For many directors, the thought of “directing actors” can instill panic. Directors who were once cinematographers, say, or who have worked on film sets, might be at ease working with crews or blocking shots but will freeze up when challenged to give notes to actors.
Such performance anxiety is not surprising. Unlike the crew, with whom directors have the whole shoot to develop working relationships, many actors are only on set for a few days. So it’s understandable that directors may worry about “getting it right” when it comes to guiding them in their performance.
But the thing is: there is no “right”.