Insights from the THR Actor’s Roundtable

Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem

Assalam alaikum wr wb!

I haven’t been feeling excellent this past week, so I’ve engaged the Rest Protocol for a few days. That said, I know that I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks when I promised myself in the New Year that I would post every week.

I’ve crossed a few milestones in the writing front: I’ve finished the first draft of my second feature and have made a decision to go on the offensive in getting a produced credit. No news yet, but watch this space for the trials and well, trials.

And I watched Django Unchained. Most new releases might be good but forgettable. The Hobbit was good. Jack Reacher was good.

Some irritate me a great deal. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was one of them. Flight was one of them. Django Unchained didn’t irritate but boy, did it…disturb me. I’m only going to write about the ones that stir up something deep. Something I might tell my children about. Okay?

Sometime ago I took some notes on the THR roundtable of actors (I know, I know, I’m a screenwriter).  Listening to them, I realized actors are spiritual siblings to writers. We’re both trying to create something out of (almost) nothing. If anything, actors are under more pressure – they have to look good. No one expects a writer to look good; in fact, it’s surprising if they do.

Here are my observations:

  1. People remember kind people. Be kind.
  2. The pressure and the manic energy is what make you interesting.
  3. Mercurial rises in fame leads to mercurial people.
  4. Fame doesn’t change your life much (according to one actor, I can’t remember which).
  5. Fame makes people react to you differently. Your whole reality might shift.
  6. Fame affects your ability to go unnoticed in a crowd and this in turn might affect your ability to observe.
  7. Female actors have it tough over 40. Do a sister this solid – write a female character that’s over 40.
  8. Talent will always have work.
  9. I’m brown, Hijabi and a woman. I need to work double and triple hard to prove myself.
  10. What is communicated comes from the inner self.
  11. You attract what you fear.
  12. People identify even with villains and antiheroes as human beings, not as villains.
  13. What we say and what we give to young people is powerful.
  14. Fear and conflict sell.
  15. Read Journey to the East by Gandhi.
  16. Filmmaking and screenwriting is not what you are. It’s an expression of who you are.
  17. Filmmaking with people who are not thrilled to be there, whose lives are stake is nearly always a draining experience.
  18. Prep for acting is a lot like prep for writing. You get to know the background of the people, the work they do, etc. But the magic can’t be ‘prepared’ for. It comes from somewhere else. The unexpected stuff begins to arrive when you’re open to it.

Hope you enjoyed the above, guys.

Wassalam and Fee Amanillah,


3 thoughts on “Insights from the THR Actor’s Roundtable

  1. nice article. though i disagree Django unchained is disturbing. i found it quite interesting and a different take on those borrish westerns from yesteryear.

    1. I’m not a big Western fan – or rather, I have never taken the time to watch one. When I say disturbing, I mean unsettling. Not necessarily in a bad way. I still know whether I enjoyed Django or not.

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