Filmmaking for Actors

A six-session workshop on what happens on set and beyond, and how we can all tell better stories together.

A talented group of collaborators, educating themselves and one another.

A safe place to ask questions, explore and learn.


Session One: Introduction

A bird's eye view of the filmmaking process, including introductions to everyone found on set, and a chance to experience a little of what they do. This is also a time for all of us to bring up our first questions about filmmaking and storytelling; we'll spend the next five sessions looking for the answers together.

  • Overview: Pre-production, Production and Post
  • How does film differ from stage, and how are they similar?
  • Who's who in the crew, and what do they do?
  • Stage a mock scene, with all the workshop participants taking on the roles of crew members
  • What are your questions?

Generic Placeholder Image

Session Two: Editing

Why put editing before camera, lighting, sound and other crafts that happen earlier in the production process? Because this is where everyone's work comes together. If you can understand what happens in the editing room, and how shots are assembled into scenes, and scenes into a story, then everything that follows in this workshop will make much more sense.

  • Coverage
  • "The line" and why we try not to cross it
  • Continuity (physical and emotional)
  • Size and consistency of performance
  • Look at raw dailies
  • Edit a scene together

Daffy Duck as Film Editor

Session Three: Camera, lighting, grip

Cinematography brings enormous emotional and narrative impact - but how? This session will talk about composition, lighting, camera movement, lenses -- and how the shooting of a scene can enhance the onscreen performances.

  • More about coverage: How scenes might be staged and shot
  • Different types of shots
  • Lenses: Wide vs. long, and their emotional impact
  • Aspect ratio
  • Camera movement
  • Lighting: Soft vs. hard
  • Grips and what they do
  • What is a mark, and why do I have to hit it?

Generic placeholder image

Session Four: Sound Recording, Design, Mixing

Sound may be the least understood of all the filmmaking crafts. What is the mixer hearing through those headphones on set? Why do takes have to stop for airplanes? Once shooting is over, how is the audible part of the story world built up from production audio and additional sound design? And...what about ADR?

  • The journey of sound: From set to mix
  • Run a scene, and have each person hold a boom microphone and wear headphones
  • Scaling one's voice to sounds that aren't there (such as nightclub music)
  • Open a ProTools session, edit some dialogue
  • Listen to some troubled takes
  • ADR -- Take turns doing it
  • Sound Design: Show a full ProTools session

Image of ProTools Interface

Session Five: Visual Effects and Virtual Production

How do you integrate yourself into a world, when that world isn't there yet? How do you play opposite a scene partner who doesn't exist? What if you're doing a motion-capture shoot, where YOU won't exist on screen, except for your physical movements? Let's play.

  • The difference between "special effects" and "visual effects"
  • Working on greenscreen or bluescreen
  • Compositing demonstration
  • Difference between 2D and 3D effects
  • Difference between 2D and 3D cameras
  • Previsualization
  • Virtual production
  • Performance capture

Yankee Stadium before-and-after

Session Six: Bringing It All Together

To wrap up our journey, we'll draw on everything that we've explored over the last five weeks to break down and stage a scene all together. After that, we'll talk about on-set culture and etiquette -- and where to go next to learn still more.

  • Return to the mock scene from the first session, but this time, apply what everyone has learned and break it down, department by department
  • Set etiquette and traditions
  • Chain of command and how to communicate (eyelines, asking questions on set)
  • Avoiding antagonism and adversarial situations
  • Working on micro-budget productions
  • Where to go next: How actors can learn more about the filmmaking process
  • Any remaining questions?

APKtM in Jerome