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Old 08-18-2015, 12:31 PM   #1
Theauteur14
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Dealing with difficult leading ladies

Anyone had a hard experience?

In my last short film the leading lady I had ended up being a train wreck (she got her car stolen, it got wrecked, she became homeless, couldn't get down to the shoot, went to rehab). My DP ended up finding this actress that he and his ex girlfriend had worked with off some actors worksheet. I had no idea who she was. But she did look good so I was okay with the choice.

She was pretty friendly right off the bat. I don't really like people who are overly friendly when I first meet them. That usually means that the person is hiding this ambition and their other side. But she was good actress and on that day she was easy to work with.

But after that she got weird. She wanted to meet up and rehearse. She said she wanted to meet up at starbucks. I thought that was weird as the short was shot at my house, we could have rehearsed at the location. But I just said to meet up a study hall in the library. Once there she sat a chair away from me. I didn't really think anything of it. But she had started to change from the first day. The acting part was fine. But in between she started to show her true self a little : a super serious ambitious high maintenance actress.

The next day she then did a very under handed thing. My DP called telling that she had spoken to him and that while she was fine with the kissing scene on the first day, she didn't want to do the sex scene or make out. Now I don't know if it was because of her boyfriend, because she wasn't attracted to, because was attracted to me and didn't want to let go on screen (she is a decent kisser haha), that fact that she is still a young actress with not a lot of experience (21 and her first credit on IMDB). But this altered what I was going for. I think it still turned out quite well. But this isn't what I wanted. I didn't appreciate what she did at all.

There was one instance where she was talking to the DP and asked him a question that I felt should have came my way (I wrote the whole thing, I was directing it, I came up with the shot list, I was controlling the camera, etc, etc). And I had to make it clear that what she was doing was disrespectful.

On set was something else. I don't mind an actress who is hard to work with as long as she is at least funny and open. She was hard to work with, not funny, and unopened. If I wasn't in such a poor spot I would have not choose her at all.

I guess the obvious thing to do here is not work with her. I have to really screen my leading ladies more. I seem to do better picking my supporting actresses.

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Old 08-18-2015, 12:59 PM   #2
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(21 and her first credit on IMDB).
How many IDMB credits do you have / how many short films have you done?

I've had plenty commit and then not do the project at all.
I haven't had anyone commit to something and then back out on specifics but still be part of the project.

Then again I haven't written any scripts to get 21 year old girls to make out or simulate sex with me.

Mind if I ask how much you were paying her?
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Old 08-18-2015, 01:31 PM   #3
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http://m.imdb.com/name/nm5306688/ anymore questions?

Obviously I am at a different level than you and tell different stories than you. Sex scenes are engaging because of what's under neath. The spirituality of them, two humans connecting, showing love, admiration and passion. Releasing into each other and healing.
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Old 08-18-2015, 01:44 PM   #4
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I think it was a relevant question, because I wouldn't expect an actress to take your work as seriously if you haven't done many films.

I know that few take my work seriously
Yes I did have one other question at the end of my post.

"Mind if I ask how much you were paying her?"

None of this is snark on my part. It's my attempt to understand the struggle with actors.

Actually I spent two months now looking for an actress willing to do a topless scene and I've finally had to just admit defeat and change my ending. It's sad but the show must go on.
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Old 08-18-2015, 01:55 PM   #5
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It is not a relevant question because...

1) It is my art.
2) She has no credits. She is lucky to get work. It was a great part for her and it came out of nowhere.
3) She read the script and continued on.

And I do mind telling you what I paid her. You are not privy to that info.

Basically you are projecting your issues into you me.
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Old 08-18-2015, 01:55 PM   #6
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Sometimes you just need to improvise.
An actor or actress going diva or communicating with her friend DOP instead of you (the director) is often just insecure. At the same time they feel or know you have little other options, giving them a sense of control.
Too bad most people act like this on a subconscious level.
In your case she either committed without proper reading and thinking AND she was nervous about the onscreen intimacy: although it's not the real thing, it is still intimate and she probablt felt vulnerable. The fact that she wanted to rehearse in a public space also shows she was nervous and perhaps even intimidated about it.
Also the fact that she stepped in last minute made the threshold higher for her: the both of you were actually strangers. Even with experienced pros that can also be a reason for tension and insecurity with it comes to very intimate scenes.

The real question is: how did the short turn out?
Because in the end it is about the endresult.
You learn from it and remember not to cast her again for such leading parts (or never ever again).

