actually I did want to be a filmmaker when I was younger, like in the 70s and 80s. And I want to short film competition and stuff like that. But then music was the equipment I could afford. Feeling. And so I ended up getting into the music industry. And, you know, that was actually that was my Screw you, you know, I'm quitting college and northern High School and, and, and just working in the studio all night. And then I got a record out. And it was actually a hit in where I came from, which was Denmark. And so then I had a music career and learned, like a lot what, what it means or what happens when your medium, I would say medium successful in the music industry. I mean, it was a big hit there. But I think internationally, it was still kind of a blip, right. Um, and that finally became my angle into directing again, because I mean, we're creating all these great music video concepts. And then I was hiring these directors to screw them up, basically. And there was one thing that we did where I thought what we had was really good. And we brought in this director and then he just, you know, not answered great and did something completely different. And I'm like, this is it. I'm directing the next one, right. And so the next one was a like a huge music video like $250,000, green screen motion control, character animation, all that stuff. And that was really my bit. That was that was my Baptism by fire.

Alex Ferrari 11:58
Now this was back in the day when there was money for music videos.

Per Holmes 12:01
Yeah. 50,000 was in the middle there. I mean that Yeah, I say now, I know, tell me about it. But the other half of that is that you can make things that look good on a completely different budget. I mean, the only option then was to shoot at 35 millimeter. Exactly. I mean, just the pain you feel from hearing all that money running through the camera. I mean, you really want to cut as soon as possible.

Alex Ferrari 12:22
You know, I'll tell you what, I remember when I was shooting a commercial back in the day on 35. And I had to do a slow mo shot. And it was a super It was a super slow mo shot. And it was like about 90 frames or 120 frames I think was the fastest the the Aerie could go and all you would hear is that that sound of the film flying through and you're like, Oh my god, all you see is dollars flying. You hear it? It is like nerve racking. And you're like Cut, cut, cut, please just cut.

Per Holmes 12:54
Yeah, and then all you have to burn through like another 1015 meters to stop the camera.

Alex Ferrari 13:00
Exactly when you're going that fast. I know we just did it ourselves. Yeah. So So you got you did you did a bunch of music videos, and then you started becoming I read somewhere that you got kind of obsessed with cinematography?

Per Holmes 13:14
Um, no, I mean, well, so here's the thing. And that maybe reflects to all this stuff that I'm that I'm doing here is that I'm half of my reason for doing it is trying to figure out how to

Alex Ferrari 13:26
Do it. Okay. So you're learning as you're teaching?

Per Holmes 13:29
Yeah, so I did, I did some music videos and commercials. And then I basically realized that this is actually not really my native medium in the sense that music videos, I don't understand why you would edit here and not there in a music video because there isn't a narrative. There's no arc, there's nothing evolving. And then I realized, well, okay, I guess I'm a narrative director then. And then I shot a bunch of short films really, to really to practice and that kind of gave me all the problems that I needed to solve. And I felt that it was kind of pointless to just hammer on, for example, do you know catering and makeup and production if all I'm doing is trying to figure out the camera work, okay. And so then I started blocking in 3d, because then I could just really block a lot I could, I could, you know, block, shoot and edit five, six scenes a day, and that really amped it up, okay. And as I was doing that, I was assembling a reel for myself of everything that I felt I really completely understood so that I could just watch that again again and again and again and brainwash myself with it until it would stick. And I also just, I realized how hard it is to concentrate on acting and visual storytelling at the same time. And, and I think everybody has that experience is that if you want to concentrate on the actors at all, then you have to really let go of the blocking. And unless you then have a dp, you can really pick up that slack for you, you're basically going to end up doing two reverses and a master and a couple of tracking shots, and then you're going to sit in editing and bang your head on the table. Right? totally boring. Right? Yeah. So I realized that I have to become a lot better at this because I feel that, I mean, basically, the way that I divided in my head is that as director, there are two responsibilities you have on the set above all others, and one is working with the actors, because that part absolutely has to be live, all the other stuff, you can you can, you can prep and you can do all kinds of things. But in terms of working with the actors, that's what you're capturing, there is his moments and you can't stage that ahead of time, you have to have more than 50% of your head and that until kind of the actors can run on their own batteries. And I've I felt that it was impossible to do both at the same time. So I set a standard for myself is that I have to become so good at blocking that you can wake me up at three in the morning hand me a new script, new location, I don't know anything about the project. I just blocked the hell out of it in 10 minutes.

Alex Ferrari 16:10
So and So basically, you're you're learning your craft. It's crazy. It's crazy, isn't it?

Per Holmes 16:18
I mean, that's, I mean, I understand that a lot of people you know, like to shoot a lot of things, I felt that the things that I had done, showed me what the problem what the problems that I had were and I felt that it wasn't there wasn't much point in it for me to move on before I I became better at it because it's still I mean, you know, total respect to two people who shoot a lot of movies and build up their skill set that way but I feel that it's a big investment to make a movie besides the money that goes into it. By the time you're done. You've spent years on it and then years going to festivals and getting mark a distributor on everything and I feel that I would rather throw that energy about something where I feel that I'm bringing my a game Yeah, yeah and and so for me, it was simply I you know, there's I don't remember which painter it is. But there was some there was some painter who's who spent 10 years just learning all kinds of different crafts and, and didn't feel like he he needed to paint in terms of having an output. Because what's the point before you before you have a bigger dynamic range, and better skills, so that so that when you have an idea, you can actually make it?

Alex Ferrari 17:35
Yeah, it's the and it's the whole 10,000 hour meaning concept?

Per Holmes 17:41
Yeah, it could be. But that's just me. I mean, I don't want to I don't want to say anything bad about people who stack the bricks in another order and, and, and build up their skill set by by doing and doing and doing, I'm more of the stop and think kind of guy. And I felt like I needed to figure out blocking. And that's where the master course came from. Because I realized that I'm you know, I'm apparently it seems like I'm doing something here that nobody has made for, for whatever reason. And and it could be really useful for a lot of people. So then that that was kind of the last decision really is that this ought to be a course.

Alex Ferrari 18:19
So then so then you put together this master course on camera movement and shot composition, basically.

Per Holmes 18:25
Yeah, and and when I realized that this ought to be a course I also knew how big a project that would be. So actually, I worked all through the night and all through the next day, just to make sure that by the time I felt like quitting, I would already have done too much.

Alex Ferrari 18:40
You're like, well, I've gone down the road too much. Now

Per Holmes 18:42
I can't stop. Now. Now Now I have to finish it. So I

Alex Ferrari 18:45
read somewhere that it took us about 15 months and over over and over 4000 man hours to develop that that course something a lot of

Per Holmes 18:52
that. Yeah, I think it was year a year and a half of desperate full time work to get that to grow together that was just basically squeezing it in between whatever other work that I had. And then thankfully, I got a gig on a documentary that that suddenly, you know, paid well, we're here to all other things where you got paid too little here I got almost paid too much. And that went straight into Hollywood can't work. That was why that this was capable if existing because otherwise I I mean, who can afford to take a year off to do something like that. And so I was just working it in between all the other stuff.

Alex Ferrari 19:29
Now I just so the audience knows I took this course probably about 10 years ago, and it's how you've been doing this for about 12 years now. Right?

Per Holmes 19:38
Yeah, yes. How we can work has existed for about 12 years. I mean, obviously everything else goes back a lot further.

Alex Ferrari 19:45
Of course, of course, but I actually took the course original that's how I discovered purrs work and I took that course when I was starting out doing like really my you know, I started getting into my short film work and all that kind of stuff and it was invaluable. It was so well Well done, and there was just nothing like it in the marketplace and there still is nothing like it in the marketplace. It was the truth. It's absolutely the truth. And I'm not alone. Have you have a nice list of customers Apple, Disney, Pixar, ILM, DreamWorks, Fox, you know, so all the big players take this course and see value in this course. So it's it's pretty amazing what you able to do. And I have another friend, I have another friend of mine who does another course called Apache bird from inside the Edit. Who does this? I've seen that? Yes, yeah, he's about 200. He is going to have 200 tutorials when he's done, he's on 60. Now, he reminds me a lot of you because it took him two and a half years to do the first launch of it. And when you have somebody put so much passion in what they do, it just spills out of the screen because we're so not used to see quality work.

