Starting with Someone: Working with Non-Professional Actors, from Screenplay to Shoot
The creative process behind a film often begins by looking for someone. Filmmakers search for and then select one or more people to work with as the lynchpins in a future film. This has happened on several occasions in documentary, fiction and hybrid films by Neus Ballús (Mollet del Vallès, 1980).
Working with non-professional actors (or natural actors) is certainly a challenge for directors, but it can also be a valuable source of inspiration and experimentation that gives the material a fresh, unpredictable edge. Moreover, by starting a project with real people, directors can explore the fertile crossover between the real world and the emerging universe of the film.
In this seminar, Neus Ballús will talk about the different areas in which directors work with characters’ real worlds, both before and during the shoot. She will look at ways of getting close to characters and show how to cast and prepare natural actors for work in front of the camera, as well as exploring how real characters can affect the screenwriting process and influence the way a film takes shape. She will do so by looking at several of her own films as case studies, including La plaga (2013), Staff Only (2019) and her current feature in progress, Sis dies corrents (2019).
Neus Ballús graduated in audiovisual communication and has a master’s degree in creative documentary making from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Together with Pau Subirós, she founded El Kinògraf production company, which produced her two features to date, La plaga (2013) and Staff Only (2019), both presented at the Berlinale, as well as the television series Barcelona any zero (2008–2009) and Barcelona any 1 (2009). She is currently working on her third feature, Sis dies corrents.
Neus Ballús will give an eight-hour seminar at l'Alternativa to tie in with the parallel section showing her first four shorts.