Thursday, April 21, 2005

[Film] The Wasps, 2nd readthrough

Had a good time reading through the script with some different actors. Notable changes in this new draft include toughening up Henry (someone who doesn't like my character) and a much more plausible ending between the two lead characters.

What I found interesting was the way you judge the effectiveness of a comedy screenplay. Conventional wisdom says, "If it makes you laugh then it's working." When you're reading the script aloud (or performing it in the theatre), it's only natural to put pauses in after your big jokes, to let the audience have a laugh. However, pausing like that on film would look unnatural. Comic beats have to be created through staging or editing. So last night, I found myself deciding not to play to the audience; to read the lines at a filmic pace. At times this meant I was actually cutting off laughter from the other actors. To try and be funny on-screen, I was removing the funny from the here and now.

Note to self: don't expect cold readings to be even close to perfect when it comes to performance and understanding of motivation. There were many times I lost track of how my character should be behaving - and I've read the script at least twice before.

1 comment:

hix said...

Upon reflection, there are a lot more ways to create comedy than just staging and editing.

What I meant to say is that the character I play isn't obsessed with the idea of making people laugh (and most of the time takes himself to seriously to even consider that people would be laughing at him), so there's no reason for him to pause and wait for the audience to catch up.