Monday, October 7, 2013

“Do it because you love it. Not for the fame, or the perks.” Stephen Dorff - @ the Woodstock Film Festival

 This weekend I attended the Woodstock Film Festival. My favorite part of this festival is the Actor Dialogue Panel.

Every year the panel is moderated by Martha Frankel and this year’s panel of actors included Stephen Dorff and Golden Globe winner, Andy Garcia.

Both actors were engaging, funny, and charming. And, oh yeah, handsome too. Both are romance novel hero worthy… in fact… wait a second …  swoon … *THUD*

But seriously, as a writer I think it’s interesting to hear actors talk about their craft. After all they are interpreting the written word.

Garcia and Dorff both look for great writing.
Garcia says, “If you have a great script, you’ll attract great actors.”
Vera Farmiga, Garcia’s co-star of At Middleton, said at the screening. “The writing is everything……  a beautifully crafted script makes it easy.” (also said working with Andy 'is like doing the Argentine Tango')

Dorff said the script to The Motel Life was so wonderful that “he fought for the role.”

These are independent films, folks. They are not breaking the bank by acting in these films yet they will fight to be in it because the writing is powerful.

When fighting for roles both actors would go to the audition ‘in character’. Garcia says, “Assume you are not going to get it. But go all out. Even if you don’t get the part they’ll be ‘Wow’ and put you into their ‘go to file’ for something else.”

Garcia likes directors who encourage you to experiment. He calls it a “Free actors take.” He says, (and I’m paraphrasing here… “Don’t worry about the end result …. Do not judge the work while gathering information…. Can lead to happy accidents.”

This is great writing advice as well. Write the scene in a different way. Have your character do something outlandish. You can always go back or it could change everything.

Garcia said that the “big studio films play to demographics… a film is edited to a focus group…. In independent films no one cares what you’re doing, it’s not about focus groups…  independent films free the creative process.

Garcia’s advice for young actors? “Preparation. Learn your craft.” Sage advice for actors and writers.

Dorff says, “Do it because you love it. Not for the fame, or the perks.”

That’s why I write, because I love it. Maybe there will come a day when one of my books is made into a film. Josh Holloway may have been my inspiration for Russ Rowland in Love By Design but if Stephen Dorff wants the role then who am I to say no...then again...let him fight for it. Oh yeah. 


  1. I love your summary of the Dialogue. You must have taken great notes because you hit on all the highlights. I enjoyed your writer's perspective and your humor. I think you should consider covering events and writing about them for the newspaper.

  2. Thanks Marianne. I loved the event so it made it easy to write about.

  3. Great post, Liz! I agree with what Andy Garcia said - just go all out. Even if you don't get the part, or get the publisher contract, you've done the job you want to do. We can always feel good when that happens.

  4. Why didn't you call this old actor? I would have dropped everything including my. . .well maybe not. Liz, you hit all the right/write spots with your observations and words of wisdom. Perfect!
    Andy Garcia might just be the one to play Maverick in my optioned book. Yum.

  5. Thanks Charmaine. I go with my sister each year to this festival.