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  • Writer's pictureDanny Stack

Working With Actors

After the success of To England With Love and Christmas in the Cotswolds, Reel One hired me & Tim to direct another Christmas movie - and we wrapped last week. It was a lot of fun shooting Christmas in and around the spring sunshine. We peppered the locations with snow (courtesty of Snowboy Systems), making everything look a real festive treat. The film will be on this Christmas so when I know TX details, I'm sure you won't miss me sharing them here or on social media.

Me directing Kathryn Davis on set

Directing a live-action film (as opposed to writing for animation, which I regularly do) is a great experience, especially collaborating with Tim, which makes filming doubly fun and efficient. We love the prep time, finding the locations, and once we're filming - the camaraderie with the crew. What we love possibly above all else is working with the actors. Tim mentioned it yesterday when we were chatting in the office: "it's the only department that's exclusively ours". Sure, hair & make up and costume get close to the actors too, but we're the ones responsible to cajole their moods and performances. No-one else can help us with that. And we love it. Getting to know an actor as a person, and then getting to know their skill in front of a camera. Listening to their questions, concerns, and feedback. Guiding them to the necessary understanding, tone and expression of performance. It's endlessly fascinating and rewarding.

Tim & I on set with our acting troupe

We were extremely lucky on this latest film to have a great ensemble cast. We tried to foster a sense of a close knit actor troupe who were attentive and supportive of us and each other, as well as the practical needs of production. Not only did they deliver everything we needed on screen, we had a great laugh with them off-camera. So much of what works in production can be the invisible moments or energy that get generated by certain personalities and dynamics. And it's a director's job to set that constructive tone and lead the way, something which is very important for me and Tim in our on-set endeavours: create a good time for cast & crew, and create magic on screen.


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