For Actors

andrews pic from filming                         andrews pic from filming2

Tips for Film Actors:

1. Don’t look at the camera.  But don’t “ignore it” either.  It’s there, but it’s not there to your character.

2. Don’t sweat the number of takes.  Some of them were bad because of the sound or camera or a tiny bug that landed on the lens or the director was being an idiot or your shirt didn’t have enough blood on it.

3. Be an actor.  I mean, this is indy filmmaking, and sometimes actors are expected to help with the lights or whatever, but don’t.  Not unless specifically asked ahead of time.  You are the actor, you have a huge job already.

4. Relax.

5. Trust the director.  And the DP.   And the sound person.   And that guy back there holding a reflector or someone’s prop or all of the fake blood that’s about to be poured all over you.  In other words, LET GO OF YOUR SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS.  These people want to make a good film.  They want you to be good.  Let yourself be VULNERABLE.  What a horrible thought, I know.  But you are the actor.  Your job is to be vulnerable and let others film it.  And if you don’t trust these people enough to do that…ditch them and make movies with someone else.  Or change careers.

6. Be the character, don’t act the character.

7. The camera is your friend.  The emotions you show it are the size you would show a friend, not an audience 100 feet away.  Give your friend a break and don’t over-act.

8. You were chosen for this part.  Or maybe you weren’t, maybe you were the only option or that one director just really wants to see how you react to being covered in gooey, sticky, red-dyed corn syrup.  Either way, you are this part now.  Make it yours.  Stake your claim.

9. If the director keeps giving you direction, and you’ve done the take ten million times, TRY SOMETHING NEW.  Maybe the director isn’t especially articulate or maybe you just don’t get it.  Don’t give up or go all pity-party, TRY SOMETHING NEW.

10. Have fun.  If it’s not fun, get lost.

I mean it.

mine from filming

(BTW, I had the best cast and crew last week at filming)

The Return of the Crew

Did anyone watch the Oscars?  Oh good, I wasn’t the only one who didn’t.  I’m happy to hear that Jennifer Lawrence won though.  I thought she deserved the award two years ago for Winter’s Bone.

Yesterday the crew from Just Down the Road and I flew back from Florida.  Me, the other camera person, our producer/photographer, the two hosts and the spouse of one of the hosts settled into two rows of the plane, with our fearless leader behind me.  The flight was easy and low-key.  I totally bought a giant coffee in the airport to prep for it and it was completely unnecessary.

I know, the flight didn’t have to be hard.

We were in Florida.  On the beach.  Getting sunburnt.  Then we returned to Kansas City, the snowpocolypse capital of the USA.  There was still a foot of snow on the ground.  Some of the roads are full of drifts 2 feet tall.

It’s like a fantasy land, but maybe not the good kind.

Actually, I don’t mind snow.  I didn’t even mind the first week of snowpocolypse, which I endured right before the crew and I left for Florida.  It was exciting and fun.  We sledded into a church parking lot.  We trumped through the woods.  I watched someone build a snow alien.

But there is nothing like the ocean.  Nothing.  Standing on the beach, listening to the waves hit the sand…

There is nothing like it.

Filming was great that whole week.  We had some misadventures, which I will chronicle in another post.  Mainly everything worked out.  Even when things seemed to be going down hill because of the GPS or awkward guides or loss of able crew, the captains and business owners and manatees and weather turned out just what we needed.

We filmed 4 outstanding episodes.

And I can’t wait to see them.