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Filmmaking from the Inside-Out

Lesson 3 of 10

The History of Actresses & the Archetypes


Filmmaking from the Inside-Out

Lesson 3 of 10

The History of Actresses & the Archetypes


Lesson Info

The History of Actresses & the Archetypes

You mention you know, you have this this nice history of seeing that, you know, one predates the other for a lot of male actors. You mentioned jane fonda, I'm wondering, are there any others beyond bette davis thatyou concise ite that kind of fallen into this? You know, way of looking that you've kind of laid out? Yes, I was going to I'm going to talk a little bit about actresses now too is, um uh, you know, of course, you have somebody amazing, like, you know, meryl streep, I know. Like when I was growing up in acting school, I was I love meryl street, but I sort of again fillmore into the jessica lange school. I just sort of liked her a little bit more. I tend to like a little bit more of the of the raw, you know, kind of messi acting and of course, I remember seeing her in francis, which is an amazing film, but in the era that I grew up, I mean, there was also, you know, sally field and sissies basic, there was so many women that were in film and again, I think that if you look at i...

t, their background diane keaton, of course she was. She studied with sanford meisner and you can look a tw you know a lot a lot of the these women and see that again that where they had the same teachers but where where actresses have a little bit of ah problem that's why in a sense it's it's funny it's almost easier to talk about the male actors is that when you when you wanted to go a little bit to the women is that with women is it we get into a little bit more of not so much their individual style of acting but that they have the addition that they not only have be a good actor but they have to carry a certain style sometimes of a film cause films are very romantic and so you get these archetypes that I was going to go through very briefly that we can you know elizabeth taylor untouchable beauty you know she's a goddess with grace kelly again you think of their hitchcock movies in packable beauty you know almost untouchable angelina jolie nicole kidman and they're wonderful actors but again as you're you know acting is an actress something to think about you carry the burden a little bit of you know you you not only have to be a good actor but you have to think what category do I fall in sex symbol you know marilyn monroe I mean basically it's it's almost like we could take away everyone and just put up marilyn monroe you can sometimes it's on this a problem because of one an architect becomes a stereotype and like you know marylin monroe has become you know that is our ideal of what you know is sex symbol is he have marilyn monroe and margaret angie dickinson repel welch bo derek can base injure scarlett johansson you know the burden again for them as actresses and for us as an audience is to remember that they're human beings that they're not you know that that it's a challenge because can they can they step out of the role of being a sex symbol and be a good actor? You know that's why this is I'm an actress and I find that to be a challenge you can't just be a good actress like you've got to be flawlessly beautiful these days the innocent audrey hepburn again just three iconic you know audrey hepburn and what she represents again is innocents it would think of an actress like julia pinochet and a half away just classic you know she's got this innocence about her um the mom murder loy donna reed from it's a wonderful life patricia our cat from boyhood you know classically like again is you're an actor what kind of a character of my am I the mom and my dad my goddess of all american girl again a classic ginger rogers you know uh big smile the big grin you know I'm american julia roberts jennifer aniston you know this this could be a frustration for use an actor like american why am I not I'm what but you know if you if you start to look at the way things were cast and these things were out of our control you know you understand you know you could see a certain frustration of like well why it why are and I why did they make this a stereotype? Why is she an american and I'm not an american and that's something again to think about to fight about to break those rules I mean these are all things that these air examples and then you know, break the examples the tough gal again somebody like bay games debra winger you know, classically boom right from the bette davis school it was interesting I saw sally field to get interviewed and she was talking about acting and she was saying that she really didn't like bette davis acting because she thought it was very mannered and when you think of sally field you think overy yeah very rooted truthful kitchen sink reality I tend to like bette davis because I like that a little bit of you know like I said it james woods a little bit of swagger um demi moore again I mean right out of the debra winger school right at the bay davis we think of a few good men personally for me that's my favorite role for her it's just it's just great and that banning uh again we're talking about actresses currently just for me you know she can do no wrong in my book I like watch you read the paper she's just she's got it all you know what I mean? She's got training she's got the voice she's got the movement she's got guts she's got sensitivity um boy I could like fire or director I'd wake up in the morning and go I'm in good hands so you know again these are things we want to think about is where as we're casting people the cynical siren you know joan crawford again in my opinion she just really she kind of invented this you know the girl from the wrong side of the tracks you know now we call it the hooker with a heart of gold somehow that we have somehow we all became hookers that's progression I remember I was doing the show called action and I I was finally cast is a hooker and I felt like is I said I finally made it because I like I know what I've been cast is a hooker with a heart of gold if they done away who it was that she was she was in the goddess, you know, started out guys but she's also again in the in my opinion sort of is that that's cynical siren when I think of a movie like chinatown melanie griffith movie working girl again that you know the girl from the wrong side of the tracks and that doesn't mean that they are from the wrong side of the tracks but these are these archetypes you know that we see in women and you can they go back you know again and again the sidekick this is like something we're classically saying now we used to call it the sidekick rosalind russell eve arden you know eve r and kind of you know she again sort of invented the the sidekick role melissa mccarthy is now you know again moved into leading roles but again she started out you know, at the side kick the funny friend when you're writing scripts what what to me what's important about the funny friend it is and you may notice this on your own if you're writing scripts directing sadly the funny friend must carry the plot line right again and again and again the person can't talk to the mirror they need to go there but I really love the girl what about going to dio you know where they need to talk to the girl to say like they need that you know they need her to say he's no good you get rid of them you know so and I fight and I find myself is a writer it's almost the hardest part to write because I was like oh, I railed against this stereotype. And now, here I am. But you need somebody that is, you know, the voice of reason. And that's, when, you know the psychic rule, is, like such an important role in in in movies. And I find that it's getting, you know, it's getting cut, and which is really shamed, like they come on for, you know, they say a few funny things, but but the sidekick can really again offer, you know, carry a lot of a lot of the plot line.