Per Holmes 20:57
And I think it's also it's deciding to solve the problem. Yes. And because there are a lot of these things that have been allowed to stay vague. And for example, there's a lot of there's there are a lot of directing techniques. And a lot of cinematographer techniques, for example, that have just never had a name, it's just, you hold the camera. Yeah, one of these, you know. And and I mean, I have, I have a need to feel that I have explored something enough that I found the outer wall, and I feel okay, this is the area that we need to understand. And it seems like that's what he's doing also with inside the Edit is that I mean, if you really have to describe like literally the whole thing, then how do you even approach that you have to get everything on the table, you have to find enough patterns in it that you can find a way to reduce it, all this information is just something you can actually then work with as an artist. And that means that once you if your goal is to really explain the whole thing, then you also start to have to confront all the logic problems that have always been there, but that nobody ever really went deep enough to solve. And I fell for example, in the master course, for example, there is a there's a move that I call a pivot. And the reason that I'm saying that I'm calling it is because it didn't have a name that I knew of. And basically, if you imagine that you have that you have one character standing still. And then further out, you have another character who's walking, and then you're tracking in the opposite direction to basically keep them in the frame. And then you can do that back and forth. And that shot didn't have a name. And but it had a it had a link to an editing technique where you keep one object fixed, and then you cut around that object to get another object. So that object stays in the same place in the frame. And so I thought okay, well then I guess that's called a pivot, but it's that kind of stuff. That's those are the places where you get stuck for like a week just on that because oh my god, what do I do? There's something there's a logic problem here. And then you basically have to go back to the drawing board and solve those things.

Alex Ferrari 23:11
Well, let me ask you a question. How would you approach this? I'm curious, have you have you answered this question? If you have two people sitting at a table, which is a very common scene in most movies? How would you make that interesting? in your in your, from all of your experience? What

Per Holmes 23:25
would you do? So they're just sitting there? They're sitting there having dinner talking?

Alex Ferrari 23:28
no arguments, and I think just a simple two people talking, having dinner at a table.

Per Holmes 23:34
So this is really hard to do on the radio.

Alex Ferrari 23:40
To the best, yeah, this Yeah, this

Per Holmes 23:42
is what I would say that I would, I would do. I don't think you have that much wiggle room, I do a couple of sizes on each, then. And then I do some tracking shots that go a little bit back and forth. And then I think we're kind of maxing out on on what we can do the moment there's any kind of movement or somebody comes over interrupts them, I might think about what's the mood in the scene. So for example, keeps the shot, keep the shots wider in some parts, but that's actually more I mean, if you're shooting full passes, then that's more of an editing technique than a blocking technique. But why not build some movement into it? Why not have one start away? Why not? I mean,

Alex Ferrari 24:27
you could create you could create other things. But so if it's not just two people talking so it could be somebody walking to the table could be another person. And so it all depends on the scope of the scene before you can actually separate

Per Holmes 24:36
I think I shouldn't take the script too, literally, if it says they sit around on a table around a table. So what what if one stands up and then sits down? I mean, basically, anything you can put in there, so you just have anything to cover besides just to static frames.

Alex Ferrari 24:51
That makes sense. Yeah, that's a great piece of advice, too, because a lot of times directors will read a script and they'll just go see it and they'll just go Oh, it's two people sitting down talking and that's what they do. They Literally just sit down and talk. What's the

Per Holmes 25:01
thing is that the script is like what a court stenographer would write down after the fact. And that can only be the tip of the iceberg. You can't, you can't see in the script, why anybody thinks the way that they do I mean, you can already you, I mean, and that comes especially to acting you're, you're in trouble if you take the script too, literally, because the script, the characters in the script are paper thin, and you some people then do script analysis to try to drag it out. But let's get real, we're inventing it, and that's fine. So we'd let's create all these new layers to it. And then once you, once you understand your characters better, then you could also easily come up with some better movement for them without just having them sitting.

Alex Ferrari 25:43
It all depends on the intention of the character and what they're trying to do in that scene. And that really, that makes it a little hard

Per Holmes 25:49
within a hypothetical scene. But of course, I don't know that you have a million options, if they're just sitting there,

Alex Ferrari 25:56
right? There's there's only and then other than that, then you're turning into a music video, you can go a pie, you can be you know, POV of the flower. And I think a lot of times directors try to be cute. But well, that becomes

Per Holmes 26:07
style over substance then correct. And then it's actually a distraction, or, you know, let's shoot it through the bushes, then suddenly, it feels like there's a stalker there. Or, I mean, the thing

Alex Ferrari 26:17
is, thing is a lot of times I see in, in films, like film that filmmakers do that is when they start making that style over substance thing. And they're like, well, I just want to make this cool shot. But if it doesn't move the story, the story for it doesn't move the scene forward, or doesn't work with the intention of what the scene is supposed to do for the story, then you're just kind of waving, you know, waving your you know what around, and just like, look how cool I can make this look. And that's where it turns into a music video. Yeah, basically, I'm

Per Holmes 26:44
not very good at that. In terms of making style in this, I mean, that's something that I recognized as a weakness. And that's why I choose people to work with, we're stronger than that, because I actually end up being quite boring when I'm directing. And I have to, I have to make myself man up and do some cool shots. Right? Because, you know, once they're talking, then that's, that's the part that I'm interested in. And then I have to make myself make cooler shots is let's let's just put on another hat. Let's say that this was only about style, then what would I do? and get some of that in there as well?

Alex Ferrari 27:19
What would Michael Bay do?

Per Holmes 27:22
Michael Bay do,

Alex Ferrari 27:23
right? Because I mean, oh,

Per Holmes 27:24
and then I would also, I would for a static shot like that, I would really try to get some other movement in the frame, even if it's traffic in the background, or smoke or rain or, or whatever. Because lock shots like that they're really painful in the long run,

Alex Ferrari 27:38
right? And you got to create some sort of interesting things in the frame to kind of keep the energy going, if it's a static shot like that. And then you've got these masters like Scorsese, who can do both stylistic yet works with the story beautifully. And that's what he's built his entire career upon. But let me ask you a question you've seen I'm sure. 1000 first time filmmakers and first time cinematographers in your day, what are the biggest mistakes that you've seen when they're composing their shots? or doing blocking or camera movement?

Per Holmes 28:06
Oh, that's difficult. I'm actually usually quite impressed. Like, wow, that looks great. All right. I think often too many shots.

Alex Ferrari 28:19
Okay, too much coverage. Too much coverage?

Per Holmes 28:21
Yeah, I mean, obviously, you can shoot too much on the set and then not using use it and editing and then nobody would ever know. But I think Well, I mean, here's something that you would notice behind the scenes, for example, I've been quite an advocate against too much storyboarding. And that's something that that has caused outrage places. But here's the thing though, it's, it's objectively true that when you when you block from a storyboard, you're basically breaking your scene into these very little small pieces that you're then hoping to glue back together. And what you're not realizing is that each of these is a new camera setup. And moving the camera is the most expensive thing you can do on the set, because then you have to redo the lighting and then suddenly seems like there's a break, then the actors run off somewhere else, then you have to get them back and and that means that unless it's a small change in setup, expect that you're that you're going to probably blow 20 minutes on not shooting while you're while you're rigging, if not longer. Yeah, if not, I mean, I mean, assuming that everybody's everything is running. And that's not assuming that you're suddenly realizing that you need to change the shooting direction again, because you forgot a shot. So now we need to relate the master as well. But basically, when you block from a storyboard you're doing, you're doing one shot of time at a time basically one piece of actions. Let's get the thing where you pick up the cup and let's get the thing where you get up from the chair. And that is obviously very painful on the actors because it's 123 act and then they can hardly get into it before you say cut.

Alex Ferrari 30:00
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Per Holmes 30:12
It's really tough on the, on the, on the production itself. And it's terrible in editing because because you really depend on this sequence working. And I've think I've, I've gone more overboard on this than anything else, I did a music video that was completely storyboarded from start to finish and, and my line producer was just having a heart attack all the way through. But I mean, it's just every 10 minutes yours over, you realize that if any of these shots don't work, then the whole thing is shot, right whole thing is screwed. And, and so the reality is that when you then show up for shooting, you're going to realize that oh, this storyboard frame is this place. And actually this storyboard frame is also in this place. And now you start to turn it into real blocking, which is set up based and not shot based. If you're smart, you do that, or I mean, your dp eventually will ask for it, because it would be insane to move the cameras back and forth between all these storyboard frames and shoot three seconds, right? So basically, you should be working for coverage and that it and that means that there's nothing wrong with using a storyboard, you could use a storyboard, sometimes you have things that are sequential in a movie. But most of the things most of the things in a movie are coverage based, which means that you're covering it as though it were a multi camera shoot. And you're, even though you're going to shoot only one or two cameras at a time you're planning them as if all of them are running at the same time. So then you say, okay, so while they're here, I'm in this right angle, master and then I have this over the shoulder and then he walks out, I push down on the character that remains. And and so you have this little dance that happens around the characters and then you can go happily shoot them one at a time, because you know that while I'm in this camera, got that shot that shot and and then sometimes you have some places in the scene like entry and exit and stuff like that becomes very sequential. But if you think if you do a camera diagram, actually, let me let me change that a little bit. If you both storyboard and do a camera diagram, then you get the best of both worlds. Because in the camera diagram, you can't see what the shot looks like. Right? Huge weakness of camera diagrams. But camera diagrams are still the native language of camera work. Right? You can't see height. I mean, how are you going to? How are you going to draw a crane up

Alex Ferrari 32:31
here? Right?

