Directing Actors

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Code Completion Credits Range Language Instruction Semester
311DIAC ZK 2 20S English

Subject guarantor

Name of lecturer(s)


Learning outcomes of the course unit

Course Description: Students come to understand the film actor's process, in order to better work with them as directors. They learn to avoid result-oriented directing and replace it with actions, imagery, improvisations, as-if situations, and directing character rather than the actor.

Mode of study

The course is interactive, using exercises to illustrate principles underlying the acting process. Students are expected to keep up with readings/homework and come to each class prepared. Readings are related to practical aspects of acting and directing. Learning will take place through scenework, improvised situations, practice with blocking and directing for character. Students will need to act for each other, which should help them to work with both actors and non-actors in the future. Attention is also paid on the casting process and students are expected to attend the open casting session held early in the semester. To ensure that reading is done, quizzes will be held throughout the semester.

Prerequisites and co-requisites


Course contents

Course Outline:

Session One

Expectations for course are reviewed

Result-oriented Directing introduced: Director's vs Actor's POV

Assignment for class two: „Result-oriented Directing“ chapter from Weston's Directing Actors

Session Two

Quiz #1 on Weston

Basic Acting Principles : Goal, Obstacle, Tactics, Expectations

Situation vs Character, Choices

Assignment for class three: Read „Scene Needs vs Life Needs“ chapter in DeKoven's Changing Direction + Read „Choices“ chapter from Cohen's Acting One.

Session Three

Scene needs vs Life Needs (exercised)

Good Acting Choices, Importance of Listening (exercised)

Assignment: Break down Sally/Arthur scene into playable beats (submit on Moodle)

Read „Tactics“ chapter from Cohen's Acting One

Session Four

Quiz #2 on Choices, Life Needs & Scene Needs, Tactics

Breaking a scene into acting beats

Directing a Scene from actions (example given)

Assignment: Break down assigned scene into playable beats (submit on Moodle)

Session Five

More work with Acting Beats

Scene Structure, directing to shape a scene

Assignment: Tempo Scene from Tony Barr's Acting for the Camera

+ Scene from Glass Menagerie and chapter on „Scene Structure“ from Cohen's Acting One

Session Six

Working on tempo, pacing using assigned scenes

Assignment: Read and break-down scene from Rhoda TV sitcom

Session Seven

Blocking a scene + Hitting marks

Exercise in blocking - students should bring cameras to class (could use phones)

Assignment: Read „The Knock on the Door“ in Meisner's On Acting

Session Eight

Meisner Technique - Listening and the Repetition Exercise, Knock on the Door

Understanding Meisner and being able to use the repetition exercise before and during scenework.

Session Nine

Quiz #3 on „Scene Structure“ chapter and „The Knock on the Door“

Improvisation Technique - the many types of improvisation for backstory, exploration of space, exploration of character; application to short scenes

Rehearsal Plans

Assignment: Prepare rehearsal plan for current project based on class exercises

Session Ten

Improvisation Technique - the many types of improvisation for backstory, exploration of space, exploration of character; application to short scenes

Session Eleven

Playing Character, Using Relacom techniques for characterization

Assignment: Read excerpts from Mark Travis' Directing Feature Films

Session Twelve

Quiz #4 on Travis

Directing from Within the Character's Head (The Travis Technique)

Session Thirteen

Review of techniques

Assignment: Watch The Rainmaker film by Francis Ford Coppola

Exam Week: Review of principles and practices covered; screening of Eleanor Coppola's documentary on directing The Rainmaker

Recommended or required reading


Cohen, R. Acting One (1984)

DeKoven, L. Changing Direction. (2006) NY: Focal Press.

Meisner, S. Sanford Meisner on Acting (1987) NY: Random House.

Travis, M. Directing Feature Films (2002) LA: Michael Weise Productions

Weston, J. Directing Actors (2014) LA: Michael Weise Productions

Assessment methods and criteria


Four quizzes on readings (each 10% of final grade x4 =40%)

Two Scene breakdowns into classic acting beats (each 10% of the grade x2 = 20%)

One detailed written rehearsal plan (20% of final grade)

Attendance and Participation in exercises (20% of the grade)

Schedule for winter semester 2021/2022:

The schedule has not yet been prepared

Schedule for summer semester 2021/2022:

room 107
Room No. 1

(Lažanský palác)
Date Day Time Tutor Location Notes No. of paralel
Mon 13:10–14:45 Mary Carmel ANGIOLILLO Room No. 1
Lažanský palác

The subject is a part of the following study plans