Why Writers Should Respect Actors
Screenwriters, when was the last time you really thought about the person who will act out your Story?
Have you considered the emotional, spiritual and mental aspects that will impact an actor who embodies a character you create? We can’t leave these people out of the equation when we’re writing, folks. We have to remember that, ultimately, we are writing for them.
And they are people. We need to see them as such.
To often we fall prey to seeing A-list actors through the alienating veil of “celebrity” and forget that they are human beings. We see them for what we stand to gain from having them attached to our work, and do not see them as creative professionals as human and vulnerable as we are. We forget that they are co-creators of our stories. It’s their skill, their creative spirit, their insight that brings our characters to life.
But it’s more than that.
We use words to write our Stories. An actor has to use his or her body, heart and spirit to physically and emotionally portray our words. We need to be mindful of what it is we are asking them to do and be as human beings, for our stories.
I write drama that involves difficult scenes of human suffering. Scenes that force me to get up from my chair and walk away because it touches me that deeply. Scenes that are tough on characters. Scenes I know will be tough on actors.
I write mindful of what it is I’m asking an actor to experience. I wonder about the spiritual toll it will take on their soul. I consider how acting out violence or suffering will change them. How embodying a character will affect their energy, their spirit, their feelings about life, their world, their loved ones.
You can argue that acting is make-believe. I don’t buy it. Acting, done well, goes deeper than that in the actor. There is a part of the actor that will always carry the character.
Don’t ever lose respect for actors.
Honor them as human beings when you script their work. Be mindful of them as human beings first, actors second.
Not only will it be beneficial for the actor, it will deepen your characters’ human qualities.
5 Ways to Respect Actors in Your Script
1. Be mindful of the human spirit no matter what genre you’re writing.
2. Consider how the Story will affect an actor’s heart, spirit and mind.
3. When writing scenes, put yourself in the actor’s (not the character’s) place. What do you feel?
4. Be aware of the physical toll your Story requires.
5. Give actor’s breathing room in the script. Chances are your characters need it, too.