Saturday, November 6, 2010

Getting in and then getting out

I'm going to see "The King's Speech". The movie is about King George VI, the younger son who never thought he'd be king. Hitler is conquering Europe, and the UK needs to hear from their king. George can't speak without stammering, yet he is expected to speak to his country in a radio address. (It can't have helped that Hitler was an amazing orator.)

The trailer captured me. I think many of us write because we can't get the words to come out right the first time.

Or the second.

Or the third. But I digress...

I read this article about the movie today, and in the article was a link to an interview with Colin Firth who plays King George. He says that as an actor, his job is to get in and get out: to understand his character's dilemma, but not concentrate on expressing it. Rather, he should focus on the character's determination to get out.

He argued that if an actor concentrates too much on portraying the problem (in this case, stammering) then the audience sees an actor trying act. But Colin's goal is to pour his energy into portraying his character's struggle against the dilemma. The actor's effort should be towards portraying the fight, not the enemy.

He said it enables the audience to connect with the character. Few people want to follow a character whose energy is spent getting into his personal hell. But an audience is willing to walk with a character fighting his way out of one.

I've been banging my head against the wall with revisions. I have so much to do, precious little time, and even less creativity. But Colin's point made sense to me as a writer. I'm working to figure out the tension that pulls my MC through the story. That's huge. But once I clarify that dilemma, I need to go back to my MC's fight against it.

And speaking of fights- I need to go wrestle my own dilemma into submission. I'll let you know how it goes...


Kristi Tuck Austin said...

Great post. Good luck.

TerryLynnJohnson said...

I hear ya! I'm struggling with time to get some writing done too. Good ol' Colin Firth!

Sarah said...

Thanks, ladies! I think I've got my head wrapped around things now. We'll see what happens. I know you both have been busy, so good luck to you as well!

Nora MacFarlane said...

Loved the post! Good luck!