Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Meaghan Markle, casting, and the X Factor.

That interview, you see it immediately on camera: she has it.  Meaghan Markle has the X factor.   It's something about her eyes, they're clear, intelligent, compelling.  Harry, alas, doesn't.  He might be a very fine fellow, but he doesn't have it.  He comes off, despite his bold move in redefining the House of Windsor, as a bit musty -- like most of his family.  His mom did, tho.

Strangely, Princess Kate doesn't really have it either.  She's extremely beautiful, and has an exceptionally nice figure -- yet, still, there's something not quite compelling about her.  I would say she looks a bit too self-contained.  She's not as connectable.

It seems fairly clear to me that Trump has it as well, while Hillary does not. 

Both Trump and Markle were featured on successful multi-season television shows.  The shows were successful, because they have the X factor. 

What is it?  Do we know?  Has it been researched? 

We do know that they named a successful TV show for the X factor, an attempt to find performers who had that certain something that was going to make them successful.  Sometimes they do find someone. Sometimes they don't.

David Foster, the famous record producer, said that you could tell a star, because, when a star is on stage or on camera, you can't see anyone else.

Since getting into acting, I've become aware of the role that casting directors play in identifying people with the X factor.  They're pretty anonymous.  I had never heard of them before I got into acting.  Many of them around work in tiny little drab offices in obscure buildings in NYC.  A few have a big audition space of their own, but that's the exception.  Most of them are pretty obscure.

Casting directors tend to be very nice.  They need to be nice.  Performers don't give their best performances when they're feeling intimidated by nasty interviewers.  Performers need to feel safe.

Casting directors tend to have degrees in acting.  Perhaps they once hoped or even still hope to be successful performers themselves, but, for whatever reason, they've taken this detour.

A good casting director knows how to find people with the X factor.

We need to understand this process better.  We need our major parties to be looking for the X factor in selecting candidates.  We Democrats can't afford any more Walter Mondales or Hillary Clintons or Al Gores, people who are brilliant, hard-working, extremely experienced, supremely competent -- and not electable.

We need casting directors.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Oma and Opa's deaths

When I was a kid, my dad intervened in his parents' marriage. They lived in a small one bedroom apartment. My grandfather got a bed in the bedroom. My grandmother was sleeping on the couch, not a foldout couch, just an ordinary couch.

My grandmother was being treated for cancer. My father felt she deserved a proper bed, so he rented a second apartment for her two stories up in the same building.

My grandfather was furious, because he felt his wife had left him. He stopped eating and died. He was 86 when he died.

My grandmother died six months later. My father had her body autopsied. She was clear of cancer when she died, one of the first successful radiation treatments for breast cancer. She was 79 when she died.

She died from the stress of losing my grandfather. I remember her giving me-- just before she died --some of her gold items that she had managed to carry with her out of Germany when she fled the holocaust. She told me she wanted me to have them because she didn't have anything to live for any more now that my grandfather was gone.

I still have those things in my safe deposit box. One of them is a gold locket with a picture of her and my father when my father was a baby

They lived in N.Y. We lived in Wisconsin. We shouldn't have left her alone like that, but we did.

Still I was surprised. She never got along with my grandfather. They often bickered. She often complained of him. He seemed crotchety to me.

Yet she couldn't live without him.

My father thought he was helping, but he hastened their deaths.

I concluded at the time that there was something about relationships that had to include fighting and at least low level abuse, that somehow people couldn't survive without those things, even if they complained about them


I'm bringing this up, in part, because of the recent "me too" scandals.  The way male mistreatment of women seems so pervasive.