Ask Alan!

Tuesday 2 Mar 10

Melissa says: Hi, Alan. I am a young college student in the states. I am currently writing a movie script for fun. I am almost finished with the first half of my rough draft. I was wondering...well I have a few questions. I would like some incite to what scripts should be like from an actors point. What advice would you give a script writer when writing a script and anything pointers that I should take note of.  Anything that makes life easier for an actor when reading a script or things that make it easier for a director to work with the script.  Well Melissa, I think that you should write a script for yourself first and foremost, but having said that you have to make sure that what you mean is properly translated to the page and is understood by the reader.  I don't think it matters if the person reading it is an actor or director or producer or even your auntie, what makes a succesful writer (in my opinion) is someone whose readers think and feel exactly what he or she intended them to feel. In terms of my reading a script, I get really put off by simple things like bad spelling and syntax, because it communicates that the writer hasn't taken the care and reviewed his or her work, and it just looks sloppy.  Reading a script is a committment and so you want to make the reader feel that you respect that. I would suggest you try and get hold of the screenplays of some of your favourtie films and just read them very carefully, looking especially at how the stage directions are written.  It's the bits between the dialogue that are the most potent, I think.

Mr. Cumming, you have a true skill with accents.  Do you speak any languages apart from English? I''m a student of linguistics and a film/theatre enthusiast.  Is there any language you do not currently speak, but would like to learn?  I feel like you would have a naturally phenomenal ability to speak other languages.  I speak Finnish, Russian and French, should any of those be of any interest to you, for a role or otherwise.  Have a great day, sorry to bore you with my questions! I speak French fairly well. I think part of the thing with a language is having confidence and swagger and going for the music of it.  So I think because of that people think I am better at French than I am. I really want to learn Spanish properly. Right now, being in Los Angeles, I feel bad that I hardly know any Spanish when I come into contact with so many Spanish speakers. So that's next on my list!

Kadir from Istanbul writes: I want to ask you a question about burlesque,this movie looks so interesting.I saw a little premier on E! and it was so good full of dancing question about the movie soundtrack how many songs will be in and how many songs christina sing in it and you of course !? =) If you answer me i''d be so happy,thank you so much and have a great life..LOVE FROM TURKEY...  Thanks Kadir! I hope you have a good life too.  I am not sure how many songs there will be on the soundtrack. Right now there are a lot of songs, maybe too many and so some will have to be cut. Christina has the most.  I just sing one song, That's Life.  The film and the soundtrack will be in theatres at the end of November.

Jane from the UK: You sound very busy at the moment, but you also sound like you are enjoying yourself & having fun, which is good. You are working on 'Burlesque' & 'The Good Wife' at the moment. Is it hard to work on two very different roles at the same time? I actually like it.  I thrive on multi-tasking, and I became an actor because I wanted to be lots of different people, so this is an ideal situation! They're also so different so it's not like they merge or anything. Oh, and I'm only doing one now because Burlesque is done!

I'm another one of those arty queers who people look at in the street and wonder where my parents went wrong. I've seen you a thousand times from movie to movie and while I'm a proud girl liking girl - I found that something about you screamed 'hot bitch'. Obviously, not A bitch. But. Well. I digress.  So all of my rambling has been the suspenseful buildup to a question: how did you go out there, be who you are, and fight criticism and whatever else while still fighting the rights of the GLBT community? You're one of my heroes, Alan. Thanks for making a change in my life. Gosh, thanks so much. I have to say that what inspires me to speak out and try to make a difference these days is emails like yours: to know that me being myself is making other people feel better about themselves is really amazing.  But throughout my life I have come to realise that I have been most happy and most effective as an artist and as a human being when I am speaking my mind and being true to myself.  It's as simple as that. And I feel there is a great iniquity in the way the LGBT population is perceived and treated and I won't shut up until I feel that has changed for the good.

Why were you and Ian Rankin eating fish and chips in L'alba D'oro in Edinburgh some months back. My daughter and I saw you and have expected to see this on TV at some point. Did we miss it ? Were the chips good? Why wouldn't we be eating the most delicious chips in the world? Actually we were filming a thing called Into the Night for French/German TV, so you won't see it in the UK. Here's a wee trailer though. And for those of you not in the know, L'Alba D'Oro is the best chip shop in the world.  They have deep fried broccoli and the most delicious white pudding -  a Scottish delicacy.

Uggh, that poor dog is howling again!!