Photo: Genessa Gutzait · The Sentry

Photo: Genessa Gutzait · The Sentry
How to Write Like a Pro

haven’t mentioned it before, but I’m like a professional actor.

Just kidding, but I am in an acting class, which is way more enjoyable than I ever expected it to be. I went to an open audition for short films being made this and next semester here at CU and even got a callback for two roles. In the end, I didn’t get either part.

Acting is not what I want to do professionally in the film world; I want to be a writer and maybe also a director. However, I have found myself having more fun in acting than I’ve had in any of my other film classes so far.

I also think that learning about acting has made me a better writer. As a writer, I have a pretty firm idea of how I think scenes should be acted, and when I’m writing, I include screen directions that (in theory) guide actors to give the performances I envision. All that goes out the window once a director and a pair of actors get my script in their hands.

Being in an acting class makes you realize just how open to interpretation the written word is. There are a million different ways to say  “hey,” and with it comes a million different meanings, intentions, relationships, and backstories.

This isn’t a “the pen is mightier than the sword” rant, nor am I trying to tell you to expect to see my name in the end credits any time soon.  I’m just rambling about my own obsession and fascination with writing and trying to convince myself that I’m getting better at it.

The final project in my acting class is for the entire group to act out a screenplay from beginning to end, without using scripts or stopping. Somehow the script for Ocean’s 11 (2001) was chosen, and I was given the role of Danny, originally played by George Clooney (whoever that is). Here’s a bit of insider information: I only got the role because no one else wanted to have to learn that many lines.

We’ve already read through the script once, and though it’s lengthy and not dramatically or thematically heavy, it’s still a hell of a lot of fun. And probably better than  anything I’ll ever write.

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