OBJECTIVES you all know they are what the character wants. You will find it helpful to phrase them “What does this character want from the other character” - for many reasons. You certainly do not HAVE to do it, but if, for example, the scene is flat, an actor is not engaged, or whatever, one thing that you might want to examine is the Objective and I don’t mean just making sure the actor knows it, but try ASKING the actor to ‘rephrase’ their objective in terms of something they’d like the other character to SAY or DO that could happen in this scene. (To say an objective is ‘to get married’ will tend to lead to less exciting, real acting than ‘to get him to propose.’ That’s quite real and can happen in real time in this scene. Engages the attention of the actor better and engages the actors with each other.)
Sometimes actors do this work for you, and it’s totally possible that you never have to even mention the objective much less phrase it in this active way because more experienced/more talented actors will do this naturally. This is just something that always helps if things aren’t quite going as you like. It’s kind of like if the car isn’t working and you don’t know what it is, there are some basic places that you check.
You’re all very good at knowing about and using GIVEN CIRCUMSTANCES & STAKES (i.e all info about circumstance, environment, relationship, time, and everythign that has happened leading up to this moment. That was fabulous. You all had a sense of how to use these to help the acting, and deal with problems that arise.
ACTIONS/INTENTIONS - ok, here, I don’t really give a shit what you call them. I only use the terms “Actions” and “Intentions” because most actors use them to indicate HOW the character GETS the OBJECTIVE.
Some of you thought this meant physical behavior only, some of you thought it meant why the character wanted their objective (which would actually be “motivation” in actor speak and that would include ‘stakes’ - what they have to lose as well as what they have to gain and their history, etc.)
And “Action” is a tough word in film directing because it can refer to so many things 1. Beginning the scene, 2. Doing a physical behavior, 3. How the character gets their objective and I only use it because certain acting schools began using it instead of ‘intention’. (My 1st year acting teacher at Yale, made us look up the word ‘intention’ in the dictionary and it didn’t mean anything that ever happened, so we weren’t allowed to use it.) All that is just trivia.
The important part is that those are just words for HOW to get the objective which will pretty much always be HOW one character is AFFECTING another character (to get that objective.) Some actors (and directors) will use VERBS for this i.e. She’s “seducing” him, or “manipulating” him, or “insulting him” - and that is FINE. Works great.
Sometimes, you’ll get acting that is self-conscious or not active enough or sometimes actor is getting a bit too focused on his/her feelings in the scene (and let me say here that you’re usually gonna prefer that the audience feel something more than the actor feeling it not that it has to be a choice, but sometimes it is) and then helping the actor GET THE FOCUS OFF of themselves and ONTO THE OTHER CHARACTER is always helpful. It’s also a great way to help an actor relax. And a way to phrase the intention (i.e. How to get the objective) is “HOW DO I WANT TO MAKE THE OTHER CHARACTER FEEL.”
THEN, he/she has to PAY ATTENTION to HOW they are AFFECTING the other character and see if it’s WORKING.
And if it IS keep doing it, and if it’s NOT try something else. (Actors usually get excited & start having fun when this shift is made if they weren’t earlier.)
This also can create some very nice moment-to-moment acting.
Again, you never have to do this, but it can be a valuable tool in this art of communicating with actors to get them to tell your story the way you envision it.