As one of the profound minds working behind the scenes at Pixar Animation Studios, Lee Unkrich can easily be considered a pioneer (as most of the staff are) in the field of animation. Although his directing resume is small, each film has already become a household name across America and throughout the world. The devotion and time that goes into each project can not be overemphasized as Unkrich is responsible for the work of tons of animators and writers in addition to being held accountable to his co-directing partner. Needless to say, Unkrich has got one of the hardest jobs in America; yet, also one of the most fulfilling.
His educational background is impressive as he studied film at the University of Southern California before starting his position at Pixar Animation Studios. All in all, Unkrich’s life is proof that education does count for something, even in the film industry. Many jobs that exist in the film industry rely on the latest technological advancements and college level intellect in order to create something to impress the increasingly smarter, internet-savvy film goers that are now erupting in this new age. Any person who wishes to follow in Unkrich’s shoes will do well to study and develop responsibility to last them in this field.
Although best known for his television role as chemistry teacher Walter White on AMC’s hit show Breaking Bad (2008-present); Bryan Cranston has had a fulfilling career as a film actor as well. Cranston has showcased his talents in a variety of well known (as well as underground) pop favorites such as Drive (2011) and the Academy Award winning war epic Saving Private Ryan (1998). His career has been littered with television show roles as well as stints of voice acting in hit shows from Adult Swim and Fox. The actor has proven himself in many different genres and has now made a huge impression in his television acting performances. Cranston’s career is a wonderful reminder of how important diversifying is in the artistic industry. As many a wise man will tell you- don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If Cranston had focused on a film career, voice acting career or a television acting career solitarily, he may not have reached the success that he is reaping at this moment. The many diversified opportunities gave him plenty of opportunity to be heard and seen by the public. In addition, the experience gained from working on different types of sets have molded him into a better actor to work with and to see. There is no excuse for not trying new things. It may be the thing to save your career in the art industry.
Kevin James, best known for his leading role as Paul Blart in Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009) has recently seen a shocking jump in his career. Since the beginning of his film career he has been in about 2 movies a year on average. However, this year he has been in 3 movies with two more on the way in 2013! While his career is rooted in comedy, the diversifying roles that he has chosen have begun to vary- starting with his newest role as a high school teacher who tries to fight for his students (literally) in Here Comes the Boom (2012). Depending on this movie’s success, James may become popular enough to be considered one of the A-list comedic celebrities (if not already considered one). Time will tell on this one.
Carrie-Anne Moss had a skyrocketing career after she first appeared in the Wachowski brothers epic The Matrix trilogy in 1999. Her dynamic persona in the film was breathtaking- a truly tough female character that both women and men could like and feel intimidate by. However, her choice of films following the trilogy are not equally memorable- with the sole exception being her role in Disturbia (2007). What could have caused this A-list actor to fall under the radar? It can’t be said that the trilogy ruined her career, as Keanu Reeves is still counted among the A-list and has been receiving continuous roles since the trilogy’s completion. While the answer may not be clear, there are some things that her decline could be attested to. For one, Moss had received such attention during the “Matrix years” that she may be trying to lay low; trying new types of films that challenge her as an actress. Two, she may have continued to pursue roles like hers in the Matrix, not realizing that this would mean sudden death to her career. Once you are typecast, there is not much that you can do to save yourself besides find a role that is completely opposite of you. Whatever the reason is, lets hope that the dry spell passes soon and that we will see her dynamic personality in future films. As for all the future writers and actors out there, remember to keep diversifying! It could save your career!
Lana Wachowski, writer of the new blockbuster film Cloud Atlas (2012) appeared to come out of left field as an innovative, exciting new writer in the movie field. However, Lana is not a new writer. In fact, Lana is the new identity of famed writer Larry Wachowski (one half of the Wachowski brothers) now that she has undergone sex reassignment surgery. There are not many (known) transgendered people in the public eye, given that it has historically been a taboo and controversial subject over the years. However, with a new generation comes new awakenings, and the public eye has grown to become slightly more accepting to people who are transgendered as well as the rest of the LGBT community. But is society ready yet for this in-your-face version of what we knew as Larry Wachowski? With her most recent film, Lana has decidedly tried to shed light on the troubles transgendered and LGB people have in society. What she hopes is to create an understanding that will allow people to break down the walls of the LGBT taboo that has long since held in this country. She may go down in history as a true pioneer who opened the doors to equality for LGBT people in the United States and the world. However, there is always the chance that she may fail. To note, failure does not occur if people get angry at her films or protest against her. Martyrs are often made from hatred, and the more people hate Lara’s films, the greater chance that she will go down in history as a pioneer. The only way that Lara can fail is if LGBT issues become the sole definition of her career. If she begins to focus on the issues that only influence her life, she risks being seen as selfish and a foghorn for her own personal happiness. This will not influence many- it will be seen as preaching to the choir. Only by keeping herself open to the issues that are faced by others, will Lara be able to create art that is insightful, poignant and groundbreaking.
