What is the best thing that I love about my work?
So many things. I coach actors, I write, I direct, I do voiceovers, and I love the variety of my work. Exploring the many patterns of possibilities each new job provides me. Being surprised by the work, or even surprising myself when working. Discovering a perfect moment. Helping someone light a spark.
What is my idea of happiness?
Reading while eating chocolate. Sharing a special moment with my loves, which makes time and space change and melt together into a timeless place which feels eternal. The moment when something I create or helped to create works and is alive. Being able to be silent in a room with my partner and feel at peace and connected. Listening to the sound of the waves on a rocky beach. Riding the seas of change.
What is my greatest fear?
Losing control (also a great joy, from another perspective!). To decay in front of those who care about me. To be creatively constipated.
What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?
My discomfort with conflict. My ability to feel guilty about so many things that I don’t control.
Which living persons in my profession do I most admire?
Most of the ones I really admire are dead. Convenient. Lin Manuel Miranda. David Lynch. Gary Oldman.
What is my greatest extravagance?
I am impulsive, so too many extravagances to list.
On what occasion would I lie?
To save the universe from the evil space aliens from planet Zorrrppp.
What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?
I rely too much on a facility with dialogue in my writing and creating relationships in my directing, and not enough on the power of the image alone. For me, the emotion, the relationship inspires the image, so I have to explore that first. It takes me longer to visualize the shot/mise en scene. I am process oriented, which is good and bad.
When and where was I the happiest, in my work?
Happiness is ephemeral. It comes and goes for me all the time, when writing, when coaching, when directing.
If I could, what would I change about myself?
I would be more interested in promoting and communicating about my work, and more entertained by networking events. I like my down time.
What is my greatest achievement in work?
When someone is affected by my work. When I provide someone with an additional point of view, or conjure an artistic or emotional response.
Where would I most like to live?
Paris is already a pretty cool place to live. If I could live in Vermont I’d be pretty happy too. By the mountains or by the sea. But I would love to get to travel much more again in any case.
What is my most treasured possession?
My books. And since my handwriting is so horrible, my computer is a fundamental possession for me to write with.
What is my most marked characteristic?
I’d like to say it’s my generosity and nurturing ability. Maybe my energy level.
What is my most inspirational location, in my city?
Often I forget how damned beautiful and inspirational Paris is. And then suddenly, when I walk across a bridge over the river Seine and the sun comes out, I am struck dumb by its beauty.
What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?
I have a favourite café in Paris, the 13, where I like to eat and drink not so much for the food, but because it is my haunt. It’s not the most beautiful or the trendiest, but it is mine. Sense of familiarity. I love a variety of foods, unfortunately not a big fan of French food.
What books influenced my life and how?
We moved a great deal when I was a kid, and I was an only child, so books were my constant companion. I devoured them, reading with a flashlight under my blanket long after I was supposed to be asleep. I think I even read Gone With The Wind when I was six or seven, although I hardly remember it and it was not my favorite. I didn’t make friends easily, so the books opened doors to different worlds for me, and provided me with friendship and comfort.
Watership Down, Dune, Stranger in a Strange Land, were all books I first read as a pre-adolescent, and which I still can sometimes read today (I estimate somewhere between 60-85 reads of each of these books).
Vonnegut guided me through much of my adolescence, along with brief affairs with Camus and others. I also had a friend who worked in a bookstore. He would rip off the covers of paperbacks, and bring me bags full of science fiction books. So I read tons of science fiction all the time. I wrote my first sci-fi book when I was 13 or 14. 180 typewritten pages.
And then I discovered Beckett. First the plays, then the books. He is my favorite writer.
And I have a weakness for the Discworld novels of Terry Pratchett, which make me giggle.
You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?
Depends if it’s a naughty or nice death.
Bauhaus – Bela Lugosi’s Dead
A little Schubert
Bowie, always Bowie.
Wait for It from Hamilton
Run the Jewels
Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?
Captain Samuel Vimes of the Night Watch (Discworld/Terry Pratchett)
Hazel (Watership Down)
Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?
People working on the ground to help other people, to save lives, to stop poverty and misery.
Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime?
Renoir’s Rules of the Game
Michael Apted’s UP Series (well that’s tv/doc, but still…)
What role plays art in my life and work?
It inspires me. It comforts me. It surrounds me. There are periods where I hibernate from art, but these are really periods of development and gestation. Art is life.
What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ to me?
Yes I am! To greater or lesser degrees, we all tell our own stories, either directly or indirectly through our art in a gamut of fantastic or realistic ways, no matter the style. But my perceptions of myself, my (re) construction of my past, my memories, and how I use all of this to guide me and communicate in the present, is my story. We are all our own storytellers by the default. What’s great is when I can take an event that was once horrible or hurtful and turn it into something beautiful or even comic through my storytelling.
Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?
If you find them, let me know! Kidding. Between my partner and my dear friends and the people I work with (sometimes one and the same), I have a community of support.
Which people or companies would I like to work with in 2022?
Lin Manuel Miranda
Actor/director/philosoopher Nick Millett (we already sometimes do work together)
Cinematographer Cristobal Zanartu (we already sometimes do work together)
Julie Kalya (we already sometimes do work together)
Elise McLeod (we already sometimes do work together)
So many other talented people!
What project, in 2022, am I looking forward to work on?
I have a series of short films I want to film and put out there.
Where can you see me or my work in 2022?
Hopefully my films everywhere! If you are in Paris, you can always come to one of my acting classes at Blanche Salant or the other schools where I run workshops, to see my process with actors. Or you can see a little interview with my about camera acting here: https://www.facebook.com/parismeisnerstudio/videos/1653711858025034/
Some of my films are online. Look for Hope Is French https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubSH-Qto2Vk !
What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?
I cannot imagine ever stopping, until the day I die. This is not a job, it is a way of life.
Which creative heroes should Peter invite to tell their story?
I think I already included them in my list of people I wish to work with.
How can you contact me?
Through my site: www.chrismack.net firstname.lastname@example.org