Per Holmes 32:33
That's a little hard.

Alex Ferrari 32:33
Yeah, in a diagram. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, I mean, when I do when I do setups, I mean, I'm, I used to do a lot of storyboarding early on, because it was kind of my crutch. So it was kind of like that thing. I'm like, I could hold on to storyboarding. I still like storyboarding, to a certain extent, but not as much, maybe for more complex scenes and things like that. But for basic stuff, I do shot lists, a lot of shot lists, and diagrams. So shot list is like this is kind of what I want to get covered here. And then, and then here's the, the camera dialog, we're at the camera die diagram, where I'll be able to move the camera around a little bit, to show the DP, hey, we're gonna do coverage over here, we're gonna get this, this, this and this shot over here, move the camera over to this side, we're gonna get this, this this over here. And then if we have some time, let's play around a little bit. And then and then also open, keep open to the the cinematographer, because obviously they're gonna have some ideas. If you hire a good cinematographer, you are going to have ideas. Yeah, and I have ideas at once.

Per Holmes 33:23
And that's the thing is that if you if you can take, if you can figure out a way to turn a 15 shot scene into a five shot scene, and usually when you clean up your blocking, you hit almost as good a result and like a third of the setups, there's nothing better than knowing that you're under time, because that's going to be the first time you're actually responsibly allowed to be creative on a film set is when, when you're spending your time responsibly. Don't tell your crew that we're under time, though, because then everybody scales their effort, right? starts. I mean, I think it's probably good for a cruise, if everybody feels we're a little bit behind.

Alex Ferrari 34:01
Yes, apps, apps, apps, the freaking

Per Holmes 34:05
point is that in, in planning a scene, there's going to be stuff that you that you hadn't seen, you're going to be on the set, and then you're going to realize that there's this amazing shot through the doorway. And I hadn't planned for that I have to get that shot. How are you going to work that in if you're already going over time shooting these three second storyboard frames. And so even so storyboarding is not necessarily bad for action for visual effects. There's really no other way to do it. Also, for anything, that sequential action, where things are basically pieces of action that go back to back, you don't have another realistic option. But even if you're doing coverage, the thing to realize is that the storyboard frame is kind of the first time you see anything from the movie, and that means that they're also a little bit precious. And you see, for example, in the matrix, they came up with a lot of the production design in the storyboards, right? I mean, imagine that they had followed this advice, and we're not done storyboards that would have been Different movie,

Alex Ferrari 35:00
but again but that was the kind of movie that was and they were taking it from the graphic novel and the Japanese. Yeah. So it made perfect sense it was such a visual movie that they wanted to kind of they really but also I don't know if you know this they beat that script up for almost three to five years. So they were beating that up so much and then the sequels did not have that much time obviously. But the the first one the first one they beat it up so much that's why it's a masterpiece for what they did it is so yeah, and I have that artifact is great. I wasn't crazy about the sequels. But yeah, yeah, they are the matrix book that I got that I still have has all the artwork, all the storyboards. So it is it is beneficial, but also, they beat they spent so much time pacing all that out. Doing animatics. And what are your feelings on animatics? is a general demeanor like David Fincher? animatics?

Per Holmes 35:50
You mean previous?

Alex Ferrari 35:51
Yeah, previous like, I know, I know. A lot, okay.

Per Holmes 35:55
And actually, a lot of Hollywood camera users, that's probably my most famous audience is basically anybody who does previous uses this. And that means that that, you know, I mean, basically, these techniques, and these ways of thinking about it are basically used on every blockbuster that you see, because I know a ton of these previous people working on on Batman and Avatar, and The Hobbit and, and all this kind of stuff, because it's always I mean, in previous that is what you're doing, you're basically walking. And so you know, who doesn't want more input on that if you're sitting in that role, and right, I mean, the whole course, the whole master course, is really in kind of a previous environment. Yeah, and I just, I think previous is much better than storyboards. It does mean that you have to either be able to animate or know somebody who can animate, but it doesn't have to be hard, you can just have these stick figures floating around. Because the moment you have an actual scene up and running, and you have a character moving, then you very naturally start putting in a shot. And then you start putting in different shots. And then you're basically getting as you would in live action, getting the same coverage over and over from different angles. And then you render out all these pieces and take it into editing and then now you're almost working in 3d the same way as you would in live action that you're working with footage. You're you're working with tags that go along, and have interesting things at the end and all that stuff. And so I think that's a great thing to do, both for regular scenes. And I think for because there's also there's, there's a huge minus that. I think it takes a while to figure out in storyboards, which is that you get timing terribly wrong in storyboards. And I had to think about that for a long time about why that was I done this music video that I talked about that was storyboard, I storyboarded that out and it was edited. I had time codes in the script, I'm not kidding. But then I saw it afterwards. And then I just it felt so slow. And my my editor was hating me because I had left like literally no editing options. He was like trying to just go a little bit back and forth between the previous shot to just get the Edit rate up. But I there wasn't even any handling anything. And I think that the reason is that a hand drawing just simply takes longer to read than a shot. And that means that as soon as you what takes you two seconds to understand in a drawing takes you one second to understand and an actual shot. And that means that if you if you're stuck on your storyboard, especially because in a music video, you're kind of tied, you're tied to your time base, you can't make it go faster, at least you can do that in a movie.

Alex Ferrari 38:41
It was funny that it's

Per Holmes 38:42
just agonizingly slow. And and but in previous you get the timing right. Yes, it's it's much closer to the real thing. You can look at it and understand what it is in a microsecond?

Alex Ferrari 38:53
Well, I mean, David Fincher is famous for that, because he previous is this entire movie. I mean, he does it to the nauseum. He's like, he's basically the Kubrick of our day. In that sense, he's so anal and so technical. But he literally, like he literally says

Per Holmes 39:07
other side. There's another side to that, because obviously, a lot of the scenes that are in a movie like that are not really worth preventing. But if, if you if you literally do it to the whole movie, then you get a new thing that you can do, which is that you can see how your showed a shot. And then you can and now you know that for when you really shot it, shoot it because otherwise, when you see what you shot, that's the first time you realize what you should have done and right, it's painful. You can skip that step, right? And you can because you you're going to find all kinds of story weaknesses, you're going to find pacing weaknesses, you're going to find it suddenly weird that we're cutting back and forth between these two plots. And you're going to I mean, you're actually going to get a sense of the rhythm of the whole thing. And I think anybody who has the resources should do something like that. Oh, absolutely. And by the way, do the straight up blocking I don't think it's an extravagant thing. I just think that if you can't animate, then you need to be able to hire somebody who can animate and previous thing an entire movie is like real work, knows it's a team to suddenly be funded, like properly funded in order to do that. But I think that's a great thing. And there are some programs. There's a shout out, for example, to something called movie storm. Okay, storm co.uk. That's actually made by Hollywood camera users who wanted something to block in movie storm, okay, I don't know what's going on with iCloud. It seems like everything is getting great except the camera work. But obviously that can change on a moment's notice. But there are programs that allow you to do something. And I think even if it's crude, and if the cameras kind of robotic, I still think that's worth, I still think that's worth doing, because you're probably going to learn something about what you're shooting. And then so that's, that's going to be kind of the beta that you do there. And then you can maybe do it better when you shoot it for real.

Alex Ferrari 40:58
I'll definitely put links to those to those applications in the show notes for everybody listening. A quick story. When I was doing my I did an animated Japanese animated movie that I co directed with a good friend of mine who's the artist, and he originally gave me 30 shots, for the whole whole thing. So then I did a scratch track to it, to prove to him like that you're going to need more than this. And he's never edited before in his life. So when I put it together, you just found the pacing was just so slow, and we ended up with 95 shots when I was done with him poor guy took him something that was going to take him a month took a year was done, but you got the pace. And that's something that and that's something else you could do with storyboards if you can't at least previous, if you can do a rough track, you know of the scene and really just a scratch track and then just edit the storyboards. Yeah, you're not gonna get the movement, but it's something maybe a little bit more low budget, which but if you could do other ways, that'd be better too.

