Creating an On-Brand Scene in the Style of Your Target Show

Hello Bonnie,

In last week’s article on Vision, I read something that struck a chord in the most “hell, yeah” kind of way.

Near the end of it you say:

If you’re crazy to do a scene by Aaron Sorkin, transcribe one from one of his lesser-known projects and cast yourself in a role no one remembers. Learn the structure, the pacing, the feel of his words — as an actor, not just as a fan — and shoot a sample scene for your reel.

This is where I started to do my happy dance, because one year ago, I did just that. Wait, WHAT?!?

You see, it’s a goal of mine to rattle off some of Sorkin’s dialogue in my very own “walk and talk.” Oh, how delicious it would be to pace around a room or walk briskly down a corridor as I spit out dialogue that’s the linguistic equivalent of the Olympics!

In the pilot of The Newsroom, Jeff Daniels has this great speech in which he rambles on about why he feels that America is not the greatest country in the world. You can see it here.

Great speech, right? It hits all the marks of a classic Sorkin monologue. Limber, strong, and full of facts.

As an actor who fits into his shows, here is what I did: I took the structure of that speech and wrote original dialogue then filmed the scene within a week of putting pen to paper. I wrote a scene where I play Lestat, a classic vampire most would consider “old school,” who rambles on about why he feels that vampires aren’t the greatest monsters in the world.

It’s a shot-for-shot remake of the scene from The Newsroom and you can watch it here: Twilight Sucks! An Interview with a True Vampire.

We have the tools today to help casting directors “get us” and that was one motivation in creating this scene; it was also just for shiggles.

After reading that suggestion in your article, I just had to jump at the opportunity to show it in action. I hope you enjoy it and that it inspires your readers to feel empowered to create for themselves.

Robert Keniston

Robert, you rock. It’s always so much fun to hear from you! You really put together some great stuff. This is awesome and it’s a perfect example of the ninja work I’m suggesting.

Now, you know I’m gonna say “go shorter,” whenever I see a vid over 90 seconds in length (I’m so predictable), but man, this is well done and you definitely put yourself in the world of Sorkin without using his work.

You get major bonus points for thanking subscribers in the comments section of the vid, for encouraging the sharing of the vid (studies show that ASKING for that share actually does make a difference), and for even engaging those who think you should’ve gone another way with the casting of YOUR role!

By the way, “shiggles,” Robert? My new favorite word. Thank you for bringing it into my world.

Keep rockin’!

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

Originally published by Actors Access at Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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