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Actor/Director Film Lab

Lesson 6 of 16

Actor Critique: Size

Robert Milazzo

Actor/Director Film Lab

Robert Milazzo

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Lesson Info

6. Actor Critique: Size


  Class Trailer
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1 Shot Sizes Duration:16:46
3 Camera Movement Duration:14:06
4 Actor Critique: Speed Duration:19:09
5 Actor Critique: Motion Duration:10:35
6 Actor Critique: Size Duration:14:49
7 Dynamics of Rehearsal Duration:11:53
8 Dynamics of The Shoot Duration:18:51

Lesson Info

Actor Critique: Size

I want to do one more science experiment with an actor do you mind? Ok, so let's do shot size so I wanted to shot size eyes I think we're seeing eyes affect everything, so I'm not really going to isolate eyes, but we've been isolating speed motions size I wanna isolate side so what I want to do, alex, if we can can we go back and get him in a head to toe? Let me help you. Oh, so yeah, so I want to play with size here so we're going to go head to toe on you and I want you to do your monologue do you know what everyone on dh what we're going to do here is talk a little bit kind of re reference in this idea that had a shot size affect performance to me it's probably pathological, you know, I submit that we're going to hear something different when we're here it's kind of like if I'm having a conversation with him here were saying something to him hear my voice changes all the sensory apparatus is change cameras no difference camera heightens those difference so let's see his monologue in ...

