Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Who's in charge, here?

First of all, thanks to Mystery Man's glowing recommendation I started reading Jennifer Van Sijill's Cinematic Storytelling yesterday. I already feel smarter.

Lead Actor liked Game Night in the beginning when it was just a little character sketch. He thought the character I asked him to play was great fun. Then we upped the stakes and gave it an actual plot and he flipped for the changes. Saturday he read the current version of its feature length incarnation, Bamboo Killers, and said it made Game Night even better. I'm pretty sure he's not blowing smoke up my ass. Then again, he is an actor. And he has always been a charming little bastard.

He's very excited about the whole project, probably because at every stage his role in it gets bigger and more developed. It has now gone from a cute little project he could stick on his reel to a meaty lead part in an indie feature. What actor is going to turn that down?

He has his problems. He's a little flakey, a little self-absorbed. He's stretched himself so thin with work and acting and music and socializing that he sometimes craps on the people he knows will forgive him, one of those being me. He's blown me off on three separate occasions when we were supposed to meet to discuss the script, and he never called and had miserable excuses each time. This concerns Writing Partner, who believes Lead Actor has charmed me like a cobra in a basket.

But I don't do anything I don't want to do. I'm the one putting words in his mouth, after all.

On the upside, Lead Actor is helping me a great deal with learning to direct actors. He's taking me to his class tomorrow night to scout for cast who can work the scene with him for the teacher, then I get to rehearse with the group and work on my direction, then I get to go back to the class and watch the group perform it in front of the audience. That will be a huge help. I can see what gets laughs and watch how the teacher directs them from his chair.

Lead Actor is not usually forthcoming with the notes. I have to drag suggestions out of him and he sounds almost apologetic when he gives them. So when he told me Saturday night he now thinks Game Night is a little anticlimactic I listened.

Yesterday as I shrank Game Night into a four-page play I had to make a lot of tough choices about the core of the story. And I realized what Lead Actor meant. Our climax was kind of wimpy. A character stands up to another character, which is good, but nobody really wins the argument. It gets deflected and there's no real outcome. So I changed it to make the standoff end in a clear victory. The story instantly got better.

So if Lead Actor is making me do his bidding, I say he can keep the charm coming. For now, it's only helping.

1 comment:

  1. man. actors. they are their own breed.

    Of crazy people.


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