Why it’s bad to ask your actors for an outcome.
Directing is a nuanced profession. You wear a lot of hats (sometimes literally if you’re the 30 Rock parody of the newly-30 baseball-capped bro heading a film set) and must dictate as well as you detail. This can be with lighting, color, set design, casting choices, and yes, the acting in individual takes.
That’s where the different philosophies of direction come in. How do you get your actors to align with your vision? How, for instance, do you get an actress to stop playing a scene so maudlin when you want a bit of rueful comedy? Hoping to answer this, Travis Lee Ratcliff’s video essay strings together films about filmmaking into a brief lesson on directing actors.
He highlights result direction, a specific way some ask their actors to achieve a particular effect, among other strategies in a guide as simple as it is quick. There’s a bit more psychology at play when dealing with actors than you might immediately think, and Ratcliff finds that connection effectively with his juxtaposition of academia and ego.