By: Ryan Gilbert
I was intending my second article to be about how to deal with writerís block but when I was working on it, I suddenly found myself havingÖ you guessed itÖ writerís block. Iíve been busy lately with some things: the comic, scripts for stage and possibly for producers in the VAA, not to mention that I have a new job at a call center which is going to take some time in getting use to everything that involves with the job. Iím also directing a one act play for something for a festival in my area for August.
Iíve been meaning to write this article about directing for quite awhile since I became a staff writer. I think it would beneficial for the producers in the VAA. So here we go!
Iím ready for my close up now
As the director, you have the task to interpret the material you are given into a fully developed story to the best that you can make it. You are an important part of what I call ďA total collaborationĒ in which every step, the richness of the production increases and that the success of a production can be measured by how much teamwork there is in making it.
A Total Collaboration
Step 1- The Script
Scripts are for actors and directors to what blueprints are for architects. They map out what the story is about, how it starts, what happens in the middle and how it ends. It is how actors learn about their characters about what they are like, how they function with both themselves and with others. The scripts themselves make for good reading. For example, I can tell you that when I was in a play called Photoshop Time back in early 2005, I would constantly read the script over and over again. It was mostly because the characters appealed to me and it was extremely funny but also it was great to just analyze the story as much as I could. And that brings up the next step!
Step 2- The Directing
From script comes directing. Directors will take it upon themselves to interpret the story to what works to both themselves as directors but to keep the same vision of the story that the writer has in the story as much as they can. You go through the script line-by-line, moment-by-moment to see how the story progresses, what the characters do, how they think, why they do the things they do, etc to where you know how the story turns out and understanding the layers of it. You think about what the actors will do when they perform, how it turns out and you want to be close to your vision of that as much as possible, but you should be flexible and keep in consideration that this is a democratic process but there is nothing wrong in being as much of a leader as you can, but you want to listen to your actors if they ever have an idea or theory.
Step 3- The Acting
From the directing comes the acting. The acting is the final step in how a production comes to together and how the story is told. They communicate the story to an audience. They bring alive the characters and setting that the writer created and the director interpreted. They give a performance that combines what the director has helped bring together for them and something that comes the heart.
Like I said, at each step, there is another level of richness added. You should work together as a team on this and have fun, man!
I want to write about the different avenues when it comes to directing, mostly about the differences between voice acting productions and live action productions that I think would be beneficial for the people in the VAA to read about how they can go about their productions as directors. Iíll write specifically about the differences in directing an audio production for something like the VAA and a stage play.
With audio Iíve found it a little bit easier to direct actors than stage, not on a talent of an actor standpoint but rather the tools that they use. With voice acting, all you need really is your voice, but with live action, you have many different tools to use than just your voice, with any body language you can give, reactions from lines with your face, the way you move your body around the stage, etc and directors have to keep that in consideration as well. But with live action, Iíve found that you can communicate with actors in a more intimate and engaging way than voice actors that you direct through e-mail, text chats or even audio chats for that matter. Same thing goes for the actors that interact with each other. I try with my audio productions is to get the voice actors to arrange audio chats to go over their scripts to build some chemistry between them so when I hear their tracks, it doesnít feel like they are speaking to an empty void. But with live action, the actors can interact more naturally because they are working together in the same place and will perform it together as well.
But with audio, I can say that itís easier to produce because youíre not as grounded than you would be on stage. Itís one shy short of being a cartoon to where you have a lot of freedom in telling your story in say one scene taking place in a house and the next scene taking place on a roller coaster.
Time and location is an interesting aspect of the difference between the two. With audio you can get people from all over the world very easily if you want to do this, because it if itís produced and edited than just something live, you donít have to get everyone at once.
Which of the two do I prefer working in? No real preference really, just some aspects of it have more advantages to tell your story than others.
One common occurrence I keep having is that I constantly forget, whenever I direct or act for that matter in going from one medium to another whether it be from live action to audio or from audio to live action, is to remember about what specific tools I can use as an actor/director. Iím sure that happens to most people if they work in different mediums at least once in awhile.
Iíll leave you with something to think about. The next time you are reading a story whether it is a novel or a script or perhaps even listening/watching something, analyze everything about it that you can think of. It doesnít have to be critical but to think about why things went the way they did in the story or what goes through the characterís heads, etc.
Right now Ryan, along with Jay Rawding, are directing a one act play called Bucket, written by Saint John author Dan Culberson for a city wide festival called Theatre On The Edge taking place between August 14th to the 19th. To learn more about Theatre On The Edge, check out www.saintjohntheatrecompany.com or http://sjtc-tote.blogspot.com