Random Thoughts about Casting and SuchComplications Ensue
Complications Ensue:
The Crafty Screenwriting, TV and Game Writing Blog


April 2004

May 2004

June 2004

July 2004

August 2004

September 2004

October 2004

November 2004

December 2004

January 2005

February 2005

March 2005

April 2005

May 2005

June 2005

July 2005

August 2005

September 2005

October 2005

November 2005

December 2005

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010

June 2010

July 2010

August 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

April 2011

May 2011

June 2011

July 2011

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011

December 2011

January 2012

February 2012

March 2012

April 2012

May 2012

June 2012

July 2012

August 2012

September 2012

October 2012

November 2012

December 2012

January 2013

February 2013

March 2013

April 2013

May 2013

June 2013

July 2013

August 2013

September 2013

October 2013

November 2013

December 2013

January 2014

February 2014

March 2014

April 2014

May 2014

June 2014

July 2014

August 2014

September 2014

October 2014

November 2014

December 2014

January 2015

February 2015

March 2015

April 2015

May 2015

June 2015

August 2015

September 2015

October 2015

November 2015

December 2015

January 2016

February 2016

March 2016

April 2016

May 2016

June 2016

July 2016

August 2016

September 2016

October 2016

November 2016

December 2016

January 2017

February 2017

March 2017

May 2017

June 2017

July 2017

August 2017

September 2017

October 2017

November 2017

December 2017

January 2018

March 2018

April 2018

June 2018

July 2018

October 2018

November 2018

December 2018

January 2019

February 2019

November 2019

February 2020

March 2020

April 2020

May 2020

August 2020

September 2020

October 2020

December 2020

January 2021

February 2021

March 2021

May 2021

June 2021

November 2021

December 2021

January 2022

February 2022

August 2022

September 2022

November 2022


Saturday, August 29, 2009

We held a casting session yesterday. We saw about fifteen actresses for the two lead roles in our six-minute little teen vampire comedy, YOU ARE SO UNDEAD. Yes, it's time to do another BravoFACT, inshallah.

I love casting. Casting is where you get to see professionals make your lines their own. (Or, in this case, Lisa's lines.) If a scene is going to be funny, it's going to be funny in the casting session, or at least in one of your casting sessions. (I think it might have been NAKED JOSH where we saw a lot of auditions that really hurt our confidence in the lines, until we got David Julian Hirsh nailing them.)

I like to take a bit of time with auditions, do multiple takes for the camera, and really see where the actors can take the direction. It's exciting watching a really good actor incorporate your directions. Suddenly a new emotion is there, or the scene takes a different flavor.

I'm always amazed watching dancers pick up choreography. They can see the choreographer do something once, and then repeat it. I can't do that. I spent part of the 70's failing to pick up the Hustle.

A good actor, you tell her, "when she says this, it's like a slap in the face to you," or, yesterday, "When you bite her, it's a huge rush," and boom, it's there.

The part of the brain where dancers can see the choreography in their heads, and actors can see the emotions, I see a sort of shape of the scene, or a shape of the whole screenplay. I can see where something's wrong in a story structure. I can sort of see how it would fix itself if you did this, or that. In my mind, the story actually has a shape that feels wrong or right.

One of the most valuable things I've ever done for my writing was taking Meisner Technique acting classes with Joanne Baron. I never had any intention of acting; I wanted to learn what actors do in the scene. I think every director should do some acting training, so you can understand how to talk to actors. But I found that acting helped my writing. I can feel the emotion in the scene more clearly and brightly. I can act the characters for myself better. I can tell when I'm forcing them to do stuff they're not really motivated to do.

I know a lot of you are taking writing classes. I feel the classes that have helped my writing the most haven't been writing classes. The acting classes were terrific. Taking Richard Marks's editing class at UCLA was really helpful. Taking Robert Farris Thompson's "Afro-Atlantic Tradition" class back in college gave me some pointers on syncopation. Sometimes it's helpful to attack things tangentially rather than head on.

Labels: ,


I took a year of Meisner with a truly great teacher (Trish Hawkins, who studied under Sandford Meisner himself) while in grad school and find it still to this day to be one of the most useful experiences for writing I've ever had ...

But I feel that I should add, Meisner is not easy, often frustrating and difficult ... at least, it was for many of us grad actors ... we loved it, but we hated it, too.

And I took it again later, with a teacher who was less than capable ... and realized one needs a REALLY good teacher for this stuff.

By Blogger Joshua James, at 11:34 AM  

Post a Comment

Back to Complications Ensue main blog page.

This page is powered by Blogger.