Reflect on two tips from Notes on Directing section VII.
58. Start Nice
Developing a common language between the director and actors is especially important when working with my peers. I do like to have a good time in rehearsal, so having phrases and body language shifts to signal the actors that we have to get back to business is key to me running an efficient rehearsal. I'm fine with some joking around, but as soon as I say "lights up and go" they know that it's time to work. I think using softer language encourages my actors and makes them more receptive to feedback and to creating good work. They aren't scared of sharing and experimenting in front of me, or each other.
If a situation were to arise where I needed to be a little more harsh, my actors would know that something was off in their behavior sine mine has changed. Starting at the base of niceness and professionalism gives them a marker for how our process is going to work and my expectations for behavior, since I am modeling it for them.
61. Sincerely praise actors early and often
This is related to the advice Janeve gave us about sandwiching our praise and critiques. It is more important to tell an actor what they are doing right so that they don't shut down. I have had note sessions where I received a few critiques but because I was an actor and because human psychologically skew negative when receiving information, I was devastated by just a few "bad" comments. Did I deserve them? Probably, but I didn't get any positive notes to soften the blow, so I shut down and was in a very bad head space for a few days. I have been learning to say one good thing, an adjustment or "bad thing", and finish with a good thing. My actors in process have noticed this, one even commenting that I "was really into the posiive reinforcement thing". My actors are trusting me to not them look like idiots up on stage, and I have to uphold that trust.