GTO 3987 on Mulholland

GTO 3987 on Mulholland

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Writing for an actor's brand

It was not unusual for writers in the Hollywood studio system to know for which actor they were writing as they created a character in a script. This one is for Gable. That one is for Garbo. Though they had crafted a screenplay as a vehicle for a certain actor, it didn't mean that another actor wouldn't end up playing the part by the time the film was finally shot, however.

Nevertheless, when you write for a particular actor you want to include the special qualities he or she possesses so as to make the character more authentic and believable. You write for the actor's signature or brand, if you will, and then add an element that brings something new and unexpected into the mix so as to surprise and fascinate the audience without violating the actor's franchise.

I have had the pleasure of knowing the actors for whom I write since I first started in Paris with Montmartre and having the opportunity to continually develop and expand an actor's signature is one of filmmaking's special pleasures.

The clip seen here is a work in progress I am writing for Erin Nordseth, which is destined to be part of my Series of One--a collection of one-man/one-woman shows featuring a variety of personalities and situations.

It is rather like (Interview) without the interviewer.

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