I once had an actress having a sort of breakdown on set: she was just too exhausted from work (the filming had not started yet and because of the Dutch weather the shoot was moved from weekend to the middle of the week). My DOP's wife who came along for fun and to help with the meals and drinks stepped in to save the day. We had a crew and cast of 10 people and it was no option to tell them to go home and pick a new date, because nobody got paid.

(PS.
Let's skip the level comparing and just exchange ideas and experiences. Sean asked because you mentioned she only had no IMBD credit. He was just curious.)

Last edited by WalterB; 08-18-2015 at 01:58 PM.
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Old 08-18-2015, 01:57 PM   #7
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...........
2) She has no credits. She is lucky to get work. It was a great part for her and it came out of nowhere.
...............
Take deep breath.
Anger leads to suffering

PS.

That is easier said than done: after the shoot was wrappd I was furious for a moment, although I knew that was not going to solve anything....

Last edited by WalterB; 08-18-2015 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 08-18-2015, 02:14 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Theauteur14 View Post
It is not a relevant question because...

1) It is my art.
2) She has no credits. She is lucky to get work. It was a great part for her and it came out of nowhere.
3) She read the script and continued on.

And I do mind telling you what I paid her. You are not privy to that info.

Basically you are projecting your issues into you me.
I think Sfoster was being genuine and finding the root cause of the problem. That Sometimes pay determines their professional attitude...which I disagree with. If you find a solid actor, they come through on many levels both on the camera and off camera.

It's not entirely your art. They are performing it. Sounds like you don't need an actor, you need a puppet. lol.

She read the script and you are damn right. She shouldn't waste your time. If she commits, then she commits. But people are flaky.

But really, you have no one to blame but yourself. If you were in a tight spot and went forward unprepared, then you know you took the risk.
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Old 08-18-2015, 02:15 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Theauteur14 View Post
It is not a relevant question because...

1) It is my art.
2) She has no credits. She is lucky to get work. It was a great part for her and it came out of nowhere.
3) She read the script and continued on.

And I do mind telling you what I paid her. You are not privy to that info.

Basically you are projecting your issues into you me.
A bit snippy there bud. Or maybe snarky.

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Originally Posted by Theauteur14 View Post
http://m.imdb.com/name/nm5306688/ anymore questions?

Obviously I am at a different level than you and tell different stories than you. Sex scenes are engaging because of what's under neath. The spirituality of them, two humans connecting, showing love, admiration and passion. Releasing into each other and healing.
What level pray tell is that?
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Old 08-18-2015, 02:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theauteur14 View Post
It is not a relevant question because...

1) It is my art.
2) She has no credits. She is lucky to get work. It was a great part for her and it came out of nowhere.
3) She read the script and continued on.

And I do mind telling you what I paid her. You are not privy to that info.

Basically you are projecting your issues into you me.
A great part for her. I'm sure after being in your film she'll never want for work again. Now she is an established artist in a prestigious project that many industry professionals will see.

You have a real attitude problem. Doesn't seem like you want my help or conversation so I'll leave you to your own devices and go eat a doughnut.
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Old 08-18-2015, 02:40 PM   #11
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............go eat a doughnut.
Totally off-topic, butI see you are method-acting?
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Old 08-18-2015, 02:54 PM   #12
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Totally off-topic, butI see you are method-acting?
I don't break character til I've done the DVD commentary.
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Old 08-18-2015, 06:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Dealing with difficult leading ladies
Quote:
She has no credits. She is lucky to get work. It was a great part for her and it came out of nowhere.
Unfortunately you've made the error here. The experience you've had isn't dealing with a difficult leading lady. The experience you were hoping for was to have a professional actress when you picked a clueless, flaky member of the audience who took you for an unpleasant ride.

While it may have been a great part if she was an actor, it's quite obvious (at least to me) she (or perhaps you both as a combination) isn't.

