DEBBIE ROCHON: BEAUTY AND THE BEASTS

So what makes a good director?
Knowledge. Someone who truly knows how to work with actors. Someone who has a real vision. Someone who makes a movie because they can’t not make it. It’s not just a job. Someone who has respect for you, but within their abilities can bring you to another level. Nine times out of ten, I bring as much as I can to the role, but I can’t see myself. It’s like (if I were a violinist) I can play a violin in an orchestra, but if there’s no conductor there, I’ll play solos where I want, I’ll do what I want, and I’ll try and respect the material the best I can. But I don’t have a conductor. You need someone to mold what you’re doing.

Maybe saying what a not-so-good director is an easier way to go. What makes a really good director is sort of intangible, it’s instinct and gut reaction and it’s hard to break down what they’re doing. But a bad director is someone who, basically so long as the lines are said and so long as you’re doing something, would rather just move on. It’s beyond time. We’re always in a rush; we’re always against the gun. But directors who have tempers, and it’s not part of their technique so to speak, there’s not a lot of room for that. Directors who aren’t prepared. That’s the best way to say it, I think. They’re not prepared to be there. They don’t have everything storyboarded either on paper or in their heads. They don’t have everything worked out. I’ve actually showed up on sets where they’re thinking about how their doing everything they have to do that day – shooting it is a creative process as well. Yeah you’re not going to have every shot go the way you planned it. You’re going to improvise once you get there, because the set’s different, the location’s different, the sun’s different, whatever. Besides all of that, you actually have people showing up on set, throwing the camera down and then shooting it. There hasn’t been a lot of thought gone into it. I think a good director is a director who is very concerned with details, and nuances and enjoys thoroughly every part of it. It’s not a nuisance. The actors aren’t a nuisance if they’re asking questions. Everything has to be a character in the movie. The angles, the lighting, the story, the actors. It’s like a painter’s medium with audio added. Every little detail is so important. That’s what you’re seeing now. A lot of low budget movies where details are not important.

You were talking about the other actresses before, and you hear horror stories all the time about actors not taking the roles seriously, they’re just building their resumes to get the bigger jobs. It’s not about the work.
Sometimes, sadly. And when you lose that (reason for making a movie) it’s time to find it again, or move on. This is something that’s very funny. Again, we’re going back many years to acting class. I remember a teacher telling the class all the time, “I have just as much respect for you if you quit acting. You tried it, you had fun, but you quit and go on to be a – whatever. There is absolutely no shame in trying something out and moving on. She wanted to make absolutely clear that you can want to do this and try to do this, but if the day comes where you change careers and change gears and do something else, that’s not bad. I know a lot of actors – more so years ago when I was in a theater company – who are very bitter and angry that they’re not working. All actors in general can only talk about themselves anyway. But these guys in particular were very negative and really down. In theater, you’re not getting paid for the most part and only a handful of people are seeing you. You want to talk about frustrated artists! These guys are really frustrated. Even in our so-called B-movie world, you have actors that really become desperate and become backstabbing, but then there’s always this either fake or positive outlook. “I’m doing this and that and aren’t I hip and fabulous! I’m doing all these films, and I have all these things coming up.” It’s like a really bad snow job. It’s sad and desperate and unappealing.

Having worked with you, I know you’re not like that, no matter what silly things you’re asked to do.
I’m just about having fun. I’m not talking about drinking or taking ecstasy – neither of which I do. (laughs) Some people have their fun where they go out and do that. But what makes me feel fulfilled inside is working. And working sounds like such a treacherous thing, but working in a creative sense – that is fun. They call it ‘a play’ for a reason! It’s fun, it’s what brings me joy, and what brings me joy is doing things the best I can, even when I’ve ended up sucking. I tried my best in the moment!

Come on, when have you sucked?
God only knows, it’s a matter of opinion. Plenty of people can attest to that. Not every movie is of everybody’s taste. My tastes are different from other people’s tastes. I like cameos, but I wouldn’t want to live on them. Some people who aren’t as into acting love cameos. Our friend Conrad Brooks (“Plan 9 From Outer Space”) loves doing cameos. He’s basically flown in, put up, paid some money, and he’s a very funny guy. He makes his money saying a few lines, and then he’s shipped back to Virginia. And he loves that. That’s his thing. And God bless him. For me, cameos are fun, but that’s borderline social. The bulk of the trip becomes socializing and meeting people. For me, like I said before already, it’s the intense, time-thing. It’s what I’ve always said about “Abducted II.” Say what you want about the movie, but I’m always trying to replicate that experience. Something where I can go away and be something for a period of time and come back feeling like I’ve really done something.

Get the rest of the interview in part five of DEBBIE ROCHON: BEAUTY AND THE BEASTS>>>




Posted on August 17, 2004 in Interviews by
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