As a Yale educated theater director entering the world of filmmaking, I was surprised to discover how often film directors felt unable to get great performances from their actors. I was also hearing from actor friends, working on both indie and studio projects, how often they felt ignored, neglected, or even abused by their directors. Even when the director communicated enthusiastically to the actors, it was often still unclear to the actor how to play the scene. Clearly, there was a major communication gap between directors and actors that needed addressing. I had the luck to have had some extraordinary directing teachers, and many years of experience as a theater director, and decided to give it a try teaching film directors how to direct their actors. My approach developed organically as I saw what students needed, and over time it became natural to distill my decades of practical experience into The Tools, a straightforward and easy to use method to get great performances.
I have been teaching The Tools both at the NYU and Columbia Grad Film programs, and in private workshops around the world, for over twenty years now. I used them directing my first feature, which premiered at Sundance, and all my subsequent films. And I'm constantly using The Tools to coach directors to get the best from their actors, from high profile television shows like Bridgerton to award winning independent feature films like Our Father, The Devil, nominated Best Feature at the 2023 Independent Spirit Awards. I also learned early on that The Tools are wonderfully helpful for screenwriters, and those directors who study with me and are also screenwriters invariably find the same thing. I constantly use them with my script consulting clients as well as for my own writing. I love sharing The Tools with other filmmakers, empowering them to get the best from their actors, improve their screenwriting and elevate their projects. I hope you will enjoy learning The Tools - and use them! - for many years to come.
– Adrienne Weiss, Founder / DIRECTING ACTORS