ISBF007 – Directing Tips, and Result-Driven vs Playable Directions

Filmmaker Kenn Crawford with Colin and Stephen
Kenn Crawford directing seven-foot-one actor, Colin Ferguson.

Every director has his or her own style, and not every actor responds well to Result-Driven directions. Some work better with Playable directions. Knowing the difference between the two can help you get the best performance out of your actors.

So what is Result-Driven directing? If you’re watching a take and you think it should be played with more anger, chances are you will instruct your actor to show more anger. That is Result-Driven directing. You’re attempting to shape the actor’s performance by describing the result you want rather than giving them directions on how they can get to that result.

When you give result-driven directions by using terms like more angrier, happier, more depressed, more thoughtful, or you give non-specific directions like “be more emotional,” you’re asking them to reverse engineer what they are naturally doing in the scene, and to externalize their acting into what they think that have to do to give you what you want.

The actor then becomes more self-conscious and more analytical of their performance,, and they’re less “in the moment,” which means the performance will suffer because they’re overthinking their acting rather than just being the character.

But when you talk to the character (and not the actor) and give them Playable Direction, you will help them give you a better performance.

Playable direction is when you give them something to do, say or feel to help put them in the right mindset so they can play the scene as the character and not as an actor.

On today’s episode I explore the difference between result-driven and playable directions, I explain how and why you should direct your characters instead of your actors, and I’ll give you some directing tips that’ll help you create the type of film set that actors will want to work on – even if they’re not getting paid.


Author: Kenn Crawford

author | filmmaker