Monday, February 9, 2009

Acting Schmacting 2/5

Here's what I do and what I think.

* Had an audition for a lead in a new series today. Let me correct that, I was chum in the water for a "Name Actor". See, while I'm pretty damn good at what I do, my name is not bandied about to lead a new series created by prestigious writers.

Rather, I'm the guy who about four lines into my resume they might say "Hey, I remember you from show _". We'll chat about it, I'll relate a cute story about the experience and then I'll continue the audition. I'm recurring neighbor material right now, not lead actor in a series, comedy or not.

So why call me in? we'll there's always the chance that they might truly find exactly what they're looking for. More likely, it's an exercise to churn up interest with the more established actors. If Fred Savage hears that they're looking for the lead in a new series that he's perfect for, it gets his competitive blood going. they could just offer him the role, but why not make it a little more interesting.

It also helps if they already know exactly who they want and are already negotiating with them. Sure, the pilot won't get made without said actor, but if you're still looking /just in case/, said actor might sign on the dotted line a little quicker and without the need for the big trailer with Direct TV.

Having come to grips with my non-audition, I actually had a good time. I went in, did exactly the audition I wanted to do, thanked the casting director and left. We both knew the drill so the agreed upon activity went smoothly. Fred Savage will get the role, but I played it better. ha!

* Christian Bale. People are surprised by Bale flipping out. And yet, this occurs more than most people realize or care to discuss. Why? Two reasons.

One, if you're dealing with an intense actor, you're gonna get this. They are deep, deep, DEEEEEP in their process (think of all the work he had to do be Batman...oh wait, he just lowered his voice a lot...) and so anything can set them off. This is like a drunk elephant in a minefield - eventually something's gonna blow. Movie sets are hives of constant activity and sometimes the crew forgets the cardinal rule...

Two, nothing else matters except what's on the camera between action and cut. Bale knows this because they're paying him 20 billion dollars to bring credibility to a wavering series. Acting on camera is a game of millimeters and if something distracts you...even a little, it will show when your face is 80 feet high. In Michael Caine's book he talked about not having any movement behind the camera because your eye tracks that. When Bale steps in front of the camera, every person who is on that set needs to stop whatever they're doing. When McG (and that name is gonna haunt him as he gets older, huh?) calls "Action!", that's when things start to matter because Bale's eyes and his eyes alone are the only thing powerful enough to convince us that it's the future, robots rule and mankind's only hope rests in him. Not the camera work or the CGI or the sets or make-up or wardrobe or really cool Stan Winston animatronic robots. Christian Bale, solamente.

So did he go overboard with his tirade? In one respect yes, by about 150 seconds. The guy shouldn't have been there and that was unprofessional. A thirty second hiss-fit followed by a "I'm gonna take minute" would have got the point across and let the DP's superiors do his dirty work.

In another respect, the one where $200 million dollars hinge on his performance and not a light behind his face, no, he was spot on. Blow up and blow up BIG TIME so that you'll never have to do it in your career again. And don't think for a minute that if he wanted too, he couldn't have the entire crew fired that day. That's because the studio heads know his name opens the film, not the crew's.

That sounds cynical and negative, huh? Still, it also sounds about right, too. Art and money merge painfully in this business and every once in a while it gets exposed
Neither of these guys know how to light a scene.

* What the hell is going on with SAG? SAG president Alan Rosenberg has completely lost his mind. The majority of the SAG board wants to oust the current negotiator because we've been in limbo, without a contract or leverage for a year now and so he filibusters to stop it. When they take a written vote and still oust the guy, he files a lawsuit AGAINST HIS OWN UNION to prevent it from happening? The judge rejects the lawsuit TWICE and yet Rosenberg is going to appeal it.

So what does he do now? He composes and sings a song about the union.
So I give up on SAG for a little while. we look like idiots and rather than defend this, I'm just gonna pull up a chair and watch it. Train wrecks and be exciting if you're far enough away.

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