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Thread: Nic Roeg Directors' Masterclass

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    Default Nic Roeg Directors' Masterclass

    Date: Friday 14th July Venue: Radisson Hotel Time: Afternoon

    The Galway Film Fleadh/Galway Film Centre in association with FAS Screen Training Ireland are proud to present the 2006 Directors' Masterclass with internationally renowned director Nic Roeg.

    Nic Roeg had directed some of the most original films of the last 30 years, his direction credits include WALKABOUT (1971), PERFORMANCE (1970) which he co- directed with Donald Cammell and starred Mick Jagger, THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (1976) which starred David Bowie and THE WITCHES (1990) based on the book by Roald Dahl. His most recent project is the feature film PUFFBALL (2006) which was shot in Ireland.

    Topics covered in the Masterclass will include the following:
    • Casting and auditioning
    • Planning the rehearsal
    • Improvisation in rehearsal
    • Directing emotionally big scenes


    Admission to the masterclass is by application only.
    Apply with CV/biography to masterclasses@galwayfilmfleadh.com

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    Smile

    I'm going to this one!

    Will write up a piece about it after. Hope Nic is as *interesting* as his films...

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    Okay so these Fleadh Masterclasses are more like public interviews. And a good bit over priced really ?75 (x 50 people) to listen to a chat...

    Anyway Nic Roeg was very entertaining and would ramble off for ages answering the even the simplest question. Sometimes he would mumble for a bit and you'd have dificulty following what he was on about and then he'd get to the end and you be gald you made the effort to keep listening.

    Interview covered mostly "Walkabout" and "Don't Look Now" but you could tell Nic didn't want to dwell too long in the past and wanted to talk about his new film "Puffball" (which he didn't quite get to). Basically he didn't want to be thought of as someone who made only films back in the 70's.

    Some great stories (and impersonations) about the making of "The Witches" and how they 'trained' real mice to replace the Creature Shop puppets and he repeatedly mentioned the importance of prop men.

    Wish I'd taken notes now as it would have made this write up easier but not sure how I would've due to the nature of the event.

    I always look at these things positively if afterwards you immediately want to go and see the movies being discussed. Credit card taking another bashing after this one...

  4. #4

    Default Director's Master Class

    Hi jaydeluxe,

    I think you've made a good point about these so-called "masterclasses" as they really should be re-named "public interviews" - it's a distortion of the easily distorted english language!

    I've been to a few in the past, and even the speakers acknowledge that since every film presents it's own set of unique challenges ("knowbody knows anything" - Elliot Grove) they can only offer insight into how they approached solving their own personal brief. Anecdotes can offer insight into individual approaches to filmmaking, but the only real masterclass comes from discussing projects face-to-face with fellow directors, and obviously getting out there and shooting. Beyond that I think the development of audio commentary on DVD's may make the masterclass format slightly irrelevant. Cheaper than ?75 too!

    Aaron.

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    Default

    Think there's something good about sharing the same room as the speaker. For me it humanises and de-mystifies them a bit.

    But agree with you. The day I spent (with 4 other writers) round the table with Robert Towne was a million times more constructive and educational than the 'masterclass' the next day.

  6. #6

    Default Waste of Time and Money

    Hey, I'd like to share my views of Nic Roeg's masterclass as I too was in attendance. Personally I found it a waste of time and money. I paid €75 for three hours of a masterclass in Galway (had to travel from Wicklow) to learn about (and I quote the Galway Film Fleadh) "casting and auditions, planning rehearsals, improvisation in rehearsals and directing emotionally big scenes." Instead I spent three hours listening to a distributor, who knew nothing about directing, ask Nic Roeg mundane questions aimed more at inflating his ego than seeking knowledge about his experiences as a director. Although I found Nic Roeg interesting and amusing, I did not get what I paid for.

