Our tutor was the incredible Julian Doyle, an extremely versatile, charismatic filmmaker, most famous for his work with the Monty Python.
Mr. Julian Doyle
Mr. Doyle, if by any chance you're reading this, I want to thank you again for your brilliant and utterly inspiring views about direction. It was an immense honor to learn with you, definitely one of the most stimulating experiences of all my life.
The presentation included dozens of film scenes to exemplify directorial choices and the reasons behind them. Mr. Doyle introduced us to the challenging art of conveying story, emotion and meaning through camera angles, movements and lenses, specific lighting and mise-en-scène decoration and configuration.
We were taught on how to overcome technical limitations with clever gimmicks and editing tricks, how to keep a grip on the audience by sustaining tension, how to break the rules to explore unconventional methods of storytelling, how to thicken a flat scene so it doesn’t become boring and how to tell more with less, playing with omission, letting the audience fill up the blank spaces for you.
Also, he showed us how easily you can get away with unusual, unrealistic or even awkward things if you know how to use them.
He encouraged us to see past what is established, inciting our criticism and analytic reasoning to think in original, entertaining and efficient manners, all at the same time.
We were also given some nice tips on how to spot good actors on castings and how to be sure you’re not discarding a good actor who just had a bad audition.
In the afternoon we had an extremely didactic workshop on the very complex, non-linear skill of directing actors.
I can’t emphasize enough how important this practical approach was. Trying to apply what we've learned to a concrete situation was undoubtedly the best way to consolidate our knowledge. It all seemed pretty manageable and straight-forward when we were dealing only with theory, but when it came to assume the role of a director, having to guide the actors (which in the exercises were our fellow colleagues) and making decisions about the number of shots and respective angles, it all got more complicated. You have an infinity of choices in front of you and it’s up to you to discover the best. It’s no easy task!
Mr. Doyle made us see, through several examples, the colossal amount of decisions that are involved even in a very simple scene.
By the way, apart from excelling on many aspects of filmmaking, he also proved to be an impressive actor, by showing us radically different performances for the same scenes.
A good director must know acting to better understand actors, to know what it is to be on their shoes. He should be aware of how difficult it is to act. Only then can he give useful orientations. Mr. Doyle can do much more than that: he can teach an actor how to do his job, by demonstration. It's probably not a good idea to use this skill too much, but it's definitely a great advantage to have it.
This was one of the most enriching days I have ever had.
Now I really have to use all of this inspiration to write the first draft of the script that I have to deliver tomorrow.
See you then!