The director should know how each actor works, how to get the best out of each actor and when there’s nothing more to be gotten. Yesterday i learned how a director can screw up an actor.
Our director did take after take with most actors (6 to 12 takes for most scenes); yet with one actor who didn’t get a good performance after 3 takes, the director gave up and went to the next scene.
I believe the director let his personal feelings get in the way of a good film. In this particular case to which i am referring –perhaps an anomaly, perhaps not– the director had barely been speaking to the actor for several weeks and it was clear to me he didn’t like the actor.
The actor gave great performances in several other scenes, even in the first or second take; so it wasn’t a case of the actor being a bad choice or being unable to work.
On the other hand, the director did multiple takes with actors who never gave a good performance and didn’t ever get better. He did have some patience to try–with all the other actors. But in the case of this one actor, the director didn’t want to give anything of himself to work with that actor, so he didn’t direct.
I was on set and saw him not give direction to that actor. Later i worked on the edit, so i saw in which scenes the director allowed the actor to find the performance and in in which scenes the director allowed a bad performance to stand as the circled take.