Top 10 Movies Every Actor Should Watch and Why

BY ANNETTE LANGE

Who hasn’t deeply been touched by beautiful cinematography, amazing performances by actors and successful adaptations of extremely creative and ingenious screenwriting?

Films speak to everyone on a deep, personal level. They reveal, celebrate and criticize humanity and are therefore a powerful tool.

If you’re an actor, you’re probably driven by the same desire to tell stories worth telling. I’ve compiled a list of movies that will challenge, inspire and help you in your endeavour to become a better actor.

1. Sophie’s Choice

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There are so many reasons to watch this film, if you haven’t already. Pay close attention to Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline’s performances. Their characters are so multifaceted, complicated and emotional, and both are able to portray them convincingly. Streep nailed not only the Polish accent when speaking English but also when she spoke German.

2. Wall-e

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This movie is an excellent reminder of the importance of story. The immense impact this film has on the audience is incredible. The actor is not the most important part – the story is. And it can be told without words. Films should be made to create a connection with the audience. The actors are merely servants of the director who carries the vision.

3. The Descendants

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In this film, director Alexander Payne chose to leave the camera on the cast longer than what would be a good point to yell ‘cut’. It’s fascinating to see how the actors explore this opportunity. You often hear the saying ‘the magic happens outside of our comfort zone’ and this is a perfect example.

4. Drinking Buddies

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Drinking Buddies is an example of successful mumblecore. What this means is, the performances are natural and more realistic because there are guidelines instead of scripted dialogue. Watching this will inspire you to really listen and react to your scene partner and see what happens. Don’t be scared of improvisation, it’s a breeding ground for magic to happen.

5. La Vie En Rose

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Marion Cotillard’s performance blew me away when I saw this film. No wonder it garnered her an Oscar. Her commitment and dedication to portraying Edith Piaf is inspirational. It’s a perfect example of Ugly Acting. She does not look flattering in her performance, she masters the degression of age and sickness and makes very bold character choices. I’m a strong proponent for watching foreign films as well, and to start with La Vie en Rose is an excellent choice.

6. Bronson

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Confidence is a key lesson that improved my acting, and Tom Hardy’s confidence in this movie is incredible. He seems to have completely forgotten the camera. His performance is raw and unforgiving. Also, Bronson is just one bizarre human being, and to understand his psyche and wrestle with the character development must have been a challenge.

7. Sunset Boulevard

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This is a classic black comedy and, even though it is an oldie, it still shows the ‘behind the scenes’ of Hollywood/Stardom quite plainly. It shows the extent and consequence of Norma Desmond’s love for fame, herself and greed. Stardom is fleeting, the fruit of pride is disgusting. Mommy Dearest explores this topic as well. It is definitely a topic every actor needs to grapple with for their personal life.

8. Singin’ in the Rain

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Whether you are fan of musicals or not, you must have seen this movie at least once. Film is first and foremost entertainment and should appeal to your audience. Gene Kelly is a wonderful example for his standard of excellence. Only dreaming for a breakthrough in acting will just continue to be a dream if you don’t work on your craft.

9. Amadeus

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Amadeus discusses many topics worth mentioning. But what struck me while watching the movie was observing how both Mozart and Salieri failed to steward their talents well and as a result, both their lives end tragically. Instead of composing for the love of music and others, Salieri chose to let comparison and jealousy get the best of him. And Mozart indulges so much in the futile pleasures of life, it results in a disgraceful death.

10. Kramer vs Kramer

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What’s fascinating about this movie is, it refuses to take sides. Humans are intricate, complicated beings. Their personalities and decisions change. There isn’t always a black and white, right or wrong. The focus is not on the child who suffers from his parents’ divorce, but on the ‘grown-ups’ who cry out for just as much attention and identity as the child does.

Read Roger Ebert’s review for a further exploration of the film.

Bear in mind

This is a very limited list and not ranked in any way from best to worst or vice versa.

My advice to you – watch ‘em all. But be strategic with your choice of movies. Watch good ones, watch bad ones, popular movies and unpopular ones, independent and foreign ones – but watch them all with a healthy dose of skepticism and awareness and take away from them what you can and apply to your own craft.

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The Movie That Was To Be Poison At The Box Office

Written by Annette Lange.

If you want to know how to make movies, be sure to look at Michael Haneke’s work for inspiration in terms of affecting and capturing your audience through your film.

“How do you handle the suffering of a family member? What do you do when you stand helplessly and observe the merciless decline of a loved one’s mental and physical state?”

