DIRECTING & ACTING TIPS

ORGANIZATIONAL TIPS:


CHOOSE THE APPROPRIATE SKIT OR DRAMA

.      - find out the purpose, or the topic or scripture being used
.           by the pastor or ministry leader
.      - find out when this should be
.      - find out how much time you will be given
.           for the actual performance,
.           this will determine if it is a skit or a drama
.      - search for skits under either topic or scripture,
.           search for dramas under topic (yellow box)
.      - get the pastor or ministry leader to approve
.           of the choice if required



MAKE A SCHEDULE FOR PRACTICES AND DRESS REHEARSALS

.  (When you purchase a director's package from my website,
.  there is a tab with a suggested schedule outline to use.)

.      - depending on the size and difficulty of the project,
.        short skits typically need 2 to 4 rehearsals
.           (some need more),
.        big dramas/musicals typically need 3 to 4 months
.            with 1 to 2 practices per week.  Then:
.            2 days of technical run-throughs
.            to work out sound and lighting,
.            and 2 days of full dress rehearsals
.            right before performance night/s


RESERVE SANCTUARY / THEATER / ROOM (if required to do so)

.        (do not forget about practices and dress rehearsals)


SCHEDULE SOUND AND LIGHTING PEOPLE, AS WELL AS THE EQUIPMENT

.        for times of the last run-throughs,
.            dress rehearsals and performance/s


SCHEDULE VIDEOGRAPHERS TO GET A RECORDING OF THE PERFORMANCE

.        I recommend taping 2 performances, since it's rare
.            that one will go perfectly, so between the two,
.            you can choose to edit in the best of each scene
.        (you may even want to record a rehearsal
.            so actors can see themselves
.            and get an idea of where to improve)


FILMOGRAPHY & VIDEO-TAPING TIPS FOR LIVE PERFORMANCES:
.      - record from an audience's viewpoint
.      - best to keep camera static and incorporate entire set/scene
.      - NEVER do close-ups (full body shots only)
.            otherwise acting will look too cheesy and over-the-top
.               as stage actors emote to "back row".
.            Director and actors have put so much time and effort
.               into making the entire production look good, so
.               you want to capture the entire stage and overall effects.
.               On stage, EVERYTHING is important.  
.               People want to see the production as the director intended.
.            Also, if grandma couldn't make the live production,
.               she at least wants to see every second her grandkid
.               was on stage but was standing off to the sidelines...
VIDEO-TAPING PRACTICES FOR ACTORS TO GET FEEDBACK:
.      - again, NEVER do close-ups, the feedback won't be "true"
.            Often actors think they are "appearing" a certain way,
.               but what is translating can be completely different.
.               As an actor, you need to look at yourself objectively
.               and critical in order to improve your gift of acting.
.      - consider recording from both "back row seats"
.               as well as "near the front"
.            I'll use myself as an example,
.               in one production, I had to make a grand gesture.
.               From a few feet away it looked good, but
.               from the back, it was too fast and not noticeable at all.
VIDEO-TAPING FOR THE PURPOSE OF ON-SCREEN VIEWING ONLY:
.      - actors should modify their acting (see acting tips below)
.      - this is where you can shoot on site, cheat your angles,
.              do close-ups, do your editing magic, etc.


OBTAIN MUSIC, AND GET APPROPRIATE PERMISSION OR RIGHTS IF REQUIRED

.  (When you purchase a director's package and it comes with sheet music,
.  THAT music comes with rights and permission to use, even to post online.
.  You also have permission to do your own arrangements to said music.
.  But if you find or buy other arrangements, or other music,
.  it is your responsibility to get appropriate rights and permission.)


SCHEDULE MUSICIANS AND MUSIC DIRECTOR IF REQUIRED

.        (usually if there is an orchestra,
.            they will practice on their own until
.            the run-throughs, dress rehearsals and performance/s)
.      - make sure you have a recording or a pianist
.            at practices when needed
.      - have copies of all songs made on CDs and/or sheet music
.            for actors to take home to use for practicing
.            (if rights allow this)


HOLD AUDITIONS IF NECESAARY

.      - have recordings or a pianist ready if needed
.      - let people know the practicing & performing schedule
.            so they will know if they can make the commitment
.      - if it is a big project, choose lines
.            and/or song portions for each role
.      - announce the role (part to be read and/or sung)
.            and have the people line up
.            who want to try out for that,
.            then move on to the next role, etc.
.            OR you can make audition appointments
.      - keep notes as to who sounded good in that role
.      - if you want to see who plays well off of each other,
.            or if you can't decide
.            between a few people for a certain role,
.            hold a callback and have the best options
.            from each role
.        read/sing a few other portions or read through
.            an interacting portion
.      - choose the right person for each role



PLAN AND BUILD THE SET/s

COLLECT PROPS in time for actors to practice with them
.        to work out any issues

COLLECT OR SEW COSTUMES
.        and make sure they fit and work


ADVERTISE, PRINT POSTERS AND TICKETS

.      - even if the event is free, it's a good idea
.            to have tickets for people to take, in order to know
.            that you will have enough seats for everyone.
.      - if your auditorium seats 1,000,
.            print up about 800 - 900 tickets per performance,
.            since some people may show up who don’t have tickets.



DO NOT BE AFRAID TO DELEGATE

.      - the bigger the project,
.            the more people you will need, example:
.            director, song director, choreographer,
.            stage manager, promoter,
.            set manager, prop manager,
.            costume manager, hair and make-up artists,
.            qualified babysitters...)



