Directing Actors: Ten Essential Tools for Getting Great Performances

Directing actors can be a challenge. How do you get the best out of your actors? How do you fix a performance that’s off?

Adrienne Weiss, Founder of developed a method that gives directors the skills they need to diagnose what’s wrong with performances and quickly make them great. Distilled from decades of practical experience, Weiss’ technique – The Tools for directing actors – teaches the essentials of how to get great performances, in a method that’s fun and easy to learn. Her approach works every day for her hundreds of clients and alumnae, from first-time directors to Golden Globe, Clio, Emmy and Oscar winners. In this evening talk Weiss will share highlights of her acclaimed technique followed by a demonstration with actors and a q&a session.

A graduate of Yale, Adrienne Weiss began her career as a theater director but became a filmmaker after realizing that in film she could combine her two great passions- powerful, spontaneous performance and beautiful images. Love, Ludlow, her first feature film as a director, premiered at Sundance ’05 and starred David Eigenberg, Brendan Sexton III and Alicia Goranson. The film screened at over 20 festivals worldwide, was released by Time/Warner DVD and was broadcast on Sundance Channel, Starz and other cable networks.

Weiss works regularly as a private directing actors and script coach for episodic television and advertisement. Recent gigs include acting as a script and directing actors coach for the Nike webseries Lily V. Margot, a campaign for Miu Miu, and episodes of Ray Donovan and Girls. Past favorites include 30 Rock, Damages, In Treatment, Monday Night Football and Grey’s Anatomy, among many others.

She also works regularly as a directing and script consultant for feature films. Projects include The Bad Intentions (shortlisted for Best Foreign Film Oscar), May in the Summer (Opening Night, Sundance), Homewrecker (Best of Next Award, Sundance), The Abolitionists and Murder of a President for American Experience (PBS), Sunbelt Express, Kalushi: The Solomon Mahlangu Story (post production) and Retablo (post.)

Weiss has taught the craft of directing actors for over twenty years, both at the NYU and Columbia University graduate film programs, and in private workshops in New York, LA and London. More information on her work can be found at


$15 for NYWIFT Members
$25 for Nonmembers
Register by prepayment online

December 19 @ 6:30pm
6:30 pm — 9:00 pm (2h 30′)

NYWIFT Conference Room
6 East 39th Street, Suite 1200
(Between Fifth and Madison Avenue)

$15 for Members
$25 for Nonmembers


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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.