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Actor/Director Film Lab

Lesson 7 of 16

Dynamics of Rehearsal

Robert Milazzo

Actor/Director Film Lab

Robert Milazzo

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Lesson Info

7. Dynamics of Rehearsal


  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

Dynamics of Rehearsal

More of the actor director film lab I am robert malala's oh head of the film channel here creative live and we have a really great topic and even greater group of students in the house with us and for you at home really excited this is a class I've taught internationally I've been really fortunate I was telling a lot of my former students that I'm here in san francisco teaching it today and they were so honored acting and directing is really the heart of what we do on every level I'm a filmmaker that's my tradition but I know people go to the movies to connect with the performance filmmakers you know have their favorite filmmaker I can't wait to see the next whatever paul thomas anderson fillmore david fincher but really we leave because of our connection to what we've seen and that to me is where this topic becomes so important for crafts people of every ilk ill will also say this I've taught it a lot of film schools and whenever I talk about the the even possibility of doing a class ...

that were actors and directors get to talk they common response from people in traditional film schools is we don't do that here and it's a great it's a great conversation with things that are really actionable and execute herbal so I'm excited to move a little deeper now and we have some great guests were going to be with us again we called them we want to call them recovering actors what we want to call them emerging filmmakers we call them whatever we want they're great and they're giving us our time and it's going to be really exciting to get their perspective on what we've been talking about so uh let's jump back and it's funny you know, one of the words when I was training as a filmmaker and where I went to school they wanted the filmmakers to take acting classes I must say I personally don't believe in that I don't believe you should force a force anyone to do anything but be the last thing you should do is for someone to be an actor and that sounds funny but I just don't think throwing someone up and saying to a monologue from hamlet is the way to learn much of any I think be that as it may I did it on dh in my own crude way on one of the things that's interesting about terminology we've been talking about about vocabulary the one word that I find as you continue to train and progress no matter what your trajectory is one word that keeps changing and people either smile or laugh at this word is rehearsal what is rehearsal now this is a pretty easy question to answer but the deception is your answer is both right and wrong that's kind of the good news in bed others, because rehearsal is the most redefined word, not just from an actor perspective from both the filmmaker and film actor perspective throughout your tradition throughout your course, because let's, let's deconstruct the word for second. Some actors, uh, come from a training tradition where rehearsal is devalued. Some come from enacting tradition words, the most valued object. Some actors come from a tradition where they've rehearsed for eight weeks, and the opening night is that anti climax. So every every point of view on this word rehearsal needs a new sculpted definition, so we're going to rewrite it, and I think we're going to rewrite it in sort of sane terms, tmz, because the reality is, when you work on a film and as you progress is a professional actor or filmmaker, you don't have access to people the same way ah friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, really great guy, really great actor was cast. I should I say, the name of the movie I guess so. American gangster he was cast in american gangster. Really great actor he's done a lot of stuff and a lot of really significant work on television and he said, and I worked with them, I directed him in something and we were talking about it ridley scott directed american gangster and I said, what was that? Like? He said, I didn't get to be in the film. I said, what happened? He said, well, when I got the job, the first thing I I asked my agent was, can I call ridley scott and that's the actor in sticked? Right tonight? Can I talk to the director? Can I get some a foothold here? Can I understand something better? And you know, but when we grow up, we're don't or we progress in the progression all these are the levels of abstraction come between us and the collaborators, agents, publicists, lawyers, time is money. You know, I always tell my film students the most valuable commodity and anything we do is time you can hear we've covered a lot of film acting craft. Now we're getting more in terms of the business and more towards the battleship is turning a little bit. We're going to look more into the ideologies and the rationales and the mind sets and the realities of the film business filmmaking no one's immune to these charms so anyway, he wanted he wanted to get in touch with ridley scott and his his agent laughed. And you know, the joke is, you know, call, I'll call his agent, you know, it's not like that thing, you know, it's not like we're doing the short film together let's talk it over her, so this idea of rehearsal can take any form, the good news is rehearsal can be sitting and talking to someone, the good news is rehearsal could be picking up the phone, I mean, in the sense of we have the option now to rewrite what rehearsal is from both acting and directing perspectives, so to me, rehearsal on any level is about preparation I've worked on movies with I haven't been able to, I wasn't able to talk to the lead of the movie until the week they got their for their costume fitting ondas a filmmaker was I was I felt