DIRECTING TIPS:

choose people who best suit the roles in the skit

.      - in a lot of my skits I have left the characters
.            gender-nonspecific,
.        just make sure the lines and names
.            “go” (make sense) with your actor’s gender
.      - in a few skits, I have chosen a gender,
.            but they still could be changed
.      - others are very specific and should not be changed
.            (it is left to your discretion)

do a "read-through" (table-read):
.      - meant for everyone to get familiar
.            with the material and words
.      - explain the meaning and impact behind each action
.            so actors will know which emotions
.               they need to use
.            and which words they should maybe emphasize
.        (let them know of the acting tips-see below)

have everyone read through the skit over and over
.       until they are comfortable with their lines
.            and expressions
.       (they should be working on memorizing lines at home,
.            but if they are having problems,
.            maybe hold an extra workshop to help them out)

.       The sooner they memorize the better, and THEN
.            you can work on tweaking the delivery


"block" movements for lines as well as choreography for songs:
.      - step by step, show the actors
.            where they will be standing and what they
.            will be doing throughout the lines or song


Use these stage directions:
------------------------------------------------------------
.      UR         URC          UC         ULC          UL
.    (upper     (upper       (upper      (upper      (upper
.     right)     right       center)      left        left)
.               center)                  center)

.      R          RC           C           LC           L
.   (right)     (right      (center)     (left        (left)
.               center)                  center)

.      DR         DRC          DC         DLC          DL
.    (down      (down        (down       (down       (down     
.     right)     right       center)      left        left)
.               center)                  center)


.                        A U D I E N C E
------------------------------------------------------------


do a slow run-through with the lines and the blocking

work out any rough spots
.     - you can either stop at every spot and explain,
.            tweaking the lines or movements as you go,
.            as long as it isn't too often
.     - or you can take notes during run-throughs
.            and read the notes afterward
.       and/or send them via e-mail so they can remember
.            to do these the next time
.     - be positive and encouraging as much as possible
.       maybe even have one day of notes only pointing out
.            all the things that are really good
.            so people can see what to aim for overall
.     - once in a while it may be necessary
.            to work a tiny part over and over
.               until it is smooth, especially if
.               it has tricky timing issues,
.            and in that case you may even want to
.               go through it slow-motion at first
.               and then pick up the pace

keep running through until smooth and ready



BLOCKING TIPS:

I try to write each skit with blocking in mind
so it is fluid and natural

.      - figure out the best way to block the action
.            so people are not moving in front
.               of featured roles or those who are speaking,
.            unless it helps to make it
.               visually interesting or add to the drama

make sure the actors who are speak
or have important facial reactions in the scene areL
.        facing forward or slightly angled,
.            especially if they are not mic'ed
.      - the actor can look at the person they will address,
.            THEN face forward to keep
.            speaking out to the congregation



ACTING TIPS:

try to be as professional as possible
.      (this will help practices to go a lot quicker
.            with less frustrations)
.      - turn your cell phones off
.      - save the chit-chatting for afterwards
.      - at home:  memorize your lines/songs ASAP
.                  go through your lines/songs with
.                     blocking and choreography everyday

listen to the director and try as best possible to do as they say,
.      - they can see how your acting is coming across
.      - do not take instruction personally,
.            but consider it a way to learn,
.           improve, and be the best possible to God's glory


* MEMORIZE as soon as possible, so you can work on delivery
.        and blocking, etc.  If you have issues with memorizing,
.        you could figure out clever ways to have cheat-sheets
.        (if the director approves)


speak slowly, clearly, loudly if you are not mic'ed
.      - the people in the back should be able to hear;
.      - like watching TV or film,
.            if you can't hear the words, it's pointless
- remember that this is a very important ministry,
a lot of people learn best "visually", through examples,
so you are in a sense "preaching" or "teaching"

in MOST dialogues, especially in dialogues that are arguments,
.      before the other person has finished speaking
.            their sentence, butt in,
.            overlapping just slightly (naturally)

silent gaps between lines should only be used if it lends
.      to dramatic effect (if it makes sense)

do not distract from the main focus of the skit/drama
.      - if someone has an important line,
.            do not do anything that would
.            take away from the impact of the lines/skit

face forward, or slightly at an angle, especially when speaking
.      - before speaking, you be looking – or look –
.            at the character you will be addressing,
.        then turn toward the congregation,
.            the congregation will know
.            to whom you are speaking
.      - on rare occasions, a skit may call
.            for some unique blocking like:
.            facing away from congregation and screaming, etc.
.            OR speaking – ONLY IF the actor is mic'ed
.            (but this should not usually happen)


REAL ACTING:

the people must always know the message you are trying to bring across

acting on stage requires that you exaggerate your speech and actions
so that the person in the last row can “read” you
but always be real about it
I like to tell actors to figure out their character’s motives
then NOT act – but FEEL the part

If something should be a comedy –
DO NOT try to be funny,
but rather REALLY commit to the character,
still being real about what you are doing or saying
(believe that you mean what you say or do)

Acting on video or film requires that you
minimize your speech and actions.
Basically, you are always acting to your "audience".
If it is a live production, the audience is the most important,
as it is for their benefit you are doing this performance.
But if making a video or film production,
the camera is the most important "audience",
and it will reflect on the final product,
and to those viewing the video later on.
.
Church-Skits