WRITING … DIRECTING … ACTING:
I’ve been reading various comments and interpretations of the roles of each of these in creating the final product which reaches the screen. And I think it’s a given that each of these three is important in this creative process. We know that a bad story and weak dialogue can damage a story and even characters – and it can make acting and directing jobs harder. We also know that directors add their own interpretations to the final product.
BUT, we can never forget the importance of the actor in giving life to the work of the writer and director. The actor becomes the face and voice of the words and stage directions and, thereby, is key in creating the needed emotional reaction and involvement from the audience.
If acting did not contribute to the final product, why are actors sometimes replaced in roles?
If acting were not important, why would casting directors sometimes take months to find the right person to deliver the words which have been written?
Bad acting can seriously weaken a good script – and good acting can sometimes transcend the writing – and give us something beyond the written word. And sometimes the best acted scenes are the wordless ones – those where the actor’s skill in delivering emotions IS the story.
Those of you who know me know that I prefer to use specific examples in discussions. In this case, I’m going to defer to examples from quotes made by soap magazine editors who make the points more succinctly than I can. Now, because Julie and Dom have long been favorites, the quotes I have immediately available are about their performances. However, now that this topic is top-of-mind, I’ll definitely be looking for other examples. (BTW, these quotes come from articles praising ACTING ability).
“THE WORDS WERE HARSH, BUT infused with Lulu's fear, worry and utter heartbreak, they proved to be a masterful showcase for Berman's ability to inhabit Lulu's vulnerability even when she's acting tough.”
“Crouched on the floor, her finger bleeding, Berman was never so vulnerable as when she stared at Luke. Her look of shock clearly conveyed she no longer recognized the man who stood before her. IT WAS A COMPELLING MOMENT, COMPOUNDED BY BERMAN’S UTTER SILENCE. Unable to move to first, a rattled Lulu eventually ran out.”
“Scenes that Geary and Berman share as Luke and Lulu are never anything less than overwhelming. IT’S NOT WHAT THEY SAY BUT RATHER HOW THEY SAY IT. THE WRITTEN WORDS DON’T JUST RATTLE AROUND IN THEIR HEADS BEFORE BEING PROJECTED FROM THEIR MOUTHS. INSTEAD, THEY BURROW DEEP DOWN INTO THEIR GUTS, WHERE THEIR VISCERAL MEANING IS BORN, all in the speed of light, and, miraculously, with the same interpretation. Just looking into each other’s eyes and breathing the same air seems to connect them with an invisible lifeline that feels so real and tangible that it’s difficult to digest that it’s all just make believe.”
And this one praising Dom does not speak specifically to the written word, but it does emphasize the importance of the actor in creating emotional details.
“Thanks to ZAMPROGNA’S STRONGHOLD ON THE EMOTIONAL DETAILS that make Dante Dante, he has created a true hero – and not just because his character wears a badge.”