Saturday, October 30, 2010

Gay Dilemma in Ron Howard Film

There has been some controversy regarding a "that's gay" line in Ron Howard's film Dilemma. This is my take on the line and why.

The line should stay. Or, at least, it should not be removed based on it offends some people. Here's why:
  • Dilemma is, as far as I understand a comedy and the line is being used to portray the fallacy of a fictional character. Now if it was a drama based on real events/people and it was being portrayed that gays are more likely to commit a certain hideous crime, well, that would be different.
  • Part of GLAAD's concern with the line seems to be the fear that people will look at the line as an accurate descriptive of the gay community. How many of you actually believe that the IQ of blonds, on average, are lower than those of brunettes or redheads?
  • If every potentially offensive lyric, line and scene was removed from songs, books, plays, films, etc., well, there would not be much left.
  • I have seen a demographic I belong to lampooned for humors sake or inaccurately (purposely or ignorantly doesn't matter) portrayed. Am I offended by these instances? No, in fact it might evoke a chuckle. Why am I able to respond in such a manner? Because I am confident in who I am and do not need my beliefs, interests, whatever to be validated by others. Obviously, nothing to do with this specific issue, but I wanted to point out that I do have experience of being in the position the gay community is in regarding Dilemma and am coming from a position of knowledge.
  • The line is extremely unlikely to alter any one's opinions regarding homosexuality or its members. The same would be true if it was about blacks, Mormons, vegans, democrats or backward cap wearing teenagers.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Three Catagories of Actor

Actors who play President Lincoln (or any other role) fall into three categories. Using the Gettysburg address as an example:

  1. This actor is just a step up from a high school student reciting the address in U.S. History class. Not sure how this actor even got considered, let alone cast. DO NOT be this actor! Excellent memorization skills might be all that is needed for the high school student, but the actor without the emotional commitment might as well botch the lines. The audience is going to be disconnected from the performance. (This is the performance unprepared actors deliver to casting directors at auditions.)
  2. This actor is at the intermediate level. This is the actor who embodies Lincoln so well that the audience walks away feeling as if they actually met Lincoln himself. While the audience might be drawn into the performance, be it stage or screen, they are still on the outside witnessing the life of the characters. (The he did a superb job pointing to the moon performance.)
  3. This is the best actor. BE THIS ACTOR! What sets this actor apart from the the second actor? His delivery. Both he and #2 embody Lincoln superbly. However, #3 draws the audience in emotionally. The audience walks away with the understanding of how those at who were actually at Gettysburg must of felt. The audience in this case is going to be drawn into the performance on a personal level. They will ponder how it must of been to be there hearing the address. (The when he pointed to the moon I had to refrain from turning around and looking performance.)

My goal is to always strive to fall into category #3. This is why the bulk of my acting time next week is going to be committed to going over my scenes for a film I am shooting next Saturday. (No, I am not playing Lincoln. Totally wrong body type.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dealing with Craigslist

Tips for dealing with online submissions whether you're looking for cast & crew to work on your film or you're looking for a film to work on. Most of my focus is on Craigslist because it is available everywhere (versus a site that only lists projects in a particular area). However, most of this can be applied to any online submission.

I'm not going to debate the merits of using Craigslist or compare it to other sites. Merely how to effectively use Craigslist.

For those looking for cast & crew:
  • Have contact info other than the Craigslist email. I personally do not have a problem with submitting this way, but it is possible some might be hesitant. You can create an email just for that project.
  • "Need males & females 25-40 for my awesome film" is an ineffective way to get actors. Maybe a been at it six months, desperate for anything actor, but I would simply move on to the next ad. Of course, if it went on to explain that it is for a crowd scene or included a link to a website, that would be different.
  • Have your ad at least give the appearance that you know English. If your casting call is essentially a run on paragraph, it will not instill confidence in your script writing skills.
  • The ad should contain a brief filmmaker bio, a tag line (what the film is about), and a character breakdown. Or a link with this and more detailed information.
  • Be upfront with who you are -without being apologetic- and what cast & crew can expect in payment. Promoting yourself from student filmmaker to top indy filmmaker in the area is the equivalent of an actor promoting his four days of extra work on a TV show to recurring.
  • Don't insult the intelligence of the acting community. Seriously! Don't put things like "Those cast will be required to sign release forms authorizing their image and voice to be used in the film." unless must never have been on a film set before is a requirement to being cast. Also, there is no need to dress up extra roles. Those who believe it would make great reel material would probably submit anyway. And no one is going to think the only thing better would be getting cast as the villain in Iron Man 3.

For those looking for projects to submit to:

  • Craigslist is not the place to submit for $2000/day on the next Tom Cruise film shooting in Bangladesh. Such ads are spam.
  • Casting opportunities for major features are not going to be advertised on Craigslist. At least not legitimate ads.
  • There is no such thing as a nationwide extras casting database. There is no such thing as a nationwide extras casting database. Do NOT pay to be considered for extra work (or even the lead for that matter.)
  • Anyone can advertise on Craigslist so listen to your "spidey-sense". This is especially important now that Craigslist no longer has an "adult" section.
  • The only reason a filmmaker will need your SSN is for tax purposes. Which means he is going to be reporting paying you wages. $20 cash is not a valid reason. Odds are such projects will not be found on Craigslist.
  • Also, do not put your home address. Unless being mailed your copy of the reel, the filmmaker does not need it. Better yet would be a PO Box.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Not Getting the Part

That audition I rocked? They cast someone else. (That's why one should always continue submitting for other projects, even when the audition could not have gone better.) Do I feel the slightest disappointment? Well, maybe the slightest since I would have preferred to be offered the role.

Why do I not feel that bad about what is often referred to in the industry as rejection? Because I did my job at the audition. I had read the script, gone over the sides, knew the lines, made strong choices, was in the moment reacting to the reader and made given adjustments for the second read.

Notice I wrote "at" not "in" the audition. That is because your waiting room behavior is just as important as your read. Not much of a waiting room in this case, but still...

If I had not done my job at the audition, I might be more frustrated. Mainly with myself. Since I did my job, I can move on knowing I simply wasn't right for the role, or some other factor beyond my control. Maybe they decided an older actor would be better for the role. Maybe an actor with a similar physical description was cast in another role and they do not want to confuse the audience.