Careers: Acting, Performing, Directing/directing


hello mr sheppard good afternoon to you ...can i ask one question about directing when you have a single camera that is filming one scene say about 4 men who are having a dark conversation about a murder plot the camera is mainly focused on the 3 actors  but how do you have it focused for a second or two on the fourth actor to see his reaction from time to time during the meeting have you got to have retakes of the same scene short distance long distance versions  and then use digital to put all the different shots together  how would that be done if you donot mind me asking i'm rather inquisitive please reply  dillon

Hi Val,

Sorry for the slow reply, I have been on location for a week.

In answer to your question: Yes, unless you have multiple cameras, you must re-take the scene over for each reaction shot from each actor. Also, each camera needs to be the same resolution, etc., otherwise, the visual effect will be jarring to the viewer and remove them from the action due to the qualities of the image changing.

Of course, this requires good acting technique: making sure that the actors rehearse their lines and blocking and remember things like which way their heads were turned when a certain word was said, the expression on their face, etc. In other words, doing the EXACT same thing on each take to make the editing easier, yet not looking contrived, or "planned". Nothing kills an editor when trying to splice together a film and not being able to use an otherwise great take because some small flaw ruins the take. (The actor suddenly looking left instead of right. Editing is a true art. You often must take a master shot where people are making big gestures, then somehow switch to a medium or E.C.U. shot where the action is subtle.

In big budget movies, or tv live shows they can or must use multi camera setups, or in big effects scenes where they can only blow a building up once. When a single camera can cost more than most movies, and a lens is more than a super nice house, it is often the only choice to rent a camera for a sequence of shooting only. The rest of the time, its all about repetition.


Careers: Acting, Performing, Directing

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Taylor Sheppard


I can answer questions: on starting a career in acting, mistakes in acting, etiquette when dealing with industry contacts, finer points on how to act, and things to avoid in the field.


I have been a professional actor 21 years, with appearances in TV, Film and commercials. I have made good decisions and potentially damaging mistakes. I believe anyone who has a dream deserves to explore it, and I take their aspirations seriously. That being said, I do not pull punches. I try to be tactful, but I will not lie to someone, honesty is more effective. My last film role was in "Teeth" which was picked for Sundance in January 2007. It was sold to Lionsgate and Weinstein Co. for somewhere over 2.5 million. The role was "Mr. Griffith", a sex-ed teacher.

Ciao Agency-Austin/Georgetown, Texas. (Formerly known as Donna Adams Agency. Matthew McConaughey was a good friend and fellow member. I also have belonged to agencies in three other Texas cities, but they have since closed.) TXMPA -Texas Motion Picture Alliance. Various other internet networking web rings as well as Actors Access. I was instrumental in advising actress Krista Allen on getting her career in acting started in Austin,Texas (we worked at the same Health Club in the early '90's).

Previously wrote on a now defunct website such as this one. I enjoyed helping new actors.

I have acted for 21 years. I studied under James Nelson Harrell as well as other talented actors at Southwest Texas State University. After college, I have taken classes with Julliard graduate Mona Lee, Bill Johnson, Van Brookes, Marco Perella and others in Austin Texas. I am constantly attending classes to maintain my edge and explore new directions. In addition to attending strictly acting classes, I have also taken business workshops with respected casting directors, such as Shari Rhodes ("Jaws","Close Encounters", "Raggedy Man".) Barbara Brinkley, Jo Edna Bolden and Donise Hardy, (Castingworks LA).

©2016 All rights reserved.