Film and Books


I draw lots of similarities between acting and writing, but as a writer you get to potentially be the actor, actress, director, producer – on and on. That’s a lot of hats, but here are a few take away tips you might like.

Put Yourself Out There.

Be brave. Take risks in your writing. In the movie Animal House, a professor is sleeping with one of his students, and it requires a semi-nude scene from a then-young actress, Karen Allen, playing opposite Donald Sutherland. She was nervous to do it (can you imagine?), so the director called Donald Sutherland over and asked him to drop his pants – right on the spot, in front of everyone. Sutherland did, right then and there. The professor character goes on to famously bare his ass in the movie, and the actress was like, “If he can do it, I can do it.” But think about the commitment on Sutherland’s part. He dropped trou in front of people at his workplace, no advance warning – because it was what was needed. Because his director asked him to.

This is the kind of stuff I mean by “you have to put yourself out there.” An actor or actress will be naked, literally, and we get worried about a few paragraphs in a 80,000 words manuscript.

We talked about this HERE

Happy Accidents

In the opening titles of the movie MASH, a soldier carrying a wounded man on a stretcher trips and falls down. It was actually an accident; the actor really tripped over something. The director decided to use it to foreshadow the movie’s dark humor theme, and it’s a very funny moment.

I have one, too. In The Navigators, a young man and young woman go swimming. He’s naked, she leaves her underwear on. At one point, he kisses her. She looks down and says “I thought you had a girlfriend.” Now, readers thought she was seeing a physical manifestation of his interest in her, and they thought it was a funny line. I just meant, here’s a girl who kisses a guy she thinks has a girlfriend, so she’s a little ashamed – and she looks down! BIG DIFFERENCE in meaning. I was going to rewrite it to read as I intended, but readers loved it as it was. The original line was better, so it stayed.

When you consider the similarities, we can learn a lot from other artistic mediums.

Want me to critique the first chapter of your story? SEND IT. Hit the Contact Me button and, you know, contact me. I’ll see what I can do.

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He looks like he knows something, carrying that computer around, doesn't he?
He looks like he knows something, carrying that computer around, doesn’t he? Don’t be fooled.

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi” – yeah, we know. We’re trying to convince him to change that title – check out his other works here and check back often for interesting stuff.

Published by Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

USA Today bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 50+ titles published in more than 120 countries and over a dozen languages.

2 thoughts on “Film and Books

  1. I think if you want the scenes in your book to come alive, you have to think of them that way. If the author keeps that mental connection between writing and acting, it comes across in his work. The scenes are more clear, and more realistic. As a reader, I love when I’m able to “see” what an author has written. (Poggibonsi is a great example of that—the parts I’ve read so far actually play in my mind like a movie.)

    And, you are so right! As stressful as writing a sex scene can be, I would much rather write that scene about a naked character than be the actress who has to play her. It’s all a matter of perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

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