Warning SignsA director has to wear many hats, among them is looking for warning signs from their actors and actresses that something about their line, their interpretation of a scene or maybe even their role in the whole film isn’t completely right. It’s the directors job to look for these warning signs during rehearsals, both subtle and not so subtle to make sure to make sure that their actors’ work doesn’t go off track.

Warning Signs

Judgement – One of the biggest warning signs a director should look out for in the actors is judgement of the character they’re portraying. A good director will turn that judgement into a positive energy that propels the actors work forward

Chemistry – A director needs to pay attention to the chemistry between the actors. If there are problems arising, the director needs to talk his actors as a group or individually to find out the cause of the issues and resolve them.

Playing for a result – Listen to the actors voice, their tone. Are they playing a role in the scene, waiting for a specific result or feeling and their acting is showing for the worse? Let them know that you are paying attention to their performance and will keep going until it’s good.

Lack of personal feeling – Are the actors resting, not bringing in their personal thoughts and feelings into their work? Confrontation won’t work here, the director needs to bring the actor to a place where they’re in line with their character. Try to jog their memory, putting them into a similar scene that you or they have encountered in real life.

Line problems – If there are line problems, it could be more than just an actor forgetting his or her lines. It could be that there is something wrong with the line. A common example I like to use is of an actress that was playing the role of a scientist. She couldn’t remember the very technical, detailed scientific lines of one scene. The director told her to focus on making sure she got the lines one hundred percent right. He should’ve focused on figuring out why she couldn’t remember her lines, clues to as why the scene didn’t work.

Questions – Often an actor’s question says one thing, but later turns out to mean something else. An actor’s job description doesn’t include them being expected to articulate their problems or concerns. These concerns may come out in fragments with deeper meanings, that the director has to interpret.

Energy levels – Rehearsals should be fun, if they’re not, something is wrong.

Actor’s resistance – An actor’s resistance isn’t necessarily the sign of them being difficult, for the director it’s a lesson about human behavior. If there are negative surprises, go through the fire with the actor during rehearsal, learn from them and together the final take will benefit from it.

Overall, working with creative people can be difficult. Actors can and will be temperamental, they will test you, they want to see if you can handle them and have what it takes to turn the script into a movie or television show.