Judith Weston

Studio For Actors And Directors

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Script Analysis & Rehearsal Techniques

A thorough, meticulous, and intimate investigation of process that will take you step by step through the tools of script analysis preparation and into the rehearsal experience. A follow-up to Judith's Acting for Directors, you put the tools into practice, forge new skills, hone and raise to a new level the skills you have. 

"Every time I step on a set, I think of what Judith taught me. Every time I begin a project, I review a notebook I kept during the years I studied with her. Every time I'm in rehearsal, I'm using her techniques. Every time I'm in a bind within a scene, I go back to the foundation she gave me. I didn't go to film school. I sat in Judith Weston's workshops, took everything she said to heart, then went out and started telling my stories. I'm so grateful for that path—and for her." - AVA DuVERNAY, Winner of the Best Director Award at Sundance Film Festival 2012, Winner of the Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award for MIDDLE OF NOWHERE 

How exactly do you bring the words of a script off the page and into life? How do you access the rich, inexhaustible subworld of a script and connect it to the infinite resource of your own imagination? How do you keep getting deeper, simpler, and truer with your ideas? How do you become a great storyteller? Where do you find the hot button words and phrases to whisper to an actor just before the camera rolls that make the actor feel stimulated and supported by an "actor's director"? Where do you begin? And how do you keep going when you get stuck?

“Judith Weston is a great teacher. She's inspired me to be interested in people more than concepts, behavior more than attitudes, process more than results. In her classes I've learned to ask more questions, to trust what is happening, and to always be willing to dig deeper. She is the kind of teacher who makes me excited about taking chances." - NORMAN BUCKLEY, director, PRETTY LITTLE LIARS, RIZZOLI & ISLES, THE FOSTERS, THE CLIENT LIST, SWITCHED AT BIRTH, GOSSIP GIRL, CHUCK, MELROSE PLACE, 90210, THE O.C.

For schedule and pricing visit Workshop Schedule.

The Course

This workshop brings many practical benefits:

  • Communicate and connect with actors—gain their trust, troubleshoot their resistances, discover breakthroughs.
  • Clearly articulate your vision.
  • Uncover a deeper emotional connection to your work.
  • Leadership skills, to get the job done without shutting down actors' creativity.
  • Solve and shape a scene, make the scene work so something happens in it that tells the story.
  • Locate the subtext emotional life. Make the emotional transitions believable and surprising.
  • Blocking—finding movement and activities that express the emotional life of a scene.
  • Plus this unquantifiable benefit—the deep, vibrant connection to story and characters that leads to joy and creative satisfaction in your work.

In the intense and transformative script analysis workshop, we make a uniquely detailed and depthful investigation into the subworld of a feature-length script, chosen by Judith (usually an as-yet-unreleased major studio project). The script is sent to you in advance, to be read before the workshop. During the first two days, we delve into the script's subtext, and unlock its playable secrets—its emotional history, as ifs, and spines; its imagery, themes, emotional events and arc. This gives you a framework for your ideas that clarifies and deepens your vision and at the same time opens you to the actors' contributions and to the happy accidents of a creative workplace. So you can bring the script to life through the actors. The approach is at once profoundly radical and completely practical, providing language and strategies for any contingency of casting, rehearsal and shooting. Thorough preparation sets you free to follow your instincts on the set.

In the final two days of the workshop, we practice rehearsal techniques. You direct scenes from this script with professional actors (provided by Judith) as well as each other. Then Judith's critique pinpoints your strengths and weaknesses and offers techniques to take the work to a new level. These techniques hold for all professional situations—casting, rehearsal if you have time for it, and on the set even when there is no time for formal rehearsal. You rehearse in front of the group, so you get to observe the other directors work with actors, too—an invaluable source of inspiration and new ideas. There are abundant practical applications of the techniques—and there is strength and freedom resulting from this work that must be experienced to be believed.

Requirements

The workshop is limited to ten directors. It is open to people who have taken Judith's Acting for Directors workshop. It is totally hands-on with lots of one-on-one feedback and consultation.
 
