“Lets get acting!”
When people think of rehearsal they usually think of reading the script with actors and blocking out there movements. Though this may be true for stage plays, this is not the case for feature films. You cast these people because you trusted in their ability, so let them do their jobs and their research. Let them make decisions and mold them as you must, but also remember to trust in them.
Initial rehearsal time should be spent getting to know everyone in the room, actors with the actors, the actors with their characters, and you with the actors and their characters. I call this Organic Discovery!
Sit with each individual actor and discuss the characters back-story, character arc, through story, etc. Don’t tell the actor what and who their character is, instead guide them to the discovery of the character within themselves. How do you do this? By asking questions! The more prepared you are in terms of the character you are attempting to develop, the more questions you will have about a character. Be sure to write these down as you go.
Once, you have worked with the actors individually, it is now time to bring the characters together. I recommend doing some character improve sessions. Create a few scenarios to put the characters in that may have a similar function to certain scenes within the film. Then, allow them to play it out, see where it goes, everyone involved may discover new things about the characters that no one had thought of before. Again, take notes…
Once everyone is comfortable in the skin of their characters, begin running important key scenes of the film. These will usually be highly emotional scenes, scenes requiring perfect comedic timing, etc., and can usually be turning points, and pivotal moments within the screenplay. This is where all your directorial notes on the beats of scenes will come into play in order to tweak performances oh so slightly.
Do some general blocking of the characters, know where your cameras will be, but unless you have access to the real set, you will do most of the precise blocking on set, in conjunction with your camera’s blocking.
and an article nofilmschool.com The Director’s Chair – Rehearsal