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SXSW Film 2015

Acting & Performance: Directors Share Their POVs

Independent filmmakers have a special relationship with actors. They can be their neighbors, their peers, their friends, their family; sometimes filmmakers are even actors themselves. This panel will bring together four award-winning independent filmmakers who helped establish Austin's internationally-recognized filmmaking community: Andrew Bujalski (Computer Chess, Mutual Appreciation, Funny Ha Ha), Kat Candler (Hellion, Cicadas), Todd Rohal (Rat Pack Rat, The Catechism Cateclysm, The Guatemalan Handshake) & David Zellner (Kumiko: The Treasure Hunter, Kid Thing, Goliath). These directors will talk about their unique experiences & perspectives on working with actors; developing characters from script to screen; unconventional casting; working with non-actors vs. pros; collaboration, improvisation & surprises on set; tips for first time filmmakers on getting the performances you want; how their own acting has influenced their directing; and the actor s/he most wants to direct.

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  1. You all start by writing a script. Do you write with specific actors in mind? How does the script generally evolve for you? Is improvisation part of the process? Tell us about a script change that was driven by the actors you chose.
  2. Indie film is fertile ground to tell stories that are more edgy and don’t adhere to type casting. Can you talk about diversity in your casting or casting unlikely characters? What were the kinds of stories that brought you to independent filmmaking?
  3. Since there isn’t a lot of money for indie films and the time to shoot is often short, how do you prep your actors? How hands on are you? How do you rehearse?
  4. Indie film is a great place to discover new talent. Can you tell us about an actor you cast who you took a risk on and why? What struck you about that person? Did you audition others? Along those lines, do you use casting directors? How do you find a great cast with no budget?
  5. You all hold multiple credits as directors/writers/producers/actors. What is it like to wear so many hats? How do you switch from one role to another? For those who have acted in their own films, what is it like when you watch the takes? Have your experiences acting influenced the way you direct?



Caroline OConnor, Director of Communications, Screen Actors Guild Foundation

Meta Information:

  • Tags: casting
  • Event: Film
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Casting
  • Track 2
  • Level: Intermediate
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