Quote:
I guess the obvious thing to do here is not work with her.
You already figured it out. Chalk it up to experience and learn to spot the warning signs better.
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Old 08-18-2015, 06:07 PM   #14
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In my last short film the leading lady I had ended up being a train wreck (she got her car stolen, it got wrecked, she became homeless, couldn't get down to the shoot, went to rehab).
Sucks, but it happens...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Theauteur14 View Post
My DP ended up finding this actress that he and his ex girlfriend had worked with off some actors worksheet.
Cool! So they'd worked together before, presumably you trust your DP and that he is thinking about achieving your vision of the story -- as is his job.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Theauteur14 View Post
She was pretty friendly right off the bat. I don't really like people who are overly friendly when I first meet them. That usually means that the person is hiding this ambition and their other side.
... This sounds like a personal issue. You've got trust issues, yeah?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Theauteur14 View Post
But after that she got weird. She wanted to meet up and rehearse.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Theauteur14 View Post
But in between she started to show her true self a little : a super serious ambitious high maintenance actress.
So, she's (allegedly) light on experience, but serious about the craft? Sounds like a winner to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Theauteur14 View Post
The next day she then did a very under handed thing. My DP called telling that she had spoken to him and that while she was fine with the kissing scene on the first day, she didn't want to do the sex scene or make out.
So.. like you said initially, you didn't know her at all -- that's a two-way street. She'd worked with your DP before, so there was some history there. Understandable she'd perhaps be more comfortable talking to him...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Theauteur14 View Post
There was one instance where she was talking to the DP and asked him a question that I felt should have came my way (I wrote the whole thing, I was directing it, I came up with the shot list, I was controlling the camera, etc, etc). And I had to make it clear that what she was doing was disrespectful.
Again, she has history with the DP, so it's somewhat understandable. Understand the frustration, but it doesn't seem like the end of the world..


As for this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Theauteur14 View Post
It is not a relevant question because...
Yes, it is absolutely relevant. Especially if this was unpaid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Theauteur14 View Post
1) It is my art.
For her it may have just been a gig, not art.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Theauteur14 View Post
2) She has no credits. She is lucky to get work. It was a great part for her and it came out of nowhere.
Entirely your own opinion. Sounds to me like she was genuinely interested in doing a good job, and wants to improve her craft (rehearsing, etc) and yet something made her uncomfortable on set... aside from the looming sex-scene that is usually uncomfortable for ANYONE on set.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Theauteur14 View Post
3) She read the script and continued on.
If she did in fact read the whole script, and had an issue with it, she should have indicated that earlier on, yes. Maybe she was initially fine with it, and became uncomfortable. Could be the way you approached it was overbearing/etc. That would also help explain why she reached out to the people she already knew to bring up the concern rather than you directly.



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she is a decent kisser haha
... ... Were you looking for an actress, or a porn star? ... or a girlfriend? Frankly, it's not entirely clear from your post, and you yourself sound somewhat unprofessional to me.
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Old 08-19-2015, 12:37 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WalterB View Post
Sometimes you just need to improvise.
An actor or actress going diva or communicating with her friend DOP instead of you (the director) is often just insecure. At the same time they feel or know you have little other options, giving them a sense of control.
Too bad most people act like this on a subconscious level.
In your case she either committed without proper reading and thinking AND she was nervous about the onscreen intimacy: although it's not the real thing, it is still intimate and she probablt felt vulnerable. The fact that she wanted to rehearse in a public space also shows she was nervous and perhaps even intimidated about it.
Also the fact that she stepped in last minute made the threshold higher for her: the both of you were actually strangers. Even with experienced pros that can also be a reason for tension and insecurity with it comes to very intimate scenes.

The real question is: how did the short turn out?
Because in the end it is about the endresult.
You learn from it and remember not to cast her again for such leading parts (or never ever again).

I once had an actress having a sort of breakdown on set: she was just too exhausted from work (the filming had not started yet and because of the Dutch weather the shoot was moved from weekend to the middle of the week). My DOP's wife who came along for fun and to help with the meals and drinks stepped in to save the day. We had a crew and cast of 10 people and it was no option to tell them to go home and pick a new date, because nobody got paid.

(PS.
Let's skip the level comparing and just exchange ideas and experiences. Sean asked because you mentioned she only had no IMBD credit. He was just curious.)
Yeah I really didn't know who she was. That was a really tough situation. It made the shoot a lot tougher than it had to be.

I do believe it turned out good. We ended up suggesting sex. So I'll put it this way: instead of having a cool Sons of Anarchy type scene it went to a nice and sweet How I met your mother type scene. Both are cool and work. But I think for this short the Sons approach suited it better.

I guess the last time I will have to speak to anyone in the group is when I give them a link to the short.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WalterB View Post
Take deep breath.
Anger leads to suffering

PS.

That is easier said than done: after the shoot was wrappd I was furious for a moment, although I knew that was not going to solve anything....
I didn't mean to sound mad. She was a good actress and she did add her talent to the film She just was not a lot of fun to work with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by writersandfilmmakers View Post
I think Sfoster was being genuine and finding the root cause of the problem. That Sometimes pay determines their professional attitude...which I disagree with. If you find a solid actor, they come through on many levels both on the camera and off camera.

It's not entirely your art. They are performing it. Sounds like you don't need an actor, you need a puppet. lol.

She read the script and you are damn right. She shouldn't waste your time. If she commits, then she commits. But people are flaky.

