Friday, September 21, 2007

The rehearsal

One more day until my first film shoot.

Last night my actors came over and we ran through the script a few times.

One of the actors is Writing Partner, who knows this script inside and out, has rehearsed and rerehearsed his lines, has thought about this thing until he has a complete analysis of every syllable.

One of the actors is Lead Actor, who's been into this from when the script was a silly little plotless story about people playing Taboo. He doesn't have all his lines memorized yet but he knows his character so well it's amazing. He showed me the three pages of notes he wrote on backstory and filled me in on the story he wrote about his character's relationship with his mother.

Actor number three is Lead Actor's Girlfriend, a girl with talent coming out of her nasal cavity. She had a better understanding of her character's motivation than I do. She loves the script and loves her character and probably enjoys acting more than anyone I've ever met.

Our final cast member is New Girl on the project, a young, fairly green actress I originally read for the other part. She wasn't right for that one, but I really liked her and felt like she had something in her she didn't know how to reach yet but could really develop if she had the right opportunity. She's got charisma.

And these four people came over last night to run through the script.

And it was beautiful.

New Girl started off a little unsure, probably not as nervous as I was but pretty close. But as the night progressed she loosened up and took direction very well until she was ad libbing perfect little moments with Writing Partner that I told her to leave in for the shoot.

Lead Actor had some brilliant ideas about how to improve the blocking to quicken the pace and increase the tension. And even when the rest of us were cracking up he never broke character, especially when they all changed every "fuck" in the script to "dry hump". I was in hysterics, largely because Lead Actor played every moment deadly serious.

In fact, I was so engrossed in the performances that I did a piss poor job of feeding the actors lines when they forgot. It probably also didn't help my persona of control and mystery when I didn't know what the hell New Girl meant by "Can we do this off book?" Fortunately Lead Actor saw my puzzled face and explained what she was talking about.

But I learned what kind of director I am. Collaborative. It felt like a big group of friends just getting together to play around and have fun and looking to me to make final decisions. I felt completely comfortable. Okay, that's not completely true. I didn't want to stop the action to correct things. Instead I tended to wait until the action stopped on its own and then told the actor how I'd prefer for them to perform a line from a couple of pages ago. After everybody else left, Writing Partner said that his only note to me was to speak up sooner, but other than that I did a good job.

I don't know much about cameras and lighting and technical stuff, but I feel good about the actors and my place in charge of their direction. And oh, boy was it fun.

Now I have to see how I adjust to being in the same situation when the camera is up and running and crew members are watching.

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