Posts Tagged ‘directing’

Seattle Celebrity News!

April 13, 2012


The local Seattle film industry keeps moving, and so do the people in it.  The Seattle Celebrity News! just recently learned that Allison Eckert, profiled here in November, 2010 ( ) is soon due to attend the prestigious American Film Institute located  on eight acres in the hills overlooking Hollywood!  (in LA, CA. naturally)  She’s already been Assistant Director on many films, and Directed some.   (see Jana, shot  in Prague:   She likes the Director’s chair and wants more of the kind of ‘inside learning’ you need to support her ambitions.  The American Film Institute is very selective, and well placed.  But they also charge tuition.  You want to see better films?  Help to group fund a Director, and then have the joy of personally following her career!  Get in on the ground floor now – and you could be attending A-list parties later…  kicking back by the pool and listening to starlets ask you how it is that you ‘know her‘?

Well.  This is how.  Go to:   Send her a few bucks…  And then pack ur swimming suit, sun-tan lotion, and collection of those little drink umbrellas!

Photos used without asking by Carl Nelson

From the Editor’s Perch

March 20, 2011

We’re All Crazy!!!


And Finding Friends Where We Can


“The first thing you need to know,” a prominent and widely respected psychiatrist I read, wrote, “is that we’re all nuts”.  I wish I could remember his name, but the statement was so outrageous that it has stuck in my mind several years after I read it.  That, and the fact that I liked the idea so much.  It takes a lot of the pressure off, when you think about it. 

And, it properly places all those ‘Realists’. 

You want something real, Mr. Hard-headed Realist?  Pick up a rock.  It will conform to all the laws of physics.  It will not disappear, nor morph into something new, or suddenly rise out of sight.  Nothing unexpected will happen.  And my guess is, like Reality, it doesn’t even know we’re here.  And like Reality – my second guess is – it doesn’t even know it’s here.  The only way in which it is not like Reality, it seems, is that lots of ‘Realists’ don’t worship it.  Which is puzzling, to be sure, because it’s a lot easier to find a rock – than to describe Reality.

It is fashionable currently to genuflect before the glories of the Scientific Mind and to scorn the ‘Idiocy of Religion’ and all their in-house crazies who currently are held to fan all the problems of our Shrinking World.  But how do we know what’s crazy?  What makes doing or thinking one thing more, or less, crazy than doing or thinking another?  Most of us take our cue from Christ, “By their fruits you will know them.”   We generally say someone is acting or thinking ‘crazy’ if they are doing or saying something which doesn’t provide a good outcome.  So, the Scientist retreats to his/her laboratory to perform all of these ‘crazy’ experiments… until the outcome of what he/she has discovered is found to be very beneficial.  Aha!  He/she was never crazy at all!  All along they were employing the Scientific Method.  But, likewise, the Religious Figure, retreats into the cloisters of his/her faith to perform all of these crazy rituals and to perpetuate the teaching of all of these preposterous ideas… until the outcome is to have spawned an enormously successful society; a society which by nearly all human measure far outstrips whatever had previously come before.  Aha!  So why does it not seem that they were not crazy after all but were employing the ‘Religious Method’.  Like I tell my Scientifically biased – and rather rude friends: “When the cult of the EverReady Bunny creates another Western Civilization – you can believe I will take it very seriously.”

You wonder why people join Cults?  You wonder why people lose their lives fighting over the most inane notions?  You wonder why people run off into the desert after some charismatic figure?  It’s very simple:  We’re all crazy!  That’s what separates us from the rocks!!!   If you’re wondering why the populace will follow crazy people, it’s because crazy is the energy we run on.  That’s my take.  And the more crazy energy you have, the more followers you may get.

This is certainly true of the stage.  When directing actors, one of the things a mediocre actor often doesn’t understand is that merely ‘becoming that character’ isn’t giving us a great deal.  “Congratulations,” I feel like saying, “you’ve become a rock.  You’re right up there on the same level as a piece of furniture on the set.  You will be just as interesting as the playwright has written you… but no more.” 

If you want to give a memorable performance as an actor, you have to infuse that character with life.  Life is not a rock.  Life is not a chair.  Life is not a described situation with dialogue.  Life is an inspired situation.  You have to bring to that character some of your own ‘craziness’.  That’s how we’ll know you’re human… and give you our estimate.

Photo and Opinion by Carl Nelson


From the Editor’s Perch

August 12, 2010


Playwrights often talk about story as if it were an end in itself.  But indeed, a good story usually serves to show us what we are made of.  That’s why I think it works, when casting about to find a story, to look at the ingredients one has… just like going to your kitchen and seeing what ingredients are available for something to cook.  Can anything be made of that?   Oftentimes a play, which a playwright is up to his elbows in, may be lacking something as basic as flour.  Good luck baking a cake without that!  But add flour, and you immediately begin to see a story unfold about how your cake came to be.

Often though, the ingredients are already there for a good story – just not nearly enough of them.  For example, I recently directly a play which no one I spoke with (excepting the playwright, I would suppose) had much hope for.  But in working over the play with the actors, it became apparent that what was missing was hierarchy.  We added a big dollop of hierarchy and the thing was a big hit. 

How does one add hierarchy?   And did I have to force the playwright into a re-write to accomplish this?  The answer is “No” and “No”.   The hierarchy was already there, in the form of a big, bipolar security guard.  We simply added hierarchy by having him do more.  He patted a fellow down.  He intimidated with his flashlight.  He shocked with a fake severed head.  He brought the play to life!  Most people in an audience are like that husky in his dogsled traces – they need see that asshole ahead of them.  Did we need a re-write to accomplish this?  No!  People love to see actors on stage say one thing and do another.  It couldn’t be more like real life.

And people talk about story as if there were more than one (for each life).  I think it would make more sense to talk about ingredients.  Our lives are like pies, cakes, stews, steaks, salads… etc.  Our lives are made of the ingredients that have gone into us.  You can talk all you want about changing your life, making changes, re-inventing yourself… but whenever people gather – no matter how you try – if you’re a pie, then you’re going to be served when the pie is served.  If you’re a steak, you’ll find yourself in a different crowd and served at a different time.

Photo by Carl Nelson

Model:  Mr. Schn00dle

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