A Practical Approach to Directing Actors in Film and Theatre
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About the author
Lenore DeKoven has had a distinguished and varied career in film, theatre, and television. Her activity in the film industry has included executive positions in the talent and story departments of Hecht-Lancaster and Palomar Pictures. She was the managing director of the Roundabout Theatre Company in its earlier days as well as producing several off-Broadway productions: among them Take a Giant Step with Louis Gossett and Entertain a Ghost with James Caan and Carol Rossen. DeKoven was a member of the Theatre Arts Division faculty of UCLA, where she taught acting and directing on the undergraduate and graduate levels. She directed The Miracle Worker at Freud Playhouse before returning to New York in 1980, where she directed Another World for NBCTV. She is a member of the Directors Guild of America, and the League of Professional Theatre Women and has directed many plays and staged readings in New York. From 1981 to 1988 she was on both the theatre and film faculties of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Since 1988 she has been a member of the directing actors faculty of the Graduate Film Division of Columbia University's School of the Arts. Since 1981 she has been artistic director of Our Workshop East, a development gym for actors, writers and directors
This approach, honed after years of on-set experience and from teaching at UCLA, NYU, and Columbia, and endorsed by many in the industry, including director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and producer/actor Edward Asner, aims to provide a helpful reference and resource for directors and actors alike. It combines underlying theory with dozens of exercises designed to reveal the actor's craft. There is material on constructing the throughline; analyzing the script; character needs; the casting and rehearsal processes; film vs. theater procedures as well as the actor and the camera. Distilling difficult concepts and a complex task to their simplest form, the author explains how to accurately capture and portray human behavior. The author's discussion of creative problems she has encountered or anticipated after years of experience, and her suggested solutions and exercises, are immediately useful. Additionally, hear what the actors have to say in excerpts from interviews with such acclaimed actors as Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington, Glenn Close, Robert Redford, Christopher Walken, Julianne Moore, and Michael Douglas (to name a few) who discuss their work with directors, what inspires them, and what they really want from the director.
Taylor and Francis
; February 2006
216 pages; ISBN 9781136068935Read online
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Title: Changing Direction
Author: Lenore DeKoven
In the press
"It is a difficult book to describe, but a fascinating one to read - essentially the author manages to explain how a director must capture and portray human behaviour." - Image Technology
"The essence of Lenore's distinctive methods, developed over many years, can be found in the pages of this excellent, clearly written book.
-Ang Lee, Director, Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
"Lenore DeKoven says in her introduction to her book, Changing Direction, that 'everyone wants to be in show business'. Well I am, but I've never wanted to direct. After reading Lenore's book, I may reconsider my career choice."
-Edward Asner, Actor/Producer
"I was one of the many people who over the years, asked Lenore to write her book, and finally she has. It's a thrill to read, as well as a reminder of her great gift -- her deep understanding of drama, directing, actors, everyday life, and most importantly her wealth of experience and huge heart. I will draw from this every time I work.
--Kimberly Peirce, writer/director of Boys Don't Cry, Stop-Loss, student of Lenore's
"Lenore DeKoven has written a great book for the director searching for practical advice on the techniques of directing actors. Her work as a teacher has already affected a generation of young filmmakers [including Kim Peirce (Boys Don't Cry). One would be hard-pressed to find a more comprehensive and clear approach to working with actors.
--Bette Gordon, Director and Acting Chair of Film Division, School of the Arts, Columbia University
"This book is much needed on the shelves for students and individuals interested in directing actors for film and theatre. Very few books offer this approach with such specific and practical steps laid out in detail, step by step."
-Sheldon Schiffer, Georgia State University