Stephen Gallagher took issue with my post yesterday:
“For those of you who don’t know, a stand-in is quite possibly the most perfect manifestation of how lazy actors are.”
Seems kinda harsh both on the actors, who usually seem to use the chunk of time between blocking and shooting to get their lines, and stand-ins, who may not have the most demanding job in the world but can screw up everybody’s day if they fail to observe and repeat the moves.
Wow! A real showrunner–or at least someone claiming to be one–reads my blog!
Before I did the due diligence on who I was responding to, I had prepared a snarky retort about lazy actors and people whose job could adequately be performed by a mannequin. Then I realized I was about to tell off someone who knows a hell of a lot more than I do about the workings of a television show.
And then I remembered that I applied to be the writer’s assistant on Eleventh Hour, and I didn’t even get a call back!
More to the point, my readers don’t come to this blog for mealy-mouthed, sycophantic, half-apologetic rationalizations of previous posts. They expect me to hold forth with vigor and aplomb, whether I know what I’m talking about or not.
One of my favorite aphorisms is, “You don’t need to be a chef to know the cooking’s bad.” Or, to adapt it to my purposes, “Even the escuelerie can tell the sous-chef is lazy.”
Okay, back to the topic at hand.
All due respect to Mr. Gallagher, these are kind of lame excuses. Actors “use the chunk of time between blocking and shooting to get their lines”? Seriously? What were they doing for, oh, the last three weeks they’ve had the script?
Of course, scripts change, but should they really be cramming for the final exam like that? Memorizing lines is part of the basic task of a professional actor.
Or, if by “get” you mean, “Study the subtleties of the characterization and the lyrical nature of the text,” that’s even worse. No amount of last-minute study is going to reveal the deeper meanings of the scene. That takes advance preparation with the director and the other actors.
Again, I don’t know what Eleventh Hour was like (despite my best efforts). Maybe a famously intense actor like Rufus Sewell spends his free time preparing with the writers.
But on the shows I’ve been on, I’ve never seen a producer down at base camp. I, on the other hand, spend a good amount of time there, and unless you count playing stick ball with the DGA trainee, hitting on the make-up girls, or napping as “preparation,” I’ve never seen an actor prepare between setups.
As far as stand-ins having the ability to screw up everybody’s day, well…