five of us… Mary Helen as the rejecting actress (bitch?) leveling with the Hollywood star. Aaron working on the whacked out mom moving in with her brother. Rob as the Blogger who filmed a bank robbery for social media upload. And Casey working on the character for the /Alaska film.
This was a character night. All our focus was on developing character that worked for the different pieces. That really is the question of style and how a character functions or is used in the writing.
Rob… This was such a delicate balance. How to get a comedic/interesting and out there character into a not so funny show. I think we found that by tapping into his sincere beliefs about his identity. If he sincerely believes he’s a social media maven then he may be deceiving himself but that’s not necessarily more funny than a smile. If he is a bloated wind bag of hyper inflated self image(read Trump) then he’s to be laughed at without feeling mean. Sincerity is the key. And that can make us feel a little sorry for him in a chuckling kind of way.
Aaron… I went back and looked at your takes from two weeks ago. Three bears ! Last week’s was more frantic and I like it but it might be a little big depending on the style of the show. The second take here is too composed for my taste. I think the first take here is just right. This is that delicate line between out of control and sanity where you have not be afraid of losing control but in a controlled way… (how about that for word salad?). This rattled character is something that you do well and here it just took us a while to find the sweet spot. However because its Malissa McCarthy I think they’ll lean to BIG. This might work as a showcase piece and it reminds me of something you worked on not long ago… another out of control somewhat crazed woman that you said got good feedback.
Casey… We’ve never seen you get mad before but…I get it now. You were uncomfortable with the NY approach and the language we were using to describe him. I now think of this guy as much less NY centric. Why not. He’s from there… but does that define him… no. We mistook your aw shucks label as the character we saw… and there was the confusion. However I do think of him as much closer to AS than NYC. He’s really Casey based and I think that’s where he should be. What might be insightful is last night’s anger and frustration could be a model for how he reacts as this stranger in a strange Alaskan land. His struggle is to define who he is and that was the irritation we saw last night. I thought that the writing lead to a NYC guy so you had to lean into the NYC angle but if he’s Casey/orderly-city-boy based then his grandpa’s world would certainly be disorienting. So I think you’re right. He doesn’t have to be a NYC guy… but what I think of as aw shucks is the nice guy we know as Casey and I think your definition of that is much more along the line towards the country bumpkin… and that’s not right for this guy. So out of this confusion I now get it. I do think however that the fear induce word vomit approach to being on the wrong end of a gun was a good way to approach that first encounter. You have to be careful about switching between writer and actor brains… there lies crazy.
Mary Joan… I thought this was nice work. We got hung up on the difference between your choice and how they played it. We all thought your approach was much more appealing than a pure bitch approach which is apparently how they went. That’s the difference between a stand alone scene and how a character fits into a show. You can see why in an ensemble she might be a more one color character or how for comedy they’d maneuver these two way-disparate characters together into a relationship… classical love/hate relationship like Cheers’ Ted and Diane. But I think just for this as an isolated scene your choice was much more interesting. You saw it as overly bitchy… and none of us did. We saw her sincerity and care. The big hurdle was how she manages to ask him out for a drink… and that opened all the “attraction doors.” Maybe another choice is that she just felt sorry for him. It would really depend on how inherently likable the guy was. You took the direction to deal with the two hurdles in the scene quite well and in those moments we get to see the soul of a character… so expanding moments like that and letting the camera in is the key to us liking the character.