Tuesday, July 15, 2008

johnaugust.com » Writers need actors:

The showrunner told me that the studios are increasingly insisting that producers shoot out day player roles in fewer days, in order to save money. Episode-by-episode, this makes sense; why spend more than you have to? But in pinching pennies, the system may be squeezing out the actors it needs. And you really notice it in groups in which you didn’t have a lot of actors to choose from in the first place, such as minorities. If you write a role for a woman in her 60’s, and race doesn’t matter, you can cast anyone, including the Chinese woman. But if you write a role for a bossy Chinese grandmother, you really need that actress in town and available.

If you look at any one actor getting economically forced out of the craft, oh well. Sad story, but Hollywood’s full of ‘em. But when you apply that loss across a swath of your talent pool, suddenly it’s impossible to find that African man in his 80’s you need for your episode. So you’re stuck rewriting it for a white guy, or a younger guy. The product suffers, and TV gets a little more white and boring.

4:02 AM