Judith Weston

Studio For Actors And Directors

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One-On-One For Directors

Good preparation sets you free to follow your instincts.

Judith can read your script, and meet with you one-on-one (in person at her office in Los Angeles, or via Skype), to help you prepare to cast, rehearse and shoot. She brings you back to the emotional center of your project. She gives you tools to clarify and communicate your vision. She asks questions that other people don't ask.

Whether you are the writer-director, or whether you are preparing to direct a project someone else has written, she gives you confidence and authority to make the script your own, and to think on your feet on the set. Judith has consulted on hundreds of projects representing all platforms, all budgets, and all genres, from big studio films to low-budget independent features, short films, television, webisodes, commercials, animation, and video games.

The focus of the work is the director's work with actors. It also helps prepare you for communicating with your other collaborators—cinematographers, editors, designers, casting directors, agents, and producers. Although Judith is not a script doctor, some writer-directors have found the work useful preparation for re-writes. 

"Every time I step on a set, I think of what Judith taught me.” - AVA DuVERNAY, director, SELMA (2015 Oscar and Golden Globe nominee for Best Film), SCANDAL, MIDDLE OF NOWHERE (winner of the Best Director Award at Sundance Film Festival and the Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award)

"Judith Weston has a genius for finding the soul of a script.” - JULIUS RAMSAY, director, THE WALKING DEAD

“Judith is immensely practical – unafraid to get down in the dirt, to argue, conspire, cajole, to give you the tools you need to overcome each day’s obstacles by any means necessary to make a scene, a moment, great. Perhaps rarest of all, she’s willing (kindly, constructively, but firmly) to give you the bad news, when something you’ve worked hard on still just isn’t that interesting. But there’s seldom a pause between that revelation and the moment when she calls your attention to the idea that helps you get the enterprise back on track."- ANDREW JARECKI, director, THE JINX, ALL GOOD THINGS, CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS; producer, CATFISH

The Program 

Feature-length films: I can be the most effective, and assure you a thorough preparation for your project, with three or more two-hour sessions; the sessions can be spaced a few days apart. The sooner you start the better—before pre-production, if possible. I can be available for follow-up sessions as well, and you can call me from the set, too. 

Television episodes: Television directors often receive the script only a few days before shooting. So here's my suggestion: that I meet with you for one or more two-hour sessions before you get the script; we can work on earlier episodes, to do the invaluable foundation prep of locating the spine and arc of the series, and the spines of the regular characters. Then when you receive the script for your episode, we can meet again, to look at choices for the characters, scene structure, spine, and arc in that episode.

Short films: It's best to schedule a two-hour session, with a one-hour follow-up.

Cost, Logistics, Requirements:

Fees are on a sliding scale:

$180/hour for projects budgeted at under $1 million
$200/hour for projects at $1-5 million
$220/hour for projects at $5-20 million
$250/hour for projects over $20 million

Plus a charge for reading the script. $90 for a full-length script. The charge for script reading may be higher if the script is over 90 pages. If it’s a short film, the script-reading charge will be lower, prorated to the length of the script; for instance, the charge for reading a 20-page script will be $20.

Once we have set a time for the consultation, you can send your script via PDF file. If you wish you can also send me visual materials and a link to a short (less than 10 minutes) sample of your previous work.

Consultation can be in person in Los Angeles, or by Skype video. Scheduling of appointments is subject to Judith’s availability.  

Payment for an in-person consultation can be by cash, check, or credit card. Payment for a Skype video consultation can only be by credit card.

It is required that you have read one of Judith’s books, either Directing Actors or The Film Director’s Intuition, prior to a consultation.

To arrange a session, contact John Hoskins john@judithweston.com

How To Prepare For Your Consultation

1. Re-read the script—whether you wrote it yourself or someone else wrote it. Let yourself re-connect with whatever it was that you love about the script and that made you undertake the project. As much as possible, let yourself read it as if for the first time. Read it out loud, slowly.

2. Think about what it is you wish to get from the consultation—your concerns and questions. I will ask you at the beginning of our meeting what you want to accomplish during our meeting.

3. For the first session, choose two scenes that you would like to focus on. 

4. If you have done some script analysis work on your own, that’s great. If you haven’t, that’s okay too—I can help get you started.

One-on-One Rehearsal Techniques for Directors

Private consultation is also available for directors who wish to practice rehearsal techniques one-on-one with Judith. For a description of the Rehearsal Techniques Consultation, click here

Please check the left Side-Bar for FAQs

  • "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