by Diane Grant
My husband, Kerry Feltham, is a filmmaker who specializes in documentary films. I’m blogging about one of his films today because it is about the late Karen Black, who died on August the 8th, 2013. Called Karen Black Acting On Film, the film is up on Amazon Instant Video – $1.99 to rent and $7.99 to buy – and is really worth watching.
He and I followed Karen around as she made films and friends, talked about life in show business and shared her insights into acting technique. She had a prodigious natural talent but was also so disciplined and skilled, she made it look easy.
And it isn’t.
What is so good in the film is her understanding not only of acting, particularly on film, but about the courage and energy and strength it takes to keep going in show business, pushing through on the rough days, having fun on the good ones. The latter is pertinent to all of us, whether we are acting, writing, or producing in either film or theater.
Even when she was no longer at the top – and she had been for a long time in such films as Trilogy of Terror, The Day Of The Locust, Nashville, The Great Gatsby, Five Easy Pieces – she continued to work. Character work was her forte and she created wonderfully full characters, some odd, some funny, some sad, but always full.
Lately, I’ve thought quite often about packing it in. How many plays can you have in the drawer? How many staged readings of plays you long to see on their feet can you sit through? How many submissions can you make in a month? And to whom? Didn’t you submit that one to that contest in 2011? Or was it that one in 2012? Should you keep all those email rejections?
And we all tell ourselves the same thing over and over. It’s the work, the doing of it, the joy of doing it.
Karen was a vivid example of that joy.