Director’s Foundation Certificate
How to Direct Actors for Stage & Screen
The director is ultimately responsible for every image and sound that appears on the screen and on-stage but more importantly the director is responsible for getting the best performance possible from each actor and making this a collective, cohesive style.
This five-week film directing course provides a detailed overview of the skills, knowledge and professional requirements for those wishing to direct for the stage and screen. The information covered in the Director’s Foundation Certificate includes how a director works with and interprets the screenplay, working with actors in rehearsal and onset, and the technical aspects of directing. It will also cover what a director does to prepare a play for the stage, as well as all the movie prep, including on the day of the shoot, and then working with the editor.
What will it cover?
Week 1: The Director and the Script
The script is the blueprint for a movie; it is the director’s job is to interpret the screenplay and then bring it to life. Students will first discover how a good director translates the written word into visual elements for the stage and screen.
- Analyzing the script
- Discovering the true story
- Identifying key moments
- Finding organic acting moments
Week 2: The Grammar of Directing
Directors use a wide variety of shots and lenses to compose their scenes and create a vocabulary of cinematic techniques. It is especially important for directors to learn the do’s and do not’s of the grammar of directing.
- Camera placement and technique
- Framing and composition
- Storyboarding and or a shot list as directing tools
Week 3: The Director and Rehearsal
One of a director’s biggest challenges is to effectively communicate his/her vision with the cast. Therefore, it is crucial for directors to learn how to run a rehearsal in addition to creating mood and tension onscreen by inspiring the actors. In addition, this class involves working with and directing real actors.
- Working with actors
- Creating characters for the screen
- Tools for communicating with actors
- Rehearsal process and staging
Week 4: Directing the Shoot & Performance
It is the film director’s job to oversee the production on set and on location. It is the stage director’s job to plan the most dynamic presentation on stage as possible. This class covers a typical production day on set, checklists of exactly what to cover, the preparation and how to stay focused and moving forward. Participants are welcome to bring in their own scripts for planning as well as a camera to practice a variety of shots.
- Shot lists and scheduling
- Blocking for stage and camera
- The difference between stage and film acting
- The director’s focus on set
- Preparing to shoot
- Good communication while under pressure
- Making decisions and staying flexible
- Shooting for the edit
Week 5: Directing the Edit
In the edit, the audiovisual material collected during the shoot is organized to tell the story in the best way. It is especially important for the director to thoroughly understand the editing process.
- Time scale and project management explained
- Viewing dailies and making decisions
- Working with sound and music
- Storytelling and editor collaboration
What will you achieve?
On completion of the Director’s Foundation Certificate, students will have acquired the skills, knowledge and confidence to then undertake their first directing projects.
How will you be taught?
A mix of lecture style, demonstration and also practical instruction with tutor guidance. Weeks three and four will also involve working with actors. In addition, there will also be some further reading and additional activities suggested.
Who should attend?
The Director’s Foundation Certificate is suitable for beginner directors, as well as those interested in finding out more about directing for the stage and screen. It is also suitable for those seeking to refresh their existing knowledge.
5 Consecutive Wednesdays: October 17, 24 & 31 and November 07 & 14, 2018 from 7 to 9 PM.
About the tutor
Rick Mowat is an award winning writer/director who recently won Best Director for his first feature film, A Cat’s Tale. A graduate of The Juilliard School, his award-winning films have played at the Woodstock Film Festival, PBS’ Reel Thirteen, The Chelsea International Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives in NYC, Woods Hole Film Festival and the Lake Placid Film Festival. Rick was co-writer and performer of the theatrical comedy, Smash The Treadmill that won #1 Critics Pick by TimeOut Magazine. Rick has also directed numerous stage productions including La Gota Fria (A Comedy about Cancer) at the Thalia Theater and productions at the Soho Playhouse, the Dramatic Question Theater Company, The Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, Tarte Theater, The Depot Theater, and the 124 Bank Street Theater. He has also acted in Woody Allen’s – Celebrity, Sweet and Lowdown and The Town I Love; and worked as an improvisational sketch actor in clubs around the country. Rick has worked with Sir Kenneth Branagh, Winona Ryder, Liev Schreiber, Uma Thurman and Celia Weston. His second feature film, written and directed by Mowat, entitled Last Pint, is to be shot in Ireland in 2019. Rick has also written articles for Filmmaker and Script magazines.