Class Description

Where exactly does a filmmaker’s responsibility end and an actor’s begin? Filmmaking requires an abundance of creative collaboration and parsing out who is responsible what is a surprisingly complicated endeavor. In Filmmaking from the Inside-Out, Illeana Douglas will share strategies and insights that improve communication for those working on both sides of the camera.

Illeana has a unique vantage point. Her grandfather is the OSCAR® award-winning actor, Melvyn Douglas and she has worked extensively as an actor, director, and producer alongside some of the giants in the industry, including: filmmakers Martin Scorsese, Gus Van Sant and Robert Redford; and actors Robert De Niro, Ralph Fiennes, and Nicole Kidman. In this class, Illeana will help both actors and filmmakers develop a better understanding of their own unique roles and how they can work together to capture the best-possible performance, in-camera. You’ll learn:

  • The precise definition of “filmmaker” and what they are responsible for
  • What the actor is expected to bring to a production
  • Customizable approaches for improving communication on set
  • Techniques for capturing performance on camera

Nearly every filmmaker and actor grapples with some level of insecurity and wants to feel more confident about their work. In this class, you’ll learn strategies for improving your craft and communicating about your unique contributions with your fellow creative collaborators.

Whether you are a filmmaker or actor, you’ll learn tangible and craft-based approaches to making constructive decisions and capturing the best work on set and in the camera.

Special Guests:

  • Anastas Michos, Cinematographer 
  • Bill Pankow, Editor 
  • Neil LaBute, Writer/Director



A great insight from a veteran of Hollywood on her perspective, thoughts, ideas and genuine feeling of what each individual can gain from simply believing in yourself and your abilities. Ms. Douglas and special guests took time to give us as much useful information as possible in a very tough business of film making. Hope to have such courses again.

Laura Latimer

A great class with perfect insights. Thank you.

a Creativelive Student

This was a fascinating and useful course. Ms. Douglas' views on the craft of filmmaking helped me better understand it.