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Adam Orton

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About Adam Orton

  • Birthday 02/26/1985

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  • Location
    Chicago, IL
  • Specialties
    Directing, Cinematography, Music

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  1. Great advice! I get so caught up in being the actor's Director (with a capital 'D') that I occasionally lose touch of the basics and what's immediately important. Thanks a lot for your insight, Jim! Very interesting. I'd like to play around with this sometime. And all of what you said holds true to the common saying, "90% of directing is casting." Thanks for your comment! BTW, I've read and own both of Judith Weston's books on directing. The script analysis sections have especially helped me.
  2. Jim, you mentioned that you use a mix until you learn "how the actor is working." What are some of the other methods you might use? I've taken a few acting workshops just to familiarize myself with the process; there have maybe been one or two extra things I've picked up from it that have helped me become a better director, but unfortunately I simply haven't had the time and experience that you have probably had. (And looking back, the acting workshops were pretty sub-par as far as acting courses go.) So, for my own learning and curiosity, how has your personal experience as an actor helped you become a better director?
  3. This reminds me of a recent directing experience. I started putting the scene in a different context with a metaphor...talking about how the actor's character hasn't talked to his sister in years...how his sister has treated him in past, comparing it to a confrontation at a school yard with a bully in Elementary school. The darned conversation consisted of me talking for a half an hour. Finally the actor broke and said, "What do you want!?!" I felt pretty dumb. Anyway, thanks for all advice. I guess I do have a tendency to care more about the process than the result, mainly because I'm very self-conscious of frustrating my actors. But in that case, the exact opposite happened...so this goes to show there are exceptions to every rule. Michael Caine is one of my favorite actors!
  4. I'm training myself to watch the actor...as a low-budget director I've kind of been stuck in a rut of putting too much focus into the 'shot' as a DP would (lighting, framing, focus, etc...) So lately as the stuff I've worked on has become more and more and more complex (from a dramatic, text analysis standpoint), I'm making it a priority to keep my eyes and attention locked on the actor. Which I'm very proud to say I'm making progress. (I recently used a take with a small continuity error in the lighting simply because the performance was better. Granted, the lighting error was pretty inconspicuous...) You answered my question perfectly in regards to my "how to shoot it" question with the Walken illustration. That's the kind of performance I try to get...not something I contrive, but something that comes from some organic place within the actor. Spielberg was obviously smart enough to use that take, even if it didn't technically stay continuous. So basically, we aren't always going to be able to plan for such occurrences, but sometimes there are ways to make them work. Lately I'm trying to steer away from coverage with a capital C. I love two-shots and masters. However, like you said, this is entirely dependent on the actor and the scene. Anyway, very nice insight, Alex. Thank you.
  5. I've come from various points of training and some have suggested that you keep actors rigidly headed in a direction... to be resultant here, lets pretend you need a character 'angry' at his wife in a scene where he catches her cheating on him. (I'm aware that 'angry' is a massive oversimplification...but I'm using it as an example of what would be read on the surface of the script.) A lot of training I've received says that you need to keep the actor going in this direction; it's your job to inspire the right emotions. It's your job to make sure that character looks 'angry' at his wife. Recently I happened upon a book that talks about letting actors listen to each other. If the actor playing the husband is aware that he loves his wife (up until this event), and truly listens to what she says in the scene (not just the words, but the meaning), you'll achieve a more naturalistic, moment-by-moment performance. For example, he won't just be angry...he'll be distraught, castrated, maybe then curious...alone...finally, anger. At the end of the scene you won't care about what you thought the performance was supposed to look like because you'll have something amazing and better than what you ever could have thought. Which is great and all. I'd rather have true to life performances in my film than 'resultant', audience-effect "fakery". The problem is, I've noticed that when an actor is truly 'listening' to the other character, it results in takes that don't always stay continuous. This is great for the stage, but what about a scene that must be covered in five different angles? How do you capture or recreate that spontaneous brilliance that is known as Moment-by-moment acting so it actually cuts together? This question could also be asked differently: How do you keep an actor 'fresh' take after take? I'm really asking three questions here. How do you guys spot bad 'listening' ? How do you encourage an actor to engage in better listening without seeming arrogant or hurting their feelings? Lastly, how the hell do you shoot it once you get it?
  6. Very nice work! I love the "L" shots with the shallow DOF. I remember seeing "Eyelids" at Take 1 and I loved everything about it. Out of curiosity, how/where did you transfer the "Eyelids" footage? I'm looking in to getting my PI film transferred to a higher quality. Right now I only have the DVD transfer Take 1 gave me.
