Lights, Camera, Action: A Guide to Directing Actors

By November 21, 2016No Comments

Actors have one of the most important roles on a set. They are the ones in front of the camera giving a directing-actorsvoice to the script, and moving through the scene. In corporate video, it’s not just about the words they say, it’s about how they represent the brand the video is for and their actions in the scene. For example:

Are they speaking to camera about the quarterly financials? If so, are they believable and professional?

Are they demonstrating how a product works? If so, are there hands in the right place and are they operating the product correctly?

It’s the director’s job to give them the liberty to use their natural talent, while adjusting or molding the performance if necessary.

But how do directors do it? Here, we are delving into the world of directing and taking some clues from popular directors who gave us some beautiful masterpieces.

Three Tips in Directing Actors


Rehearsals are great not just for the camera department to get the camera moves down, but also for the actor and director, so they can get the blocking and emotion down. Often the director will notice something in rehearsals that’s surprising. For instance, the famous “Fava beans and a nice Chianti” scene in Silence of the Lambs.

While the scene was already frightening in its own sense, what made it more revolting was that of the famous hissing sound that Hannibal Lecter makes at the end. While it was only a joke that Hopkins tried during rehearsals, Director Jonathan Demme urged Hopkins to use it during the shoot to maximize the impact of Lecter’s animalistic tendencies. And thus, an unforgettable moment was born.

Create a Safe Set

An actor brings out their inner most vulnerability on set so their reactions can seem more real. However, they cannot do so if they do not feel safe. Of course, safety so injuries don’t occur is important, but we’re talking about emotional safety. An actor requires a certain amount of trust to “let loose” and the director helps create this.

The movie Kramer vs. Kramer took Meryl Streep to new heights, and it was only because she was taken to her acting limits by her director Richard Fischoff who encouraged her to dig deep and use real-life experiences to create certain emotions for her character. Reeling from the death of John Cazale, a man she loved dearly, Meryl used that experience to bring life into a character that would have been cast as a stereotypical portrayal of women. In short, Meryl used her own weakness to portray the life of a mother who was shaken to the core.


Improv is a great way to experiment with a scene, in comedies and dramas. They allow actors to become more comfortable with the scene, thus bringing a sense of familiarity with one another. What more, this gives the actors a chance to add their own touch of personality.

Christopher Guest’s films, such as “Best in Show,” are some of the most hilarious movies.  Why? Because the actors are constantly improvising.  While its great to follow the script and get takes that are just straight off the page, it’s good to allow for some takes that are improvised. Therefore, you have the options in post-production.


Bring Out Their Best Performance

Contact a professional video production company that knows how to bring out the best from the actors!

336 Productions delivers the best in event and sales video production among other services in Orange County. Contact our award-winning team of professionals for the ultimate experience in online corporate marketing!