These are the questions Michael Haneke asks his audience with his latest film Amour (2013).

Haneke is known to be quite the perfectionist when it comes to his work. Every choice he makes has a specific purpose and is well thought-out. Haneke never gives answers. But he is able to stir up questions by getting to the very heart of his viewers’ emotions.

Amour deals with the question of how to deal with the suffering of a loved one. This same topic could have been explored through a story about young parents having to cope with their child dying of cancer, but Haneke chose a story that will concern us all at some point or another.

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The film revolves around an old couple of retired music teachers Anne and Georges. Their circumstances drastically change when Anne suffers a stroke and is left partially paralysed. They are forced to deal with their new set of circumstances as Anne’s physical and mental health gradually regresses.

Haneke chooses to tell the story through particularly long takes and steady shots. I found the distance of the camera to the characters very interesting because it was often far, while it’d be tempting to choose a close-up on the actors at particularly emotional moments.

Even these technical choices force the audience to witness and sit through uncomfortable situations we would intrinsically want to run away from, which makes the effect on us all the more impactful.

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This queasiness is added to through the choice of the location for filming. The story evolves almost entirely within the confines of Anne and Georges’ apartment – an exact replica of Haneke’s parents’ apartment. It feels as if the apartment is a character in itself, witnessing the succession of their challenges. We feel almost just as constricted as Anne who is unable to leave the apartment.

The story is not beautified through music in the background. In fact, the only music in the film is the music played by the characters themselves. This choice sets the film apart from being mere entertainment, to letting the audience feel entirely part of the story.

The audience experiences the events as they are – without embellishments.

Juliette Binoche, who has worked with Haneke, describes that “he has a drive to see and talk about the world ‘without fat’ so to speak, by removing the mask. […] A lot can be covered up in movies, and to get close to the skin, you need courage.” And Haneke definitely has that drive and courage, as well as his actors.

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His casting choice of Emmanuelle Riva (as Anne), Jean-Louis Trintignant (as Georges) and Isabelle Huppert (as Eva) couldn’t have been better. They allow themselves to sit in the emotion, the uncomfortable silences and the difficulties that come with dealing with Anne’s handicap physically and emotionally.

An example of these fascinating moments is when Georges’ realizes he just slapped Anne on the cheek in her feebleness. It hurts the viewer just as much as him. Or Anne having to be naked and washed by someone else is just as uncomfortable for us as it is for her. Most can identify with their daughter Eva who is left talking about investing in property because she doesn’t know how to handle her mother’s state.

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The situations themselves are ordinary. So ordinary, it’s scary. Haneke describes:

“My films are more difficult for the viewer to watch than they are for me and the actors to make.”

Haneke’s skill lies in the way he is able to make his audience feel.

When he introduced the idea of making Amour, his producer commented that it would be “poison at the box office” because of the taboos it would address. Countless awards later, it proved to have had the opposite effect.

Director Haneke reacts after receiving the Palme d'Or award for the film Amour during the awards ceremony of the 65th Cannes Film Festival

At first, I was trying to figure out what Haneke was trying to say or achieve, until I realized that it is Haneke’s intention to leave the interpretation up to us. “The film asks questions, something I always try to do, and if you expect an answer from me, or to provide you with an interpretation, I have to refuse it. […] I shouldn’t tell you how you are to view the film.”

Amour definitely had an effect on me. After watching it, I immediately gave my grandparents a call to tell them I loved them. And my view of the film changed from aversion to absolute appreciation after mulling over it within the next week.

Whether I understand or agree with the ending or not, is not the point. Haneke proved to be a master in his craft once again – using the powerful medium of cinematography  to its fullest potential.

How to raise Shakespeare from the dead

BY ANNETTE LANGE

Shakespeare is a name we’ve all heard of, probably several times, at least in popular movie adaptations of his work. The actor, playwright, dreamer and entrepreneur is seen as a source of inspiration and creativity – or considered boring and foreign.

 

Most couldn’t have gone through high school without reading at least Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet or Macbeth. And in high school, I think I can claim that not all of us have approached him with the best attitude and could have thought of better ways to spend our time instead of sitting in a classroom and not even attempting to understand the complicated language.

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The fact that you are reading this article is a small indication that you are either:

  • not completely opposed to the idea of reading Shakespeare,
  • you know there must be some reason for this fascination about Shakespeare
  • you recognize that as an actor, you can’t really get around it
  • Or, you are just a very nice person who decided to read my article – thank you.

