Becoming a director has changed Ben Affleck as an actor.

Affleck, who made his directorial debut with 2007’s gripping thriller “Gone Baby Gone,” said “being on the other side” of the lens made him realize what works on camera.

“I’ve kind of changed as an actor, my approach, particularly from before and after I started directing, because it was really instructive,” he told Sacha Baron Cohen during a 2020 conversation on Variety‘s “Actors on Actors.” “I learned more about acting from directing than I did from acting classes and being an actor. There’s something really valuable about being on the other side, and seeing what works and seeing what doesn’t. And seeing what you can do editorially.”

Affleck said watching director Martin Scorsese on set helped him understand how relaxation frees actors up to “be more real, be more accessible.”

“I feel like my own acting, at least by my own standards, has gotten better as I’ve gotten older, and had more life experiences and gone through more things and had more stuff to access,” he said. “I have to find ways to make this as realistic as possible and trust that if I feel the way the character is feeling, then it’s good.”

Affleck’s latest film, “The Tender Bar,” in which he plays a bartender who becomes his nephew’s father figure, debuts in theaters on Dec. 17 and hits Amazon Prime Video on Jan. 7. 

Watch the upcoming season of Variety‘s “Actors on Actors,” presented by Amazon Studios, starting on Jan. 24.