Monday, February 11, 2013

Two more awards show gone

Well, two more down on the road to Oscar. Actually one, given that the Grammies are music only, unless you count the videos.

I watched the BAFTA awards from Great Britain Sunday night, and it was more American than British. All of the big movies were American and they had a special category for British Films, sort of like the poor brother. And Ben Affleck won his movie and his directing gig and everything else, I think. Well, not everything. Daniel Day Lewis won for best actor.

If you've followed my blog, I'm not particularly a fan of Ben, never thought he was much of an actor, more like the John Gavin of his generation (you'll have to google that one). And his acting life didn't really last long without Matt Damon by his side. So what does an actor whose career is dying do?

Well he goes to Harvey Weinstein who can sell elephants to Mars or anything else.  So as long as the budget isn't too high, Harvey gave Ben a new career. This is actually pretty common, especially in TV, where actors who see that once their series are done... they're out of a job. So it's not unusual for them to ask the producers if they can direct an episode or two. Because if nobody calls for an acting gig, they can say they have directed.

Now, that's not a big deal, but it takes away jobs from real directors in many cases. After all, the producers and crews like to have actors hanging out with them. So actors who want to direct have a somewhat unfair advantage.

Sure there's good actor-directors, Clint Eastwood is one of the best, also Sydney Pollack and the best one, Woody Allan.  But they are tremendously talented too. And a handful of others including Redford and Kostner.

But it's rare to see an actor become a writer for TV or films. In fact I don't think I've heard of any. And even though actors read scripts as much as writers, or even more, they don't seem inclined to write.

One advantage to directing is that you don't have to direct alone. You have a whole crew there to help you. And you have the greatest asset, a cameraperson (DP) who can really shoot the movie without you doing anything. Really. I know. All you need to direct is a great DP and a great editor and in most cases, they will make the movie even if you never say a word.

Now let's get to writing? Hmnnn... nobody to help you. No DP, no editor, no crew, no per diems or lunches and dinners and the craft service table filled with tasty snacks.

Nope, you're by yourself, and that computer screen. Just you and all the characters in your mind. And sometimes even they don't want to show up.

So... have you figured out why actors don't become writers?

Well, maybe a few do. Let me know if you find any who have produced writing credits.


1 comment:

  1. Jimmy: I would have thought you'd be celebrating a great film and a new director for, as he put it, his second act. Acting is in 'the eyes' and his performance in Argo was the best in it - as to Stephen Fry being more American than British? I don't think so.