Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pilot Gratification

by carol
I am really looking forward to seeing the pilot episode of Hawaii Five-0 on CBS this Fall. A number of reviewers are already critiquing the show and the actors in it. Obviously, the actor I am most concerned with is Alex O’Loughlin.

Alex O’Loughlin: I absolutely throw myself into every role and try to live and breath each character I play.
Instant character gratification: Do you want it in a tv pilot?

I don’t. I don’t want to have every character defined, classified and pigeon-holed for me in the series pilot. I want my curiosity piqued; I want to have questions; I want to want more.

There seems to be a tradition of making television characters transparent. No guessing of motivation is required, everything is explained in easy to understand dialogue and plot expositions. No real thinking required of the viewer.

Sorry, not my cuppa tea. It gets boring fast … really fast.

No one meets a person for the first time and instantly understands who they are, what they feel and why they behave a certain way. People are puzzles and the best tv characters are created by actors who bring this to the roles they play, piece by piece. 

I’m sure the big explosions and big guns will thrill everyone in the first episode. But ultimately it is the emotional connection the audience feels with the characters that will make them tune in each week. And that won’t happen overnight, like ratings reports.
Alex O’Loughlin: You know, you need to constantly remind yourself it’s not about how you feel, it’s about how the audience feels. And it’s not about your emotions, it’s about the emotions of these characters, and so you are simply the device with which you deliver this character’s reality, or you bring life to this character and you become the mouthpiece for this character…
What my intention is as an actor … is to make the scene true. In any dramatic scene you play on a show, you can't play 'hotness,' you can't play 'humor.' You've just got to go for the truth of the scene. make all sorts of character decisions that never necessarily make it to the final cut of a show or a film.
I respect a TV show that has enough faith in my intelligence to figure out why each character acts the way he/she does, where they’re heading and whether they are good, evil or a mix of both.

Alex O’Loughlin: You've got to be truthful … and remember the story you're telling.


  1. carol here … I want to add my own comment to this post. I chose to focus on actor characterization. However, the characters we see onscreen are not the creation of one person. From writer to director to film editor, many people influence the appearance, words, and actions of the characters in the stories we watch.

  2. I think the Hawaii Five-0 pilot was extremely well done. To create a whole team with enough info to get you already hooked on the characters and a want for more knowledge about them, but to also leave you satisfied that they have already accompliced something in only 42 minutes, is excellent in my book! Good writing, directing, acting and editing. Hope they will be able to keep it up for many seasons/years to come.