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Directing and acting in a movie

Posted: Sun, 27th May 2007, 2:10am

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Rockfilmers

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Sorry I post so many forums, I'm brand new to this. I was wondering, dose any one here who directs a film play the main character? Or is that just a dun questian?





Sorry about the spelling, I suck at it. redface
Posted: Sun, 27th May 2007, 2:54am

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Balketh

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Firefox can help with that. I recommend it.

As for acting AND directing, I can safely say that not only am I a main character, I'm the director, producer, writer, and pretty much every other role I can get my hands into.

It's my movie, and I want it exactly as I envision it.

So yeah, not a stupid or dumb question at all.
Posted: Sun, 27th May 2007, 3:34am

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SilverDragon7

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Well I do not personally star in my own films, maybe only as an extra, but it isn't uncommon.
Posted: Sun, 27th May 2007, 4:40am

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King of Blades

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No, not an idiotic question at all. Like Rogue53 said, it shouldn't matter what your part involves in the movie.

If you want to be the writer, you can be a writer. If you want to be the director, be the director... if you want to be the actor, then you can be the actor.

If you want to be all of them, dammit, you can be all of the positions that there are.

Don't worry what part you play in your movie-- it's YOUR movie, and you can do it the way you want it done.

But keep in mind that the more parts you do, the more difficult it will be trying to produce your movie.
Posted: Sun, 27th May 2007, 9:28am

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mercianfilm

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I don't think it's a stupid question at all! Like rogue dude i'm pretty much ALL the pre-production and post production roles- for a couple of months i've been designing and building concept and miniatures- making chainmail, sewing banners you name it! I'v written the script and will start producing the storyboard. I think that because only YOU know exactly how you want your movie to look- only you can do the most important of roles.

I alos plan to act as the main part biggrin Not to be vain or anything like that- but because i want to set a big pace for teh rest of the cast and to keep their enthusiasm alive. Plus love acting biggrin

As people have previously said- don't attempt to take too much on or you'll never complete your project. Good luck with it and i hope to see your movie in the near future biggrin

Sam
Posted: Sun, 27th May 2007, 9:43am

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The Siege

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I am an actor, producer, co-writer, director and cameraman in my next movie, but for the shots that I have to be in as an actor, I have a stand in cameraman smile
Posted: Sun, 27th May 2007, 12:12pm

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pdrg

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Don't forget the saying
'Jack of all trades, master of none'.

I strongly believe in specialisation, let people play to strengths! There are plenty of excellent actors out there who will be only too glad to work and probably make a better job of it than you will. Likewise writers, directors etc. All specialized jobs with specific skills. Peter Jackson doesn't play Frodo, Lucas isn't Luke, etc. From all the pitches I've had, the number of wannabe 'writer/director's who are able to do both decently is low. Almost every time they're weak at one or the other, and add acting into the mix, and the quality just ain't there to my mind.

However it's your film, your fun, do whatever you please! Good luck and enjoy the process smile
Posted: Sun, 27th May 2007, 12:29pm

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Rockfilmers

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well, peter jakson and lucas have multi million doller contracts, incase you didn't know. I have $200.
Thanks for the tips. smile
Posted: Sun, 27th May 2007, 2:41pm

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SGB

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I would say that its very hard to do all the roles yourself. Not only is it a huge stress, but doing so many jobs makes them all suffer. on the film i am currently working on, we have three ''co-directors'' so to speak, and its working out great. we're sort of overstaffed, you might say. But it means that whenever somthing comes up, one or two of us can leave the set to take care of it, and we can still keep shooting. We also have a person devoted to makeup, one for props, set desighn people, light guys, sound guys, and several actors. Maybe 30 people in all. how did we get everyone? We put up posters at our school. I would suggest doing the same.
Posted: Sun, 27th May 2007, 3:00pm

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Avenging Eagle

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I strongly believe in specialisation, let people play to strengths! There are plenty of excellent actors out there who will be only too glad to work and probably make a better job of it than you will.
I think i'd find it hard getting actors to trust me as i'm only 15.

I act in my own films, as well as direct, edit, produce, advertise etc. This is not because i'm selfish; it's because no one else will do it. No one else around me in intersted in film and, if they are, they haven't got the experience or talent. Only a few people i know are willing to sacrifice their spare-time to help me make a movie.

There are those in my school who are interesting in acting so i don't have too much trouble getting people to sign up. However, i would rather play the main role because i know exactly what i expect from the character and can play him just how i envisioned him to be.

Besides, i have been predicted an A* in Media Studies and an A in Drama so i think i've earnt the right to act and direct.

AE
Posted: Sun, 27th May 2007, 3:18pm

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SGB

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Avenging Eagle, put up posters in your school. You'd be suprised how many people show up, people you never knew had any talent. My highschool is relativly small (less than 300 students), and we found some excellent artists ready to devote their time to storyboarding, and one kid who was great with computers and was ready to make posters, pictures, setup our mailing list, website, and basically do tons of "administrative" work. One guy came in knowing nothing about film, and now is a dependable light/sound guy who knows how to set everything up and the basics of three point lighting. Normally I would be the one running around setting up the mic, the lights, the camera, telling the actors what to do. But now I can really focus on just the camera and teh actors, and I have two other guys who can focus on just the actors and making sure everything else is running smoothly. People showed up whoes names I didn't know, and are now essential to our project.

