Hollywood Camera Work Directing
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A groundbreaking learning tool used by everyone from beginners to Academy Award winners, the course teaches high-end camera work through over 9 hours of 3D animated instruction on 6 DVDs.Besides working with actors, blocking is one of the most important things a Director does, and should be really good at. Yet most books, videos and many film schools barely touch the basics.
The course was created by director Per Holmes, who spent over half a decade developing an all-inclusive language of high-end feature camera work for personal use, and then realized how much others would benefit from these techniques.
The course also deals with the problem that blocking often grabs so much of our attention that we're forced to choose between doing camera work or nurturing great performances. If we choose acting, the camera work suffers. If we choose camera work, the actors are often left to direct themselves. One of the key goals of the course is to have great camera work become so automatic that we can do both at the same time.
The higher purpose of the course is to do as meaningful and expressive camera work as possible. While the course spends a lot of time getting good at technical things like complex line-issues, the deeper goal is to have a profound understanding of the how and why of everything. Ultimately, the goal is to have as clear and precise an emotional impact as possible. All the hot moves we can create (and we do create a lot) are really means to that end.
Models are not just the most patient actors, there's a very particular reason The Master Course uses them: They are completely expressionless. As we work with dynamics between the characters and blocking camera moves, all emotions must be coming from the camera work.
Working with models is incredibly educational, because the effect of every technique becomes so clear. As soon as we separate the acting performance from the camera work, we get a much deeper understanding of how the camera work infers thoughts and feelings.
Learning Directing in 3D is a unique approach that is superior to any current method. Blocking techniques become extremely clear, we can quickly superimpose visual aids such as lines and field-of-view, and visualize many cameras at once when they're designed to work together.
3D is really the ideal environment for learning camera work, and makes advanced techniques obvious. Without the need for wrestling with diagrams in a book, we immediately get to see every technique, both from the camera's perspective, and how it fits into the mechanics of the scene.
It's not uncommon for Actors to feel creatively restricted by meticulous camera work and having to hit marks to the millimeter. But the truth is that good camera work can bring a depth to the character that is simply impossible to achieve by the performance alone. A deep understanding of camera work allows an Actor to really know what is being communicated, and take control of his or her performance in a whole new way.
A script is a blueprint for a movie, and a Writer with blocking skills is able to create writing that translates seamlessly into camera work without necessarily cluttering the script with stage directions. Writing that's done with blocking in mind is very easy to Direct - or hard to Direct wrong - and ensures that more of your vision ends up on screen.
There are certain categories of thoughts at the heart of every good acting technique. On Volume 2-8, we not onlymap every every Active Idea that's known to work, we add a new level of understanding, and we re-evaluatemany myths, for example that result directing is bad or that active verbs are good, which is not that simple.
0:00 - Intro2:37 - Welcome to John4:56 - Differences between "normal" actors and stars?7:53 - How does conversation with a star sound differently?10:47 - What does the first conversation with an actor sound like?12:55 - Directors direct too much?13:39 - Directing in actions15:08 - Different actor results in different performance15:49 - Directing a regular on a TV show19:30 - Making the scenes work20:46 - Making an actor not do something23:27 - Criticizing actors24:43 - Retakes for the heck of it25:28 - Every take doesn't need direction27:50 - Shaking up the scene29:39 - Directing Jack Nicholson34:17 - Marlon Brando testing his director37:06 - What if actor won't discuss character?40:38 - Gaining an actor's trust44:32 - Calming an actor's nerves47:38 - Super-confident actors50:02 - How much to direct52:51 - Taking bad direction back53:33 - Giving actors attention after a take56:02 - Being there for actors57:01 - Directors should try a bit of acting58:23 - Actors can see through a director59:12 - Gaining the trust of actors1:02:38 - How much freedom should actors have?1:12:36 - Does a director need to be certain?1:15:21 - Getting everybody invested in it1:18:48 - How much or how little to direct?1:25:51 - Imaginary directing situation: Joe Pesci1:28:15 - Giving actors obstacles instead of directing them1:35:48 - Working with strong-willed actors1:40:25 - Strong-willed actors testing the director1:46:49 - Summary of insights1:53:07 - John's new book On Directing1:56:07 - Wrap up
To wrap our minds around how this scene was constructed, we broke the entire sequence down in StudioBinder's shot lists software. Learn more about the camera work Tarantino implements during the Spahn Ranch sequence and download the full shot list.
