In The Frame – Directors working with Actors

A course for Directors who are serious about optimizing the actor’s potential. This course is specifically designed for film directorsemerging and establishedwho truly want to understand the potential of the rehearsal process and elevate their work.

Lead by Nadia Townsend, one of the country’s leading film dramaturgs, known for her practical and effective approach to working with actors.  Nadia’s credits include Little Monsters, Mad Max – Fury Road, Hardball, Go Karts, Secret Daughter.


The relationship between Director and Actor is critical. Developing a genuine working relationship with actors is key to effectively transfer the story from the static script to the live screen performance. It requires practice.

Production budget constraints and time pressures can often reduce rehearsal time and limit the true potential of the Director, Actor relationship. This course allows you to unlock the art of playing, experimenting and authentically connecting within the rehearsal space so you can take your work to greater heights. Regardless of whether you have been in the game for years, or you’re just starting out, this course will offer you the opportunity to challenge yourself and raise your bar through a specialized directing experience.

This is a chance for directors to work with professional actors analysing and expanding your current practice, improving your collaborative creative skill-set and gaining the necessary tools to run a comprehensive and ethical rehearsal process. You will also find a practical language for optimum communication with actors to create greater depth in scene work.

ABOUT Nadia Townsend

Nadia started out as an actress and has been working in film, TV and theatre for the last 20 years. In the last 5 years or so Nadia has been brought on to local and international productions as a dramaturg to rehearse actors from all levels of experience, background and ability. Her credits as dramaturg include Little Monsters, Secret Daughter, Love Child, Brock, Mad Max Fury Road. She is known for her practical and tangible approach to rehearsals and the process of acting. Nadia teaches the language and process of acting for directors and producers at the Australian Film and Television School (AFTRS).


The course will begin September 8th 2019

Session 1: Sunday Sept 8 – full day

10am-5pm with directors

5.15pm- 6.30 pm with the actors and directors

Session 2: Sunday 22 Sept,  9am-12.30 pm

Session 3: SundayOct 6, 9am-12.30 pm

Session 4: Sunday Oct 20,  9am-12.30 pm

Prior to the commencement of the course the directors are required to nominate 3 scenes (1comedy, 1 drama, 1 of your choice)

Directors will be paired with professional actors from the Sydney Actors Collective studio, the directors are to rehearse, shoot and deliver 3 scenes over the duration of the course.

Session  1 – (FULL DAY)

The day will focus on:

  • Script analysis and how to use it effectively
  • Communicating with actors – active language
  • Designing a rehearsal
  • Your philosophy is your practice – take a look at your beliefs and how that translates into the way you work
  • Logistics – shooting, coverage, crew/camera, dates etc.

If you’re doing this course for the second time you’ll have a chance to go deeper into concepts, practices, aspects of the work you touched on the previous course.

5.30pm to 7pm Directors will meet with their actors.

Directors are required to come to the Sunday class with 4 scene options for the duration of the course.

Session 2, 3, 4 (9am -12.30pm)

These classes will be used to watch the scenes with all the actors and directors present. It’s a chance to analyse what worked, what didn’t and to try to understand why. Time permitting, scenes will be further workshopped in class.

Directors will deliver 3 scenes throughout the course.


VENUE: SAC Studios, 299 Enmore Rd Marrickville.

Note: To do this course, directors must have access to a camera, rehearsal space of some sort and have the ability to edit the scenes for presentation, though high production quality is not a necessity.


SAC is proud to offer this innovative course for directors. SAC has had many successful directors such as Nash Edgerton (Gringo), Rowan Woods (Rake), Tony Rogers (Wilfred), Rachel Ward, (Beautiful Kate), Wayne Blair (Cleverman) and more conduct masterclasses and support us in our venture to train the new generation of Australian film makers.

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