By Srikanth Kanchinadham. Posted on July 22, 2015
An excerpt from our series on Rakesh Anand Bakshi's book, 'Director's Diaries - The Road To Their First Films'.
"Let me tell you my usual process of directing actors. One of the direction assistants I always hire is an actor; and it does not matter if it is his or her first film as an assistant. I first stage the action between us. At this stage, o do not even think about camera placement, angle and lens because I first need to understand the space the actors are in, to discover the spatial relationship between the actor and the space that surrounds the actor.
I make this actor-assistant perform the scene along with me playing his or her co-actor; it is a low-energy, mechanical and amateur performance. But one that gives me, and even the cinematographer, a good sense of how the actors will naturally appear and move in that space.
Then I call the actors and show them the way my assistant and I performed the scene, which again is a mechanical performance. We show the actors only the mechanics of the scene, we do not dwell on the layers and emotions of the scene at that time. While the actors are observing us, naturally even the cinematographer and the art director are watching us.
Therefore, all the key departments, including lighting, get a sense of the angle of exposure, depth of field, etc. Then I make the actors rehearse the scene, again without getting into the scene’s layers and emotions. Sometimes, actors have suggestions on how they would enact a particular scene, and if I like their suggestion I tweak the mechanics of the scene to include their ideas. Once my director of photography (DOP) and I are satisfied with the mechanics of the scene, I finalize the placement of the camera and the lens."