Directing Masterclass with Lesley Manning

On Sunday 18th May, we welcomed the return of Director Lesley Manning to the Isle of Man to run a Directing workshop through MannIN Shorts.
Lesley comments;

MannIN shorts  is very special. It has a strong community spirit to it, its very generous, active and moving all the time.  It works really well.”

Lesley Manning Director Masterclass Class of 2014

Lesley Manning Director Masterclass Class of 2014

The day’s workshop opened with an improvisation exercise, getting the the budding directors into an actors mind set. An imperative quality of a director is their ability to understand and communicate effectively with their cast. The class then reviewed scenes from various films including CRASH, after which they discussed how the director blocked out the action with the actors and the camera. The purpose of this exercise was to develop an understanding of how the actors, and their movements support a certain geography of a scene, making sure the character representation within a false environment, creates a believable illusion for the viewer.

One of the scenes analysed during the workshop:- (Warning contains language some may find offensive)

In the afternoon, Lesley divided the class into groups of three and for the next two hours each group had to create three films, directed and shot by each respective member of the team, whilst the other two acted out the parts. In addition to the time restraint, the teams had an added technical challenge to get to grips with; each film had to be ‘edited in camera.’

To close the workshop, the whole group sat together and watched critically commenting on each others work. From the fifteen people who attended the workshop, fifteen scenes were filmed. Not bad for two hours work!

Lesley commented; ‘The scenes that were created were all really very entertaining and imaginative. It was great fun!’

Here’s an example of one of the fifteen films created. All action and dialogue is entirely improvised with the footage taken directly from camera, in sequence.

Following the workshop, Lesley told us;

‘I really hope that from today’s workshop, our future directors from the Isle of Man will think about how to change performance and think about were to put the camera.’

Emily Filming 'Sean Paul'

Emily Filming ‘Sean Paul’

…And from speaking with the attendees of the master class, it certainly seems the budding directors are walking away having learnt a great deal. We caught up with a few after the workshop;

What was your favourite part of the workshop?

“My favourite part of the workshop was learning by doing and being given complete creative freedom to come up with something off the cuff. ”
SELINA HOOPER Newbie MannIN Short member

Selina filming her actors

Selina filming her actors

“The chance to get my hands on a camera and a couple of actors taught me so much in just a few hours. I’ve heard time and again that film making is about “thinking in pictures” and “telling the story visually”. But the penny finally dropped when I looked through the lens, moved actors through space and chose what to focus on.”
Shawn Sturnick MannIN Shorts Short Film Director/ Writer

Shawn, Paul and Emily shooting their teams scenes

Shawn, Paul and Emily shooting their teams scenes

Why do you feel it is important that MannIN Shorts brings over talent from off Island to run workshops?

“Bringing over high calibre professionals is invaluable to give us an exposure to respected industry practitioners, where they can teach us how things work in practice, and devote time to training us in practical aspects of filmmaking.”
ADRIAN HALL MannIN Shorts Writer and Director

New MannIN Shorts attendee, QE2 student Lauren told us…

“As someone completely new to MannIN shorts and film making this workshop taught me so much. The opportunity to learn about many aspects of directing from directors themselves was truly incredible and my limited experience didn’t matter. Having the opportunity to write, direct and film your own scene is something extraordinary and the skills I learn’t in the process will stay with me for life.”
Lauren Wolfendale, QE2 Student.


Checking back footage during the workshop certainly put a smile on every ones face

MannIN Shorts strive to ensure workshops are as affordable as possible, to make sure everyone has a chance to attend. Our friends at Pokerstars subsidised this workshop, in order to make it as affordable as possible for those attending. We asked some of those who attended the workshops what they felt about the value for money of the day…

“The course was of great value! Thirty quid for something that would cost over three hundred in the UK. And as making a short film can be a costly affair in itself, investing in training ensures that the money spent on making a shorty is well spent. ”
ADRIAN  HALL MannIN Shorts Writer and Director

PokerStars banner” It’s massively important for Mannin Shorts to keep being able to bring over high calibre professionals such as Lesley as a wide range of professionals to learn from allows you to gain a real insight into your own filmmaking choices and abilities. Being able to make choices and learn in an environment like that, is an amazing opportunity especially when offered at the prices Mannin Shorts provides them at, due to local corporate sponsorship. ”
SELINA HOOPER Newbie MannIN Short member

Here’s a video we created from the day so you can see and hear exactly what went down…

A Little Bit About Lesley Manning

Lesley Manning observing the teams during the workshop

Lesley Manning observing the teams during the Mannin Shorts workshop

Welsh born Lesley Manning started making films at Bristol Art College where she graduated with 1st Class Honours. She trained at the National Film and Television School as a director.

Soon after graduating she directed drama for  BBC, among which was SCREEN ONE cult hit Ghostwatch, the highest rated single drama (since Cathy Come Home), voted by Channel Four as the most controversial TV drama.

Lesley directed My Sisterwife BBC SCREEN TWO film strand and won CRE Best drama, Best Asian film award and was screened at Dinard and Brussels film festivals.

2011 Leila is the first feature Lesley has written as well as directed – and was a finalist at Austin FFestival, winning Best actress at London Independent FF and Audience and Jury award for Best narrative at United FFestival.

2013 she co-produced and edited the feature length documentary about Ghostwatch  –  Ghostwatch behind the Curtains.

2013 Lesley has just completed  Honeycomb Lodge produced by Myf Hopkins

Photos in this blog by Christy

Photos in this blog by Christy MannIN Shorts

This Blog was created by Emily Cook - MannIN Shorts

This Blog was created by Emily Cook – MannIN Shorts


About MannIN Shorts

"MannIN Shorts" is a brand new Isle of Man film initiative set to provide a platform for hopeful filmmakers.  Young or old, local or international it provides a launch pad to develop skills, ideas and actually make films, right here on the Isle of Man.
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