Kevin Costner: my kinda hero

Robbin Hood by Jeffrey Mundell
(I finished this illustration a few days ago.)

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is probably not Kevin Costner’s favourite role.  He was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for worst actor, while Alan Rickman won a BAFTA for his scene stealing Sheriff of Nottingham; none of which mattered to me:  I was a kid in a cinema, utterly transported by the film.  That’s the magic.  And over the years Costner has produced a lot of it.

Some of my favourite Costner performances include John Dunbar (Dances with Wolves), Elliot Ness (The Untouchables), Frank Farmer (The Bodyguard) and Sonny Weaver Jr. (Draft Day).  He remains one of my favourite American actors and I’m happy he’s still at it.

The Truth

The Shawshank Redemption is one of my favourite films.  I’ve tinkered (below) with the parole board scenes where Ellis Boyd Redding (Morgan Freeman) must convince his interrogators that he’s “no longer a danger to society”.  I always get a kick out of seeing his attitude change with time and wisdom and find it very relatable to my own profession and it’s various gatekeepers.  [Spoiler alert] Ultimately, Ellis stops trying to satisfy the parole board with what he hopes they want to hear; he no longer cares about the outcome, chooses not to censor himself or fear the consequences and in doing so earns his freedom.


7 Steps to Find Your Casting Type

Image: Pawn by Jeffrey Mundell

In this ultra-competitive entertainment industry, knowing your casting type gives you an edge. It identifies the roles in which you truly shine and allows you to focus on opportunities where you have the best chance of success.

Here’s a practical guide to help you identify or update your casting type:

Step 1:

Look over this list of character types and write down all the types that describe you – there will probably be a lot.  Now cut your list down to the 40 that describe you best and discard the rest.

Step 2:

Think of the shows you watch or the books you read.  Make a list of the characters who make you think, “I’m that” or, “I would be great at playing that”.  Are these types on your list of 40 from Step 1?  If not, add them.

Step 3:

What character types have you played so far?  Is there a common thread to how you’re cast?  Are these types on your list of 40 from Step 1?  If not, add them.

Step 4:

Take a good look over your list.  Choose only the 10 character types that fit you best and discard the rest.

Step 5:

Time to get creative: put your 10 character types into sentences.  Elaborate on their qualities.  Do some of them go together well?  Can they fit in the same sentence?  Don’t worry if the end result is messy – you should end up with a big, clunky paragraph describing a remit of characters that you’d have a great time playing.

Step 6:

Now rework that clunky mess into an elegant paragraph of 3 to 4 sentences.  This process may take time.  You’ll probably find you go back and forward through the steps as your ideas become clearer and you improve your descriptions ( is very useful for finding words that work even better).

Step 7:

Now that you have your paragraph, it’s time to create a single sentence or phrase that sums it all up. This will be your casting type in its simplest and clearest form. Make it exciting and memorable. Try the following format to get you started: “I’m best at playing [this kind of character] who [does this kind of thing].”

For example, in my case: “I’m best at playing troubled outsiders who don’t know when to quit.”

Again, this process may take time and you should go through a number of versions until you hit the one that resonates the strongest. When you’re done you’ll have your casting type and a great paragraph to elaborate on it.

Good luck!