Category: Acting Workshops


Keep on Trucking

Just wanted to give another update before I blog on about computers and metaphysical dream stuff…

Just to say, it’s amazingly difficult to get people i.e. producers, to read your script. Yes I know they’re busy and they really don’t care about you. Well, at least, now I know. To borrow a fantastically cheesy phrase: “I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I never knew it would be this hard…” 🙂

Most film companies here seem to have started out with their own projects first and grown their company from there. Even if they want an outside script, chances are good they’ll want to use their own director. To get someone to take on an external script with an unknown director attached – that’s hard.

However, have just heard from a successful film producer I contacted about 3 months ago, asking if I could get in touch in 1 month’s time… so cool, the wheel keeps turning, that’s another ‘possibly maybe’. This is good.

I’m actually glad producers are so hesitant to read my work, as it gives me time to really get it tight. The fine-tuning continues – had another session with an actor yesterday and cleaned up some weak areas. My dialogue really sucks, but with the help of these actors, I’m learning…

I’ve also been assembling a kind of ‘dream team’ of actors who would be perfect for this script. Once I’ve got them all pinned down, the next step will be to try get them all in a room together at the same time and workshop the script as one. And record it, and edit the recording to check the flow.

The actors have been incredibly supportive, but ‘if only’ I had some funding, I could pay them what they’re worth and pull this together faster. I’ve applied to our film foundation for a little support, we wait and see, but of course, to borrow another song title, we continue ‘with or without them’…

This is Terri and Jessica acting out a scene from my other script ‘The Girl from Nowhere.’
I’m using it as an example to show some superb performances, but also how the script can sometimes be too big.
This was a cold first time reading – and I was too busy filming to be able to direct them – and they did an amazing job, and using the space too. (The picture frame is supposed to be an old bicycle mounted on the wall… hey, it’s improv.)
Terri is fantastic as the older lady who is getting put out by the young girl. Every look of hers carries so much weight. Jessica too handles it brilliantly. However, in retrospect, as a writer/director I might have played down the look Jessica gives the ‘husband’.  The line should maybe be just ‘and a husband…’ and then look at him. No need to say all that: ‘and a husband like him’, it’s far too obvious and explicit.

And this is the wonder of workshopping… it all becomes clear in 3D.

The music too helps tremendously with setting the tone. This is Jerry Goldsmith’s ‘Basic Instinct’. It flips between ominous and playful, keeping the audience upbeat and unsettled…

Had another actor’s workshop last week, where I enjoyed the privilege of filming professional actors act out scenes, some from my script. Here are some thoughts:

My script writing is too ‘explicit’. Actors carry so much meaning in their performance, very often they don’t need to speak what they’re thinking, a look will do. My script needs more work!

It was great seeing actors using the space in a room. It’s literally pops the script into 3D.

I’ve been reminded of something I realised when I made my short film a couple of years ago. It’s this – good actors are able to repeat the performance, the timings, and the motion again and again without missing a mark. This is something vital when you are doing a one camera shoot and need to film close ups, wides and mediums…

1st Acting Workshop


Dwight and Anneli took a scene I suggested – an emotionally involved scene – and workshopped it – and did a great job!

It’s definitely a thrill as a writer to see your words being spoken and coming to life.

This was shot with a Canon 550d (Rebel T2i) and we did 3 takes – one on each actor and one take trying to stay on both of them. The actors were experimenting with the intensity of the performance – so as a result it’s a bit of a mismatched edit of the performance – but this is what experimenting is all about.
Actually I normally try not to cross lines, so I was impressed how well it seemed to cut even with jumping from one side to the other – but perhaps it works here because there is a swirl of emotion in this scene…