Wednesday, August 11, 2010

25 Months Ago: Day 14

DAY 14 – July 11, 2008

Friday. The last weekday before I go back to work. It was also the last day of shooting on the main office set at Tobey Village, although I would manage to squeeze a little bit more use out of the space before checking out.

Wendy, in the role of Aymee, finished her office scenes today. One of these scenes co-starred Reuben as the younger, louder Terrance, dressed in a bright lime-green shirt and a dinosaur-print tie, while a dinosaur toy is visible in the background. Another amusing bit of set dressing which seemed funnier at the time than it probably does in the finished movie.

Co-starring in this scene was yours truly as Aymee's boss. The scene required Aymee's boss to lose his temper and strike her, and although Wendy wouldn't actually have to be touched (with the right camera angle, you can miss someone by a mile and it still looks good, especially with a sound effect added), I thought she would be more comfortable if someone she knew and trusted were to play her hostile boss. I asked her if she would like me to play the role, and she said she would.

I'd acted in films before – including my own – but for this film had decided it would be wiser not to give myself one of the main roles in the film, but instead to wait and see if a smaller part (such as this one) needed to be filled or recast quickly.

Giving yourself a leading role in your own movie might seem like a good move in terms of scheduling – you're the one person you know is always available! – but if you don't have a big crew and are doing a lot of things yourself then it's probably not a good idea. You won't look your best if you're running on four hours of sleep a night and working up a sweat all day (unless this suits the character somehow), plus you have enough on your mind without having to give a performance and memorize lines.

In fact, I had a fair amount of trouble knowing my lines even for this small scene, which made me all the more impressed at how well the cast was coping with the complicated dialogue I'd written for them.

A good thing about casting yourself in your movie, though, is it means someone else gets to man the camera for a change. I think Wendy and Reuben took turns during my shots, or just turned it on during shots where all three of us were visible.

After filming my scene, I recorded the “slap” sound effect by slapping my own hand. Hard. It must have hurt (I'm not visible on camera in the raw footage for this, but Wendy's expression indicates that she's reacting to my expression after doing it) but it made for a good sound effect.

I think I was a bit miscast for this role – the character should really have been a big, square-jawed, SUV-driving macho yuppie guy, not a skinny little Turlough lookalike such as myself. But it wasn't the only character to veer slightly away from the script concept as a result of casting against type, so I'm probably wrong to worry.

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