Providing coaching for actors and directors to work productively together using a technique developed by Stanford Meisner.

As Director of the British National Film and Television School, Stephen observed that -- not only at the NFTS, but also in film schools worldwide -- a negligible amount of time was spent teaching directors how to work with actors. For a film school graduate, directing one's first film with professional actors can feel like being cast to the lions. Most directors out of film school have a fragmented and misguided approach to directing actors.

A discovery of the work of the American acting teacher Sanford Meisner, and the actors who had trained under him - Hackman, Hoffman, DiCaprio, etc., not to mention directors such as Sydney Pollack, David Mamet, and Anthony Page - lead Stephen to explore Meisner's methods (and he did so intensively for 5 years).In them he discovered a highly useful systematic approach to directing actors, dispelling fear and opening communication, which provide astonishing results in performance. Stephen now considers these techniques to be THE core skills for any director.

Since completing his studies at the Actors Temple in London five years ago,  Stephen has been teaching joint workshops for directors  and actors, offering them practical tools for creating truthful, in-the-moment performances for film and stage. 

 In 2010 Stephen created the company Directing Arts, to provide courses on a range of skillsets essential to directors of film and theatre, centering around the Working With Actors workshops that Stephen teaches internationally, in partnership with Maria Gowland (Argentina). Stephen, aided by Maria, has taught at the International Film and TV School in Cuba, and delivered his workshops in London, Lagos, Cardiff and Madrid. Working With Actors is designed to eliminate the director's fear of actors, to give them hands-on experience of Meisner's techniques (working as actors), and to provide them with a toolkit with which to elicit truthful performances from actors. No distinction is made between stage and screen acting. 

As both director and producer Stephen has had ample experience in working with a variety of actors, with widely differing backgrounds. He has discovered that very few actors outside of the USA have an in-depth formation in the naturalistic acting techniques which are the foundation of contemporary cinema and theatre performance. He considers that many actors tend to "indicate" their emotions, and not allow them to "sit" within themselves and be expressed naturally and simply through action.

 

 For more information about the Workshop and Directing Arts please visit our links page.