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Old 08-23-2017, 09:04 AM   #1
chenjie108
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Directing Dialogue

I'm about to direct a film with quite a few lengthy, abstract dialogue scenes——script makes me recall My Dinner with Andre. I read that Louis Malle rehearsed with those actors for SIX MONTHS (I read elsewhere that Wally rehearsed 9 months before Malle got onboard).

I only have about one month for rehearsing, and for a project with more actors such that I may only get to meet each actor 2 or 3 times before shooting.

If you were in this position, are there any special or not-so-special rehearsal techniques you might use? How would you go about this?
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Old 08-23-2017, 09:46 AM   #2
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There's no special technique for rehearsing. It all depends on the actor's competency for memorizing and acting skill level. practicing six months for a shoot is unnecessary, even if you want a one take shot. Mistakes will happen and it's easier now because you're using digital where you can erase the footage and continue. Film, would have been a headache.
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Old 08-23-2017, 11:18 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quality View Post
There's no special technique for rehearsing.
Oh, really? Please back up your statement.

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... and it's easier now because you're using digital where you can erase the footage and continue. Film, would have been a headache.
You should NEVER delete footage during production. If you delete files from your card and continue to shoot, you risk corrupted files. The data wrangler on set should back up the entire card to dual storage and verify the files before the card is cleared and returned to the rotation. And what's to say that even a small part of an overall bad take may not be useful in the end? I've had even single lines from an otherwise useless take save my ass before.

Bad takes are weeded out in the edit. That's why it's called "editing".
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Old 08-23-2017, 11:24 AM   #4
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I didn't mean delete the footage instantly on the spot. After you're finished with your dailies, you would know what footage you want for that day to put in the editor. And you can discard what you don't want if you choose to.
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Old 08-23-2017, 11:33 AM   #5
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You missed a spot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quality View Post
There's no special technique for rehearsing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AcousticAl View Post
Oh, really? Please back up your statement.
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Old 08-23-2017, 12:28 PM   #6
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Lol. What are the special techniques for rehearsing then?
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Old 08-23-2017, 12:49 PM   #7
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Lol. What are the special techniques for rehearsing then?
In other words, you cannot back up your statement. Shocker.

Fine, Elrod. I'll do the work for you. Again.

chenjie108, to answer your question, rehearsal is a dedicated practice of refining. It's not, as Elrod (Quality) simplified it, just a matter of memorizing and assuming your actors can act.

I'd start by asking you to describe your normal process. You've not given us an idea of your previous experience. Also, are you truly going for a single take, or a series of uninterrupted takes? You cite "My Dinner With Andre", but that was shot over two weeks. It's all in the editing.

In the meantime, here's a decent article that can get you started.
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Old 08-23-2017, 01:12 PM   #8
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Thanks, AcousticAl. You're always there to help. xD
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Old 08-23-2017, 01:35 PM   #9
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There ARE special techniques for rehearsing despite Quality's
uninformed statement and sarcastic reply. And rehearsal has
nothing at all to do with digital vs. film. Except that you can
afford to shoot the rehearsals using digital media...

You read that Malle rehearsed for six months – I read that, too.
Both actors were theater actors and they wrote the script so
the technique was different than directing film actors working
from a script by a different writer.

Chenjie, are you directing actors with theater experience? Will
you be doing a lot of coverage? Are you shooting with more
than one camera? All those things would determine what I
would do as a director during rehearsals.
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Old 08-23-2017, 01:36 PM   #10
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One technique is to start off with a table read. Currently the only voices of the script are in your head, so before any formal rehearsals, I would suggest a table read with the actors. This may result in some minor edits, but it's important to suss this out before formal rehearsals. For rehearsals, you can let the actors know where the long takes are so they can memorize. So it is not stiff, you'll want them to go through all proper blocking and action so they can "walk and chew gum" at the same time.

Lots of different techniques exist.
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Old 08-23-2017, 01:44 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quality View Post
There's no special technique for rehearsing. It all depends on the actor's competency for memorizing and acting skill level. practicing six months for a shoot is unnecessary, even if you want a one take shot. Mistakes will happen and it's easier now because you're using digital where you can erase the footage and continue. Film, would have been a headache.
I know you mean well, but if you don't know the answer to something, you shouldn't jump in and make one up. It's been happening a lot lately. If you have something to add it should be helpful, or it takes away from the purpose of this forum.
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Old 08-23-2017, 02:29 PM   #12
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I never said no technique exists. You are forgetting the key word "Special." Those are general techniques any average new comer can use.
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Old 08-23-2017, 02:32 PM   #13
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Dude, quit while you're ahead. You are not offering anything helpful at all, and are detracting from this user getting help.
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Old 08-23-2017, 02:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quality View Post
I never said no technique exists. You are forgetting the key word "Special." Those are general techniques any average new comer can use.
But there ARE special techniques that can be used. Just because YOU
don't know of any doesn't mean they do not exist.
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Old 08-24-2017, 12:21 AM   #15
chenjie108
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Thanks for the comments so far.
Two cameras, but won't have time for a lot of coverage unfortunately, which is why I'm a bit cautious about rehearsals. I've picked the more dialogue heavy bits, less than half of the script, to focus on. Mostly theater actors, but not all.

My rough idea is to start focusing on chunks from each scene, sitting and "impacting" the other actor line by line, then gradually experiment with different intents/pacing (did this in an acting class once to some avail), and eventually blocking. Though nothing's concrete, I'm open to changing methods once I have a lay of the actors, if need be. Idk... I'm a film-guy, but I've heard of "theater games", italian runs, role switching, etc. I'd feel ridiculous proposing these, but I don't want to limit myself if there is any useful tool for getting to the core of each scene other than just running through beats and suggesting adjustments.

At the least, I want to make sure the actors are really thinking what they're saying. That's what drew me into My Dinner with Andre.
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