You may have noticed that I recently created a new category for Directing, which you can find over in the righthand column. It’s a quick way of identifying the posts that will be most informative to directors.
Don’t get me wrong — most all of the posts are useful to directors. You work with actors, after all; it’s good to understand what their needs and their process is! Directing is a lot more than playing traffic cop.
Even if you act yourself, reading them may improve your understanding of what goes on for the actors who work for you and allow you to help them better. We’re all different, you know, and what works for you as an actor may not be universally true for your cast. Many actors know how to do what they do, but don’t know how to talk about it. (Meryl Streep famously avoids discussing her process, although I don’t know if that is because she wants to keep her conscious brain out of it as much as possible, or if she just isn’t particularly articulate that way.)
So if you have the leisure and interest, reading some of the posts that aren’t in the Directing category may be very useful to you. If you don’t have the leisure, the posts I’ve put into the Directing category are the ones that speak on some level to what directors have to know to do their job well. They are written from the actor’s viewpoint, obviously, but the connection for you as a director is clear, I think.
Sometime later this year, when the well on Actor’s Etiquette topics dries up, I’ll start writing posts specifically aimed at community theater directors. Most of us graduate to directing for reasons that have little to do with a deep-seated need to communicate artistically through direction. One of my college friends knew he wanted to become a director, and I was fascinated by this fact. What was it, I wondered, that he was trying to express that directing filled? How on earth did he know what to do or where to start? I had no perspective on life at that young age and would have felt completely at sea as a director. Mechanically, I could have done a passable job, I suppose, but it would not have been a creative act!
I got thrown into directing, almost literally, when another director bailed out and I was the only person available. A couple of decades removed from my college years, I discovered that I now DID have something to say to the world, and my playwriting experience had given me a perspective on plays that I hadn’t had when I was simply immersed in creating a character. I discovered that I had been paying close attention to what my directors had done in all the productions I’d been in, and I not only knew what to do as a result, but I was also pretty darned good at it.
So if you’re like me, and you find yourself directing because your theater needs you, or you’re getting too long in the tooth to get good roles any more, or you simply want to try something new — the Directing posts are there to help you figure out how to do this thing. And if you’ve got specific questions about the process or problems you are facing before I get to writing the new posts, send me a line and I’ll write a post just for you!