OPEN LETTER TO PARTICIPATING ACTORS:
I regard the screenplay as a work in progress, a rough guide to
keep things on track, a servant of the film that will be constantly
(and spontaneously) enriched by the actors who inhabit the
characters and the circumstances of the production. In other words,
details aren't written in stone, but the story and general
parameters of character will remain what the film is generally
about. I have deliberately "overwritten" dialogue, and
anticipate talented actors will allow the use of more silently
conveyed emotional space – and less in the way of
"lines" doing the work.
I am in general what I would call a "cinematic"
director whose primary concern is creating a proper mise-en-scene
for the performance and a visual esthetic that allows the actor
bring as much to the character as he or she can. Some actors prefer
more direction or structure, others like to be left on their own and
I try to be sensitive to natural differences in temperament and
experience. I think the best performances embrace discovery and
serendipity. [see NOTES ON CINEMA ACTING]
With MEETING VAN GOGH, as we really a minimal cash budget (so
far), the story itself demands the emphasis will be on the intimacy
of performance. That is this film will be at service of the actors.
I believe in discipline, but I also believe creating anything should
be and is, quite naturally, exhilarating and fun (even if hard
work). My style is not dictatorial, but open and suggestive.
I am in the rudimentary stages of casting (I hope not to have
casting calls, so suggestions are welcome). While I'm still seeking
outside financial support in various arenas, I intend to proceed
with or without. (I have all the equipment necessary for shooting
and editing.) Winging it without money has the advantage of freedom
and lightness of spirit, as well as having the potential of giving
everyone a bigger piece of the pie in the long run. [see FINANCIAL
At this point, MEETING VAN GOGH seems fated to be a
guerilla-style film in its production, but classic in its esthetic.
I think working "outside" will generate a natural
cohesiveness in cast and crew that comes from reciprocal risk-taking
and dedication. Granted this is not for everyone, and I understand
and respect that. I would prefer it otherwise myself. But one can be
professional with or without budget, and art must often endure the
risk of speculation. I believe the nature of the story lends itself
to proceeding with a cast of talented "unknowns" whom I
regard as fellow "undiscovereds." I would not entreat
anyone to be part of a project without a strong belief that payment
would be part of the final reward. I have put home, family, body and
soul on the line to make it happen for all of us.