Tag Archive: THE JAIN LAZARUS ADVENTURES


It’s here! The cover for the second Jain Lazarus Adventure, OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK by the wonderful artist PJ Friel.

I’m not in this one, but hey, I’m not bitter. Much. 😉

Why Be an Actor?

It makes total sense why Devon decided to use actors in her story — I mean, HEX BREAKER takes place on the set of an independent film and if you’ve got a live action film, you need actors. Same as if you do a stage play, you usually need actors. Devon’s got a great story about working with a director in Seattle in the 80s who fired all his actors and used Barbie dolls instead because he said they “took direction better.”

Riiiight.

So why did I become an actor?

Not to be famous. I mean, I want to get to the point in my career where I’m offered roles and can “take” meetings, rather than sitting in a waiting room with 87 guys who look like me but work out more. It gets depressing to spend day after day in a room full of clones. (Devon just said, “There’s a story in that” — so I’m scared now. But as long as I get to play the Uber-Clone and wind up alive at the end, I guess it’s cool).

People get famous now for being stupid, and that’s not my thing. I’d rather be stupid in private and not have it blasted all over the media.

I became an actor because I’m interested in what makes people tick. How does it feel to live inside somebody else’s skin? Why do they make the choices they make? When under stress, faced with a life-or-death decision, do you step up or fold? What are the consequences?

I also get to do stuff I’d never do in real life. I get to be a super-cool, super-smart computer geek. In real life, I’m lucky to get my iPhone working half the time. I get to shoot guns and take down bad guys, and make a positive change in the world. I’m not brave enough to do that in real life. But it’s really interesting to live inside that character and know how it feels.

It’s also interesting to live inside the antagonist, the villain, the guy who loses because the good guy’s got to win (it’s in a lot of their contracts). WHY does someone want to cause harm? WHY does a guy think he’s the best choice to run the world and everyone should do what he says, and he just kills people who disagree with him because it’s easier than having a reasoned conversation and negotiating? Even if I don’t agree with that guy, by living inside him, creating a character, I have a better understanding.

One of the great things about working with a good writer is you find a solid understanding of what makes that individual tick in the script. The writer KNOWS already the whats and whys and the backstory and all the details. The way the writer communicates it in the script gives me what I need to communicate it. Layer on a really good director, and you can go even deeper into the details the rest of us wouldn’t think f AND also get the big picture. The way the director tells me to tilt my head at a certain point of a line, and where I’m placed in the visual composition of the scene changes the impact of the scene.

When it works, it’s true magic.

When it doesn’t, you hope it goes to DVD, you cash the check and move on.

I’m not really good at walking away from a character at the end of a piece and never thinking of him again. Something of the character stays with me. Something of the understanding stays with me. And then I’m richer for it, when I approach the next script.