Go Back   IndieTalk - Indie Film Forum > Making The Film > Directing

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-29-2016, 05:27 AM   #1
Basic Member
jakub_friso's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Nitra, Slovakia
Posts: 52
Natural filmmaking without rehersals?

Just read an interview with two young actors - Theo Taplitz and Michael Barbieri.
Which were casted in film - Little Man directed by Ira Sachs. This film is sceeening at this year Sundance Festival.
In the interview they were also discussing directors technique of leading actors and this part is really interesting so I thought it would be nice to discuss.

"Ira believes filming should be natural. If we rehearsed it over and over again he would say, "Oh, well no, itís just you saying some lines." He wants it to be, youíre not acting, youíre just being yourself and this camera is coming around you. --M.B.
This was my first time shooting that way. If I had done a film or theater, it was always rehearsal. It was my first time not doing rehearsal. I felt like it did help me more, because it made the character and the lines more natural to me. I didnít have to think about ways to say it or act like I was acting like I was saying it. I was just saying words. --M.B.

You are responding to them in that moment, in the actual time, instead of going, "She said that, now I say my line." It was more about, he said that, now I respond. And Ira was very particular telling us, "Do not act." --T.T."

What do you think about it guys?
jakub_friso is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Today   #1A
film guy
Basic Member
Posts: 17

Old 01-29-2016, 05:51 AM   #2
IndieTalk Moderator
sfoster's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Maryland
Posts: 5,542
Rehearsals have always made things better for me.
sfoster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2016, 05:58 AM   #3
Basic Member
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Rotterdam Area, The Netherlands
Posts: 3,674
Having seen the movie, so can't say whether or not it was a good idea.

However, I do think that you still need experienced actors for this, but I also think that for great actors it doesn't matter how many times they rehearse: they will still perform great and natural.

This approach may or may not work: it depends on everything.
It surely is not some magic way to great acting.

Putting great musicians together without rehearsing might work, but might also be a disaster on stage...
WalterB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2016, 07:09 AM   #4
Basic Member
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 4,331
What do you think about it guys?
There's nothing natural about filmmaking. It's all make believe. Everything is crafted a particular way, editing, sound designed, add SFX, add music all to get the final product. It's why people see movies. They want to escape their reality (their "natural" state).

On a side note, to me, Ira seemed very good at saying what the person needed to hear at that particular time. It doesn't mean everything she taught applies everywhere, generally speaking of course.
Sweetie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2016, 11:20 PM   #5
Basic Member
writersandfilmmakers's Avatar
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Toronto
Posts: 136
It's not that i think it's better or worse, but realistically, i've met very few actors that are so quick, so into their character (immediately) that they know what they are doing in isolation.
writersandfilmmakers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2016, 11:28 PM   #6
Basic Member
moonshieldmedia's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 621
In my opinion it really depends on how married you are to the script.

If it's important to you that your actors say all the correct lines for your film to work, then this approach will not work. You will need to rehearse.

If you don't mind your entire film being improvised, or maybe the scenes are bullet pointed and your actors are familiar with the general outline for the direction the film needs to go, then you may not need to rehearse or do multiple takes.

Also it depends how experienced your actors are. Only very talented actors are able to improvise or act natural on a first take. Also, even the best actors deliver lines in amateurish ways, it happens in every film by every oscar winning actor in existence. That's where a skilled director and/or editor comes in, and gets/uses the best takes of an actor's line delivery.
moonshieldmedia is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2016, 04:27 PM   #7
Basic Member
Theauteur14's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Los Angeles, California
Posts: 118
I like a mixture of the two. I like some rehearsal. But I don't like too much rehearsal. I still want it to be fresh when we film, especially if the characters are just meeting each other for the first time. But I like rehearsal because you can get a head start and not have to answer questions on the set and it saves time. Also I like rehearsing once right before I do my first take.

But there are directors like Woody Allen andPaolo Sorrentino that do no rehearsal and their films are great. Rachel Weiz said that there was no rehearsal on Youth and Paolo barely talks. I thought that film was great. But it also depends on the caliber of actors you hire. If you cast the right actors it can work.

Drake Doremus does rehearse. But his films are fully improvised.

Try different things, experiment. See what works for you.
Theauteur14 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-03-2016, 12:31 AM   #8
Basic Member
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Florida
Posts: 277
From a practical standpoint, if you deviate from the dialogue in the script, you will need a very good script supervisor to take notes on exactly what was said, so that your wide, medium, and closeups will match...otherwise editing will be a nightmare. Coppola had a lot of trouble with that.
Rayandmigdalia is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2016, 02:44 PM   #9
Basic - Premiere Expired
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Europe
Posts: 2,633
Originally Posted by Theauteur14 View Post
See what works for you.
I agree with your post but as far as what I've quoted is concerned I would rather say; "See what works best for the film".