"Hollywood Camera Work: Directing Actors' is the first course to teach all of the techniques needed to effectively direct actors on and off set. Whilst there are many great teachers and books on the subject, the creator takes no agenda in pushing one form or technique over another and this is his strength. Instead, he chooses to demonstrate a vast range of established techniques, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. As he works with real actors in front of the viewer to craft their performances, we candidly see what works and what does not in different situations. The result is one most effective ways to learn the art, craft and science behind directing actors and I highly recommend it to anyone who is serious about their craft."
"This is a brilliant course for people from a technical background entering film directing. It helps you get into the minds of actors and learn how to communicate with them. The technical aspects of filmmaking are primarily result-orientated. Even the artistic aspects of cinematography can be controlled and quantified to some degree (lighting, ISO, shutter speed etc). Directing Actors is more like writing poetry or mixing sound tracks where seemingly intangible emotional and psychological controls dominate the process. Directing Actors is even harder as these emotional controls are not within you but within the actors. Communicating those emotions effectively is critical. This course does a brilliant job in bringing a technically minded director closer to understanding and communicating more effectively with the most important "asset" on set: the actors.The explanations and the schematic diagrams give a great framework to organise the volumes of information on acting. But watching the director express himself and communicate with the actors on set is absolutely invaluable. It gives a very good feel for what is ok to communicate to the actor and how to do so most effectively. It is also translates course concepts into practical real life situations. It provides a wealth of practical information on topics such as finding the balance between result direction and active allowing, good objectives, character definition etc."
"Magnificent. Nothing, no book on directing, no lecture by a Director, nothing comes close to this brilliant course. I have learnt more as an actor from Directing Actors than 3 years at Drama school!Directing Actors is a game changer. This will change how directors work with actors and it will bring out better performances in clear and concise ways that work."
"I've long searched for a class/book/system that would teach me how to direct actors. I've been on movie sets, I've observed actors both amateurs and professionals perform their craft. I've even worked with professional actors hoping that I would learn the secret sauce to directing good performances. And yet it eluded me. Eventually, I fell back on using non professionals who would simply play themselves on screen. But I never gave up the hope that one day I might learn how to direct better.Per Holmes's Directing Actors program is by far the best system I have come across. Per has a gift to organize and break down abstract and difficult concepts into easy-to-understand thoughts and tips. This course is massive. There is a lot to digest. And though it covers a lot of ground, it remains practical throughout. Similar to his other program, Master Course, there is so much thought-provoking ideas and value in these programs that I will be rewatch them again and again.I look forward to applying these lessons to my next film and excited to see the results!"
"In typical Per Holmes fashion, the whole subject of directing actors has been deconstructed and rebuilt from the ground up in meticulous detail.There is no simple magic bullet here, but what you get is a unified framework that makes sense of all the pre-existing approaches, a Grand Unification Theory of acting.It's fascinating and insightful stuff and I'm thoroughly enjoying it."
"Directing Actors is an incredibly thorough, insightful and thought-provoking piece of work, which has been fascinating to watch and will undoubtedly be of enormous use to anyone interested in directing for film or TV."
"I've been a supporter of Hollywood Camera Work since the very first tutorial. Although I have a conventional film school education, I find HCW a fundamental asset to my work. Whenever in doubt I ask myself "What would HCW do?".Same applies for Directing Actors course. Even after 8 years of being in the industry, I see the "directing actors" course as a great help." 2b1af7f3a8