a long shot there's two points of view here one is the point of view of the audience how does the audience received the information? So really this is more about how you perceive its result when you see something in the long shot this would help alex and I think help us and folks at home what do you drawn to? What do you drawn to? What does? What does the camera what does the camera proximity more or less change in what you what you see what you see? Because filmmakers used these shots again? As we're saying about robert altman, he wants you to listen mohr for different pathological reasons we want to see what it does in terms of how you're viewing changes and we also want to see is there something in it for the actor that's useful? Can he literally take notes based on shot size? So whenever there whenever you guys already good. Okay, so we're clear, so do again let me give you an eye line, we'll give you a different island so what? I'm a do sometimes again I'm going to speak his ability is not here if I feel like it actor needs more of a foothold into keeping his eyes up I may give him a higher eye line because I mean, no, alex is going to dip down anyway, so instead of keeping a little eyeliner and they start him higher again that's kind of a filmmaker trick, okay, so let me give you a different island, so look in my hand ok that's your island can you keep it okay so again we want to watch the long shot long shot head to toe okay quiet please this is ilia in long shot roll camera and action you ever seen those snickers commercials? The ones where someone's like a cranky grandma conducting a symphony and someone gives her snickers and all of a sudden she turns into this young confident conductor the guy gives the stickers always says the same thing you're not you when you're hungry what does it actually mean like actually uh is it possible for me to not even be myself at any point along my life what else could I be other than me? Ok so when you watched it in a long shot what was the psychology of the viewer? Where was your psychology drawn? How did your perception you know this monologue to a certain extent how did your understanding in the monologue changed on what changed I guess his body language body language changed what was the change in his body language? Uh well he was moving a lot more he was moving a lot more and he stepped towards the canada step so in a way the performer already felt a greater birth now that was his choice I didn't give him any direction. I mean assert filmmaker director I can give him notes about space and movement he just took it upon himself to gesture and move did those gestures and movement seems similar or dissimilar to the ones actually made with a more or less equally distracting, more or less equally effective? Because the shot size is different, right? Do you think the long was shot tolerates movement better than a medium shot? Because that's what we had actually yeah tolerates a band, you know, he's got more room to play there in terms of the size of the frame, right? Right? It tolerates it better, so one thing we're drawn to is were drawn to it. We're talking about what well you did, but in a way, we're signaled for it. You ever see a movie and I'm sure you have where there's a character and there's an open door next to them and you like someone about to walk through that door like the camera it's something sitcoms very attractive and some of that it's like opening up your sinuses in the sense now what the actor chooses to do within it is his or her direction in collaboration with the filmmaker alex, could you do me a favor? Could we move the camera here? Okay, so what we're going to do is we're going to reset the camera, we're going to give it, give him the exact opposite psychology and see what he does with it. Another thing he did which you may or may not have been attuned to because I use my voice rather vigorously he was rather he was a little louder he felt his object was here in some some vocal component of it changed because of the shots eyes again it's a fascinating psychology actually when we move in closer what's the closest we can be without absolutely not having anything because this is one of the most interesting tests of an actor putting it a camera right in their face it's an interesting taste filmmaker alex could probably tell you when we take a break that's interesting test for a crew the rules change a little bit so we're going to see what he feels naturally he could do but again again I know it may be harder to see the monitor to try we want to see what we're drawn to we want to see what we're doing again this is chaplain chaplain would say I don't act smaller on film because I have to because I want to so what chaplain would do would say here's my frame ok what does this allow me to do my closer from what does it allow me to do? I think someone like chaplin who started on the state she was a vaudeville performer he saw the gift of film you know even bergman's actors they their extraordinary and bergman again started on stage hey actually started a plane dolls but when one of his first gifts as a child was a doll house and he would stage a little theatrical but he was literally like chess. Piecing those performers knew that the limits are the freedom, the limits or not a cage. If once you that's what actor director film love is about once you understand the limits, you confined the freedom within. Okay, so first thing we're going to do with julia is we're going to give him an island. Okay, so look in my book in her hand, okay? Actually, look here, look a little higher here a little. We'll take this is your life good? That's your island. Okay, this is a seat and nothing about islands. It's really tricky it's never the same if I put if I put my hands here, what you perceive his eyes to do in real space is now what they're going to do on camera space is this camera space up occupies such a wide berth? So for me to get his eyes out of the lens, I had to be in such a position that his eyes won't look like he's looking right into the lens, which he's not here. This isn't just this what you're seeing on screen when you become a technician, a filmmaker that said, this that's a distortion the reality is so different than the actual photographic act will you whenever you're ready we're going toe stand by wait for my action okay we're rolling so let's watch our monitor and give it a shot. Ilia standby quiet please and action you ever see those snickers commercials? The ones were someone's like a cranking grandma conducting a symphony and then someone gives her a snickers bar and she turns into this confident young conductor the guy who gives it a snickers always says the same thing you're not you when you're hungry okay, stop keep rolling. We're still rolling. I'm going to give him a few notes within this I'm going to tell him to not move it all okay and I'm going to tell him to use his voice less ok so again take it from the top I don't want you I want you to relax and not move it all and I want you to trust your eyes and I want you to trust your voice I don't want you to push the vocal aggressive