Per Holmes 41:52
By the way, this is also another really good reason for, for not shooting sequentially. I kind of hinted at it before but when you're shooting, so what I call it sequentially, basically back to back storyboards, you're really locking down your edit. And I think it's important to realize that you suck as a judge of timing on the set. And the same thing is in terms of how to pace an acting performance, it's important to realize that that pacing happens in editing and that means that whatever floats your boat on the side, whatever the actors feel like doing is fine because if you have concurrent shots and you're and you're working in parallel, then and you know that no matter where we are in the scene, I have two or three editing options you know, you can control you can only control time on the edit point because that's where you can jump ahead or jump back in time on the edit point. But when you have to stay in a single shot, the only way you can make it go faster or slower is to actually speed it up which would be idiotic right and that's why if you shoot for coverage and you just always make sure that no matter where you are in the scene I have two or three cutting options and also make sure that not all your shots are so why is that you can see everybody because continuity becomes harder the more people you have in a shot oh yeah and so if you make sure that you have singles and and editing options then you can make the pacing in editing and that also means that you don't have to obsess over the pacing I mean Okay, so what that there's a little dead air and the acting performance I mean if the actors feel good doing it don't fix that problem. Just speed it up in editing,

Alex Ferrari 43:28
flow just flow with it just flow with it.

Per Holmes 43:31
Well, it means that you can remove a burden and also by the way, I mean when you when you try to fix a technical problem like that, with an actor that's really bad they have to stop almost everything they're doing in order to fix that one problem.

Alex Ferrari 43:43
It's not their job to fix that I think it's that it's the job of the director and the editor to fix that

Per Holmes 43:46
cover you can cover around that but but but the moral of the story is that I think it's bad to assume that you understand timing when you're on the set because when you see it in the Edit What if the scene that you thought was going to be before was like really intense and then this is your landing scene, you're supposed to really come down and then you realize later that that whole scene that went before it's actually gone now. So now we're coming from a slow scene to a slow scene and now I need the scene to go faster or the other way around. You don't really know what context it's going to go into. And I just think it's it's a mistake to assume that you fully understand the timing in the scene when you're on the set you need to block in a way that leaves the timing open enough

Alex Ferrari 44:28
absolutely no question about it. Now I want to to my two other courses you took that you I took of yours, which are awesome. In my favorite is the VFX for directors which I want to talk to you about but then also hot moves the science of awesome. Please tell me how that came into play.

Per Holmes 44:46
Well, which one hot moves,

Alex Ferrari 44:47
hot moves? Yeah, hot moves.

Per Holmes 44:50
Okay, so actually half of the techniques that are in there. I was trying to figure those out while I was making the master course. But I that that was only a hunch at that time. And then I felt it's better to leave it out because it is a separate layer. And because basically, one of the, you know, one of the dogmatic lessons of the master course is that you should try to get your camera work to make sense, don't do shots just because they look awesome. And so hot moves is all the opposite of that is that this is this is just how you make them look nice. And basically there was something that I'd realized, but it took, it took really a while it took me like eight years for something like that for that to really crystallize which things that were that that made, I found a commonality between basically all the shots that people feel like putting in the trailers over and over and over again, because there's a certain dynamic in those shots. And that's, that's what hot moves is it's this. It's, I mean, it basically centers around these things that I call, see if I can remember them. There's there's grid theory, there's angle on a track. There's role and there's one, there's one more that I forgotten now. Right, right. It's me, for example. So grid theory is a kind of parallax that I don't think people have. I mean, I think obviously there are lots of people who do it intuitively. A person like Michael Bay does that intuitively all day long all day, on his face. Okay,

Alex Ferrari 46:22
no, honestly, I just want to say something you know, about Michael bag. I know Michael Bay gets a lot of crap for being Michael Bay. But I have to tell, and this is just my opinion, I think he is one of the most visual and groundbreaking directors in what he does. Because if you look back in every current action film, his language is what has been taken, they're taking stuff that he was doing back in Bad Boys, the rock, and Armageddon, those techniques are what the norm is now and were revolutionary when he started doing them. So as an action director, there is I mean, you could talk about story development, character acting all that stuff, that's fine. But as purely as creating awesome shots, there is probably nobody else on the planet, that does it better than has elevated

Per Holmes 47:10
that to an art form. Absolutely. Absolutely.

Alex Ferrari 47:12
And if you basically agree. I mean,

Per Holmes 47:15
obviously, I know people who had a hard time working with them. But flipside, there are a lot of actors who say that the details of the awful directing of Michael Bay are greatly exaggerated, right? Because there is also there's also another side to it. Which, which is that if he recognizes, and I think he's pretty honest about where he is, in terms of working with actors, then at least he's not pretending. And then he's not trying to, you know, let me open up your brain and poke around a little bit, and what was this thing from your childhood and all that kind of stuff, you can kind of more stand back and, you know, just make it faster. Right then leaves, then then that leaves actors to figure that out. And that's one of the reasons why. In directing actors, I'm kind of pushing back a lot on this whole thing that result directing is bad, because it's really not true. And I don't know where that came from.

Alex Ferrari 48:11
So explain that a little bit. Explain that result directing.

Per Holmes 48:14
This is a major Change of topic. I'm happy to go there.

Alex Ferrari 48:18
Okay. Okay. All right. Well, I'll go back to let's continue with the science of awesome, but I want to go back to the result of acting. Directing,

Per Holmes 48:25
yes. Okay, so, so that was hot moves, that I didn't feel simply that I was ready to do it, I didn't feel that I had figured it out properly. So it is a separate layer. Although I do think that now that I know how all those things fit together, I feel like they ought to be one course. And I guess at some point, I'm going to do a version of version two of the master course. And then I think one of the I would try to integrate them because there there is still some overlap, because some of the techniques are kind of getting started in the master course. So there's not as good a separation but I mean, if they were to be separate, there maybe also ought to be more separation between them, but I feel that they belong together.

Alex Ferrari 49:07
So that's the basics of basics of so the audience understands is the master course, is kind of like the meat and potatoes of Yes, of camera composition and camera movement. And is

Per Holmes 49:19
that this is stuff that you really have to do be able to do because eventually, no matter how many flying cars on fire, you have, eventually people are going to sit somewhere in talk. And that's the problem that you have to solve. Before it's for free. For example, it's it's I've noticed sometimes that people say, Oh, you should see this camera work. It's amazing. And then I see it. And it's actually a lock shot with a flying car on fire. It's not awesome because of the camera work. I mean, and actually visual effects. People are terrified of doing camera work, especially in live effects like that. I mean, they'd rather have 20 high speed lock cameras from different angles and then maybe Do a zoom push and posts because they I mean it's hard enough to blow up a building I mean let's not have the camera move go wrong at the same time.

Alex Ferrari 50:10
Right It's kind of like if you're a stunt man and you're going to start if you're going to jump off a building you don't want to go to the top floor right away. You want to start dropping off little by little and that's what the original masterclass does, it starts showing you the basics. And then once you master those basics, you keep growing and growing like with any craft, and a lot of a lot of filmmakers are so in a rush to impress people. And I was like that when I first started, I was so in rush to, to impress, like, look how cool my shot is. And, and sometimes you really you don't realize that it is a cool shot, but it might not be moving the story forward, or I might not it might not be in the proper context that I need for my story to move forward. So you really need those building blocks. And it takes time. It's not something you learn over a day or two. It takes

Per Holmes 50:57
that's maybe also that's this is just my personal opinion. I've seen a lot of new filmmakers who, who don't really appreciate the size of the skill that some of these things are and for example, there's one thing that I really like about Steven Spielberg and that is that he's still figuring it out.

Alex Ferrari 51:19
Yeah, he and he's the first one to invent and Scorsese to for that matter. And those that demand it's it's strange, because

Per Holmes 51:24
when you talk to people who were, like, halfway up the ranks, they're like, really arrogant and smart ass is like, Yeah, I know everything, man. Right? And, and those are the people who will, you know, who give you a hard time in order to emphasize themselves. But everybody on the top is extremely humble and are doing it for the right reasons. Because they're doing it because they want to figure it out. There's this whole juicy art form that I can spend a life and lifetime figuring out. And that's I mean, that's my impression a person like Steven Spielberg is is on his what I don't know, 4050 his movie, and he's still there on the set. Oh my god, I just discovered this awesome shot that if he steps in there, and then I rack focus, and then I push a little forward, then this happens, right? And I mean,

Alex Ferrari 52:14
it's a master it's the same thing with a master painter, like they

Per Holmes 52:18
Yeah, but that also means that actually if I mean if you're feeling intimidated about people in the film industry, like they're looking down on you, the ones at the top are not looking down at you know, the ones that the top you would relate to straight out.

