Directors Lab


Barry Primus Master Class for Directors

The Directors may use the other participants in the class as actors, or may get their own actors.  As a note, it is extremely valuable for all Directors to do some acting and even if your actors are not quite right for the roles, this is still a very good work out for the directors and has great benefits.

The scenes we will use will be sent to the students.  They will be mostly from films; no more than 5 to 8 minutes in length.  If the directors want to use their own scenes, they should be published material.  If the directors use their own material that they have written, then the problems become more complicated as the writing may have not been completed and that presents us with more problems than just directing.  Special permission can be given for those scenes by the instructor, if reviewed beforehand.  It is possible to do scenes in another language by permission of the instructor, but there must be first a written scenario for the instructor and class in English.  However the class will be conducted in English.  We will be using many scenes from the screenplay “Good Will Hunting,” by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as well as possibly “Kramer vs. Kramer” or “Walk the Line.”  

Director’s workshop Day 1

  • Orientation
  • Successful directing of Actors
  • Results v. Process Direction
  • Understanding the use of images, actions, and circumstances
  • Simple improv’s as examples
  • Two scenes by directors read and worked on by the instructor and class as demonstrations of how we will work.
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon: two or three scenes to be worked on, each one has been rehearsed the night before by its directors.

Director’s workshop Day 2


  • Scenes to be worked on in the morning.
  • All Directors will hand in written material explaining their goals and how they worked on them.  
  • The Instructor will give out an example.
  • The Directors will supply the other members of the class with their notes and a copy of the scene.
  • The scenes will be gone over, then these Directors will go off and rehearse them again and we will bring all this work back in the afternoon.  
  • There will be exercises to explain acting problems here and there throughout the working day, time permitting.

Director’s workshop Day 3


  • We will have a camera available, which, from time to time, will be used to shoot a detail and explain the difference between film acting at its best and work that is pushed and less good.
  • Day 3 will be a repeat of day 2 with a lecture on breakdown of script using the famous movie “On the Waterfront” as an example.
  • The last moments will be used to explore any special problems that the Directors are bringing in on their own projects and to sum up the work.
  • There will be a recommendation by the instructor on how to proceed to further the Director’s knowledge: what books to read, what classes to attend.
  • The Instructor will be open to meeting individual students given the time to do it, possibly after classes or during lunch.