Exploring how directors comprehend performance

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This paper seeks to explore how film directors comprehend an actor’s performance while it is being created by the actor on set, as the camera is rolling. The position of screen acting within film scholarship is discussed to draw attention to just how recently film scholars have shifted their position regarding the actor’s contribution to the film. This is followed by an examination of the valuable insights into comprehending actor performance that new discoveries in neuroscience and cognitive science are uncovering, along with first-hand research obtained from interviews with Australian directors and actors. By seeking to unpack to a more conscious level what many people (including highly regarded directors), believe to be predominantly an intuitive activity, we may better understand what is actually taking place during that moment on a film set when the director is comprehending the work of the actor as it is being created. This paper argues that it is largely through acute perception, which is linked to an ever-expanding body of both conscious and tacit knowledge regarding actor performance, rather than merely instinct or intuition, that the director is able to comprehend the actor’s performance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInteractive Media
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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