5 Awesome Tips For Acting And Directing At The Same Time

5 Filmmaking Tips For Acting And Directing At The Same

Are you a self-taught filmmaker who wants to star in and direct your own film? While it may appear difficult, it does not have to be. Great filmmakers such as Clint Eastwood, Orson Welles, Spike Lee, and Jodie Foster have all been able to act and direct in their own films.

They most likely made blunders in the beginning while attempting to juggle both duties on stage. However, completing both occupations while still producing a fantastic film requires a unique skill set.

Acting and directing in the same feature film may appear to be a simple task, but a filmmaker who wishes to take on this challenge must first learn a few tips and tactics.

Let’s have a look at some valuable suggestions and tactics to assist you to reach your goal of acting and directing your next feature film. So, let’s have a look at some practical ideas and tricks to assist you to succeed in your next project’s playing and directing responsibilities.

Related Article: Smartphone Filmmaking 101: Learn to Shoot Mobile Video

acting and directing
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My Introduction To Acting And Directing My Own Film

This short film above was my first introduction to acting and directing in my film.

How I ended up in this situation was all based on the fact that I had actors that all get called in for paid gigs. This left me with my behind-the-camera team fill-in as actors.

On top of this, it was part of a local 48-hour film festival that we had to write the script, shoot the film, and edit the project in less than two daysIt was challenging to say the least, but the result wasn’t as bad as it could have been. If you watched the clip, I would hope you laughed, if not, I am sorry.

But during this challenge of jumping in to act and direct this short film, I learned some valuable tips & tricks that I will always use going forward if I am stuck in that situation again.

Oh, by the way, we had to use tinsel as the prop in our film, so that’s why there is so much tinsel in the film.

Get Your Directing Done In Pre-Production

acting and directing

Plan your work and work your plan! This is the motto I use in my daily life, and I use it in film production every time I shoot.

When it comes to film production, the more you pre-plan before shooting, the better your odds at having a successful shoot.

As a director, make sure you have a great support team behind you that can help you in solving problems before your shoot. Have your production team worry about the behind-the-camera stuff, so you can focus on what is in front of the camera.

If you are acting and directing, in pre-production make sure you do lots of table readings and rehearsals to make sure everything like blocking is worked out before cameras start rolling.

Then when you get on the set during production, a simple walkthrough of the rehearsed scene will feel natural.  

Related Article:  Step-By-Step Beginners Guide for Starting a Film Production Company 

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Use A Stand-In During Blocking

stand in

When a filmmaker is acting and directing at the same time, they can be in two places at once.

This is where using a stand-in comes into play. Just by having a real person as your body double, you can then worry about the behind-the-camera stuff like lighting, audio, and cinematography.

Plus, by having the body double in place, you can see through the lens of the camera the way the scene will play out.

Have Someone Who Has Your Back On Set

acting & directing

The key to successfully run between two important roles on a film set, you need someone who shares your vision. 

Productions I have been in which the lead actor was the director, I was made the assistant director as a stand-in director to give feedback on a take.

You don’t need an assistant director; it can be your Director of Photography, your Producer, or another actor just someone that can give your actor-self feedback and notes and direction. 

This way you can stay in character when you need to act.

Want to Learn More About Filmmaking?

Become a better filmmaker with the MasterClass Annual Membership. Gain access to exclusive video lessons taught by film masters, including Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Spike Lee, Jodie Foster, and more.

Have Extra Monitors On The Set

acting and directing

I can’t imagine what it was like to be on a set when there wasn’t access to a monitor. With everything going digital on a film set, filmmakers can have a monitor on a film set to watch playback anytime they want.

If you are thinking about acting and directing yourself in your next feature, monitors can aid in watching playback without crowding the camera’s viewfinder to watch a scene that was just shot.

Plus, if you decide to add extra monitors on the set, you can have them pointed at you so you can watch playback without leaving your marks.

Give Yourself Time to Disconnect

acting and directing

When you are acting and directing in your film, the pressure is on 24/7. To avoid having a mental breakdown during the film shoot, you need to give yourself so time to relax and recharge.

Directing is tough enough on a film set, adding acting to the mix can bring the stress to a whole new level. If you need time to step back and focus after acting and directing a scene, do it before you start a new take or scene.

Also, depending on your acting method of getting into your character for each scene, it requires you to focus, so take the required time to get into your character, so you can get the best acting and directing performance each time.

Want to Learn More About Filmmaking?

Become a better filmmaker with the MasterClass Annual Membership. Gain access to exclusive video lessons taught by film masters, including Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Spike Lee, Jodie Foster, and more.

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About the author: Trent (IMDB Youtubehas spent 10+ years working on an assortment of film and television projects. He writes about his experiences to help (and amuse) others. If he’s not working, he’s either traveling, reading or writing about travel/film, or planning travel/film projects.

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