Working with Actors - FILM6290

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module provides an introduction to some key current industry practice surrounding working with actors. Students will explore the practice and ethics of the casting, as well as examining current UK and US industry trends and debates. The module also explores the role and expectations of the professional actor working in film. By practical and theoretical exploration of mainstream acting methodologies, and practitioners such as Stanislavski, Mamet and Meisner, students will develop practical skills and vocabularies for engaging productively with actors on shoots and in rehearsal. The module will also examine the practice of working with non-actors as performers, and scrutinise some more unconventional working methods espoused by directors who may include, but are not limited to, Mike Leigh, John Cassavetes, Ken Loach, Roberto Rossellini etc.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 40
Private study hours: 260
Total study hours: 300

Method of assessment

Essay (2500 words) (35%)
Casting Brief (30%)
Practical Assessment (35%)

Indicative reading

Catliff, S. & Granville, J. The Casting Handbook. Abingdon and New York: Routledge
Churcher, M. (2003) Acting for Film: truth 24 times a second. London: Virgin Books
Ewin, S. & Ewin, E. (2007) Typecasting: On the Arts and Sciences of Human Inequality. New York: Seven Stories Press
Mamet, D. 1991. On Directing Film. New York; London: Viking
Merlin, B. (2014) The Complete Stanislavsky Toolkit (revised ed.). London: Nick Hern Books
Weston, J. 1996. Directing actors: creating memorable performances for film and television. Studio City, California: M. Wiese Productions
Warner, K. J. 2015. The Cultural Politics of Colorblind TV Casting. Abingdon and New York: Routledge

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

- demonstrate an understanding of some key current and historical approaches to working with actors in recorded media;
- demonstrate a deepened theoretical and practical understanding of the casting industry, including an understanding of the ethical and political issues surrounding casting;
- demonstrate an understanding of mainstream professional acting practice, and an introduction to some key practitioners in the interlinking fields of acting and directing which may include, but are not limited to Stanislavski, Meisner, Mamet, Leigh, Yates, Mendes, Cassavetes;
- demonstrate an understanding of the role of director in working with actors in film;
- demonstrate a deepened awareness of industry law and contracts;
- demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the practice and ethics of working with non-actors in featured roles;
- demonstrate an understanding of industry expectations surrounding pay and working conditions for performers;
- demonstrate a practical understanding of how to create and distribute a casting brief from a script, and how to run casting sessions;
- demonstrate a practical understanding of directing actors on film;
- demonstrate the foundation of an ability to articulate, in technical terms, their own experience of directing, and the experience of observing actors at work.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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