If you can only pick one book from your director’s toolkit, “Directing Actors” by Judith Weston should be it. Weston’s wisdom is like a compass guiding directors through the delicate and intricate process of working with actors.

In this invaluable guide, she unveils the dos and don’ts of handling sensitive actors who lay bare their souls in front of an attentive crew. It’s a skill every director must master, and Weston’s insights are your key to success.

One of the gems in this book is Weston’s approach to script analysis. She unravels the subtext and undertones lurking within each line and every character’s action. It’s like peeling back the layers of a complex narrative, giving you a deeper understanding of your story.

Perhaps the most crucial lesson she imparts is the art of giving actable direction. She reminds us never to dictate how a performer should act but, instead, to provide business and actions that empower and motivate the actor to find the authentic moment they’re chasing. It’s a delicate balance, and Weston’s guidance is your North Star.

As a director, I’ve found myself returning to this book year after year. It serves as a poignant reminder of what truly matters in the craft of directing talent. I wholeheartedly recommend that you do the same. Let “Directing Actors” be your trusted companion on your journey to becoming a masterful director of performances. Your actors, and your audience, will thank you for it.

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