 

So, how does one even tackle a Shakespearean sonnet, monologue or play without standing on stage tensely, sticking out your chest and attempting to deliver the lines, hoping not to trip over them?

 

PUT ASIDE WHAT YOU THINK IT SHOULD LOOK LIKE

 

When it comes to well-known pieces of literature like Shakespeare’s works, you are bound to have some kind of expectation of what it should look like, or what it has looked like in the past.

 

I’d encourage you: make it your own, do not try to copy any previous attempts.

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One common reason why Shakespeare is so widely celebrated, is because of his extensive, even revolutionary understanding of the human condition. He explains how humans think and feel, he discusses the human psyche – which is timeless.

 

And this is why Shakespeare is ever so relevant.

 

Don’t let any previous perceptions or adaptations of his work take away from the journey and joy of chewing over the subtext and topics his works bring up.

 

HAMLET WAS A HUMAN TOO

 

Well, not really. Hamlet is a fictional character… but going along with my previous point, don’t allow the age, setting or language of the play to prevent you from identifying with the character you are portraying. Treat them as fellow human beings full of surprises, complexities and tumultuous emotions.

 

WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, HOW

 

It makes it very hard to perform Shakespeare authentically if you haven’t put in the research yourself. Answer the usual background questions of your character, identify objectives, relationship to other characters, etc.

 

What is extremely helpful is to research when Shakespeare wrote the play, what stage of life he was in and why he would’ve written the respective play/sonnet at that particular point in time and history.

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USE THE RESOURCES AT HAND

 

“When I was your age, I had to walk all the way to the library and find all the appropriate books in order to do my research – and now you just sit in the living room and have all the information at your fingertips.” My mom somehow felt the need to mention this over and over again during my school years.

 

While she would point out the lack of resources she had, I would moan about the overload of information I was exposed to for my school projects. But, it’s true, we have access to so many resources through the internet – use them.

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If you don’t understand the context of the play or the dialogue, look up sites such as Sparknotes to find ‘translations’, plot summaries, character analysis, look at Youtube, find TED talks etc.

 

Just make sure you don’t rely only on the interpretations you find online – personalize your character, add your imagination and pizazz.

 

WHAT DID SHAKESPEARE ACTUALLY SOUND LIKE?

 

Seeing that London was already a melting pot of different people and accents in Shakespeare’s time, English had a very different pronunciation too. When performed in modern English, many jokes, rhyme schemes and content gets lost ‘in translation’.

 

David and Ben Crystal (Father and Son) have worked together in finding out what the ‘Original Pronunciation’ of Shakespeare must have sounded like.

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Here’s a video to show how this idea was developed and what the ‘OP’ sounds like.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPlpphT7n9s

 

Not only does the OP give clarification on the content of Shakespeare’s works, but it also changes the demeanor of the actor. In comparison to modern English, OP is automatically delivered at a faster pace, a lower voice and a different demeanor.

 

Now, whether or not you choose to actually perform your piece in Original Pronunciation or not, give it a go in your preparation as this might help you to understand the respective piece better…and it’s a lot of fun to try out this weird mix of Scottish, American and Pirate accents.
Fellow Actor, Dreamer and Creative – I wish you all the best in your endeavor to bring your Shakespearean character to life, make it your own through your unique understanding and implementation!

HOW TO SQUEEZE THE CRUMMIES OUT OF YOUR SCRIPT

BY ANNETTE LANGE

Sometimes approaching a script might be a bit overwhelming or even underwhelming in some cases. It’s hard to understand the story and why your character is doing what he/she is doing etc. But often, everything is right there in the text, you just have to look for it.

 

But… fret not! Here are some helpful tips and guidelines that might help you in your endeavor to make your character come alive.

 

THE FIRST READ

 

The advantage of reading it for the first time is that you as the actor are reading the script as a whole story, not just your part. It’s the only time you will read it as the audience. Even though it’s tempting to want to dive right in and start acting already, try to refrain from that in the first read.

 

READ, READ, READ… AND READ SOME MORE…

 

Reading the script over and over again is a very helpful tool. Different things will be highlighted each time, the story will unfold and make more and more sense as you read it, you get a better understanding of the characters, their relationship to one another and of the story as a whole.

 

Anthony Hopkins mentioned that he reads the script 100-250 times as a preparation, “I learn the text cold, read it maybe 100 or 200 times […] It’s a trick I play on myself just to make sure I really know it. Then I’m at ease, and I can improvise. […] this gives me a tremendous sense of ease and the power of confidence.”

