Tuesday, April 22, 2008

April F*^cking Twenty-Second ! ? !

Sheesh! The time is a flying. Perhaps I need to slow down. Though I often tell myself I need to do more. Which is it? Does packing it in make life seem more full or make it rush past? Not really sure.
So we're going along with all the stuff that we ask of life. And it's all going well. Underneath the exhaustion and feelings of being overwhelmed there's a satisfaction and a joy that life is rewarding. It takes a lot of diligent work and patience, but it is possible. Which I haven't always had an easy time seeing. I tend to panic if things don't happen right away. Or I procrastinate until conditions are ideal to proceed. I'm finding the middle way between those two extremes. I need to take that approach as a director and as a father. It helps in other areas as well like dealing with the contractors that are working on my building. Wow, what an exercise in being forthright and kind.
It also helps with actor-students. Overall I'm happy with the progress I've seen and the experience of working with the ten or so folks that have been through the studio these past few months. I've also had my disappointments lately. There seems to be a bit more giddy chatting going on in the studio than necessary. I tried to gently call attention to that again last week, we'll see if it make a difference. Also, my efforts to reach out to specific actors and build a relationship and develop scripts for them have been frustrating. I pitched a feature idea to one actor who called it a short when passing on it. Great listening? Were I an actor looking to do challenging and interesting work and a director that I respected took an interest in developing projects with me and building a relationship with me, I would be all over them. What I've seen too much of around here is actors being overbooked, confused and more concerned with their social lives and day jobs than digging in and getting dirty. Which is why film is not an actor's medium ultimately. Altman said it was, but they turned themselves over to his vision. So who's medium was it in the end? I really think I was on to something in Made Crooked by not letting actors prepare or get scared of playing things close to their bones.
When actors get flaky or confused I lose interest. If I really like them and respect their talents I try to be understanding. But there's a line for sure.
I was reading Fassbinder's editor's account of how he was always miles ahead of the actors, how he knew all of their lines and how he saw the nuances of their parts. And also how well he cast his films, having the ability to see the actors' true hearts and their deepest motives and needs. She told of his scathing response of actors complaining about why a certain take was used. He said technical problems happen, but it's your job to deliver your performance every take. I relate and probably shouldn't say so publicly. No wonder the poor bastard was so desperately lonely.
A lot of actors think they've got it together, but so many of them are so desperate and confused and vested in covering their insecurities that they can't reveal themselves in their work. Unless you trick them into it.

Feeling like The Prince,
Signore Direttore

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