What I need to learn about directing actors

The 1000 Dollar Film guy posted about directing actors, and the common failings of indie film directors, with some ideas I will try to take to heart.

Second, my stuff is usually very precisely scripted, with very short shots, which doesn’t lend itself well to improv. I’ve been working with some fellows that do more improv, so I’ve been hoping to pick up on how that works.

In my opinion, Judd Apatow is the king of balancing improv with a scripted story. Here’s a quote from Seth Rogen describing it:

Generally, you’ll shoot the scene as scripted a few times until Judd’s comfortable that we have that version of it. Then he’ll just kind of let you go off. He’ll be like, “What else would you say? What else could you do here? What are other things you could be talking about?” It’s really just as simple as that. It could be as small as replacing one joke with another. Or sometimes we just throw out the lines altogether and start new. It really ranges from scene to scene. But yeah, he’ll let you go for it.

This is a method I’ve used a few times, but I’ve always ended up preferring the scripted version, so I need learn how to get more out of it. Perhaps the $1000 idea will be the right tool for me to do that.

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