  7. When I saw Gran Torino, there was a certain uneasiness I had toward the humor. Often times it was hard to tell if I was supposed to laugh at the absurd racial slurs or just realize that his character has a lot of faults. I think the film's true intention was to show that he was a good man, yet incredibly hard and racist. Unfortunately there were times when it seemed the movie couldn't make up its mind with what the true purpose of the racism was for -- it seemed as if we were supposed to laugh. I sensed that same feeling was with the rest of the audience in the theater. At times there were a few chuckles that fizzled out when the audience realized, "Wow. That's kind of mean." Also, the laughter was never really unanimous... Finally, this movie has some of the WORST acting I've seen in a long time. Eastwood was OK, but every other person in that film was terrible. (Except for maybe the barber and one of the gang-bangers.) I've talked to other people about it and they claimed that it wasn't as bad as other movies they've seen. They must be talking about narrative porn or zero-budget zombie action because I don't know what kind of film could have worse. Someone on here said it's on par with a lot of student films. I agree, but only if you believe that most student films have unwatchable performances. :rolleyes: Maybe it is just me. Surprisingly, and this is strange to say, in the end I enjoyed it. I guess the film is exceptional in that way. The weak aspects I've mentioned here didn't completely drag the movie down for me. :rolleyes:
  8. Very well said. I like that more than my half-witted answer. And I won't disagree with Mr. Allen's comment either :rolleyes:
  9. That old? :rolleyes: Thanks for reminding me though. Yeah, I see where you're coming from. And I think that you could very well consider it to be casting. Whether you're talking about directing actors exclusively or directing the crew, it's all the same idea. You get talented people to bring more to the table. Theoretically, if you spend enough time hiring a cast and crew who all have the same vision and excel at their jobs, you wouldn't have to do much :rolleyes: My argument is that Sundance is likely referring to the verb "to direct" as in a collaboration between the director and actor. For theatre people, "directing" is almost exclusively that... Obviously there's more to making a film than just running a casting session. The most important part of directing, to me at least, is working with the actors. Doesn't matter. I'm not mouthing off nonsense. I don't know what to say to you, buddy. I don't mean to be rude to you, but you come off with an attitude that triggers a negative reaction. Your answers are more opinion-based than anything. That's fine, but when your answers are subjective people look to you to have some experience...which you have none. I gave my opinion on this thread because I have enough experience in theatre and directing to know how difficult it really is. And I've experienced the pitfalls of putting weak actors in a movie with a darn good script. Doesn't work. I've also worked with professional actors and professional directors and have had to struggle with learning how to communicate with them. I could be wrong about everything I say, but I'm coming from somewhere, at least. Anyway, cheers man. Just go make a movie!! I mean that in the nicest way.
  10. Wow. So wrong, Benson. When Sundance is referring to "directing" (as it relates to casting, and as Theatre Directors refer to it), they are talking about the responsibility of the director to obtain a dramatically effective performance from an actor. Yeah, directors have to worry about coverage and coordinating the talents of everyone on board the project, but a HUGE part of directing is working with actors. Directing actors is probably one of the most difficult and intuitive processes on the set. You can't learn it from reading a book or from figuring out many feet of 35mm film equates to running time as you've illustrated for us. For a movie to be dramatically effective, it must have good performances. For a movie to have good performances, it needs to have good actors. You catching on yet? Do you know what beats are? Action verbs? Do you know what drama is? Acting? You clearly don't if you think directing is only about "covering" a scene. Do you have a film in Sundance? Or anywhere?
  11. In terms of directing actors at least, I'd agree. The more suited an actor is for a role and the more talent they bring to the table, the less time you have to spend "polishing".
  12. FYI, you quote someone by simply pushing the 'quote' button, as I've done. And Imperial is also referred to as US customary units. Anyway, if you aren't aware of what measurement you are using to focus, this can really screw up your footage, obviously. It's a simple mess-up but is easy to do if you're constantly switching between lenses.
  13. This is just a wild guess....I only know because I know someone who did it with a Bolex. Are the measurements on the lens Metric or US? Were you using the same for the distance? Our school has both, so you always have to make sure you know what lens you have.
  14. I think I know what you're getting at... "A true director does what he/she believes will make a good film and can only hope that others appreciate it." I still believe that good directors usually get people to like their movies. They don't have to appeal to masses, but they should be able to consistently deliver work that pleases the film's intended audience or creates an intended response. Otherwise, they ain't gonna be making movies very long...at least financed ones. I can put all the subjective logic I want into filming myself pooping on a stick; no one will buy it, though. Therefore, I would consider myself a very BAD director. :rolleyes:
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