SFSDF is the film school which I graduated from and being the kick-ass center of learning that it is, they allows students back in the door for all kinds of the things. Be it to use camera equipment, editing stations, rooms for audition/filming, etc. On top of all that goodness, they host the occasional mixer with a special guest or theme. You need a guest or a theme because drinking and talking about film just isn't enough right? WRONG! Seriously the guests and themes are amazing otherwise its just me and my friends standing around drinking beer and dropping lines from Evil Dead III: The Army of Darkness. (Give me some sugar baby!)
This last week's mixer was a conversation between John Gries and James Savoca. John had starred in a movie that James had written and directed so they were familiar with each other and their work, which was nice because it gave their conversation an open and laid-back feel. John was the "main" guest of the evening and if you aren't familiar with the name you will be with the face. Look at his IMDB page. It has ninety-five entries for acting alone! 95!! My favorite is Lazlo Hollyfield from the 80's classic Real Genius. (Side note: they wanted him to read for Kent) The focus of the night was being a character actor and the director/actor relationship. How they had the evening set up was that a clip played from a movie staring John and then discussion followed. Lots of funny hollywood anecdotes and really insightful nuggets on filmmaking.
Here is the list of notes that I scribbled down throughout the night. Sorry if they come off all stream-of-consciousness:
-During an audition, have actors read off-book.
-Move your actors around in scene. Give them action/something to do.
-After writing a character, give it to the actor and get out of the way.
-Be open to improve, but anchor the improve to the scene.
-if you learn your lines well be fore the scene, it opens you up to explore other avenues. Kinda like "know the rules before breaking them."
-If you start to fall behind, slow down!! Speeding up will only cause mistakes.
-Be economical with your camera angles.
-Find the physical truth, then the rest. How does a character walk, etc.
Great evening and left feeling rejuvenated if slightly tired as I was up past my-living-with-a-baby 8 o'clock bedtime.