Character vs. Performance: What is Your Focus as a Director?

If you’re a director, you’re responsible for so much that goes on (or should be going on) on and off set, but your one primary role is to connect with, lead, and direct actors. There are many different ways to do this, butMark W. Travis, considered one of the world’s leading authorities on film directing, has shared some thoughts on the difference between directing with a focus on character versus performance, and weighs in on his opinion on the “right” approach to coaching actors — one that will encourage and guide them toward performing to their full potential.

Travis has done quite a bit throughout his 40-year directorial career. He has served as the creative consultant on many independent films, and has written books on directing, including L.A. Times #1 bestseller The Director’s JourneyAs a project, Travis has been sitting in on several acting teachers’ classes to observe their teaching styles, and has learned that actors who don’t perform well because of anxiety or tension all have a common thread — their director. He shares his findings in an article for The Wrap.

He says that the directors most common “first lines” after an actors performance are usually:

    • “What were you working on?”
    • “What do you want in this scene?”
    • “How do you think it went and what do you think is missing?”

Check out the rest of Character vs. Performance: What is Your Focus as a Director? , originally found on