Juggling Writing, Directing & Acting

Filmmaking is a collaborative process that requires effective communication on every level. When communication is lacking, productions fall apart. This spurs some filmmakers to wear multiple hats, with that Mother Goose, “I’ll do it myself attitude.” It’s one thing to shoot and grip, but a popular combination is the Director/Actor. This seems like a good idea at first, “I know the performance I want, so I’ll do the acting,” but it’s a lot harder than it looks. Then there’s the writer/director/actor, which makes things exponentially more difficult.

To assume all of these roles can allow one to loose sight of how the writer, the director and the actor bring new perspectives, talent and insights to a project. And yet, many persist.

A friend of mine, Addison Bhuyan, is pretty good at juggling writing, directing and acting. He’s not the first person to handle all three of these roles, and many have done it on a much greater scale. Addison makes short films. Woody Allen, Edward Burns, Sylvester Stallone, Kevin Smith, Spike Lee… yeah, you’ve heard of them. Addison who? Give him a break, he’s a nice guy, and he’s very articulate about what’s at stake.

Addison stresses a few keys to successfully pulling this sort of thing off

  • Scale – He’s working on short films, which allows him to keep a lot of it in his head
  • Experience – He admits his first attempt wasn’t the best, but he keeps getting better
  • Pre-production – the process he calls ‘rewriting’ and “Seeing the shots in my head,” I wouldn’t be recommended for beginning filmmakers, unless you want your first few projects to be ‘mediocre’ too, put your pre-production on paper.

Then there’s ‘communication.’ He had quite a bit to say about that.

Wearing more than one hat almost means you have to communicate more than just wearing one. As one of the main moving parts of a film, you can be the weakest link and the reason a production falls apart or that a final product never lives up to the initial vision if you don’t effectively communicate your needs as writer, director and actor. You may be ‘more important’ than anyone else on set, but that means you have more ability to screw it all up too.

Here’s one of Addison’s short films, “End of the N-Word” and a web series he worked on, BNN: Black News Network and his latest film, “The Mulatto”.

Addison’s IMDB

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress