Directing Actors at the NFTS

I have just returned from the Directing Actor’s course at the NFTS in London. What a trip. I’ve always wanted to direct and so I decided to get my teeth into it this year. The course really gave us a chance to feel what it’s like to be a director, both in rehearsals and on set. We had many acting exercises too, which terrified me at first, but proved to be a lot of fun and very informative. They say the best directors were once actors.. and I’m sure there’s some truth in it.

Our guide / mentor / teacher was the wonderful Laurence Moody, who’s enthusiasm and positive nature enabled us all to get involved without ever feeling self conscious or inexperienced. We also had some very high quality actors to work with who’d worked on Kick Ass 2, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Ultimate Force, Bad Girls, Wire in the Blood and Cold Feet. They were all very grounded and came with no bullshit, it was humbling to work with such awesome people.

I found the course very rewarding, but now I’m frustrated that I can’t continue acting and directing every day. I wish I could re-do the course every other week :)

Laurence showed us a few scenes from various movies that featured an audition, rehearsal or something similar. These scenes are sort of Hollywood mocking Hollywood, and give a humorous peak behind the curtain at what actors actually have to go through. We were shown the “commode story” from Reservoir Dogs, and the sexy rehearsal scene from Mulholland Drive. I’ve added these below, with a few of my own personal favourites thrown in:


Auditions, Rehearsals and Similar Stuff

Reservoir Dogs – directed by Quentin Tarantino


Mulholland Drive – directed by David Lynch


Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – directed by Shane Black


Super 8 – directed by J.J. Abrams


True Romance – directed by Tony Scott


The Artist – directed by Michel Hazanavicius


Get Shorty – directed by Barry Sonnenfeld


Wayne’s World II – directed by Stephen Surjik