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Working with Actors

Behind the Scenes of 'The Adviser' | Dir. Juhyun Pak

Learn how to work effectively with actors

This two-day workshop offers a practical approach for directors, writers or producers to understand how to work effectively with actors. This course can give you confidence if you are timid about speaking with actors, doubtful of the language you should use to communicate your ideas, confused about how to approach a rehearsal, or wondering how to create a safe workspace when dealing with difficult material. The course will give any producer, writer or director the tools to better identify the actor’s process and the language in which to engage in it, in order to get the best out of the time you have with your cast. It is run by Nadia Townsend, a screen dramaturg who specialises in designing rehearsals in collaboration with directors and producers and is renowned for her unique and practical approach to working with actors.

Learn how to communicate with actors

Learn how to communicate your ideas with actors in a clear and practical way and get tools for identifying and solving scene problems.

Understand the possibilities in rehearsals

Gain an understanding of the possibilities of a rehearsal process.

Understand what the actor needs from you

Find confidence in your ability to see clearly what the actor is doing and what they may need from you by learning when to step in and how to get out of the way.

Is Working with Actors right for you?

A lot of filmmakers are intimidated by the idea of working with actors. In the same way that a director will have a disjointed and frustrated dialogue with their crew if their understanding of the processes of filming or their cinematic language is limited, so too can filmmakers experience this with their actors. They spend years developing and pitching a project and when it comes to working with the most visible element of their screen project, the actor, they spend the least amount of time and just hope that it will all come together on the day. This course is designed to open up the possibilities for and the potential of the rehearsal room.  A chance to engage with your actors in a way that will enrich your project. 

Course participants will be stepping into the acting process, working on small one-page scenes as a way of understanding first hand the task they are asking of the actors. If the thought of stepping into a scene terrifies you, but you want to know how to work more effectively with actors, even more so the reason to do it. By doing practical exercises you will gain an understanding of what the actor goes through and bridge the gap between the inside (acting) experience and the outside (director) experience of the same moment. You’ll deepen and widen your scope for how to explore the nature of a scene, character relationships, dynamics and character engines.

This course is also designed to give you a pathway to create a healthy working environment and an ethical rehearsal practice. It will help you understand what it is to work ethically when dealing with challenging material.

Meet Your Tutor

Nadia Townsend

Nadia Townsend has worked in the Australian film, television and theatre industry for the last 20 years; as an actress,…

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What you will need

Some filmmaking knowledge and experience is important to get the most from this course. You’ll need to come along ready to participate in practical exercises – so wear comfortable clothes and be open to some challenges.

This course is only open to students aged 18 +.

For more information call 1300 223 877, or register for future offerings.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: AFTRS reserves the right to cancel any course for any reason at any time. In the event of a course being cancelled a full refund of course fees will be provided. If you are planning to travel to attend a course, please confirm with us via email that the course will be proceeding before you make your travel bookings. AFTRS is not liable for any travel costs incurred due to course postponement, cancellation, or any other circumstance.

If an attendee wishes to withdraw from a course, they may do so up to 15 days before the course commences and get a full refund. Cancellations 14 days or less before course commencement will incur a fee.

Find out more information about discounts and refunds.