Directing Tips

Preface

It is critical to distinguish between a good performance and a good broadcast. Could you have a good performance and a bad broadcast? Can you have a bad performance and a good broadcast?

Millennium Stage Show Types

We have a large number of very different types of performers that come to the stage. This is what can make for difficult broadcasts. Why? You may not have the opportunity to work a certain type of show for many months if it doesn’t fall on a shift that you are working. Also, one performance is not the same as the next.

What makes a good show? Is there such a thing as a good director or a bad director? Is a good director always good?

Case Study

Max Queen’s 3 shows:
1) Good:  July 17
2) Not Great:  July 18
3) Great:  July 20

What changed?

Skill level (same) + preparation/gameplan/communication (changed)

The director is the leader, but it is a team operation. The leader must take initiative and is responsible for the show. No such thing as a perfect show, but we can try our best and have a well prepared, well executed, team effort.

Ways to Prepare for Directing a Show

  • Research artist and past performances
  • Determine best camera locations and operators
  • Work with camera ops during sound check
  • Work with production on staging, lighting, and sound
  • Gather team input

Principles of Good Directing

**Do not sacrifice a lower principle (I) for a higher principle (II or III).  If you are unable to follow the action on a given show for whatever reason, do not attempt to add variety or to be creative.  This happens to all of us regardless of experience level.  Experience tells us when it is necessary to go back to basics on a particular show**

Principle I: Document the show (follow the action)
Level of Certainty: Least certain of what is happening on stage

  • What is following the action? It is when the action is inside your frame.
  • Ex: Papermoon Puppet Theatre 9/8/12
    • 9:30-11:30 Bad (action is outside of frame)
    • 22:05-24:05 Good (followed action + cut quickly)

Principle II: Mix it up (follow the action + variety)
Level of Certainty: Comfortably certain

  • What is variety? Different distances and angles.
  • Ex: J.P. Reali 1/24/12
    • 2:33-4:33 Variety (only one player on stage so must mix it up)

Principle III: Be creative (follow the action + variety + appropriate, aesthetic direction)
Level of Certainty: Most certain

  • What is artistic control? Whatever you can come up with.
  • Ex: Alicia Ward 3/22/11
    • 47:04-47:30 – followed action, variety, artistic control
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