Director’s Toolkit with Jason Stutter

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Last weekend independent filmmaker Jason Stutter of Tongan Ninja, Predicament and Careful With That… entranced 10 budding drama directors with his practical approach to directing film. Jason is a proponent of the Steven Spielberg-style, and covered the master shot method he uses to get fast, efficient and effective wide shots that deliver coverage with little need for relighting.


On Day One, Jason spoke at length on his method, reveal tips that work for him to get connection between actors. To illustrate some of his points, he engaged participants in improvisation, and gave his thoughts on rehearsing and how to deal with exposition.

Experienced actors Nicola Kawana and Steven Papps joined the class in the afternoon, when Jason ran through his blocking technique and how he moves actors to final performance using a scene from a highly acclaimed TV drama.

On Day Two, Jason introduced further techniques he uses with actors to develop connection, before moving on to visual effects, technical considerations and the importance of Art Department, Costume, Makeup and other tools that build character.

Having just returned from the American Film market where he pitched his film in post production and his next planned feature, Jason gave everyone the benefit of his market wisdom and knowledge, particularly on the US film making scene.

The afternoon was spent working with talented actors Steven Lovatt, Jeff Szusterman and Rene Lyons as Jason worked through blocking, coverage further techniques on how to get the best performance.


For the directors attending, the benefits were immense:
“This was a very valuable experience and I learnt a lot. I felt very free to question and participate in the workshop. Jason is a great communicator and can pass on the experience he has has to people in a warm and non-threatening way.”

Day Two ended with a discussion over drinks as the participants questioned Jason and the actors, seeking to draw out as much wisdom as possible. Our first, and highly successful, Directors Toolkit!

This event was made possible through the financial support of the New Zealand Film Commission.

Last updated on 13 February 2018