It is also possible to take this workshop as an "observer," which means that you participate fully in the Script Analysis portion of the workshop (the first two days), and observe (without directing scenes) the Rehearsal Techniques portion (the second two days). The cost for "observers" is $700. Actors may attend this workshop as "observers" if they wish. (Actors of a sufficient level of experience may volunteer to help out as actors on the fourth day of the workshop, without charge.)
 
All those who take the workshop, whether as "participants" or "observers" need to have taken the Acting for Directors workshop, and need to have read either Directing Actors or The Film Director's Intuition—or both. You will get the most out of the workshop if you have read both books.
 
There is preparation and homework required for this class.
 
For schedule and pricing visit Workshop Schedule.
 
A $300 deposit ensures your place (enrollment is limited); the remainder is due at the first class. The deposit is non-refundable; if you cancel, and we can fill your space from the wait list, the deposit can be rolled over to the next available workshop, within one year.

 

  • "Judith taught me how to communicate with actors in a completely new way, and what I learned from her has had a huge influence over both my work and my life. She is an incredible communicator, a gifted teacher, and a remarkable human being. I can't recommend her classes highly enough for directors and actors who want to bring more emotional truth to their craft."

    JULIUS RAMSAY, director, THE WALKING DEAD
  • "All the scary transformative moments I've had in your class really paid off. And I can never begin to thank you for all that you've done for me. I'm simply not the same person I was when I started my journey with you."

    ANDREA TOYIAS, Voice Director, Blizzard Entertainment, WORLD OF WARCRAFT / DIABLO / STARCRAFT
  • “I really wanted to thank you because I know that I could have not done it without the knowledge I got from you. You will always be one of the greatest teachers I've ever had and I'm truly proud to be one of your students. Thank you for teaching me to love my actors.”

    TANEL TOOM, writer-director, THE CONFESSION (nominated for Academy Award, Live Action Short Film, 2011)
  • “I took a seminar with an acting teacher named Judith Weston. I learned a key insight to character. She believed that all well-drawn characters have a spine, and the idea is that the character has an inner motor, a dominant, unconscious goal that they’re striving for, an itch that they can’t scratch. I took to this like a duck to water.”

    ANDREW STANTON [from his Feb 2012 TED Talk] writer-director, WALL-E, FINDING NEMO, A BUG’S LIFE; writer, TOY STORY, TOY STORY 2, TOY STORY 3
  • "Directing my first movie would have been impossible without Judith's book, 'Directing Actors.' Her insights taught me how to audition actors, how to cast intelligently, how to rehearse. When production began, I cribbed a set of Weston reminders on to a 3-by-5 index card, and kept it in my shirt pocket every single day of shooting. She saved me."

    BILLY RAY, writer-director, SHATTERED GLASS, BREACH; writer, CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, THE HUNGER GAMES, STATE OF PLAY, FLIGHTPLAN
  • "Judith, you're the one that gave me the tools for success with actors!"

    KAREN GAVIOLA, director, SONS OF ANARCHY, CRIMINAL MINDS, CSI, NCIS, BLUE BLOODS, CSI:MIAMI, CASTLE, PRIVATE PRACTICE, LOST, GHOST WHISPERER, PRISON BREAK, BROTHERS AND SISTERS, NYPD BLUE
  • “Judith Weston taught me how to listen – what she called ‘listening with your whole body.’ She taught me about the power and the magic of the subconscious world. She showed me doors and windows and portals into creative possibilities I scarcely knew existed. Her wisdom changed the way I write, the way I direct actors – and, with no exaggeration, the way I look at life.”

    MARK FERGUS, co-writer: CHILDREN OF MEN, IRON MAN; director: FIRST SNOW
  • "Judith Weston is a great teacher. She's inspired me to be interested in people more than concepts, behavior more than attitudes, process more than results. In her classes I've learned to ask more questions, to trust what is happening, and to always be willing to dig deeper. She is the kind of teacher who makes me excited about taking chances." 