Alex Ferrari 52:32
And then in a lot of them are trying to pull them up, try to pull people up and try to show them things and

Per Holmes 52:36
try that that too. But it's it's all this naughty attitudes are somewhere in the middle. Again, they're not that much at the top in my, in my experience,

Alex Ferrari 52:45
and I would agree with you in my experience, I've had a lot of I've had a lot of experience with directors in my day and working with a lot of different people over the course of my career. And I would agree with you the people that are at the top that I've met, that are top of their field are in that area of their of their career, they tend to be the most humble, they tend to be the most kind and the most, you know, open about what they do. Where the the young startup who hasn't had life, smack them across the face yet. Which it does, it does.

Per Holmes 53:16
And it's not being at the top that makes them like that. No, it's just simply the the outlook that they always have. And correct. I think that's great. And it's actually very, it's very disarming. And I think that i think that's great. And I think that's that's how everybody ought to think about it.

Alex Ferrari 53:34
So now your other course which I when I saw it come out I was just like, oh my god, I can't believe someone's doing this the VFX for directors because I'm a Vf I'm a VFX supervisor as well I've done and I'm a director, so I've always been a very technical director so I know a lot about the technical aspects of things. But to explain that to other directors sometimes it's such a pain and just the basics of what like what a green screen is you'd be amazed that the shots that come through my door like oh I shot on a green screen I'm like what I had one day I had one shot you know listen, I gotta tell you this once I once I had a shot come in or group of shots or this director had shot on a green screen and I use the term green screen very loosely, they threw up they threw up four different green screen blankets for and paste them together only normal and paste and pasted them no no but in one shot and pasted them together. So it was like grid, it was a grid of greens, different greens to make the one shot and I'm like you're out of your mind then there's a lot of heavy movement like a sword fighting in the front. And I'm like you're out of your mind. Like like Medicare. Yeah, I'm like, Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? I gave it to my VFX artists and you know, and he's like, You got to be kidding me right? I'm like, Look dude, if you got to do this, we're gonna get paid for it. But seriously,

Per Holmes 54:52
you have to then tell you something funny then because there is if you go on YouTube and look for video about East Enders visual effects There's a joke it's it's a it's from a comedy show in the UK where they're showing this soap opera how they're shooting the beer bottles and the people in the cafe separately and then you're standing there and like a green suits and lifting their beer bottles and it's so idiotic. is so stupid because there's no reason to make it that hard, right? I showed that to a bunch of animators at a you know, a major major major visual effects facility that I shouldn't say what is sure sure they didn't get the job not because this is the stuff that they're being asked to do all day long. Oh, yeah. Haha,

Alex Ferrari 55:38
yeah. Yeah, five shots like that on my computer right now

Per Holmes 55:41
kind of stuff they're being they're being asked to, I mean, because you know, the director will let it run wild and that means that half the scene is going to happen completely outside of the green screen on top of a brick wall and then now somebody has to roto that right of course and and when that goes wrong, then they're gonna say oh, let's just build him in 3d and motion capture it. I mean, just completely not job. It's it's and and then I was hanging, I mean, you could really save a lot of money if you just thought a little bit better about this. And then they're like, what? Nobody here is thinking about saving money. This is that's not even a priority. Some of these places that will spend a million dollars on an idea and then say, Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 56:23
what happens all the time? I mean, I have a bunch of the guys on my VFX team are like, you know, they work at the big at the big houses, and I'm big films, big. tentpole movies, and they, and they tell me the stories of how the directors are like, Oh, yeah, you know, we need to do, you know, like the amount of extra work that they do, because they just don't care. They're like, Oh, yeah, just do that. And then, because they know they have the money to do it, they have a team to do it. And they just do it that is

Per Holmes 56:45
actually unhealthy to before for people to be on to big budgets for too long is that Yeah, sloppiness that works his way into it. Yep. I think, I mean, I'm a nerd. In my spare time, I built electronics. When I was a kid from stuff that I found in a dumpster, I would solder the components out and learn how to build electronics out of those. And I think that having limited resources, I think you've become a better artist, I think you become a you become a better Craftsman than if you just land in the middle of it. And obviously at some point, you have to grow to a level where it's not like every single time you have an idea you hit a wall, it would be nice to get when you get or it is nice when you get to a place where you can all now now there's enough money that we can have ideas and do them. But I mean, I see a space a staggering amount of waste on some of these, I think, what was it I actually I read in cinefex on the watch the Johnny Depp, the Pirates of the Caribbean that you had this African tribe with these stick figures, these these, this, this, this tribes and we're I don't know what Sure, I don't think I remember the movie, but that these spiky plant things sticking out of all their heads, and they had these 100 people dancing, just basically a roto nightmare, and nobody put a green screen behind it. Oh, so they were talking about proudly how they rotoscoped that and somehow dodging the elephant in the room that somebody really, really screwed up on this and that cost like $100,000 because somebody didn't understand that you can't roto stuff like that. It's just such a pain. And that happens a lot. Because I mean, it's also these these big productions. They're really under pressure. And

Alex Ferrari 58:28
oh, yeah, I know.

Per Holmes 58:30
You, you use money as a substitute for concentrating.

Alex Ferrari 58:36
Or for or for skill or for craft or for whatever different reasons. Yeah, but

Per Holmes 58:41
anyway, that's that's where visual effects for directors came from. I mean, I was actually even then I was I was working on the directing actors course. But I felt that I wasn't ready. And I had this other thing that I knew how to do. And so so basically, I mean, I I'm a nerd in my spare time, I grew up on Commodore 64. And making border sprites, I mean, sure, sure, sure. Through the 90s. I sat on my very small CPU max doing ray tracing and character animation and that kind of stuff. Wow,

Alex Ferrari 59:13
I completely understand the language, you're just speaking. So I completely get.

Per Holmes 59:20
And so the thing is that when I got a break, directing, I already knew what I was doing at the visual effects side. And that means that for me, motion control and character animation and stuff like that, that was home base for me, but I could see how a lot of people really struggle with that. And they don't really have to because it's not like Oh, you're stupid. You don't know this. It's just there's too much for any single person to know everything anyway. So the assumption in visual effects for directors is that, you know, you're a smart guy, you just don't know this particular thing.

Alex Ferrari 59:56
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Per Holmes 1:00:07
and so I felt that it deserved a proper explanation and what I what I discovered after a while is that I'm actually slicing this in a completely different way than all the because every like a tutorial for example in After Effects will like spend 20 minutes on fine tuning the tracker and then that's what that tutorial is. And this thing your slice is in a completely different way because it asked the question is what what are the key issues so that we can make good decisions on the set? And then obviously in order for you to answer that question, if you're doing match moving, then you need to know enough about photogrammetry that you can either place the tracking markers or see if somebody else did it wrong, right. You need to know enough about keying that you don't bring back these impossible shots were a five minute timesaver on the set becomes they'd like a three week rescue operation and vote because the thing is that at a certain point you can't buy your way out of the problems for example if you have a guy with like big frizzy hair in front of a brick wall and you there is not a roto tool in the world good enough to ever make that not a compromise and that means that you can spend you know you can spend your entire movie budget on that and still not fix it and so and at some point it also means that you know whatever allocation you have for visual effects money you're now blowing it on on on getting up to zero instead of blowing it on making something extraordinary and it's just a terrible investment no so that that was the intention and and so obviously it goes very deep in 3d animation and match moving and especially integration which is putting 2d into 3d or 3d into 2d because that's that's like 90% of all visual effects works with some kind of camera tracking and then putting either people into a virtual set or putting a virtual set around the little part of the set that's real that's that's the vast majority of visual effects and so that's what you need to be able to make decisions about on the set because you need to think about you know, you think you need to think about the shot being trackable at the same time as capable at same time as matching the lighting because that's a place where people go really wrong on green screen if you take the time to either match the lighting or at least make lighting on green screen that has some kind of attitude. What people usually do on green screens like Okay, I'm gonna do flat boring lighting so let's just do even soft ambient light everywhere because that'll fit with everything but in reality it fits with nothing it's Yeah, it's much better if you just say okay I'm deciding now the sun is there and now and then we do some fill in some blue stuff for the hair and then once you're back in 3d you just put the sun in the same place and then you're just surprised at how well it blinds just because you bothered to match the lighting

Alex Ferrari 1:03:03
you know the funny thing is I've I've seen so many the art of visual effects is such a deep and complex art it's incredible it's