But really, you have no one to blame but yourself. If you were in a tight spot and went forward unprepared, then you know you took the risk.
I've worked on high paid, low paid, and no pay jobs as an actor. I act the same all the time. It is all about the work.

I give everyone on my set a decent bit of freedom. But more like how a crew chief on a NASCAR team or the head coach on a NFL team does. But in the end of the day film is a director's medium for a reason. When you are a director it's YOUR NAME on the line the most when you do a short film unless you have big name actors in it. You have to make sure that your vision is getting put across.

I had to do what I had to do. Time was running out. What I should have never done was cast the first lead actress. I knew in my gut that she could do something like this. But I only listened to my intellect and kept on going with her. She made me spent like $80 on her in one day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetie View Post
Unfortunately you've made the error here. The experience you've had isn't dealing with a difficult leading lady. The experience you were hoping for was to have a professional actress when you picked a clueless, flaky member of the audience who took you for an unpleasant ride.

While it may have been a great part if she was an actor, it's quite obvious (at least to me) she (or perhaps you both as a combination) isn't.
She wasn't as experience ad the original lead for sure. The first actress had eight feature film credits and was 27. While she was a train wreck, she was funny, open, just a very cool person. Easy to hang around with. And she was very interesting. I wish it had worked out. I am happy with what I saw. But I think it would have been better with the first actress.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Vincent View Post
Sucks, but it happens...



Cool! So they'd worked together before, presumably you trust your DP and that he is thinking about achieving your vision of the story -- as is his job.
No not cool. You don't want your lead actress to have better rapport with the DP than the actor/writer/director. They can plot against you (and they did).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Vincent View Post
... This sounds like a personal issue. You've got trust issues, yeah?
Nah dude. Never fully trust anyone. I know what I am capable of for goodness sakes LOL. Everyone wheres a mask. You have to look deeper than that.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Vincent View Post
So, she's (allegedly) light on experience, but serious about the craft? Sounds like a winner to me.
She did give a great performance. She just wasn't that fun to work with. Maybe I wasn't open enough, I don't know. It is weird when you are acting and directing. As an actor you really have to connect with your partner. As a director you have to understand your leading lady. But you have to abide by some laws of power to be a good leader. So when you act and direct you break some rules on both sides. I don't make anything of it so it's just a natural thing. But it is different than normal circumstances. Maybe I didn't appreciate that enough. Either way some actresses are just tough to work with.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Vincent View Post
So.. like you said initially, you didn't know her at all -- that's a two-way street. She'd worked with your DP before, so there was some history there. Understandable she'd perhaps be more comfortable talking to him...
Yeah, and that was a problem. That isn't how it should be on a film set.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Vincent View Post
Again, she has history with the DP, so it's somewhat understandable. Understand the frustration, but it doesn't seem like the end of the world..
I was patient. I didn't say anything until late on the last day. And it was short. And it isn't like her and the DP were great friends. The DP kept forgetting her name. But the fact that they knew each other was a disadvantage to me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Vincent View Post
As for this:


Yes, it is absolutely relevant. Especially if this was unpaid.


For her it may have just been a gig, not art.
I will say that she treated it like art. She did the homework that I gave her.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Vincent View Post
Entirely your own opinion. Sounds to me like she was genuinely interested in doing a good job, and wants to improve her craft (rehearsing, etc) and yet something made her uncomfortable on set... aside from the looming sex-scene that is usually uncomfortable for ANYONE on set.
And she was and does. She just wasn't open enough as a person. She was nice when you first meet her. But not much was there after.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Vincent View Post
If she did in fact read the whole script, and had an issue with it, she should have indicated that earlier on, yes. Maybe she was initially fine with it, and became uncomfortable. Could be the way you approached it was overbearing/etc. That would also help explain why she reached out to the people she already knew to bring up the concern rather than you directly.
Here is what happened with that. She read the script. We talked about it. She did the first scene. She then brought it up in a really friendly and light way. I explained it (not a full on sex scene, but making out that would turn into the beginning of sex. Then cut to post sex and the rest of the scene). She was okay. Then when we met for the shoot she brought up again and I said the same thing. She was showing more of her true self to me (distant and not always smiling). But she seemed okay. Then the weak power play came in.




Quote:
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... ... Were you looking for an actress, or a porn star? ... or a girlfriend? Frankly, it's not entirely clear from your post, and you yourself sound somewhat unprofessional to me.
T'Was a joke. Joseph Gordon Levitt said the something about Zooey Deschanel in the commentary track for 500 days of Summer. No sense in denying that while it's not really fun to kiss on screen because of how many people are watching you, it's actually kinda interesting. But I don't mix worth and personal life. I am all about the truth.
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