    NORMAN BUCKLEY, director, PRETTY LITTLE LIARS, RIZZOLI & ISLES, THE FOSTERS, THE CLIENT LIST, SWITCHED AT BIRTH, GOSSIP GIRL, CHUCK, MELROSE PLACE, 90210, THE O.C.
  • “You've taught me the essential tools so I could carry on with the visions that haunt me day and night and to embrace the process which I will continue to learn. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

    DEJA PREM, writer/producer/director/actor, at Green Coco Production
  • “Your workshop was wonderful in letting me know that many of the things I am already doing are the correct way of dealing with actors and taught me other things that add to that knowledge. And your patience and unbridled energy and passion for what you teach is more than admirable, it is inspiring. So thank you once again for this wonderful experience, one I will never forget and that will continue to help me on this path on which I am forever learning about new and wonderful things.”

    MICHAEL TRIM, director, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, WEEDS, PARKS AND RECREATION
  • "Judith Weston is not a drama teacher, she is an art teacher. She understands that at the heart of great drama is a powerful mystery. What she shows you in her workshops and her book are simple and effective tools that help you get deeper and deeper into that rich, complex and surprising place."

    DAVID JACOBSON, writer-director, DOWN IN THE VALLEY, DAHMER
  • “In your classes I learned to love actors and acting. The experience opened for me the secret door to the magic I witnessed when actor and material find each other in just the right way. What I once thought were 'happy accidents' and performance miracles are now the kernels of creativity I relentlessly pursue with an actor finding a performance. You helped me find that part I could play in the process and how to capture it.”

    FRED TOYE, director, THE GOOD WIFE, PERSON OF INTEREST, RIZZOLI & ISLES, FRINGE, CHUCK, CSI:NY, LOST, BROTHERS AND SISTERS, GHOST WHISPERER, CHUCK
  • “Judith Weston gave me the greatest gift you can give to a first-time director - she gave me confidence in my ability to work with actors. I will be forever grateful for her extremely hands on and applicable advice for directing actors and I know I will use it for the rest of my career. She has a contagious love of the process and an unbelievable understanding of human emotion. I would not be where I am today if it had not been for her.” 

    SHANA FESTE, writer-director, ENDLESS LOVE, COUNTRY STRONG, THE GREATEST
  • "Judith's method is wonderful because it is practical. She has given me numerous tools to solve problems on the set and to earn the trust of actors. Her classes and her book are invaluable resources to any director."

    LAWRENCE TRILLING, director, MASTERS OF SEX, PARENTHOOD, PUSHING DAISIES, DAMAGES, BROTHERS AND SISTERS, NIP/TUCK, MONK, SCRUBS, INVASION, ALIAS, FELICITY
  • "Every time I step on a set, I think of what Judith taught me. Every time I begin a project, I review a notebook I kept during the years I studied with her. Every time I'm in rehearsal, I'm using her techniques. Every time I'm in a bind within a scene, I go back to the foundation she gave me. I didn't go to film school. I sat in Judith Weston's workshops, took everything she said to heart, then went out and started telling my stories. I'm so grateful for that path - and for her."

    AVA DuVERNAY, director, SELMA (2015 Golden Globe nominee for Best Film, and Best Director), SCANDAL, MIDDLE OF NOWHERE (winner of the Best Director Award at Sundance Film Festival and the I
  • "Judith's ideas and principles are incredibly useful when it comes to giving clear, actionable direction to actors. To anyone aspiring to direct, I would recommend making her classroom one of your first stops."

    LEV L. SPIRO, director, MODERN FAMILY, UGLY BETTY, WEEDS, EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS, ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, ARLI$$, THE O.C., EVERWOOD, GILMORE GIRLS
  • "Everything you taught me was more than useful. I am deeply grateful."

    ALEJANDRO GONZÁLEZ IÑÁRRITU, director, BIRDMAN, BIUTIFUL, BABEL, 21 GRAMS, AMORES PERROS