Christina Andreef, Writer/Director "Soft Fruit," "Shooting the Breeze"
I won a fellowship to go overseas and had heard about her from my friend Alison Maclean (with whom Scheckel also worked for her film Jesus' Son). She's got great underground buzz in Los Angeles, and I spent six weeks in a small workshop with six other directors. We took with us problem areas in our scripts and, at the time, I was having great problems with the three sisters (in the Soft Fruit script). And Joan cast them for the purposes of the sessions with three blonde actresses - that's all you can get in LA," says Andreef.
What I learnt most from her was how to put your scenes up on the floor and walking them through with actors and then watching and identifying the problems in the writing.
One of the things about improvisation is that it is often used inappropriately as an icebreaker. What I learnt from Joan is how to devise improvisational games that are meaningful and get through problems. We did a lot of work on building characters and understanding who they were, taping scenes and watching them back. It was something we don't get to do in Australia. It was like having a test drive of the film, before going through all the expense and stress of doing the real thing.
If you don't know what it is that she does, it can sound quite namby pamby - but it profoundly isn't. If you're a creative person and you're involved deeply in a project and you want a big juicy topup, she's the person to see.