 

Let’s take an excerpt of the restaurant scene between Joanna and Ted from Kramer vs. Kramer (1979):

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WHAT INFORMATION DOES THE SCRIPT GIVE YOU?

 

As you go through the script, highlight your lines of course, but make sure you take all the information the script gives you into regard. Work with the text, make it your own.

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What does the script tell you about your character? What do other characters reveal about your character?

 

As the character, ask yourself:

    • Who am I?
    • Where am I?
    • When is it?
    • Where have I just come from?

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From just this little section, we know that Joanna and Ted have been in a past relationship together, presumably married. We know that Joanna was the one who left Ted and their son, and that he has been caring for their son since then. She admits that she needed help from a therapist, and we get the idea that she had previously put her identity/value/purpose in the fact that she is a daughter, mother and wife which frustrated her. She tries to come off very confident, because she knows this is a very delicate topic between them and is careful about her wording. She is nervous about his response.

 

WHAT DRIVES THE CHARACTER AND WHAT DRIVES THE STORY?

 

To get an overview of your character’s motives and objectives/goals, a helpful tool is to divide your script into ‘beats’. Legendary actress Uta Hagen explains that “a beat begins […] when an immediate objective sets in. It ends when that objective has succeeded or failed and new circumstances set in.”

 

What is your character trying to do? Is he/she trying to charm? Persuade? Convince? Guilt trip? Etc.

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Remember to make your objectives strong active choices that will drive the story further and will heighten the stakes. Weak objectives won’t help you.

 

Joanna’s overall goal is to get her son back. She knows all the arguments Ted can use against her, so in her attempt to have Ted agree to give her custody of their son, she knows she’ll have to word her desire very carefully. But she’s also convinced that she did the right thing in finding out who she was and justifies herself.

 

While Ted sincerely wants to understand her reasoning at first, he clearly does not want to give her custody for their son. Opposing objectives create great conflict!

 

A CLOSER LOOK AT OBJECTIVES

 

When going through the script, find the answers to the following questions in the script:

    • What do I want?
    • Why do I want it?
    • Why do I want it now?
    • What will happen if I don’t get it now?
    • How will I get what I want by doing what?
    • What must I overcome?

 

You can also refer to this article for more details and tips about these background questions.

 

While Joanna’s primary goal is to have her son back, subconsciously, she seems to prove to Ted and the world that she is a capable and independent woman. If she were to get her son back she would fulfill her role as a mother and make up for the mistake of leaving her son and Ted in the first place. If not, Ted will have won, she would be considered a failure and would have to live with guilt for the rest of her life. She has to overcome Ted’s refusal to give their boy back, and this is her first attempt after 15 months of being away.

 

This summary only starts to scratch the surface of Joanna’s internal fight, there is so much more depth to the whole situation, so make sure you go as deep as you can in your character development.

 

WITH YOUR BUDDY…

 

When rehearsing with your scene partner, I would recommend reading the script cold a couple of times before playing around with different approaches and objectives of your character. Even if it’s not the ultimate objective your character is going to have, have a go with different ones during rehearsal. It is especially effective when your character’s objective is the complete opposite of the other character.

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E.g If your objective is to avoid the other person, it would be interesting to see how the scene unfolds if the other character is trying to flirt etc.

 

When practicing scenes like that for while, you’ll get to see different elements, connotations, accentuations that you hadn’t considered before, but might use for the actual performance – and of course… it’s a lot of fun.

 

AT THE END OF THE DAY…

 

Ultimately, every actor will have his/her preferred approach. Some things work, some things don’t. Play around with it, have fun, use your imagination in cases where you’re stuck and… don’t stress.

 

Spotlight on Botswana: revealing a ‘scandalous’ love story

BY ANNETTE LANGE

 

*** WARNING: This article contains spoilers!!! ***

 

Having grown up among the Batswana community in South Africa as one of the few white people in our township, I was always made aware of the fact that I was white, not black – from both sides.

 

Even though the Apartheid system had been abolished in 1991 (and I was born in 1995 – the so-called born-free generation), the effects of it and attitude were still ingrained in people’s minds. I never felt truly part of either the Batswana, or the white community in South-Africa – a weird limbo situation.

 

Needless to say, the trailer of ‘A United Kingdom’ sent tears streaming down my face – even when watching it for the 10th time. Seeing a powerful testimony of both the black and white community reconciled through the ‘scandalous’ union between Seretse Khama, a black inheritor of the Bamangwato chieftainship, and Ruth Williams, a white typist from London, pulled on my heartstrings even more.

