VIDEO: “Homeland” Creator, Alex Gansa on Criticism (THR)

After a hiatus, during which time we created our own web series “Shakespeare Republic”, starring Alan Fletcher, Michala Banas, Ben Steel, Rowena Hutson and the team, Sally McLean and Billy Smedley – all playing Shakespeare (more on that at the official website:, we’re back with updates and found the following video really fascinating and relevant to what we’ve just been through.

Today’s video, courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter, features screenwriter Alex Gansa, who is also the creator of the hugely popular Homeland, starring Claire Danes, Damien Lewis and Mandy Patinkin.

In this excerpt from a longer roundtable discussion with drama writers (that we’ll be sharing in a couple of days), Alex discusses how a scene can be written in the edit suite (an important thing for all actors to remember!), what it is like working with networks and what he thinks about criticism from the public.


Happy Birthday Shakespeare! Here is Patrick Stewart with a few words …

Today marks the day that is widely agreed to be Shakespeare’s Birthday, when he entered the world in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England in 1564 (451 years ago).

Whether ’tis nobler to not question the validity of this date or staunchly stand our ground and say there ’tis no evidence of this, other than his being given unto God by his mater and pater on April 26, 1564 (baptised), we cannot say forsooth.  But ‘zounds!  The greatest Bard that doth live’d deserves a day of cheer and goodwill, methinks, and today is as good a day as any!

It also sadly marks the day that Shakespeare died, again in Stratford-Upon-Avon in 1616, aged 52.  And for that we do have plenty of evidence, because he’d become somewhat better known by then.

To catch anyone up who may not know the story, in between these two rather important dates, he would leave Stratford-Upon-Avon, head off to London, tread the boards for a while, dash off a couple of dozen plays and even more poems, become the part owner of his own theatre company and several theatres besides, get work commissioned by the Queen, and then have his whole company sponsored by the subsequent King – which gave them the moniker “The King’s Men” – the ultimate in Royal approval, ending up as one of the most celebrated playwrights and theatrical entrepreneurs of the day (and, ultimately, in history as a whole).

So … to mark this happy day and with no further ado, here is Sir Patrick Stewart, one of our favourite current Shakespeareans, with his “Soliloquy on B” …

Ah yes, the Bard is duly celebrated and all is right with the world … Happy Shakespeare Day, everyone!

VIDEO: Creative Spark: Screenwriter, Eric Roth

Today’s video, courtesy of Academy Originals, features screenwriter Eric Roth, known for Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Good Shepherd, Munich, Ali, The Insider, The Horse Whisperer, The Postman and Forrest Gump, among other screenplays.

Eric speaks about how he comes up with ideas, his writing process, what he feels makes a good writer, working with Studios, how he deals with writer’s block and much more.


VIDEO: Creative Spark: Screenwriter, John August

Today’s video, courtesy of Academy Originals, features Screenwriter John August, known for films such as Frankenweenie, Dark Shadows, Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Big Fish, Charlie’s Angels & Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle and Titan A.E.

In this interview, John shares his fascinating process, how he writes (both from a mental/imagination process as well as the practical application of that process), where he draws inspiration, how he gives himself the best environment to be creative and how he problem solves.

Two words that stood out to us “standing desk”.  What a concept.


VIDEO: Day In The Life: Production Designer, Jane Musky

Today’s video, courtesy of Academy Originals, features Production Designer Jane Musky, known for numerous films including Hitch, Mona Lisa Smile, Maid in Manhattan, Finding Forrester, The Object of My Affection, Glengarry Glen Ross, Ghost, When Harry Met Sally…, Young Guns and Raising Arizona, among many others.

In this micro-documentary, Jane takes us through her typical day, in this case on the upcoming film Freeheld, and gives us a brilliant inside look at what her role as Production Designer entails and, by extension, just how much her decisions and creativity can impact on an actor’s decisions once they are in the environment she has created.


Quotes on acting with interviews and information about the acting biz … share the inspiration …