Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Without whom none of this would have been possible.

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.

Los Angeles is a work of fiction.

Not just because of all of the augmentation, of which there is much. It’s also fiction because so many of the people are synthetic, which is in no way a shock, but it always makes for interesting viewing. Everywhere you go there are people posing as stars and selling themselves – or I should say, their souls. Everybody wants to be somebody. Somebody should tell them that they’re vapid, but somebody’s too busy trying to be somebody. [I think I just pulled a muscle.] There are a lot of people walking around with meaningful pouting on their faces, auditioning for the next U2 album cover. And that’s a lot of pouting — I mean, “The Joshua Tree” alone... The problem, I suspect, is that they don’t realize that “star” isn’t a respectable job. “Actor” is much more respectable and, on very rare occasion, far more lucrative.

Then there are what is referred to as “star-fuckers.” You, me, and most of the free world refers to these individuals as “ass kissers,” [it’s my understanding that the Swiss do not] but, hey, when in Rome, right? In any case, the star-fuckers are the ones who kiss up to Doogie Houser, whom I saw at a restaurant, surrounded by a group of people comprised entirely of the aforementioned type of individual. This said, I, evidently, am not a star-fucker, because I could have cared less. (I think I could take him in a street fight. No, wait— I KNOW I could take him. And if that little bastard would have so much has glanced at me oddly… well, let’s just say he’d have needed that medical degree. Fictitious or otherwise. Neither Harold nor Kumar could have helped him. [I’m like a wildcat. Don’t cross me.]

Fortunately, I’ve been meeting with genuine people. Managers, agents, and directors — people you’d expect to be fake, but, strangely enough, aren’t. It’s possible I could get work out here. To be more accurate, without going into detail — well, avoiding detail like the plague — things have gone unbelievably, insanely, ridiculously and outrageously well.

In fact, I’ve found my calling. And that calling is to be Neil Patrick Harris’ personal assistant.

I start the first of the year.