Here's a question you should try to honestly ask yourself. You said you got an A in drama and Media Studies. I'm not really sure how much that proves, but lets assume it means you can act and are good at "media studies". But does that mean you really can direct your actors well? I'm not saying you can't, i don't know you at all, but I think you should be honest with yourself and really see if someone else couldn't perhaps at least direct as well as you can. Of course, that would mean sharing a whole lot of "power" so to speak, it might be more his film that yours. But maybe thats worth it for the sake of your project. Again, maybe it is best that you do everthing, i wouldn't know, would I. But take it into consideration, having seperate roles can really improve the overall movie.

As for getting actors to listen to you, it shouldn't matter that your 15. In our 3 codirector system, we're all 15 and 16, and we have actors who are 18. we've had no problems getting them to listen to us.
Posted: Sun, 27th May 2007, 3:35pm

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The Blue Devil

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I too am cameraman, writer, director, producer and actor!!!!
Posted: Sun, 27th May 2007, 3:45pm

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Rockfilmers

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Avenging Eagle, I'm in exactley the same place as. And I'm 15 too. Where are you at?
Posted: Sun, 27th May 2007, 5:34pm

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Avenging Eagle

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SGB:
Thanks for the advice. I will try it in the future. My school (Yateley School) is a performing arts college so theirs no shortage of actors, dancers or even musicians. We have a few technicians too but, because we are a performing arts college, we generally have so many projects going on around the year (Lower school drama, upper school drama, main school performance, house music & house drama competitions as well as A-level and GCSE performances in May) that i don't think they could take much more. They need a rest. not only that but what do tey get out of it? I reckon they'll enjoy it but why would they bother helping a 15 year old make an action-film with a microbudget and a home-grown cast when they could just wait around for the next Main School production.

You've also got to remember what active and busy social lives some of these people live (unlike us...). They might not want to sacrifice every Saturday and Sunday in a month.

I will definately take what you said onboard but i'm still sceptical...

@JimSchoie123:
I reckon most people on here do multiple jobs. I'm generally the:
Director
Producer
Editor
Lead Actor
Sound Designer
Gaffer
Visual Effects Supervisor
Marketting Executive
and Screenwriter of my films.

I enjoy all of these jobs but sometimes it can be a little stressful...

@Rockfilmers:
I'm in Frogmore (in Hampshire), a district of Camberley, (in Surrey). It's right on the Hampshire, Berkshire, Surrey boarder.

AE
Posted: Sun, 27th May 2007, 6:51pm

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SGB

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Your 15 and your in college? Unless you mean somthing else by that...are the other students there all older than you?

I'll tell you why they'd want to be in your production. Because they could make it there own. they could have a say in it. It could be run by students entirely. You could all have tons of creative input. Again, put up signs, make a big deal out of it, people will come, especially if your in a preforming arts school.

There are always teh kids in every school who barely do any work and just manage to get by. These kids may have a passion for doing film related work, and they have tons of time on their hands. We have a few in my crew, and they're great (heh).

Also, you wouldn't have to devote so much time. Obviously it depends how long you the movie is, but we're making a 10 minute short and so far we've shot probably 2 after noons, and one 3 hour shoot on sunday. Our last (hopefully) is tommorow all day. Thats a total of 4 days shooting. Not really so much to ask.

Of course, there is no use speculating. If you want to get people, put up signs. If you want people but dont put up signs cause you think they wont come, thats just silly.

Of course, if your a 15 year old in college and are surounded by people older than you, this all could be a problem wink .
Posted: Sun, 27th May 2007, 7:13pm

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Avenging Eagle

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They call it "a performing arts college" but it's really a secondary school (although it does have a sixth form attached) which has something called a "Performing Arts Status"; basically we get money off the government to help us further our facilities and equipment for performing arts.

Thanks for the advice, I’m now less pessimistic.

AE
Posted: Sun, 27th May 2007, 10:28pm

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Merrick

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I'm performing in my movie. Not the main role but a darn important one. biggrin The biggest drawback for me is that it is hard to switch from the director to an actor and back again as both require focus.
Posted: Mon, 28th May 2007, 3:31am

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Atom

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If Danny DeVito can do it, anybody can do it.
Posted: Mon, 28th May 2007, 3:51am

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SlothPaladin

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As a director I don't trust myself as and actor, I've only made one live action short in which I was a main character and and director. When I was acting I could not see how I moved, it was extremely inconvenient to be trapped in my own body. I knew how I wanted my movement to work, from the stand point of the viewer, but as an actor I could not see how my movement looked, I just had to guess it using feel.

