For months now, I have been having a fight with myself.

You see the writer (me) of this project, along side the director (also me), has been searching for the perfect leading men. Both the director and the writer know exactly what they are looking for from each character. For a change, they were in agreement and they ventured out on this quest looking for that guy with that thing who would be perfect to portray either this guy or that one. And they find them, sort of.

They found these two guys who had real chemistry. They had emotion, they had heat, they had a connection that was unique, over the hundred actors they’d seen in the past year. These kids were lightning in a bottle. Bona fide CHEMISTRY.

The director began salivating when she realized that these guys were not only good together – they were good actors. Great with stage direction, great with adjustments, great attitude and energy on set. Everything a director could want in talent.

The writer… hit a bump. Yes they were good, yes they were professional, but something was missing. Something that kept them from being the perfect match to what she had in her head. That thing that… X-factor was missing. And she just couldn’t get past it.

So what do you do? When you have been here before and the last time you were in that position, your directorial skills proved wobbly at best. Not to mention some of your choices blew a Mars-sized crater out of one of your best relationships. As writer and director, who wins out? Who is right, the director (my head) or the writer (my gut)? What DO you DO?

Here’s what you do: you listen to your heart.

You (the director) sit the writer down and remind her that script and screen are two different mediums. You (the writer) trust your director to deliver a faithful interpretation of your work, accepting that no work is ever flawless, and that sometimes the tweaks and changes and happy accidents are usually what make the piece better, richer. The director gets the writer to concede that the flesh and blood incarnation of her characters could NEVER be a perfect match to what she created in her head, because they can only be perfect in her HEAD. You shake the writer until she admits that walking away from actors who have honest-to-God CHEMISTRY is NUTS! You hold the director’s hand, look her in the eye and say “You got this.”

Then you make a pact to be brave for each other, & move forward to make a brilliant film.

Advertisements