THE TABLE READING
“An actor is only one character, the director is every character.”
I like to bring all of my pertinent actors in for a table reading, sit everyone around a big table, feed everyone coffee and snacks, and read through the script twice. I don’t go over any blocking at this point. The whole premise is to get the ball rolling, write some notes, brainstorm some ideas, and see how your actors react to the scene and how they perform the dialogue.
If I have any first time actors, I will go over basic film techniques with them. It is better to go over this information now, rather than on set when the clock is ticking.
First Read Through
I like to keep my mouth shut for the first read through. Don’t give your actors any advice, or direction. During the first table reading, it is so important to simply sit back, observe, and just take notes. This first read through is a great time to study the actors. This is the only chance that the actors will have to physically show you their ideas, and they might bring something brilliant to the scene that you had never thought of. I tell the actors to have fun.
Second Read Through
The second time that we read through the script, I will go over my notes with the actors. I will begin to explain to them what I liked and what I didn’t like. Send your actors home with these notes so that they can properly prepare.