Karah Serine

Blog about Arts & Entertainment, Culture, and Health & Wellness with perhaps a few odd bits along the way…but hey that’s my world.

How to Direct Actors…Interviews with Christopher Nolan And Raafi Rivero.

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Director Christopher Nolan (far left) and acto...

Director Christopher Nolan (far left) and actor Heath Ledger (in make-up) filming a scene in The Dark Knight with an IMAX camera (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I start to work more I realize how important the role of the Director is. They do not have any easy job and I can see where they are behind all aspects of a movie, show, TV you name it. So, I started wondering what is ideal in a Director/Actor relationship. What is Key for the actor to receive from the director. In return, the actor is there to be of service to bring the directors vision alive.  I am not only going to post some interviews of what makes a good director for actors but also a reminder of what the actor needs to bring to the table. They must make choices and do their own homework. When they understand the directors vision and backstory they will make better choices.

I admire the great directing/acting relationship like the most recent Martin and Leonard even more now…. true teamwork.

Here is a little of my research…. I found it helpful and interesting.


The Director’s Chair – How to Work with Good (and Bad) Actors

This is the fourth in a series of guest posts by filmmaker Raafi Rivero 

“He’s so good, I didn’t even have to direct him.”

I’ve heard directors say this one too and it is equally wrong. In this reverse case: relying too heavily on a good actor can lead to a listing, meandering performance.

For example, Jeff Bridges won an Oscar last year, but you didn’t see the same level of acting in Tron: Legacy. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that the uneven performances by Mr. Bridges and others is directly related to the first-time director who helmed the film. Tron was visually brilliant, no doubt about it, but the difference between Bridges’ Flynn and say, Morpheus in the Matrix? Night and day.

No matter how talented, rely on the communication and vision of the director to inform what they bring to a film. This is not to lessen the importance of what a great actor can bring to the table. A great performance can lift an average film to extroardinary heights. Conversely, bad directing can hamper even the best of actors into lackluster performances.

Bring your “A” game, and the best actors will respond with theirs.

Read the full interview here:


How to Direct Actors Christopher Nolan

Director Christopher Nolan participating in th...

Director Christopher Nolan participating in the Inception panel at WonderCon 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2) Get your actors and yourself to know the movie!

As a director, you need to understand the script more than anyone. All the subtext that’s not written, you need to figure it out — why? So you can convey them to the actors in a clear and concise manner. Ever read a Coen Brother’s screenplay? Yeah, a lot of subtext. So you need to build rapport with your actors by that process. There are also other things you need to do as a good director for your actors.

– You to need convey to your actors the goal of their characters.

– You need to convey the character’s view on life itself.

– You must detail any unique traits their characters have or team up and develop those together.

– Detail how would their characters behave in certain mundane situations.

– Convey the theme and tone of the whole film. Is it dark? Is it light-hearted?

  • And MOST IMPORTANTLY… you need to provide or develop together the BACKSTORY of your character before the actual film. Their upbringings. Remember, you’re creating a person on film. They must seem genuine.

6) Encouragement.

Everyone feels good when someone says good things about them. It’s nice to be appreciated, yeah? Well, the actors are putting themselves in a vulnerable state for you — the director. Don’t just NOT COMMENT on their performances. Even in a bad take, say something positive and go for another take. You always, most definitely need to give feedback… you need to direct. Otherwise, the actor is left hanging — wondering, “Did I do it right? Did he like it? Should I change the way I said it, etc, etc, etc?”

Read the full interview here:


An actor’s job is storytelling.

Actors must learn to understand screenplays.

If they don’t know what the story is about, their acting is trash.

Let go, don’t act carefully.

Approach your work with body relaxed so the emotion can take over.

In life we struggle to overcome emotions, the job of the actor is to be swimming in them.

The actor feels the emotion and thinks the objective to become the character, then reaches for the words to make the character look real.

The actor is an entertainer.

How do you relate your acting to the story?

Can’t just be in your head, physicalize it.

Don’t fall in love with the little things. Have the whole thing, then go detail by detail.

Always decide what the story is about, not what actor does best.     Actor makes choices.

     do: talk or act

Know where you are trying to get to in story, set the path.

Don’t rob it from the audience. Let as much control go as possible.

Don’t play a man not knowing his situation. Read about times and places; make decisions.

Don’t wait for a director to tell you anything. He doesn’t have time.

      Moves come from the actor.

Do not do things for your own comfort.

The actor follows the truth of the author.

Good actors know when to do it, how to do it and make the right choices.

Trust your talent, don’t instruct yourself.

      Actor makes choices.

Read the full post here:


Author: Karah Serine

Actress SAG-AFTRA and Photographer Acting Web Site: www.karahserine.com Blog: www.karahserineblog.com Photography by Karah Serine: http://karahserinephotography.wordpress.com/

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