Monday, July 12, 2010
What I learned from Actor Jeff Bridges...About Writing
JB: "You start with the script and look at the lines that people say about your character and lines your character says about himself. Then you look inside yourself and figure out what are the parallels between myself and the character. I might magnify some of those parallels and kick the aspects of myself that don’t really coincide with the character."
What people (read other characters here) say about your character. What a great form of character reveal. Use what's around you (in your story) instead of letting the character go on and on about him/herself in either narrative or dialogue. It's far more interesting to read other character's take on your heroine, especially if they're not quite right in that take. Then your character has a great time trying to prove otherwise.
JB: “I’m very blessed to have a 33-year marriage.…Sue, my wife, has been through all that stuff with me and supported me. Bad (Note: Bridges character's name) didn’t have that kind of support system,” Bridges says, showing how an actor can tap into a positive life experience to find the negative. “Bad attempted marriage four times, so you know he longed for that kind of intimacy. So that was something you kind of use.”He is also quick to point out the contributions of others. “Then you look around and find people among your group of friends that might remind you of that character,” he continues. Bridges makes special mention of Stephen Bruton, who wrote the music for the film, along with T Bone Burnett. "
Showing how a character can tap into a POSITIVE life experience to find the negative!! YES. Turn your characters emotions on their heads. (Well actually that sounds painful, but you know what I mean, I hope.) Tap into YOU then work it 180 degrees.
JB:“My biggest role model in the whole thing was Stephen Bruton,” says Bridges. “He’s the guy the movie was dedicated to. He died shortly after it was completed. He was with me every step of the way, giving me little tips. I always encouraged him to let me know what it’s really like, being a musician, living on the road, because that’s what his [Bad's] life was like.”
You know what "they" say, write what you know. That's another whole post, for I don't believe it. Instead use people around you for experiences, then see if you absorb them into your character, which is usually some extension/part of you, so you are in essence writing what you know...you. Make sense?
Bridges also lauds his co-stars and others. “One of the wonderful things about making movies is you’re working with all these other artists, creative people, and you get the benefit of all their input,” he says.
Be around people who feed your well. Try and stay away from people who suck you dry. We all know colleagues who help fill us to the brim and others who are whatever...jealous, afraid...the list goes on. Take the time to be with other creative folks you trust. Generally I find when I do take the time, I'm far more creative when I return to my computer.
Okay, those are my lessons learned. Now to put them to work.
Let me know what you all think...
And thanks again Steve for allowing me to post your interview.