The Creative Moments Series -- What does it take to make it as an independent filmmaker? Creative Moments with Meg Lansaw!
by N J Howell
On Creative Burnout
Monologues for Actors
I first learned of indie filmmaker Meg Lansaw through a revolutionary new website called Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a grassroots creative investment website where you can post your creative projects and raise money for it. I'll be adding some additional info on how Kickstarter works, for those who might have an interest in it.
Meg's project at the time was a film that intriqued me very much. The film title is 11:11 and it's about the phenomenon of seeing certain times over and over, day after day, in your life and how that can be signficant. Like many others, noticing specific times repeatedly has had significance for me so I feel it's a subject worth of a film.
In communicating with Meg, it became clear to me that her experiences in the filmmaking industry and her keen passion for writing could provide some great insights to share with upcoming screenplay writers and aspiring indie filmmakers so I invited her to be part of the Creative Moments series. Please enjoy the inspiration shared by Meg below.
About Meg: Meg Lansaw is a West Virginia native, Ohio State alumnus and independent filmmaker residing in Wilmington, NC. She has worked in the film industry for 9 years and owns and operates "Kissin' Cousins Productions" in which she has written/directed/produced 4 commercials and 5 short films; several which screened at festivals throughout the United States. Lansaw has been developing a feature film "11:11" for 8 years and is currently in pre-production, with plans to premiere on 11/11/11.
OK, without further ado ... Creative Moments with Meg Lansaw:
Question 1: If you could give a film writer only one acting tip for creating inspired and believable characters, what would it be?
Meg's Response: Observing what real people do and how they behave is key research. Everyone has different "isms" and traits, so with characters it's important to create realistic people. Typically I have certain people in mind as I develop a character, but sprinkle in characteristics of other individuals as well as hints of myself. A really strong character is one who people can relate to and see themselves in. Writing the way people actually talk is crucial as well, so often I will read a scene out loud and realize no one talks like that! Aside from dialog, showing a layer of the personality onion without lines is one of the most crucial parts of character development. And essentially casting the appropriate people is the most crucial part because they convey the characters as actually people and not just words on paper.
Question 2:What advice would you give aspiring writers on developing their career, making a living, and enjoying the creative aspects of life as screenplay writer?
Meg's Response: I would say to aspiring screenwriters who also plan to direct, don't do it unless you LOVE it and can't live without it. I'm not one who can write something and sell it because I invest so much of my heart and soul into the characters and the storyline. I envision how the film looks as I write, so that would be an impossible thing for me, personally, to give away. Almost everyone I know who is a screenwriter has another line of work, so it's tough to find a balance between what you love and work. The best way for me to get writing done is to know I have a full day of silent lucidity and will literally write all day long. Becoming immersed with the characters and feeling a part of their world is a good place to be and you can create whatever "reality" you would like. The fact that you have the control over the story is a beautiful thing.
Did you catch the creative moments with one of my all-time favorite acting teachers? If not, please explore the wisdom of an actor who had done over 300 films last time I checked. Stephen Tobolowsky Interview
Also, I recommend the creative moments interview I did with my friend and one of the most dedicated actors and teachers I know in the business here in the south: Tim Ross