Per Holmes 1:03:13
it's insane they're easily the highest educated people on a film set it and there's no question density the people who get the least respect yes and so that's why I think it's it's strange there's kind of a in again, in my personal opinion there's kind of a low grade depression running among visual effects people because they they do get screwed over a lot they pour their heart and soul into making a five second shot work. I mean, they strain their weeks horrible relationships. And then Oh, oh, yeah, no, let's just make the whole thing blue.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:47
Yeah, no, no, no, I look I have conversations with my boys all the time about this specific topic, but it's it's such a deep craft, it's so massively deep that even on a $200 million movie or $100 million movie, sometimes they get it wrong. And I see that bad visual effects shots and those big movies. So when I talked to young directors who are arrogant or cocky, I'm like, Look, dude, you got to understand as much as you can, if you're going to do a visual effects shot and your movie, you better understand what's going on. Because if not, and you have no idea how many times I've gotten shots, that directors had no idea what they were doing and then and then it cost them like you said, cost them you know 1000s of dollars to fix it. Which you if they would have just thrown up the right key or thrown up a green screen or lit the thing right or done or put a tracking marker up or something along those

Per Holmes 1:04:36
lines. Once you get a workflow up. It's actually not that hard to do it right consistently, right? But understand that if you don't know then for example, you'll just have you'll have an intern just put some tracking markers on the background and that's it, not realizing that the only thing that makes match moving work is tracking markers at different depths.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:54
Right. But you know, the funny thing is, and I and a couple of my guys I talked to specifically about this problem is tracking markers. He goes, can you not put 450 tracking markers on the back, we don't need 400

Per Holmes 1:05:05
doesn't matter you actually you can track you can track a scene with like six or seven markers you can get a completely solid track out of that and then track the C stands as well you're golden

Alex Ferrari 1:05:17
right and that's the thing that a lot of a lot of people who just don't know that like tracking markers or lipsticks are good than 45 must be much better. And it's like no no, we got to clean all that stuff out and it's just more

Per Holmes 1:05:27
depends I mean of course one thing that I'm recommending in the course is that if you're going to do if you're going to do a lot of tracking markers do those that are off green meaning that it's the same green pen paper with like a drop of black in it so it just goes a little bit down a little bit up and then you can pepper them in there and you can actually key through them without I mean the the variance between the green screen and the tracking markers is less than the variance in just the lighting on the green screen. Right That means that you're crunching that out anyway and that's actually a nice way of working for from a directing perspective because you can just start shooting in different directions and and you're good and you're ready to rock and roll and now I have you don't have to stop and fix the tracking markers for every shot.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:07
So let me ask you, I want to ask you this question because I've been dying to ask you this question since I've wanted to put you on the show. Can you talk about why you do this because it is an immense amount of work it's a psychotic honestly amount of work that you did for what you do

Per Holmes 1:06:26
I completely agree it is a psychotic amount and there is a difference between having an idea okay it's a little bit big but let's get started to being in the middle of it and just feeling like quitting because and I mean I felt that on the master course not knowing that that would then later turned out to be the small one there and you're like oh my god I made 10 seconds today how and then I mean Jesus you make a spreadsheet and then you say at this rate this will be done in 2024 and it just it just becomes it becomes a matter of just simply I don't know optimizing your brain and what's interesting is that I mean so I've made an observation about why for example TV is often better than films and and one thing that you have in TV is that you have really a pressure to I'm snapping my fingers by the way that you have a pressure to get some stuff out and that means that TV scripts at least I would say often don't get the same endless be getting rewrites that a film script would get and that and for example you can see on The Simpsons you can see that very often somebody had a loose crazy thought and he just wrote it and that's like what's in the script and that's and that was that and the same way you it's you can use pressure to your advantage that you can be under so much pressure that you just can't stop you can't afford to stop and second guess everything and then you actually get into a very interesting song where you just hammering out stuff and you just you can't afford to be self critical because it takes too much damn time

Alex Ferrari 1:08:08
I have the same feeling with what I do with indie film hustle it's such a massive undertaking I mean nothing compared to what you do but you know I run this entire website by myself the podcast the posts, the every the interviews, everything I do all by myself plus I have a post production company on the side plus I plus a director on the side and a half twins so you know a young twin girls as well so on top of all I do it all on my own so I've gotten to that point now where you're right it's like there's so much pressure to continuously I don't have time to stop I have to just keep going and as new things and new opportunities open themselves up to me I have to like Okay, put it in the workflow boom and just and you just gotta keep cranking and just organ I just keep cranking along and you just don't can actually

Per Holmes 1:08:53
do something good for you as an artist and that's also why I'm starting to appreciate the the screenwriting teachers or the screenwriting courses where this is about, I mean writing a full length script in a week because yeah, that does take you to that place where you can't afford to, to second guess everything. And obviously when you're writing at that speed also your your plot and story structure is going to take a hit but then you could also work on that later. But the point is that you actually go to a different place where in and out you are you are more you're more in the zone, you actually get closer to wherever it is those things come from, by in terms of asking and answering your question, why do I do this? Well, I mean, these a lot of these things are things that I would be trying to figure out whether or not there was a course there is actually there's something that's beneficial for me just in making them which is that when you have to explain something to other people, you have to understand it a lot better than then even if you just want to use it as an artist because you get to you get to kind of fun Thinking and that's fine as an artist but if you need to explain it to somebody else, then you have to clean it up a lot more and that's going to confront all kinds of issues that actually force you to go pretty deep down the rabbit hole to figure out that these two techniques are actually two separate techniques and now they go I mean sometimes you take these week long detours in order to answer a simple question but so why I do this is I like to figure stuff out and I would be figuring these I would be working to figure these things out even if I wasn't making these courses, but I would probably not be as thorough there is a satisfaction in in making a model Sorry, I have to cough scheming shisha there there is a satisfaction for me in making a model like you would be you know, like you're a scientist and you're trying to figure out something about how two particles behave and then and coming up with a model that maps to the evidence I think there's something there's something something satisfying and working these things out. While you're in the middle of it, you kind of want some way out because it's really gentlemen especially directing actors is I'm looking around and I'm thinking this might be the biggest training program anybody has ever made of anything well let's bring that inside the Edit is gonna beat me to it but that's fine that's not a competition

Alex Ferrari 1:11:26
exactly no so let's let's talk about that because I'm super excited about your new course directing the directing actors, which is a mystery to most people and what you're doing I've had a chance to kind of skim through a few chapters of it and holy crap you've you've done what you've done with the camera work but now you're beating up act and act this way but in a good way in a good way because you're bidding up that concept of what is it really like you are the most methodical teacher I've seen other than probably Patty and both you guys should get together and have a drink because I'd been I love to be a fly on that wall daddy from inside because you guys are like so methodical about how you break things down and you just are literally just every aspect every component every gear about you know so it's it's wonderful wonderful one thing to do that with camera work and then visual effects and then you know the science of awesome but to do it with such a human craft as directing actors because you are now directing you are interacting with people and emotions and history and attitudes and ego and makes them sound very strange. Yeah, I mean, but that's but that's what but that's what human beings are, we're all that kind of stuff and then you try to pull emotions. So please talk a little bit about what this new Opus of yours is.

Per Holmes 1:12:54
So I do actually have a little bit of a secret weapon which is that to top it all off, I've always been really really interested in in in personal growth and psychology. And I'm, I've done that for so long that I'm not completely incompetent.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:14
Okay, it's a great way of putting it I love that that's a wonderful way I'm going to use that by the way I've done it so long I'm not completely competent by it That's great, great line

Per Holmes 1:13:26
Um, so hang on I just got interrupted maybe we can just make a tiny cut there so so I was this was never something that I was actually bad at I as far back as like as as I go I've always been pretty decent with actors. It was just intuitive and it was my skills were very limited and I also spent all of the 90s producing music and inadvertently I was actually training a lot of the same things but basically I always I mean it's you know you look at you sit and look at how we can work what is that well there really ought to be a directing course and then like oh my god I don't know if I'm the world's leading expert on this of course so I actually that that was a sort of a low confidence self confidence issue that I ended up changing my mind about okay because you know this is kind of touchy I don't want to criticize people and put a name on it but sure no, I I was going to do this course several times with some extremely recognized directors well acting teachers basically directing and acting teachers These are people who probably most people listening have either read their books or heard about okay and and I was completely fine doing that that Okay, let's make a course so we're I'm not the expert. I'm just going to help them structure it. But as I started working Working with them one at a time. Well, I started working with one and it fell apart and then I started working with another eye. I came away thinking, you know what, I think I probably know better than they do. Right? And that's kind of a strange thought to have because still, I mean, I feel like I know better than the experts but I don't feel like I know. Or that there was something that was eluding me there was some pattern to this that I was completely missing I felt and I also felt that they didn't really like me asking questions. I and this is very strange because obviously that's what I would do. I mean, I would sit with them and say, Okay, well so you say that this is a good way to talk to the actor, but I know from my experience that the opposite is also true. And there's this whole tradition over here that that contradicts to what you're saying so how do we reconcile that and they didn't really like that and they're like well, I think you just need to come take my class and somehow intuitively pick up what they had then failed to explain right? And then actually broke off they both broke it off with me after after a while that they didn't like that I was asking too many questions and I was being too creative

