A Director’s Laundry List (when working with actors)

1. There is no such thing as a mistake.

Use each “mistake” that an actor makes as a positive note to yourself that the ideas expressed are not sitting comfortably with the character they have created. Change the idea, the line – or the actor.

2. Your actors never lack energy

There may, however, be a block that prevents them tapping into their natural well of effort; so don’t try to energise them – concentrate on just removing the block.

3. Take the blame

When something is wrong, assume it is your fault, and be thankful (because you are now the right person in the right place to do something about it.)

4. Ignore the silliness

If you think of something that is too silly for your actors to do – get them to do it; your intellect is always over-eager to prevent your work from being interesting.

5. Look for the lighter side

If when working on a script with the actors everything seems rather serious, then read the script again looking for the jokes.

6. Don’t succumb to irritations

Do not give aggravations the benefit of your concern in rehearsals or on a shoot. If you allow them to

Hands On Directing with Patrick Tucker

affect your work, then all that wonderful preparation you have done will have been wasted.

7. It’s all about the bits

A good actor is one who presents many more bits of information to an audience (about situation, mood, characterisation) than a not-so-good actor. The methods they use to do this vary enormously (between gesture, voice, movement, tempo etc.), but your job is to make sure you get the maximum number of “bits” into the camera from your actors, however they they achieve this.

8. Consider your audience

At every point, ask yourself what opportunities a moment gives you to do more for your audience.

9. Ideas are common

It is courage that is rare (this applies equally to actors and directors).

10. What is reality?

Do not restrict yourself or your actors to reality; that is what the audience does every day – and when they watch your work this will be their night out.



Raindance aims to promote and support independent filmmaking and filmmakers.

From new and emerging to industry pros, Raindance connects, trains, supports, and promotes visual storytellers through every step of their career.

The Raindance Film Festival runs each Autumn in London's Leicester Square.

Raindance has been delivering film training since 1992. A wide range of Open Classes to a 2 year HND Level 5 BTEC in Moving Images to a Postgraduate Film Degree are delivered to students on five continents, both in person and online.