I am driven by Passion and Purpose. While Passion alone (in any context) is what so many artists are propelled by, it is really our sense of Purpose that keeps us on task and brings us desired results. That said, I never assume that the Purpose which drives my Actor is “good”. I have worked with many whose unremitting purpose has been (self) sabotage or destruction, whether they realise it or not. Purpose itself knows no ‘good’ or ‘bad’. It’s is simply a moving, powerful and sometimes unconscious drive.
And so, to the Purpose.
I was reflecting on my casting sessions in LA for Sy Fy's Z Nation I was in LA for a week to cast the series regular role of Vasquez, as well as the recurring role of Zeta Leader.
I thought about my NW actors. For this particular role we were looking for highly skilled actors of colour. Our NW Region does not fare so well (yet!) in this demographic, in terms of quantity. TV wants numerous options for a single role, still we had seen and submitted to the Producers some superb auditions from the NW. I thought about the time spent watching the actor, my face inches away from the screen of my laptop, I observe every choice, every breath and nuance comparing, contrasting, re-playing, analysing the audition in microscopic detail so that I become as informed about the instrumentation and performance ability of a NW actor, as I would with any actor in film or theatre history. Yes!
The Purpose ...
As a CD in WA, (Washington State) the purpose is simple: Keep Film in WA or #KEEPFILMINWA. It has become such an ingrained purpose for so many of that we float on it as effortlessly as we draw breath. My Purpose has not changed much since 2006 although it has evolved. 2006 - develop the talent pool for film/tv in the NW. 2014 - now pay those in the developed talent pool a living wage. Pay them such that that they can, if they so choose, remain in the Regions (specifically WA) with their families while contributing to a competitive arena that allows them to consistently develop their craft. The Purpose is to make all the films and tv shows that are queued up and waiting for the Motion Picture Tax Incentive to happen here in WA State; because it will continue to create an economic boom in our State. THAT is the Purpose. Last year I ‘Purposed’ to cast WA state actors as series regular roles on ZNation. I then ‘Purposed’ to cast as many Regional actors in the remaining 13 episodes. What the cynics thought or said was their Purpose, not mine. (Approx 95% of the remaining cast of Z Nation were from WA state)
Purpose has no questions or doubts about its identity or its ... purpose. And yet, we must allow that Purpose will show up in surprising and even humorous ways. This is necessary in any process. Humour brings a levity to the strident and focussed Purpose. So ... when we cast LA-based actor Matt Cedeno as Vasquez, in Z Nation Season 2, I enjoyed many minutes of private giggles and celebrated with oodles of jelly beans and gummy bears.
Matt Cedeno is from Moses Lake, WA.
Moses Lake is precisely 104 (One Hundred and Four) miles from Spokane, where we shoot Z Nation! Hours of nerdy satisfaction and cosmic giggling ensued. Purpose, greater perhaps than passion, often speaks back to us and reminds us to follow our bliss, while keeping a sense of openness and humour along the way.
Imagine if you will your CD, all a-giggle in her studio with jelly beans and gummy bears, scrolling through thousands of on-line profiles. She whirls dervishly in her wheelie chair, spinning with a Purpose that is collectively lit with the Passions of film makers all over the State. And each film-maker has their own Purpose which serves our State-wide endeavour to #KEEP FILMINWA
Welcome home Matt and welcome to set!
(The gummy bears at craft services? Yes Sir, those are on me.)