In His Own Words: Daniel Schechter Shares a Scene From 'Supporting Characters,' Starring Lena Dunham and Alex Karpovsky
"Girls" mainstays Alex Karpovsky and Lena Dunham star in "Supporting Characters," a romantic comedy about a film editing power duo (Karpovsky and Tarik Lowe), struggling with their careers, friendship and relationships with the opposite sex. Writer-director Daniel Schechter drew on a lot of his own experiences to pen this indie that world premiered to solid notices in Tribeca. Below, Schechter shares "his most successful" scene from his film. "Supporting Characters" is currently playing in select theaters and is also available on VOD.
The following clip is from what might be my favorite scene in the movie. Or maybe if not my favorite, perhaps I believe it’s the most successful. In writing, I was searching for a way to create sexual tension between Alex Karpovsky's character (Nick Berger, who is based largely on myself) and Arielle Kebbel's character, Jamie Kirkland, who I always imagined was the star of a sort of "Gossip Girl"-like television show. In this scene she is doing some looping for a small indie she did that she had high hopes for, but that isn't going well in editing.
Now Nick isn't a director, he's an editor who has aspirations to direct (and in this scene is stepping in for an absentee director, played beautifully by one of my favorite actors of all time, Kevin Corrigan). Nick, like myself, doesn't come from any kind of acting background and therefore he has no idea how to speak to actors. Jamie has probably been acting since she was seven and is a total pro. She can give her director whatever he needs as long as he can communicate the idea to her clearly... or even just something in the ballpark of coherent. I also think that Nick, like myself, has great instincts for what feels right, but there's a major gap between having the right idea and being able to convey that to a collaborator.
Actors are still so foreign to me; they're like exotic birds. They speak another language I am not fluent in and they belong to a club I am not and will never be a member of. I remember being on my first few sets and talking to actors for several minutes before I realized they were improvising to me in character. I remember snapping at chatting actors to be quiet before the camera rolled, totally unaware they were just getting each other loose before a take.
To this day, despite how much I love them, I still feel a serious unease with actors. I can often feel them looking at me as I speak, nodding enthusiastically, yet clearly feeling that whatever I’m saying is of no use to them. This is a scene for great actors who have to put up with mediocre direction... and it just so happens I loved working the three actors herein.