Alex Ferrari 1:16:18
and too critical too critical of what they're saying

Per Holmes 1:16:21
well it's not see here's the thing it's not critical it's just that if we're going to explain this to anybody then we're going to have to structure this and the moment I asked any kind of issue that how does this concept fit with this concept and you know, you say this is wrong to do but I have these 100 other people including major directors who do this successfully all day long. So how do we reconcile that and so that that didn't work out and then I said okay, well what do we do now? And then I just started toying with that for for some years in the background I said you know what, let me see what I can figure out and I basically just in you know, I as I said I was never bad at this but I was sort of in the in the middle space but then I started then then I basically got said okay, let's pretend that we don't know anything and let's get everything that anybody knows on this subject here basically anything that anybody has ever realized So for example, if somebody has success result directing somebody then we can't unilaterally say that's a bad technique that'll

Alex Ferrari 1:17:33
stop right there result directing define result directing because that's the first time I've heard that

Per Holmes 1:17:38
result. So here's the thing you know, you have a lot of thoughts going on in your head and the end result of that is some kind of behavior and for example if you're sad then there's all kinds of things going on and then the end result of that is some kind of frowny face and looking sad and result directing is basically skipping the whole inner process and just playing the end result like a mask and that means you know try to make it more sad let's make it more angry let's let's do all these things and so the

Alex Ferrari 1:18:07
way most directors talk

Per Holmes 1:18:11
so that's still bad well it's not really bad to talk like that that's kind of the misunderstanding is that it's not result directing that's bad it's result acting that's bad and basically if you get the actors to a place where they feel like they have to act a result then you've done something bad, but up to a certain point result directing is the most useful thing you can do with an actor because if basically, you have to you have to look at as an actor as somebody who could potentially play every character and that means that we have to make some decisions about what this character is and what it's what this character isn't right and that narrows down the choices so that sorry, I just completely trailed there What was I gonna say? Oh my goodness No,

Alex Ferrari 1:19:01
we were talking about results results

Per Holmes 1:19:03
right so um, no, I completely trailed so well look for your earliest editing point and then we'll say it's okay now I don't even know what the point I was gonna make but anyway we can go back to resolve directing which which is that

Alex Ferrari 1:19:21
it's the thing is that you actually are with result directing you're giving the actor a point and end point I don't know No, I

Per Holmes 1:19:29
know I know what my point is sorry too. Sorry to push you back. The thing is that with result directing you tell the actor what planet we're on. And that means that the first directing that you're doing and especially in rehearsal result directing is almost harmless. Is that if you say and make it more sad or make it more angry? That's or well let me put it another way. Really, that's not really ever a good way of directing because there's nothing an actor really can do with this and say okay, he wants an angry let's see, what could I play that could make this angry. That's the level that we that that we that we have to work from is what you would play in order to, in order to get the end result. As soon as you try to play an end result, then everybody becomes artificial and weird. But that problem is not really the result directing because what you're saying what the results are. And if we phrase that in just a slightly different way, and you say to an actor, I want to find a way to make this more angry, what could we play to make it more angry, now you're doing something else, now you're setting a goal. And the result is is a goal. But we're never suggesting or believing that you can play a result because nobody can play a result. And do it? Well, you take the biggest Oscar winning actor, and make them play a result and they're going to be stinking it up. Because it's just it's it's a complete misunderstanding of what acting is, to a large part acting is recreating a thought process and letting it roll and just seeing what happens. And that means that you can't really ever get the result that you have in your mind, you can you can hold a result that I know privately that I'm trying to get this scene more angry, I might even say to the actor that this is my secret evil plan, I'm trying to get this more angry. But in reality, we're trying to come up with what I call active ideas or active thoughts, which and that then that then we should take a little sidetrack down to what I think acting is so well, to to, to to just jump back a little bit. What I did was I got everything on the table. And to try to figure out is there some pattern here that that would reduce this that would that would make this simpler and easier to understand. And then suddenly, I realized that oh, my God, oh, yes, there is a pattern. How did everybody missed this? It's right there. Right, right. And so basically, that's, that's what turns into the layers of behavior, which is the, which is the first eight, which is the first eight volumes of the course. And so to just explain very quickly what that's about. So basically, the primary thing that you do as the director is that you help come up with what I like to call active ideas, because basically, what we're trying to do is we're trying to trigger some, some kind of behavior without actually micromanaging and strangling the behavior because it's like the moment you touch it too hard, it breaks, but you can you can touch it, you can you can push a little bit, and then and then it works. And basically. So here's here's an idea for what a behavior is, for example, if you're telling an actor on that line, lower your head a little bit, and then blink your eye. That's not behavior that's like an action. You're a puppet. It's a puppet. Yes, well, it's it to micromanage. And that is basically you're you're trying to now play a result without even caring what would naturally lead to that result. But basically, let me give you an example of a behavior for example, and typical active idea would be playing a moment before that I just got, you know, I just got a traffic ticket on the way over here. And I actually I was going so fast that I lost my license, and now everything sucks, go, what happens to you now your whole energy is down your, the delivery of your lines changes, let's come up with another active idea, let's try to Let's Play that you are expecting that's something that goes into the future that you are expecting that she's going to say some really rough comment any minute now she's gonna she's gonna completely shame you. Any minute now. Now you're playing the whole scene with kind of an apprehension. And you're basically recreating the thought process that somebody would have in that you would stand in that situation, you would be expecting to get that from the other guy. And now your whole behavior is different, you know, aligns around that idea. And that's basically this is what actors do all day long. And

that's what I felt that I had to map out the whole thing because there are so many different there, there are a lot of different active ideas. You know, what's another one we can play for example, what I categorize in the present, let's play in as if so let me play as if you are, let's let's play as if you are a police officer, and you don't believe that I'm telling the truth. That now my entire behavior. So look what happened now, I have a completely different behavior, even whether or not I have lines, right? I have the same behavior before the, you know, after the camera starts rolling, but you know, even between my word is when I'm listening, and that's an active idea. It's It's a simple thought that mass produces behavior. And that's the kind of stuff that you can play as an actor. It and that's what you have to do as a director. is come up with a lot of these.

Alex Ferrari 1:25:03
I'll tell you. I'll tell you one story I heard once that and this is not very ethical. But this this director did it and got the performance out of the the actor he wanted he, it was a movie called a tu mama tambien. It was a very famous foreign film, Mexican movie. And there was a scene where he needed a little boy to cry. So he just basically walked up to his to the little boy quietly and said, Your mom and dad just died in a car accident, Roll camera. And that kid was bawling, because he was a young kid, obviously not ethical.

Per Holmes 1:25:35
So too much, because there's too much not meant to get that it's not really meant to get that real, or I think it's not meant to get that real with kids. I would rather Of course, yeah, absolutely. Right. I was supposed to have that kind of a secret from the actors. It's this is supposed to be a game, you know. And once we know that this is a game, then we can go much further out that plank. Yeah. And I'm not crazy about him doing that with otherwise, that's never, that's straight up. That straight up directing. But that really also depends on that person actually having the imagination, right. That means anything. And so that's really, that's the other half.

Alex Ferrari 1:26:13
Again, again, like with camerawork, directing, and directing actors is such a deep and dark craft that goes,

Per Holmes 1:26:21
I don't know, it doesn't have to be I mean, I. I don't feel like that anymore. I feel that I get it.

Alex Ferrari 1:26:29
Well, no, but like, but like you were saying, but like you were saying, with Stevens, a bowl, we always get a bowl, there's no question about it. But like you were saying, with Steven Spielberg, like, there's always something new to learn, there's always something else that you constantly growing and growing as an artist. So it's not something that you learn quickly. It's like being a fine painter, it takes years, it's

Per Holmes 1:26:49
like playing the piano and right so it's a wrong expectation to have of yourself that you're supposed to be able to walk onto a set, and then bam, I can block I can work with actors, because obviously, all you can really do is fake it the best you can because it's, it takes some training and

Alex Ferrari 1:27:07
an experience experience. So So I wanted to talk one last thing, which is really important. And we talked a little bit about this off air is piracy. And I wanted to kind of talk about the I wanted you to kind of shed a light on piracy. Because look, we all know about, you know, pirates and movies being downloaded and courses being stolen and things like that I wanted, I wanted, I wanted a voice. For my, for my listeners to understand what it does to someone like you who's puts, arguably a decade now of work 1000s of 1000s of hours into these courses, and then someone takes it and just puts it out there for free. I want you to kind of talk about what that is like for you.

