This is my first blog entry as part of my coursework for Directing I. My assignment for this entry is to choose two tips from part two of Notes on Directing by Frank Hauser and Russell Reich and discuss them in relationship to my work/goals/manifesto/experience.
19. Don't try to please everyone.
As a woman in this world, I am taught to please. If people don't like what I am doing then I am wrong. This can leave me struggling to accommodate every person's requests. As a director I will have to learn to filter out what is not pertinent to what I am doing and what my vision is. It is okay for me to say no to someone's suggestion if I feel like it will not benefit the production. As a woman in a position of power, like director, I have the responsibility to myself and to those I am leading to create a process and a product that will succeed. If this means making unpopular decisions then, so be it!
Saying no or rejecting a request doesn't make me a bad person, it makes me a strong one. I have to have the faith in my vision and the strength to stand up for it. This doesn't mean that I will never collaborate or take other people's suggestions or advice. I just have to be aware of the reason I am saying yes to something. Is it to please the asker, or because I believe it could be successful?
22. No actor likes a lazy director, or an ignorant one.
I have had experiences in the rehearsal process where I was unsure of the meaning of some period slang or couldn't understand a phrase of heightened language and when I asked my director, they couldn't tell me either. This sort of incident slows the process down. If an actor doesn't understand what they are saying they can't give a truthful performance. it's frustrating for an actor to look to their director for guidance and not receive it.
As a director in this class, I've learned that research is so vital to the creation of any production. You can't do Shakespeare if you, yourself don't have a firm grasp on how heightened language works, or how are you ever going to coach actors through the show. Knowledge of the world of the play and the world that the playwright wrote in can illuminate a layer of narrative that you wouldn't have known from reading just the text. The director has to be the most knowledgeable person in the room on the script and work the hardest to interpret it, it's just part of the job.