Peter Sollett talks working with non-actors, improvisation, and developing a story framework via RAISING VICTOR VARGAS.
Key Insights

  • When beginning your career as a screenwriter, be honest and value your personal experience, knowing that your experiences are worth writing about. 
  • When auditioning non-professional actors, give them an objective for the scene rather than sides as a means to begin improvisation.
  • Improvisation will help you see if a non-professional actor can commit to, and can exist in, a fictional world in order to hit the main points of the scene.
  • When directing non-professional actors without a script, it's key to distill the following for each scene: The character’s objective, tactics they can use to meet those objectives, the turning point at which they either achieve, or fail to achieve, their objectives, where your actor should land at the end of the scene to motivate the events of the next scene. 
  • Every scene should have a conflict. When creating conflict, always ensure that your characters objectives are perfectly opposed.
  • Only give your audience information about a character they need in that moment-- give it too early or too much and your audience will push back.
  • When possible, use a landmark early in your film to help geographically orient your audience. 

Los Angeles, CA, USA
Peter Sollett graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. His student thesis film FIVE FEET AND RISING was awarded the Best Short Film Prize at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival and the Cannes Film Festival. His first feature film, RAISING VICTOR VARGAS was developed with the support of the Sundance Institute in 2001. more...

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