I’ve mentioned several times how tremendous Steve Parys, Jeff Garton, and the crew were, but I’ve never talked about the talent in front of the camera.
Eryn Joslyn, Alex Hooper, and Theo Allyn — three actors who made the biggest impact on the project, performance-wise. But more than that, they taught me how to direct. Yeah, I’d directed before, but they taught me more in twelve days than I’d been taught in the years since my time at Pittsburgh Filmmakers.
The point I'm clumsily trying to make is that great actors create great directors.
[Above, Theo, Eryn, and Alex on the set, prepping to shoot "Some Bad Fish."]
The single most important lesson I learned was that actors should learn their lines frontwards, backwards, and every other kind of wards imaginable. Then forget them. Given the option, I’d rather an actor go with his or her intuition than to follow the words I’ve written on the page. Unless, of course, I want mediocre performances. And given the three actors in question, a mediocre performance was highly unlikely. Had we the time, they could have created whole scenes only roughly based on the writing.
Having worked with her closest, my lead actress, Eryn, taught me the most. She knew exactly what questions to ask and how to ask them. She navigated the dialogue with seemingly great ease. And she always brought her own ideas to the the part and the set. In short, she became Chloe. So much so, I don’t even remember what my image of Chloe had been for the six years prior to production. She managed to erase that image and replace it with her own interpretation.
Eryn was the lynch pin to this whole thing and I’ll forever be indebted to her. I’d take her over any actor anywhere. Bar none. She was meant to play the role and the very fact that I found her when I did is beyond belief.
So let me give you some advice: the next time you want to make a movie, give yourself one week to find all of the actors, be dissatisfied with the choices for the lead role, search for a choice you can live with and do so during Fourth of July weekend (when the rest of the world is on vacation), go online to find someone you can live with, convince her you’re not a stalker, audition her, come to realize — within the first thirty seconds — that she’s exactly the actor you’ve been looking for, and give her the role on the spot.
Successful casting is that easy.