Your reports Find reports How do we encourage directors not to be wankers? How do we encourage directors not to be wankers? Convener(s): Tom Wright Participants: Lots of people Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations: INTERESTING POINT: More directors than actors turned up. Distinction between being ‘wanky’ ie pretentious and a ‘wanker’ ie abusive. Difficulty of drawing a distinction between ‘wanker’ behaviour which genuinely pushes performers to be better and abuse. KEY QUESTION: Does the end justify the means? REASONS FOR WANKER BEHAVIOUR Fear of the actors as people Fear of the production failing and taking responsibility for that. Love of power for power’s sake. Difficulty of being a different kind of director according to each performers’ needs. The more in control a person feels the less they feel the need to be a wanker. There are certain situations in which being authoritarian is perfectly acceptable and definitely not wankerish. The problem is who decides this? Where and how is the line drawn? The importance of good dialogue between cast and director, starts at audition (Do they really want to work on the project? Do they really want to work with/know about the director?) Be clear at audition. Director training courses spend one afternoon on casting technique. KEY POINT: Difficulty of honest dialogue because of imbalance of status between most directors and their cast. Directors may be less wankerish if they received more emotional support from outside the rehearsal room. Is there a system of supervision/mentoring/feedback that would pick up abusive behaviour? Could assistant directors or artistic directors take on this role? Directors (and actors) need to accept that they are engaged in a process of life-long learning. It requires great conscious effort to make actors feel that they can be honest with directors in rehearsals. KEY POINT: The onus is on the person with the status to ensure that there is good communication. Ego gets in the way of art. Don’t assume actors know how well they are doing – praise. What is more important – doing great work or being a director people want to work with? Always keep back some anger (don’t go to emotional extremes as it leaves you no place for negotiation.) Post production feedback – discussions? Forms? Actually it’s ongoing and instant feedback (of the kind that actors receive) that’s important FUTURE ACTIONS A name and shame system were abuses are publicised. KEY POINT: A code of conduct or good practise for directors – if you have an idea on how to take this further please contact [email protected] As director, acknowledge your fear to the group.