    Coming from a technical background (camera assistant) I feel quite comfortable with the mechanics and logistics of making a film. What I really need now is to find out more about the human factor - directing actors. I was extremely anxious to find out about how one goes about auditioning and casting a role, about what a director should cover in a rehearsal with actors, and especially how to direct actors in emotional scenes. I think these things are the cornerstones of being an excellent director and unfortunately I was none the wiser after the masterclass. Nic Roeg admittedly made no preparation for the masterclass we paid to attend, and I found him quite reluctant to answer any question asked by the attendees. I accept that there are no hard and fast rules about how one should direct, but what I did expect was for Nic Roeg to tell us in a more linear fashion how he went about it on his individual films. I had seen the results, I just wanted to know the process behind these results. I don't think that was too much to ask. Especially since it is very rare for such a relatively successful director to be available for questions, here in Ireland.

    I have not had the opportunity to attend a Director's masterclass before, and probably went in with too high an expectation. However I do think that the advertisement for the masterclass was misleading.

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    Default

    I wonder if there's a point in contacting Galway Film Fleadh regarding the general ill feeling towards these public interviews, advertised and charged for as masterclasses.

  8. #8

    Default Good Idea!

    You're completely right. I mean there's no point just moaning about it. Its just going to happen again next year.

  9. #9

    Default

    Aideen - on your point about learning more about directing actors, if I might make a suggestion I would recommend Judith Weston's book 'Directing Actors' (suitably named indeed) as a starting point.

    It's well written and gives a good insight into how an actor prepares and performs, as well as having excellent sections on script breakdown, casting and rehearsal.

    I only have this book a while; I bought it to help me prepare for a short I was directing recently. I didn't get to read it as extensively as I would have liked in this instance but I still found it to be very beneficial. Check it out!
    "After everything I've done, even you are going to tell me what I can and cannot do now."

  10. #10

    Default Thanks!

    Thanks Smack Monkey for the referral to Judith's book on acting. Will definitely give it a look see.

  11. #11

    Default How to direct actors?

    I think to learn how to direct an actor one must first become the actor!

    So why not do an acting course, I did and I found it extremely usefull!

    and i do mean extremely!

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    Default Ditto

    Read the books, listen to the commentaries, do the courses - but get out there and act. I learned a huge amount about comedy from the standup I did (even though I sucked, as does everyone at first, apparently), and the same goes for the acting I've done. It's also brilliant for one's own personal development - it gave me self-confidence, humility, and a greater respect for those who ARE good at it (and make it seem so easy). Incidentally, the biggest effect it had was on my writing - I now think of actors a lot when writing; I have the desire to give them good dialogue, interesting scenes, and well-drawn characters with depth, so they have good raw material to work with. In my first film I had two amazing actors who worked miracles with a deeply average (the charitable description) script, and I think casting and performances are often overlooked - I had originally planned to shoot with newbie amateurs, and frankly the film would have been absolute garbage, instead of just flawed as it turned out.

    Also, IMO, a very important part is rehearsals - and I don't mean just read-throughs and blocking, I mean also character exploration, trust-building, improvisation, all that stuff.

    IMO it's important for the director to act as the actors' champion/protector - within the context of their role as the creative helm of the project.

    IMO I have a lot of opinions.

  13. #13

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    Does anyone know when this years one is or has it alreay passed? I'm always interested to learn more of the film directing craft. I think the television show Inside the Actors Studio is a good ground to learn the inner thoughts of directing actors, particularly the bit at the end of each show when the students ask the questions. I recommend that show as hugely imporant viewing. The same with the equally excellent Dinner for Five.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Devin View Post
    I learned a huge amount about comedy from the standup I did (even though I sucked, as does everyone at first, apparently), and the same goes for the acting I've done. It's also brilliant for one's own personal development - it gave me self-confidence, humility, and a greater respect for those who ARE good at it (and make it seem so easy).
    Dave Chappelle said something like that before. Stand-up comedy is a learning curve according to Chappelle. Before he started in stand-up , he went to the comedy clubs and laughed when comedians hit a flat note or their performance died on stage. He would seek out bad performances and learn how not to do stand-up first before he got the nerve to heckle the people on stage. It's note worthy that this exact same situation is re-enacted in the film The Nutty Professor when Sherman Clump is on stage and Chappelle is in the audience heckeling him. I might be a horrorible lesson in learning, but it worked for Chappelle.

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