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A United Kingdom follows the true story of Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo) and Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike), who meet and fall in love in London in the 1940’s. Their relationship is not only opposed by their families, but by Khama’s uncle, the regent of Bechuanaland, his tribe and both the South-African and British Governments who do everything in their might to prevent their union.

 

Through it all, their love overcomes all opposition, efforts and exile, ultimately leading to Seretse becoming the first president of Botswana, now being an independent country after its state as a British Protectorate.

 

Under his leadership, Botswana became one of the fastest growing economies after being the world’s third poorest country. His uncompromisable stance for equality and integrity was a beacon of hope amidst a region ruled by racial segregation, civil war and corruption.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvOWLRNxVs8

 

I applaud Amma Asante (director) and David Oyelowo (actor and producer) for their incredible efforts in making this story come alive. I am and will remain a huge fan of this film. However, there were some melodramatic and westernized elements and choices that pulled me out of the story on several occasions.

 

Pike and Oyelowo’s acting performances are outstanding and they have great chemistry on screen even though Oyelowo’s accent pulled me out of the story every now and then, sometimes rolling the ‘r’, sometimes not. I realize this is a daunting task, seeing that Seretse would have had the British accent mixed with the Setswana accent due to him living in London for several years. Also, Oyelowo’s occasional choice of pausing in the middle of his sentences as if he had a hard time speaking English was unnecessary, since Khama was perfectly fluent and proficient in English.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shg1hXkvT4U

 

The cinematography and production design was beautiful and aided in creating the stark contrast between the different backgrounds of both Khama and Williams, the culture of London and Botswana and the obvious presence and absence of wealth and economic stability.

 

Most of the locations were the actual locations where the story took place: the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, the St Mary’s Church in Isleworth and the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. For the scenes set in Bechuanaland, they mainly filmed in Serowe, Botswana’s biggest village and Seretse’s actual former house that was put back together after finding it in a dilapidated state.

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I realize that Asante and Oyelowo’s main focus was the love and relationship between Seretse and Williams, they do not deny the fact that they are both ‘unashamed romantics,’ but in my opinion the focus on the romanticism took away from its authenticity and led to unnecessary melodramatic elements.

 

When Ruth first catches a glimpse of Sereste, we see him sitting confidently on the armrest of an armchair discussing politics in a macho-like manner among his African brothers. In my opinion it does not reflect Khama’s humble demeanor he is said to have had. “Seretse Khama was known for his intelligence and integrity, and a wicked sense of humour –puncturing the pomposity of those who had too high an opinion of themselves.” For the sake of his country, he stepped down as a chief and became a cattle farmer for a while. His weapon was humility, not arrogance.

 

In another scene, Seretse delivers a brilliant speech to his people who are assembled to vote whether or not they want him to continue as chief. However, the part where the men raise their hands to vote was drawn out dramatically with long periods of silence was a bit unrealistic. This particular kgotla (public meeting) in which he was recognized as Kgosi (king) by his people was the last meeting following a series of meetings through which he had gained more and more favor from the people. The men would not have taken so long to vote for his chieftainship as he “was popularly recognised as Kgosi together with his wife.”

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Another element of melodrama is seen in the portrayal of the antagonists of the story: Sir Alistair Canning (Jack Davenport) and Lady Lilly Canning (Jessica Oyelowo). Even though their intentions obviously weren’t pure, their portrayal as villains was unnecessarily exaggerated. It came across that Sir and Lady Canning made no attempt to hide their pleasure in Seretse and Ruth’s misfortune, even in their company.

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There were also a couple of moments that gave away the fact that the screenplay and dialogue were not written by an African.

 

Which brings me to the following examples of ‘westernisation’:

Ruth remains in Bechuanaland while her husband is in exile. During this time, her first child is born. In her effort to integrate herself into the Batswana community, Ruth nurses her newborn baby and joins the circle of other African mothers in the bush hospital, I am 90% sure they would not have just sat in silence acknowledging each other with a smile. I think I’d have permission to assume this group of nursing women would have been chuckling or at least chatting away in their native language, at least to the point when Ruth joins their circle. It was not the behaviour I expected from a group of Batswana mothers.

 

The people of the rural villages in Botswana are portrayed as meek and quiet. In view of the fact that Ruth had become a member of the royal family, I can imagine that a certain respect or reverence towards her might have caused members of her community to feel inhibited in her presence. From my personal experience, however, I would describe the Batswana as a lively, confident people.

