Sunday 31 July 2011

Casting and Attraction

When you're first attracted to a woman, you think she's the greatest. Not only is she the sexiest person you've ever met, with a fabulous set of morals, but she seems so wise, talented and thoughtful.

When you find the perfect actor: they share many of these qualities.

Now, if the role you're casting is of the gender/type you're naturally attracted too -- there's a very real chance you'll be meeting some fascinating and beautiful people.

So you sit in an audition and in come the most beautiful women you've ever seen. And every now and then, there'll be one you like. One you click with.

Cameron Crowe once said: you have to be in love with your leading lady otherwise how can you expect your audience to be?

Here's the problem: put a beautiful woman in front of a straight man and he can't think straight. No exceptions.

If two women walk in, and one you find extremely attractive- how does that mess up your instincts? Is casting like relationships-- where you start off thinking it's magic and then two months later realise she's the devil?

How often have you seen a film with a sexy woman who can't act? Too often. Especially when you watch upcoming short filmmakers. It could be the director trying to make his film appeal to teenage boys but it's just as likely he got a mad crush on his leading lady.

Here's my point. When we meet attractive people, we project qualities onto them that aren't really there. It's nature. Film casting is not exempt from this. But how do you KNOW? How do you know for sure it's the acting you like? When you fall head over kneecaps in love with someone, you think they're a genius. You believe in them. Its human nature to believe highly of someone you're interested in.

Care to share?

Saturday 30 July 2011

I'm Thinking Of Starting A Project

This is what everyone says. They're going to write a script, they're going to start a theatre company, they're going to make an acting reel.

Their projects always sound great and you always say 'you should do it!' But how often does that project get completed?

There's a big myth that 'the industry' is some big baddie trying to keep you out. But those who are doing the work are only doing the work because they're the ones doing the work.

You resist making the short film or doing a one man play or starting a sitcom pilot because you fear you're not quite ready, you're worried it'll suck.

Here's the truth: it probably will suck!

But it's meant to! Nobody is a genius right out the gate. No-one. Don't mistake genius with some 5 year old winning a talent show.  Those freaks mean nothing to no-one and they're not artists.

You wanna write or act or direct or do anything in this industry? You gotta get down in the mud and produce some terrible work.

If you keep creating, you keep getting better. People respect those who are making films. An actor who does a short film on their camera phone is more respected than the actor who sits in Starbucks bitching about Casting Directors. We live on the internet now and everyone can see how productive we are. You can show the world who you are in any way you choose.

You get good by working. Don't rust! Don't give up! Every moment spent poking someone on Facebook is a moment you could be developing a character or working on some dialogue.

Don't make the mistake of thinking your artistic destiny is in anyone's hands but yours.

Care to share?

Monday 25 July 2011

Are We Too Shy For Greatness?

We know greatness. We've seen it. We stared up at a movie screen and witnessed it. We've danced and cried along to it on our favourite album.

Greatness exists. They went there.

We know what it is, what it looks like, but will we go there ourselves?

I guess that's the hard part. When you find greatness, it's so personal. Your favourite movie is your favourite movie, everyone else likes 'Pulp Fiction'. If your personal God's divide opinion in others, how scary that your personal best might do the same.

Your brain can do good,  your talent can tweak it and your hard work can drive you forward. But true GREATNESS? Maybe it's just a decision we need to make.

You love what you love, but you worry 'they' will think it's too cheesy, violent, romantic, obscure. We switch and adapt and guess and change and maybe it flies, maybe you get the job.

But greatness is somewhere else. It's that place you know where you never go. Its the world you really see, the dream you really live by, somewhere deep inside.

You might be alone in your room at 3am, or screaming like a maniac in a field because it makes your friend laugh -- wherever it is -- you'll have that moment when you feel like an outsider to society, but at one with the universe. That's where greatness lies, in the insights and experiences you get on the edge of normality, when everything just seems so incredibly fantastic.

The artist catches those rare insights in a bottle and releases them into the world.

I feel like we all know true greatness. We just need to trust it.

Care to share?

Sunday 24 July 2011

Amy Winehouse & The World's Problems

In my previous post about Amy Winehouse, Jenny left this comment:

"I've seen a million facebook statuses on her death today and maybe one on what's happened in Norway on the same day, none about what is currently happening to tens of thousands of people in Bangladesh, East Africa, Malawi, Libya, Syria... It really pisses me off that people accord so much importance to someone who was essentially a highly privileged drug-addict, who happened to have a fantastic voice and once a upon a time made good music. If you want to mourn the loss of talented people, there are plenty of talented people dying every day, all over the world who never had the chance to let their talents shine. Mourn them, and then do something about it!"

 Here is my response:

Ophelia. Thank you for bringing up Privilege. I think it's an important point.

I'll make the assumption that you have the privilege of sane mental health, and that you have the privilege of being free of addiction to substances. So when you speak about all these things you can't speak for all of humanity or indeed all of a blog readership, only for your perspective, from the privileges that you carry with you. It is from this place of privilege that we can label someone as "essentially a highly-privileged drug addict", as if that catch all label means anything at all. I don't think this is how she would see herself. Indeed, there is nothing highly-privileged about being dead.

Your assortment of nations mention, of course -- there are tragic things going on there just like in all of our neighbourhoods. But what can we focus on as individuals? What should we focus on when we're posting on a film blog? That people are mourning the loss of a soulful singer does not mean that they're not also caring about Norway, or donating part of their salary to the Red Cross. So it seems strange that you would need to share links to Amnesty or Unicef. 

Amy Winehouse was very charitable - having donated proceeds from her songs to HIV studies, donating thousands of pounds worth of clothes to charity stores, and posing for photographs for Breast Cancer Awareness. I think it's important to look at these things from a bigger perspective. Ophelia sees Amy Winehouse as 'a highly privileged drug-addict', which is disappointing because, after all, Winehouse is an artist and a person who was far, far more than that. 

There have been two clear divides in the sad story of her passing. One is "This is so sad, we love her!" and the other is "Um, hello? a hundred people died in Norway and there's more important things happening in Africa."

Amy Winehouse was an iconic figure. Her music reached people. And I would like to think that Ophelia, a talented actress herself, would know that art transcends barriers. People aren't mourning a random drug addict, they're mourning a woman who, when on form, could make a hundred thousand people in a soggy field dream bigger. Or she could donate all the proceeds from one of her singles to the fight against HIV. We need food and we need money, but we also need art. I remember meeting a Holocaust survivor in Poland who told me how huddling up and singing songs at night literally saved their lives. I'm not saying Amy Winehouse ever saved a life, but what I am saying is that -- she was just a girl, who sang some songs, who had some real problems. And if people want to mourn her, they should. She was a human being, she was an artist, and she was a part of people's lives. That matters. 

Care to share?

Saturday 23 July 2011

Amy Winehouse

She dies, and people are talking about her music. Two days ago she was just a messed up celeb.

Everyone's saddened by the loss of young talent. Bemoaning the missing legacy we'll never get.

Why do we think of this stuff after death? Why does living talent not turn people on?

I don't know how talented Amy was, I was never a fan. But it's such a shame to see all the warmth for her that people have today. I bet she never knew how deep their affection was.

We always hold back on our feelings. Don't share our love till the tumour comes or the car smashes into nine pieces. Why are we so demented?

She seemed tortured. I'm only going by what the tabloids said. I never so much as looked her up on Wikipedia. She's gone now like we all will be -- she's left some art and they'll be playing her songs tomorrow and in twenty years time. She mattered. She landed. She'll be remembered. She was loved. That's the most any of us can hope for.

Care to share?