behind the eight ball because this was the lead, so we had these long extended phone conversations now, for better for worse, that was the reality part of this part of this idea of rehearsal reality is not negotiable, you know, a lot of actors and filmmakers will have rehearsal stitched into the contract, so today we're going to address what, in a way, what does one do in the absence of access? I know that's kind of seeing the whole and not the doughnut is david lynch likes to say so let's look at the whole let's ignore the doughnut what do we do? Well, it's that word prepare you know we can do our work we can prepare and how can we prepare? Well again it's funny I guess this is a filmmaker prejudice I don't think of the script is a script word I use I e I had it in the in the notes and then we kind of pulled it because the script is not a word I like to use al I think is the word material the material and that may sound a little slightly trained, but I like that word the material because you know, my costume is the material you know my location is the material the script in a way is a blueprint the material is the hole ball of yarn you know filmmaking and we're going to cover this later in the course. But every film is a documentary every film ever made is a documentary and for those of you have made films with their short films feature films, tele novellas web series every film is a document it's a document of time in place on day one of the reasons why I think maybe filmmakers and actors don't liketo watch and go back because you're really revisiting that space as a human being right on the brighter side we can prepare understanding the writers intention getting the script that sometimes would script saying is insufficient sometimes scripts have no dialogue sometimes scripts aren't even written wings of desire vim venders they started shooting without a script the script came like week two and it wasn't exactly filled with dialogue so this idea of a script is kind of you know I like it and I like this idea of a writer but a writer you know joel kadar for breathless would sit in back of the back seat of the car while they were driving and tell them what to say so these words writer script rehearsal in a way the bigger katulis everything needs to be re written and that's okay that's fun to me that's fun sign me up in security can abound but the idea of preparation the idea of rehearsal there are components of it that we can control understanding the writer but the writer khun b understanding where the writer setting the film understanding how much dialogue is in the film what does that mean david man once told me great writers give you great signals that everything is a signal everything in the script is a signal we want as actors and filmmakers we want to start to accumulate the signals in the patterns build your character again this is something this is rehearsal you know it's the old shakespearian trick a great shakespearean teacher once told me here's how you determine your build your character in shakespeare go through the whole play and every time something is being said about you that's the truth everything else is alive so I can go through a script and and understand my character I don't need a filmmaker I don't need another actor I don't need to run lines I can I can start the core of my character now the funny thing is about this and this may be kind of the anti climax is no conclusions you know there are other kind of strategies aceto s out of encompass all this but the idea is you want you want to prepare in the sense of readiness you don't want to prepare to completion you know you don't want to know you it's like life right? I mean I always say to my students you don't have to be in a school to be a student you know curiosity you know we never stop every filmmaker learns from every project so this is about getting the dna of what can help you that's the preparation and then not not ending it you know there are great dramatists who believe you know aristotle frankly that the end of something is the end of the thing itself in the sense that the end of thie solution to the journey is the end of the journey and if you look at purest attilio in drama and again not to reference david mamet again but ma'am and used to always tell me something haven't intention in the scene, but never achieve it, and this is very common in acting. You have an intention and seen the worst kind of intentions are the ones you can achieve because after they're done, the drama has done, you know, the drama on a classic level is I want something there's an obstacle, so if I achieve it, the drama goes away because the conflict in the obstacle go away, so this idea of preparation is precise in its vantage point. Its conclusion, though, needs to be held in what we like to call a big fat advance wait because you're going to get other inputs, you're going to get the filmmaker, you're gonna have the light, you're gonna have an argument you just had with your boyfriend or girlfriend before he went to the set. You're going tohave, you know you can have all these other life molecules, and to me I think too often as filmmakers and his actors, we shield ourselves and we should invite them in, mike nichols once told me. The late mike nichols once told me, everything you do is about what you're going through at that time, so I feel like we want to prepare and just we want to leave that door open. As bird, which he would call it the door, he called it the door to the set. Always leave the door to the set open because you don't know, what's. Going to walk in classic bertolucci makes sense. It is, it is the nebula of craft you, in a way, it's, also the nebula film. I don't want the perfect film. I don't want the perfect actor. I don't know if actors want the perfect filmmaker. I want to keep understanding through the attempt, the process, the process.

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!