 

The part that was executed extremely well however (the tearjerker for me) was the scene where the women of the village gather together in song to show their acceptance of Ruth as one of their own. I have seen such a scenario many times, and it never fails to make my heart skip a beat, when I see an example of reconciliation and acceptance such as this.

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Even though these few elements distracted me from the story now and then, I praise the filmmakers for brilliantly telling the story from both sides: Seretse’s challenges in being accepted in England as well as Ruth’s challenges in being accepted by the Batswana and the white community in Southern Africa (the part I identified with the most).

 

And, a bonus for me personally was of course, to see a story told that was so close to home. I was surprised I had never heard of the story myself, but even “many in Botswana did not know the story either, despite Seretse and Ruth’s son being the current president.”

 

I’m excited to see what the response to this film will be in Botswana and South-Africa and also to see future projects of Amma Asante and David Oyelowo. Hats off to both of them and the team!

 

Why You Shouldn’t Murder The Director

There have been many a time where I have been in situations on set where it was really easy to be mad at the director. There are just certain things directors do that can make it seem they couldn’t care less about us as actors.

 

The thing is, it’s ok.

 

Every director you come across will work differently, but for the majority of ones that I’ve worked with, on student-made short films, the focus is on the camera and shot and not so much on the actor or his performance. That being said, there are some things to keep in mind.

 

Trust the director

 

The director has a specific vision that he or she is trying to make come alive. They take the script the screenwriters make and turn it into their interpretation. They work long and hard to make sure that vision becomes a reality, and it’s our job as actors to trust that the director knows what he’s doing.

 

This was difficult for me on the first short film set I was apart of. Everyone was still getting a feel of set life and how to make a movie, and it was a pretty unpleasant experience. The actors would be in the lights too long and breaks were few and far between. Actually thinking back, we never got a break while on that set.

 

During the process I was pretty upset at the director, but I also knew it wasn’t my place to say how things should be run, and so I sat there under the lights, sweating my butt off.

 

The thing I learned, was even if the director makes a ton of mistakes, we shouldn’t worry, but trust he wants the best for us, because he wants us to give the best performance.

 

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All of that being said, it’s still tempting to push the director off a roof when no one is looking. But here’s another reason why you shouldn’t.

 

It’s just you and them

 

When it comes to an actor’s relationship with the crew there’s only one person you really interact with. You guessed it, the director. Well, them and occasionally the first assistant director.

 

I was acting on a short film about a guy who couldn’t cook to say his life. On that set I remember I was able to share exactly what I thought about my character, who he was and every intimate thing about him with the director. She also shared her vision for the character, this person who she created from the heart. We had a moment before filming where we sat down and shared what we both thought.

 

It was sweet.

 

To me, that is the beauty of the relationship between actor and director. We are both working in film to present truth and to create. They aren’t out to get us killed or hurt or make us feel bad. Most directors want to intimately create with us the story they have taken on themselves.

 

We are both unique artists, where the goal of the director and the actor are essentially the same. I wanted to write this blog because I know it’s easy to get angry at the director on a trying set. It’s easy to view the director negatively, especially if they don’t listen to our interpretation, but the thing is, we are here to serve.

 

To me, that is the beauty of the relationship between actor and director. We are both working in film to present truth and to create.

 

Actors are servants

 

It’s never easy to serve someone who asks you to do things you don’t like or things you are uncomfortable with doing. It can even be a blow to your pride if what you are suppose to do as your character can seem humiliating. But when it comes to acting, we need to learn to let go of our pride and do what the director asks of us.

 

The beautiful part about serving the director is that in most cases, the director and actor are able to communicate what they think is truthful for a particular scene. It’s a special relationship where both are able to give their interpretations of something.

 

I worked with a director while doing a short film about suicide where the communication between him and us actors was actually really intimate and sincere. We were able to see his vision for the script and we were able to show him how we had developed our characters.

 

The unity between actor and director can be very strong if both are willing to share their visions with each other. So don’t murder the director. Instead choose to create with him. Here’s a picture of Christopher Nolan and Michael Caine chilling just like we should do with our director.

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Trust counters anger and frustration. At the end of the day, if you trust the director and the vision he has then you won’t want to murder him.
At the end of the day we are both here for the same reason. We both want to create a beautiful, truthful story. Even if it seems the director is out to get you and your little dog too, he’s not. He’s your friend. Don’t choose murder, choose friendship!