Directing Actors for Film

The details
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Spring & Summer
Undergraduate: Level 5
Sunday 17 January 2021
Friday 02 July 2021
05 June 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

A crucial aspect of fiction filmmaking is working with actors. This 15 credit module is an introduction to directing actors in film, learning how to build trust and creatively collaborate with them as well as learning about different approaches to directing based on the examples of famous film directors.

Over the ten weeks students explore creatively and critically the whole process from script analysis to casting, rehearsals and finally film production. The module is ideal for second year Film, Film and Creative Writing and Drama students.

The module will combine theoretical perspectives with practice-based sessions, allowing students to explore directing in a 'hands on' environment. Lectures will focus on different directing approaches, from working with method acting and improvisation to working with non-actors. In order to understand what an actor requires from a director, students will fulfil the roles of both actor and director during the module, reversing roles with their fellow students.

Module aims

. Provide a supporting learning environment for understanding the process of directing actors for film from auditions to film shoot
. Introduce students to important tips and exercises that will help them communicate successfully their ideas while supporting the actors and building an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect
. Focus on different directing approaches, with case studies of specific film directors
. Help the students understand the actors' perspective by taking part in acting exercises themselves
. Enhance analytical and self-expression skills through practical exercises, research and writing

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course, students should have:
1. Thorough understanding of the process behind directing actors and the important steps from casting to film shoot
2. Critical perspectives on the different approaches to directing
3. Practical skills necessary to build trust, clear communication and a collaborative atmosphere
4. Knowledge of script analysis and textual interpretation and how to support and guide the actors to give the best performance they can.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

Anticipated teaching delivery for 2020-21: 2-hour sessions during the spring term and 3-hour sessions in the summer term.


  • Leigh, Mike. (1997) Secrets and lies, London: Faber and Faber.
  • Ribeiro, Andrea Barata; Ramos, Maurício Andrade; Meirelles, Fernando; Lins, Paulo. (c2003) Cidade de Deus: City of god, Burbank, Calif: Distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc.
  • Cassavetes, John. (c2005) The John Cassavetes collection, [London]: Optimum classic.
  • De Sica, Vittorio; Maggiorani, Lamberto. (c2009) The bicycle thieves, [U.K.]: Arrow Films.
  • Mackendrick, Alexander. (1957) Sweet Smell of Success.
  • Bruder, Melissa. (c1986) A practical handbook for the actor, New York: Vintage Books.
  • Weston, Judith. (c2003) The film director's intuition: script analysis and rehearsal techniques, Studio City, CA: Michael Wiese Productions.
  • Lumet, Sidney. (1996) Making movies, New York: Vintage Books.
  • Lumet, Sidney. (1975) Dog Day Afternoon.
  • Kazan, Elia. (©2009) Kazan on directing, New York: Vintage Books.
  • Weston, Judith. (c1996) Directing actors: creating memorable performances for film and television, Studio City, CA: M. Wiese Productions.
  • Kazan, Elia; Brando, Marlon; Leigh, Vivien. (2006], c1951) A streetcar named Desire, United States: Warner Bros.
  • Kazan, Elia; Brando, Marlon. (c2001) On the waterfront, Culver City, CA: Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment.
  • Mackendrick, Alexander; Cronin, Paul. (2005) On film-making: an introduction to the craft of the director, New York, NY: Faber and Faber.
  • DeKoven, Lenore. (c2006) Changing direction: a practical approach to directing actors in film and theatre, Amsterdam: Focal Press.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Essay (2,500 words)    35% 
Practical   Participation    5% 
Practical   Filming auditions and rehearsal (edited version) - total: 4-6 minutes (2-3 minutes each)    25% 
Practical   Final performance (two-hander scene – 4-5 minutes long) - one shot    35% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Eirini Konstantinidou, email:
Dr Eirini Konstantinidou
Lifts Admin Team,, 01206 872626



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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