If I were you I would avoid it because it's harder to judge you own performance and give you self advice then someone else's.
Posted: Mon, 28th May 2007, 8:30am

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Nutbar

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There are actors everywhere that are willing to work for free. If someone is serious about making it as an actor they will give up their social life for a few weekends to build up their showreel, if they're not serious about it then they wont and probably wont be very good anyway.
Posted: Tue, 29th May 2007, 4:57pm

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Jucemar

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I'm writing, directing, producing and editing an episode-based movie. In the first episode I didn't need to act at all, since it was more like a prologue... and I only did some stunt acting for a few shots. But for the second episode, I'll have to act quite a lot 'cause I look just like the main character and I've realized how difficult it will be.

I tried to direct and act a few times, but I was not satisfied with the results. It just doesn't look the way I want it to.

I felt dissapointed with this thread, since I thought it was about suggestions for those who are doing both things at a time.

If anyone has experienced this before, your feedback will be appreciated.... I'm starting to freak out about this. crazy
Posted: Tue, 29th May 2007, 6:12pm

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jfreedan

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I'm creating a web TV show where I direct, write, act, costume design, scout locations, shuttle people, edit the film, AND do all the special effects.

I don't think it is all that unusual in indie film-making for the director to have to do a lot of jobs.

From my understanding, the primary reason Hollywood has one person to do one specific thing is not because it is better if one person does it, but because of unions.

There have been many directors who also act in the films they make. Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Danny DeVito, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks..the list goes on really. Obviously it is more work to direct and act, but that doesn't mean it is impossible.

The most challenging thing I have found is working with the camera-man. I don't have the luxory of having someone who knows camera-work, so I have to set the camera settings for each shot and physically position the camera-man where I want him/her to be, including what angle to hold the camera or guiding him/her step-by-step on how I would like them to move with the camera.

Any shot that doesn't involve me in it, I pick up the camera and shoot myself.

Having a written list of what shots you need for each scene and checking off each one as they are filmed helps to keep me on track.

Using words like "Excellent!", "Perfect", "Thank you" and "Please" with the camera-man is also good. Nobody wants to work with you if they feel like you are always making them feel wrong so try to avoid using negative words. Instead of saying "This is wrong, do this" say "please move a little bit to the left, right there-- that is perfect dude!"
Posted: Tue, 29th May 2007, 7:50pm

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Merrick

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I would have another actor or the cameraman sort of direct me in my acting. Just make sure that they understand the movie well.
Posted: Tue, 29th May 2007, 8:06pm

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SilverDragon7

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This is why I'm never an actor in MY movies, in others I have the task of cameraman too.
Posted: Tue, 29th May 2007, 9:11pm

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SketchWork

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Directing and acting in your own movie can be great when starting out, but as you progress you will find that it becomes a lot harder because unless you have someone you completely trust checking your acting while shooting you never really know how your performance was until you see it on film.

Also, if you are acting who is directing the camera team?

It is a hard subject and Mel Gibson proves it can indeed be done at a very professional level.
Posted: Tue, 29th May 2007, 9:26pm

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Klut

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Very often I have to be the main character. These are the main reasons:

1. I love attention.
2. The other actors sucks (or they can't to their character right)
3. I'm so awesome that people only want to see me anyway...

(some sarcasm here, just so you know)
Posted: Tue, 29th May 2007, 11:02pm

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Avenging Eagle

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Klut wrote:

(some sarcasm here, just so you know)
Never....

AE
Posted: Wed, 30th May 2007, 12:06pm

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pdrg

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So, all you writeractorproducerdirectorcameramen out there, how do you stay objective about performance etc? Seriously, for anything more hefty than a pretty short short, you just can't do all those roles optimally/properly!
Posted: Wed, 30th May 2007, 6:19pm

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kaproductions

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Ya I star in my own movies, as the main character alot, or extremely important, but I do not like it. It makes it harder to direct, but I had no choice since there was only me, and my friend. Now my friend has moved, and I make them all by myself. I just took the painful task of filming myself, setting the camera in a position and then getting into position myself. I made it mostly to get back into film making and warm up for the sweet, free summer. Well, it was gonna be a minute long, but it took me 3 hours to film it like that. Okay... ya that is short and I should have taken more time, but I did not have time. I am soo not looking forward to doing more of this =/
But yes, I act in my own movies, write, produce, and direct. Not that uncommon I guess.
Posted: Thu, 31st May 2007, 8:02am

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Avenging Eagle

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I try to change my directing style when i'm acting onscreen, because i don't have as much control over the crew as when i'm directing. I tend to shoot (or rather get my cameraman to shoot) Kubric-style, with long shot durations.

I'll rehearse a 5 min conversation with my actor(s) until we know it perfectly. This rehearsal stage can be invaluable to fine-tune our acting so that they don't have to be told what to do on-set; they just perform it.

I might shoot the same 5 min conversation from 3 or 4 different angles and then that's done. After this, we might shoot the occassional close-up reaction-shot or shoot something of importance that needs to be highlighted but after that we're done.

A 5 minute conversation, shot in an hour.

Rehearsal is the key. Once your actors know what to do, they should only need a quick run-through on set to refresh their memories and get them back into acting-mode. Then, you can concentrate on your job of directing your crew.

AE