As tv writers, it’s helpful to remember that we are ultimately writing for actors. We were very pleased to have Camille Sullivan generously visit the scripted series lab to share her perspective on engaging with the script as an actor:
To paraphrase David Mamet from his book, True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor, “It’s the writer’s job to make it interesting. It’s the actor’s job to make it truthful.”
The role needs to be interesting and it needs to be active.
You can even be active when it comes to character descriptions. It’s much more interesting to play a character described as “fussy, fidgety, etc” compared to “attractive.”
Every character in your script should have a different rhythm to their speech.
Actors enjoy having something to reveal as an undercurrent.
Make sure even your minor characters have arcs!
It’s fun for actors when they really want something and they don’t get it, so they change tactics. That’s human, after all. In real life, people are fluid and crafty.
Camille Sullivan is an award-winning Canadian actress. She has starred in several films, including the upcoming movie, “Hunter Hunter” directed by Shawn Linden. Notable TV series include, “Unspeakable”, “The Disappearance”, and “Intelligence.”