From Sarah, With Joy

*Poet * Author * Wanderluster*

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Meryl Streep/Sandra Bullock Theory

In comparing these two phenomenal actresses, I have come across some interesting ideas, which, though inspired by actors, can apply to any kind of art, including creative writing.

These two actresses demonstrate two different approaches to art, or two different kinds of artists. See which category you mostly fall under, and see what you can learn from the other.

The Bullock Way: If you think about it, Sandra Bullock really only plays one type of character: herself. In most her movies she looks and acts basically the way she is in real life. And she does it brilliantly. She has made an art out of being herself. She takes her own personality and uses it to mold whatever character she's given, and it turns out hilarious, down-to-earth, and just very natural. You can apply this to any art form, but its harder to do then it seems, because if its going to work you have to be utterly honest with yourself and expose that inner part of you that relates to and is accessible to everyone. Maybe try sitting down and just write something and focus on being utterly you. See what you come up with.

The Streep Way: Ms. Meryl Streep, on the other hand, has never played the same character twice. She is one of the most diverse, prolific and stunningly genius actresses of our time, and the list of characters she's portrayed is huge. Witchy fashion boss to Julia Childs. Singing, flower power mamma to vindictive nun. And that's only her recent stuff. Don't get me wrong, obviously she puts part of herself in to every part she plays; the thing is, she is able to put herself into such a variety of characters. This is also hard to do. Its risky and potentially uncomfortable. But it can also turn out incredible stuff if you let it. Try genres, formats and mediums you haven't tried before. Create characters and stories that are way out there for you. For example, I've never tried YA or speculative fiction, so maybe my next short story will be a YA fantasy. I think lyrics would be really hard for me and doubt I'd be that good at it, so at some point I want to stretch myself and try it.

Both sides have benefits, and creating stuff in both veins is probably a good idea. What are your thoughts? Do you see the dichotomy or am I way off base?

Sarah Allen


  1. I like the way you tied your comparison to writing. :)

  2. Interesting analysis. I definitely fall on the Bullock side-- and b/c of that I like the affirmation (in SB's success) that that can both work and be creative.

  3. Thanks guys :-) Always love to hear what people have to say.



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