I’ve been communicating over the past few days via Facebook about the uneasy and often dysfunctional relationship between actors and directors in the film business. And I have been receiving some great comments and stories from both actors and directors. But one comment that has come up several times is very disturbing. Several actors have told me that they have been learning, in their acting classes and workshops, how to be “director proof”. I must admit, this is the first time I have ever heard of this. And I am horrified. ‘Director proof’ implies that we, the directors, are the problem. That we are somehow going to diminish or destroy the work of the actors. And, more seriously, it implies that there really is no such thing as an actor-director collaboration. Only confrontation and conflict. I have spent the better part of my creative life exploring old and new ways of working with actors, knowing that in order to be an effective director I must develop and perhaps master certain techniques whereby I can collaborate with my actors as they work to bring their characters to life. And now I am hearing that many actors are actually trained on how to work in order to avoid whatever I might be bringing to the table.
I’m planning on writing a longer article on this topic, very soon. But first I want to reach out to all my actor, director, teacher, coach and writer colleagues (that’s you!) and get their opinions, experiences and insights on this matter. I look forward to hearing from you.