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Research and training includes insights into disciplines and milieus, learning languages and dialects or rehearsing choreographed vocal or dance performances that are filmed as part of the production. Research and training may be necessary due to the demands of a screenplay, be suggested by a director for staging reasons or might be initiated by production staff or actors themselves.
Research usually takes place in the form of working meetings with experts from a certain field, sometimes combined with a site visit. In this context, the participants can ask questions and get an immediate atmospheric insight into the field of work. For an actor who plays a surgeon in a clinic, for example, it can be valuable to have accompanied a real surgeon in his daily work routine. And for a scene or costume designer, it is indispensable to work on an historical fabric from a particular period in order to revive this period artistically.
Training sessions are limited to actors. Their goal is to convey an ability in such a way that the actor can present it credibly in front of the camera during filming. These can be general things like riding a horse, dancing or shooting, but could also be a very specialized performance of an opera aria or a ballet choreography. In the example of the surgeon, it may be necessary for the actor to learn how to act out the steps of a specialized procedure during an operation.
In order to be able to start training, the director uses the script to specify what she expects from which actor. A precise agreement is necessary in order to be able to use the preparation time effectively and to be able to check whether the training has been a success. This may have to be checked several times and, if necessary, corrective action may have to be taken. If the production has an overview of the staging requirements, it seeks suitable training opportunities in consultation with the actors. The presence of the director is not necessary, as long as the training that is carried out is effective. In these cases, training does not have to take place at the site of production itself.