Up until her role as Liam Neeson’s daughter in the epic action/adventure film Taken (2008), she was mostly unknown by the public- with only a few jobs in mostly unknown films. However, with one lucky break she was able to exponentially grow her career, giving her opportunities in other major motion pictures (i.e. the Twilight Saga). Her career is still up to grabs at this moment, but she has been given a boost that may help her get a foothold in the A-list. All it takes is for her to pick her films carefully for the ones that challenge her the most.
Alan Arkin has been termed a modern “renaissance man” by many critics and fans worldwide (IMDB.com, 2012). Given his impressive artistic resume in addition to his wonderfully diverse acting career, that is definitely not far from the truth. In addition to being in such ground breaking films as Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), Gattaca (1997) and Little Miss Sunshine (2006); Arkin is also a triumphant musician who co-created the original version of the “Banana Boat” song which has worldwide recognition. Needless to say, Arkin has truly turned his artistic passions into his work. Unlike many actors who ebb and flow with the changing tides of stardom, Arkin has consistently found work and made a name for himself as one of the most well-received actors of this generation. The key to his success is truly a mystery but it may have something to do with the way he approaches his acting. Arkin was quoted saying-
“It’s not enough for me to just be a personality and go up there and say lines nicely. I want to tell a story with a character.”
Alan Arkin, IMDB.com
The key element of this statement is not in what he is saying, but the message we get from what he isn’t saying. By saying that he wants to tell a story with a character, he is defining his own purpose versus what the public or investors want from him. Instead of making his art about meeting other people’s expectations, Arkin has chosen to meet his own expectations instead (which are profoundly higher than what anyone else can expect from him). By doing this, he has won. His constant self-evaluation has created an even better actor than anyone could have possibly shaped him into. For screenwriters, keep in mind that the best actors will be attracted to the most attractive scripts that help them grow and challenge themselves. Be sure to put your heart into your work so you can attract actors who put their hearts into it as well.
Liam Neeson, star of the new epic action/adventure film Taken 2 (2012) is sure to be considered A-list royalty for years to come. He has been able to wear many hats throughout his career, from bad guy to good guy, angel to demon, father-type to sex icon. No matter what role Neeson takes on, he grabs his audiences’ attention with his good looks, charm and devastatingly honest demeanor. In short, he’s the guy who you can trust to take care of your kids, give you advice or to save you from any predicament. And that is what the world loves to see in their leading men. Films
(2012) Taken 2
(2012) The Dark Knight Rises
(2012) Wrath of the Titans
(2011) The Grey
(2010) The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Tyler Perry is among many everyday Americans who have come from poverty to wealthy entrepreneurs thanks to their talent and good ol’ capitalism. Perry came from a poor family background and began writing as a way to relieve himself from depression and stress. Lo and behold, it turned out that Perry was actually a very talented writer and he began his journey to creating scripts that ended up becoming very popular films. The Madea franchise has consistently made a profit while some of his more daring projects (i.e. Colored Girls (2010)) have become critically acclaimed hits. By taking his own life experiences into his stories, Perry was able to find an audience of hundreds of thousands of people who appreciated his style and perhaps, recognized similarities between their own childhood and his. His style of comedy infused with some drama have made him a very compelling director that can also be lighthearted. Writing is a personal journey that can take you to many places. By utilizing journals or your computer word processor, you can relieve stress and ease depression; while some of us may create the next new blockbuster hit.
The young irish rogue, Cillian Murphy, has created an image of himself as a seductive yet dangerous villian. From his role as “The Scarecrow” aka Jonathan Crane from the new Batman series, his odd muscular structure and penetrating eyes have captured audiences as someone who is NOT to be trusted.
This is a great opportunity for Murphy because a villain is often as difficult to find as a hero in the film industry. However, he has diversified his interests in other roles such as his breakthrough hero role in 28 Days Later (2002) which utilized his same features to show a character that was desperately suffering in a post-apocalyptic world.
There’s no telling where Murphy’s career will settle as he has been all over the place in terms of roles. He can be humorous, villainous and serious which are all traits of a long-term actor.
Actors who hope for long term fame would do well to research the films that this particular actor has on his resume.