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Book Review: Directing Actors

July 31, 2014


Originally released July 1st, 1999
Page count: 158 pages
Size: 8.2” x 6”

Directing Actors
by Judith Weston
Published By Michael Wiese Productions

Directing Actors Book Review By Erin V.

Summer is the perfect time to catch up on reading and learn a thing or two in the process. So this week I am profiling a couple of classic bestsellers from MWP.

The first one is called Directing Actors by Judith Weston. The book is written for directors, but it has a real actor’s sensibility. In fact, I would recommend it for both actors and directors. Rather than a ‘how-to’ guide telling you what to do, Directing Actors instead talks about script analysis and how to effectively talk to actors and give direction that will help them find their best performance within themselves. There are a few points of what ‘not to do’ but these are pretty simple when you think about it – even if they are traps we all fall into.

Using images, verbs, and a non-judgemental look at the characters being played, the ideas of how to rephrase direction to be playable rather than generalized (and leaving the actor guessing) are little changes that make such a big difference. I also found it fascinating to read about all the different processes that are available to bring out the performance and how for different people different techniques will work best.

Directing Actors is an interesting read and really allows you to think about how to get into the emotional world of a character and translate that to the screen. Highly recommended and the kind of book that just doesn’t go out of date. This is one you can go back to again and again.
To find out more about Directing Actors, or other books, visit MWP’s website here.  

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