When I was younger, I always wondered how actors went from being the star in front of the camera to being directors, writers, producers etc.
I think this was before I truly understood how intertwined all of those roles are and that sometimes, you find yourself stepping into a new role without even realizing that you’re doing so.
To be honest, I started directing my own plays when I was about five. I loved being on stage, but also liked to make the entire production happen. If you’re on stage, it makes sense that you would be thinking of what is happening off stage.
One of the biggest advantages of having so much time in front of an audience or a camera, is that I know what it is to manage talent and to get the best out of them. When I was Segment Producer of Facebook Live, my live performance experience was a huge advantage. People often take for granted what it is to perform live–even if it is in front of a phone.
An advantage of being in front of the camera is that when talent arrives on set—from the novice to celebrity—I know how to speak their language. I can sense when they may need to take a break to run through lines or might need water. Being one step ahead, I can anticipate their needs when often times, talent can get overlooked when productions are large and rolling.
“For writers and directors, (acting) classes let you understand what you expect someone to do you for, and that can make your work better overall,” talent manager, Jackie Reed said in an article for Backstage.com,” You’ll understand emotions, the bravery and the work that goes into acting as well as the fear and dry mouth an actor experiences standing in front of a CD (casting director).”
When I was studying acting in Los Angeles, most of my instructors were actors/ directors. The shows that I was in under the direction of those same teachers were incredibly impactful because they knew how to connect with the cast on a deeper level, resulting in a more powerful performance.
Reed went on explain, “Once you’ve experienced it yourself, you’ll know what kind of help you’d like in various acting situations. How would you want to be directed? Would you prefer ‘try it a different way,’ or by being given specific direction? If you’re a writer, do the lines you read in class sound natural, or are they clunky and easily choked on? All of this experience can be illuminating and make you a better, more understanding professional.”
At the end of the day, my job is to make sure that everyone looks and sounds their best. It’s always worth the effort to step in and assist talent. So, if I have to take an extra ten minutes to work with an actor, I will do it every time because I’m only as good as those around me.