aggressive ity of this at all. Okay, so within this take I also want you to compare with this adjustment ready? Quiet, please. Cameras rolling and action. You ever see those snickers commercials the ones where someone's like a cranky grandma conducting a symphony and then someone hands or a snickers bar and she turns into this confident young conductor okay excellent, take it from the top again. I want you to relax and allow your face to do whatever it wants because he's not one thing he's not doing he's, not blinking he's not blinking, so I want to loosen up his performance a little bit. I like what's happening. Technically, I like that he's relaxed his voice because another myth we're going to cover later in the courses, do screen actors have to talk really softly to get the best work? We're going to talk about that a little later from the top. Let your eyes relax, and if you need to drop your gaze from your eye line, I don't want you to drop your eyes. I want you to look away if you need to know if you need to drop if you're talking to somebody, if you need to not talk to them, I don't want you to drop your head or your eyes. I just want you to look to change your eye line since okay, because what I want to avoid in close up is losing his eyes because when you lose your eyes in close up, it can also often look with the camera thinks is your eyes were closed, it demolishes debt, demolishes it from the top standby client, please still rolling and action you ever seen a snickers commercials? The ones were someone's, like cranky grandma conducting a symphony excellent and someone hands or a snickers bar, and she turns into this young, confident conductor the guy gives him a snickers always says the same thing. You're not you when you're hungry. Was that mean excellent? Like, actually, who else am I? Who else could I possibly be? No matter what day it is, no matter what my feeling is other than me. Excellent. Cool cut. Thank you. Okay, uh, come here with me, man. Excellent work. So thoughts about that close up I saw some really interesting work with his eyes I thought was fascinating. What did you all see in that close up? And also the adjustments that were given if you saw the theater just mintz had any effect on his work? Did they improve them that making awful? And it felt a little realistic because people commonly do that, you know, the look to the top right when they're thinking something through all the recalling a memory? Yeah, yeah versus dropping your eye, dropping the energy, letting everything go it's actually, quite. I'm not saying film acting is natural or normal, but as you say, it's technically very friendly you're keeping your eyes up your you have a different mental focus, and then you're referencing the camera see that to me was good work with the eyes let's let's roll it back so you can see it. Oh, yeah. We just want to look at some of the technical differences whatever you ready? Action. You ever see those snickers commercials? The ones were someone's like a cranky grandma conducting a symphony and then someone gives her a snickers bar and she turns into this confident young conductor the guy gives it the snickers always says the same thing. You're not you when you're hungry so that's take part of take one where he was left to his own device and I thought he was not what I wanted him to blink more. I just felt it was too what colson was cindy brady when she goes on a tv show in the red light goes on and she's frozen one of the bradys anyway, I wanted him to relax his eye. So what I did instead saying relax because sometimes you say relaxes yeah, I am, you know, just give him another point of view give him the option of another place to put his eyes. This is what I gave him, what sick symphony and then someone hands or a snickers bar and she turns into this confident young conductor okay, excellent. Well, that take especially was good because his voice asked him to use half the aggressiveness in the voice this one which I believe this port partial part is the third adjustment which is the eyes and I think we get the good voice here to let's say, snickers commercials the ones were someone's like that this guy's ramaa conducting a symphony very subtle someone hands or a snickers bar and she turns into this young, confident conductor the guy gives the sneakers always says the same thing. You're not you when you're hungry. Was that me excellent. Like, actually. Okay, stop it, john. Thanks. So ultimately, I want to give him those adjustments to be able to relax him and sometimes another eye level. Khun, relax in a cz long as I don't lose him like there's a difference between relaxing of performance and vis a rating it. And I think the other eye line relaxed the performance. I mean, with jillian that monologue, I mean, we were working on their long, but he still has a lot of energy. And I think ultimately the close up you could just trust those tools so much of the tool system from a long shot shot size from a long shot into a close up, it goes back to the old fashioned I invoice I invoice invoice on dh this stuff on the thing that makes bad acting, I'm just saying that you don't need it, you know. And that's. What kind of shop? When was saying it's, it's? Not that this is the frame it's, where no one ever, ever see rembrandts. Rembrandt had these beautiful paintings that were miniatures, and he in his execution of a miniature it's, so different than other rembrandts, because the frame is smaller and that's the same thing with acting in a small frame. It's finding those articulate points that create a better performance. And I think I, tze and voice create a better performance.

Class Description

The relationship between the filmmaker, the actor, and the camera is an integral part of every production, but is rarely discussed. In Actor/Director Film Lab, Robert Milazzo explores cinematographic craft and collaboration and its relationship to acting and performance.

In this beginner-friendly class, both filmmakers and actors learn new ways to work together to bring their best work to life. Filmmakers develop new skills for effectively communicating and collaborating with performers. Actors learn how cameras capture performance and how to adjust their work to suit a production’s technical realities.

Actor/Director Film Lab equips those who work on both sides on the camera with insights that improve their working/artistic relationships, while strengthening the quality of their professional film work.

Special Guests:

  • David Morse, Actor 
  • Kasi Lemmons, Writer/Director/Actor 
  • Keith Gordon, Writer/Director


Philip John

I thoroughly enjoyed and became a better craftsman by watching and partaking in this workshop. Congrats Rob you're inspiring and down to earth made this experience a real pleasure. Cheers Mate Phil from Sydney Australia

Carlos Sandoval

I´ve seen a couple of lessons so far, and this is really a great class. Robert know his subject. Just by listening to him talk about Cassavetes and other fascinating filmmakers that rarely get mentioned nowdays, I get on track. The best.

Laura Latimer

Great Class - Thank you!