Per Holmes 1:27:47
Well, that is incredibly depressing. And I have to tell you, I've started changing my mind a little bit, and I have it here in my Evernote, I have a quote that I heard from somebody that actually helped me change my mind a little bit about this. But basically the knowledge of piracy is that that has really knocked me out a couple of times where I just want to go to bed again. And I'm like, I don't even have a chance What am I gonna do? Right? But So the reality is that what I've discovered is that there are enough people who think that it's wrong, or who don't want to bother that somebody who makes, you know, training programs, and we're not a big company, we're like, tiny, and, and we're not rich, we can we can just about afford doing it, and that's good enough. But it's, I mean, I think it's it really it really rubs me the wrong way when the when the discussion about piracy is and all these big evil corporations. I mean, that might be true for Star Wars. But every time you do that, for a web template or a tutorial, you're probably kicking somebody who's already down. And, and that really sucks. I mean, people think that like, yeah, it's Robin Hood, man. And, you know, you know, there's no rich, but there's a rich statement of freedom and autonomy, but probably you're taking it from somebody who's trying to eat buy. And so I just think it's important to get that straight. But, but that said, I mean, I that that also means that I'm incredibly thankful every time somebody buys something from me, I take it totally personally, right? I really do. Because, you know, and even if, if there's like a customer who's a little bit of a jerk, I mean, I really let it slide because I'm so happy that somebody is buying it, because without that I would just have to stop. There's nobody who can afford to stop everything and do this for this much time. Right? But I wanted to I want to read you a quote that I heard somebody somewhere because this was really getting me down so much that I have to tell you the truth when the hot moves was done. I had the master sitting on my desk and I couldn't bring myself to release it. It sat on my desk for a week without me Putting it out because I know that as soon as I put it out, it's going to be torn to pieces by people who feel that, you know, it's not just that they can copy it, but that they have a right to write and and that just bummed me out so much that I couldn't bring myself to release it and it just sat there. And then I just finally asked to think well, what else am I going to do never release it and then, but let me read your quote here that I dug up in my Evernote that says that you are too worried that people will steal what you have. Let this be your wake up call, especially if you're an artist, or a writer, or an intrapreneur, or a creative type, that there's always more to be gained from sharing knowledge than from hoarding it. Don't worry about people stealing your work, worry about the moment they stop, be honest, helpful, and undeniably good at what you do. No clever marketing scheme, or social media buzzword or competitor can substitute can be a substitute for that ever. Whenever people want what you have, regardless of the circumstances, you're doing it right.

Alex Ferrari 1:31:01
That's awesome. That's an awesome, awesome,

Per Holmes 1:31:03
and I felt like you know what? I this gives me some peace. And then let's leave it alone. I hope I hope it's possible to be good enough that somebody will say, you know what, let me buy it.

Alex Ferrari 1:31:16
That's I'm so glad you said that. And I wanted I wanted people to understand what what I wanted to put a face to the to the piracy sometimes because sometimes it is it is bigger, like oh yeah, I just download the latest Star Wars movie. I'm like, oh, they've already made a billion dollars. They don't need my $2 and my $10. But that might be that in the

Per Holmes 1:31:35
next movie over is an indie movie that's getting killed because of that it's an indie movie that doesn't have a chance. And everybody who's behind that movie now doesn't have a chance, right? I mean, I okay. Yes, it has a marketing effort. It has a marketing effect, as well. But I don't know that the that the marketing effect of piracy compensates for the loss, the fact that you've just you've just removed the entire demand.

Alex Ferrari 1:32:02
Okay, so I'm gonna I'm gonna hit you with the last three questions, which are I asked of all of my guests. Oh, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in life or in the business?

Per Holmes 1:32:14
Oh, my God, you should have prepared me a little bit. Sorry. I think Come on. Sorry. You're gonna have to cut there again? Sure. No worries. All right. No, it's just that it's evening here and being asked by my family, and some things I I don't know, I think a lesson that has taken me a long time to learn is to only do big things with people who already have experience being successful, because I've had some of the biggest financial accidents in my life by making some things that were actually successful with people who then tore it apart. Because somehow subconsciously, they believe this is the first and the last success I'm ever going to have. So I'm going to just have to give me give me give me as much as I can. Instead of saying that, if we could make it this big with this effort, imagine what we can do if we keep going. And

Alex Ferrari 1:33:21
that's profound, actually, that's actually an iOS Iser,

Per Holmes 1:33:24
I got really punched in the God from not knowing it's actually in the music industry. I was trusting who I thought was my my, the one person that I could trust and I got completely steamrolled over I lost four years of income. I, I was hammered back to the stone age with $40 in my cupboard, so I could always buy some milk and cornflakes and a half tank of gas. Wow, I got hammered back I lost like, major six digit money. And and that was that was because in retrospect, they weren't ready. And I think for me, it's important to be successful with people who don't panic when success happens and say, okay, that's great. Now let's see how we keep going in that direction. And whoever mord more measured, approach to success and failure.

Alex Ferrari 1:34:17
That is something that I think a lot of a lot of filmmakers should take to heart because I've met a lot of I've heard so many stories about independent filmmakers who they make a big hit and then all of a sudden people like oh, you will you got into Sundance and now like, and then that's exactly they've never experienced it. They've never gone through it. And because of that, and everybody

Per Holmes 1:34:36
on their team, they might have a manager who suddenly inside panicking Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, it's accessible. I don't know what to do. Let's, let's take something, right. This is this is tearing it down instead of saying, okay, our tree is sprouting. Let's see what happens if we keep watering it. Right, exactly. And let's just pull it just then they just tear it down. And obviously those people who did that to me I mean, I have two big legal I'd spend the last money I had suing them until I finally had to give up but by then thankfully I'd done enough damage. Right right. Right that actually I Well, I guess I don't know. I was happy knowing that they that they were down

Alex Ferrari 1:35:16
revenge is is a dismissive cold sir. So um alright so what are your top three favorite films of all time and it could be just the three films that come up to you at this moment

Per Holmes 1:35:26
Okay, I can I can name two I like Back to the Future and I like the Shawshank Redemption and then I don't know what else

Alex Ferrari 1:35:35
anything else

Per Holmes 1:35:36
I kinda like Titanic I know that's the

Alex Ferrari 1:35:41
I love Titanic I enjoy it a lot. And then what's one of the most under most underrated films you've ever seen? Oh, yeah, you really should prepare I should I should have said to these before I finally I mean, it's like

Per Holmes 1:35:55
you once in a while thing if somebody ever asked me what would I answer and then I have a great answer and now forgotten.

Alex Ferrari 1:36:03
It's okay.

Per Holmes 1:36:04
I really don't know I'm probably gonna have to bail. I don't know. No worries.

Alex Ferrari 1:36:07
It's all good. So where can where can people find you?

Per Holmes 1:36:12
So yeah, search Hollywood camerawork on Google or Hollywood camerawork calm, and that's worked not works.

Alex Ferrari 1:36:18
Gotcha. Gotcha. And parrot Thank you man so much for being on the show. And it's been a great episode. I mean, you've given us so much information about the craft and what you do and that's why I want to join the show man so I really appreciate you taking the time.

Per Holmes 1:36:36
That is awesome. I really appreciate it.

Alex Ferrari 1:36:39
I did I lie? Did I mean seriously the amount of stuff that he dropped all the knowledge bombs he dropped in this episode. were amazing guys. I mean, and I at the beginning of the show, I talked so much about the course and how what what a fan I am of it, so I won't do it again. But if you want to go and get to the course go to Hollywood camera work calm. And the as promised the 30% off coupon code is the word hustle. h u s t e l just type in the word hustle in the coupon code and you will get 30% off not only to directing actors course but anything the Hollywood camera work has to offer. It is it man I'm telling you it is amazing. So you definitely got to check it out. guys. I hope you guys enjoyed my talk with her. And guys, if you have any experiences or tips or advice about working with actors, head over to our Facebook group and give us some drop some knowledge bombs on us, man, go to indie film hustle.com forward slash Facebook. And you can sign up for our ever growing Facebook group, which is almost 6000 members at right now and growing daily. So definitely go and check that out. And of course, if you really want to take everything up a notch as far as your filmmaking knowledge is concerned, definitely check out the indie film syndicate guys, it is something that I'm very proud of, and it's growing all the time. It is a monthly membership, that you have access to all the courses that I do. And it really is full of a tremendous amount of knowledge that they do not teach you in film school. So it's pretty pretty crazy just to head over to indie film syndicate.com and as I said before the show notes for this episode are indie film, hustle, calm, forward slash 106. So as always, keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.




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