This is a shared module between the BA: Theatre: Writing, Directing and Performance and the BSc: Film and Television Production. It focuses on the craft of directing and analyses the particular demands of working with actors on stage versus on location.
At the heart of the module is the dialogue between the three media between which actors and directors regularly traverse. In small groups comprised of students from both degree programmes, practical workshops will explore directorial techniques and processes. Positioned in the final year of study, the module will require students to adapt their medium-specific training to disciplines that are unknown or less familiar to them. By doing so, students will not only gain a deeper awareness of their own assumptions about the process of directing, but enrich their practice through a more developed understanding of the synchronicities and distinctions between directing processes across the three art forms.
The focus of the teaching, practice and assessment is on how directors work with actors, specifically in how they might develop and employ different strategies in light of the different technical context in which they are working. For example, how does a director manage the tension between the requirement clearly to compose a visual story and enabling his/her collaborators to work freely and creatively? What are the specific challenges involved in blocking for stage compared to blocking on location? How does s/he avoid result-driven direction to actors? How does non-linear filming affect work on the actor’s psychological rendering of character? How do camera and editing affect the recorded performance? How might a television director most profitably use limited rehearsal/preparation time? How can the speed and spontaneity of the working environment in film and television inform theatre direction, which is necessarily more time-consuming and repetitive?
Texts will be chosen in order to best demonstrate some of these challenges. For example, the group might focus on a comparison of a scene from David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross, analysing and practically experimenting with both the play-text and the screenplay, as well as analysing the 1992 film version.
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To extend the range of directorial practices and contexts by exploring techniques beyond the medium/media on which each degree focuses.
To develop an understanding of how live performance differs from recorded performance and the impact of camera and editing on audience perception of character.
To develop the capacity to move, in the most basic terms, between stage and screen direction, and to be able to identify, articulate, negotiate and critique the challenges raised by this process.
To develop a practical understanding of the ways in which narrative functions in theatre, film and television and, crucially, how as the director can work with actors to make a scene clear and effective.
To develop a deeper understanding of the student s chosen medium/media by widening knowledge and imparting an awareness of the other contexts between which industry professionals constantly move.
to articulate the skills needed to effectively work with actors on a short scene in different practical and technical contexts;
to be able to demonstrate how the different media of theatre, film and television affect directorial practice;
to demonstrate your ability to undertake practical experimentation as well as detailed reflection which successfully negotiates with the processes of directing across the three media.
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Students will receive written feedback on all assessments and reassessments.
A reading list will be provided in due course, and will include directorial guides, critical assessments of practice across the three media as well as sample primary texts for study and practical experimentation. Indicative texts include:
Proferes, N, Film Directing Fundamentals: See Your Film Before Shooting, 3rd Edition, Focal Press, 2008
Weston, J, Directing Actors: Creating Memorable Performances for Film and Television, Michael Wiese Productions, 1999
Weston, J, The Film Director's Intuition: Script Analysis and Rehearsal Techniques, Michael Wiese Productions, 2003
Schreibman, M, The Film Director Prepares: A Practical Guide to Directing for Film & TV, Lone Eagle, 2006
Katz, S, Film Directing Shot By Shot, Michael Wiese Productions, 1991