The ultimate goal generally, is for the audience not to be consciously aware they are watching actors acting. Of course the audience always realise they are, but you want to draw them into your storytelling so deeply that this fact is, at least for the duration of the film, forgotten. You therefore generally want the most natural performance and without any sterility.

There's not one single right way to accomplish this, it depends on the actors and the characters they are playing, and of course this all changes from film to film. Given perfect/near perfect casting, not rehearsing can be the best and most efficient route to the above goal. However, it usually isn't because the casting is rarely perfect, it may only appear perfect (hopefully) after much rehearsal. Also, commonly the best performance of a scene never actually occurs, it is manufactured in the edit, from different takes, even more so in the case of the actual dialogue. No rehearsals (and probably more improv) is generally going to reduce the options in post, to the point of not being able to manufacture that best performance!

An issue I encounter all too frequently is directors concentrating on the performance on-set instead of the end performance in the finished film. For example, limited/no rehearsal, allowing improv and/or skipping safety takes to maintain the "flow" might appear to result in more natural performances on-set and in the dailies. Come editing though and the lack of options means an even better take can't be manufactured and in audio post the lack of options usually means either relatively poor sound quality or ADR, which is going to result in either drawing your audience out of your storytelling or in much more sterility than if the director had sacrificed some of the on-set "flow" in the first place! I'm not just talking about nano/no budget films here but 6 and 7 figure budget features. I'm not saying that no rehearsal or allowing improv can't work, on occasion they can and sometimes with truly exceptional results but they should not be viewed as shortcuts or budget saving options. On the contrary, to pull it off requires either lottery levels of luck or a great deal of work on the part of highly skilled and experienced director, cast, crew and post teams/personnel (and still a bit of luck!).

Dealing with all these often conflicting and changing requirements, while concentrating on the end result, is incredibly challenging and is the reason why the director is the most key of personnel and why the really good ones are both very rare and highly prized.


Last edited by AudioPostExpert; 02-04-2016 at 02:47 PM.
AudioPostExpert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2016, 10:32 AM   #10
Basic Member
Join Date: May 2011
Location: London
Posts: 1,620
It's very actor dependent for me. Some need rehearsal in while others don't. I hire the ones who do lots of prep on the characters and can improvise on the day.
gorillaonabike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2016, 10:00 PM   #11
Basic Member
EvolvingMind's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: The Midwest
Posts: 21
Yeah, I feel like it varies a lot depending on the movie, the situation, and the actor.

Some actors can walk into a room and have an amazing performance from the get go, and sometimes the spontaneity of the moment is the only way to get an authentic reaction from actors. That said, I'd say most dramatic roles require a fair bit of preparation, even if that isn't strictly speaking rehearsals. If its a character driven story, the actors will always need time to get into the body of the character, to think about their thoughts and emotions at any given moment.

So yeah, I wouldn't say there's a right or wrong way to do it. Both ways can get amazing results. I've always felt better with a bit of rehearsal to let the actors find the character and develop a relationship with the other actors (which can take time.)
EvolvingMind is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2016, 11:53 AM   #12
Flem N' Spudskin Pictures
Basic Member
Flem N' Spudskin Pictures's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Devon, UK
Posts: 2
Personally, I prefer to do rehearsals for the most part - but I do tend to write tricky dialogue (weird, invented dialects - heavy use of slang) where characters speak over and interrupt each other, that really requires a lot of rehearsing in order for the actors to say it at all naturally.

However- I am also starting work on a movie with no script and only a basic plot outline, where the actors are going to improvise. Naturally, that will have no rehearsals... or shot list... or anything you're normally meant to have, honestly. Not that I have ever so much as considered using a shot list for any of my movies.
Flem N' Spudskin Pictures is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2017, 05:42 AM   #13
Basic Member
shortboy's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 272
Lines come naturally to some, and it takes a while for others.

I do agree that acting shouldn't feel like acting, but I also feel that rehearsal is necessary. But I do understand what the person was trying to say. Less time to ponder about the delivery. We normally go half/half. Our script is our guideline. Most of the time we allow the actors to ad lib and improvise.
shortboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2017, 03:31 AM   #14
Cracker Funk
Basic Member
Cracker Funk's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Also noneofyourbusiness
Posts: 9,625
I don't like it. The actors I prefer to work with take time to get into their characters. Their actions and emotions are internalized, well in advance. Rehearsal is so much more than just memorizing lines, and some of the most important work is put in when the actors are reading te script to themselves.
Cracker Funk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2017, 12:15 PM   #15
Basic - Premiere Expired
Soundlufs's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Kiev
Posts: 56
I urge you all folks to see this movie, if you can get it with subs (its Russian originally)

"Success" 1985


Sometimes your project transforms you, your life, your actor`s lives, or even a whole theater. Its not just about reciting your lines.
Soundlufs is offline   Reply With Quote


acting, directing, feature film, rehearsals

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:24 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.