I was struggling with a character in a scene the other day. Lisa asked, "Well, who would he have to be to win a Best Supporting Actor nomination?"
Wow. I was just trying to figure out what he'd do in that scene. Not win the actor an Oscar.
But anything that gives you new perspective on a scene is worth checking out. And it's a worthwhile reminder that, as far as each character is concerned, they are the star in the movie about themselves.
Doesn't mean you want the secondary characters to take over the scene. You might need to figure out who they'd have to be to win a Best Supporting Actor nom, and then dial it back to whatever's appropriate to your story.
But if you're struggling with a scene, and it seems boring, this might be a handy tool to try on the problem.
You wife is brilliant and you should worship the ground she walks on, you know that, don't you? :-)
Hey I've actually done this! (And it worked out quite well, IMHO.) But it was for a Really Important Scene.
One of my favourite fantasies is an actor winning an Emmy for a show I wrote. It goes something like this: the nominations are read, the clips roll... "Hey, I wrote that scene!" Close up of actor's face looking humble, the audience cheers... Now write the scene.
Question is, would it work for a Normal Scene? Or would it just make things too intense? Hence your advice about dialing back, I guess...
"Actor's face, looking humble"...
You MUST be joking.
Try: cut to actor, as he explains how he ad-libbed most of the scene. "I used the script more as inspiration than anything else," he says.
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