Posts Tagged ‘ film ’

My first première

At the start of half term, I had a new experience – attending a film première.  It was a small-scale affair, but the requisite red carpet and champagne were involved, so all was as it should be.

The première was for Marty’s Project, a short film which will be doing the rounds of the amateur film festivals next year, and was a closed affair for cast and crew only.  As each participant arrived, we were photographed on the red carpet before being treated to champagne (or non-alcoholic alternatives) and nibbles.  Once we were all gathered, we made our way into the auditorium and nervously took our seats, intrigued to see what we would all look like and how the film hung together.  Along with the other main members of cast, I was terrified of being rubbish, and worried that my experience of performing in theatre would translate badly to the screen.

Over the next 57 minutes, there was much laughter and a few gasps of surprise from those who had not been permitted to see the full script.  I was ashamed to spot a scene where I had forgotten to remove my glasses (I’d had a strange feeling this had been the case, but apparently none of the other audience members noticed).   We applauded, of course, once the end credits rolled, and after some words from our director and producer (who presented each of the main cast with a card and a DVD copy of the film), we were treated (or subjected?) to the out-take reel.  We watched people pre-empt the call of “action!”, forget their words and struggle with props.  We watched the ‘Future Kids’ try to keep warm on a very cold day of shooting and the travails of the many and varied people who held the clapper board.

Certain scenes took up more of the out-take reel than others.  Most of these didn’t, thankfully, involve me, but there was one scene which I had entirely forgotten about.  This scene took place in a cinema auditorium (filmed in the same place as the Marty’s Project première was held) and featured three of the main characters along with some extras.  Due to the logistics of filming that day, the extras ended up being the director, cameraman, sound man etc. as well as one of the other main actors, well disguised and only half in shot so as to remain anonymous.  Even when the scene (which contained only five words) came up in the film, I didn’t remember shooting it, but as soon as the first out-take from it came up, it all came flooding back.  We were all tired and stressed, and we desperately wanted to get home to watch Doctor Who.  And so, of course, a few seconds of film became a near-impossible task.  We couldn’t arrange ourselves properly to make the shot work.  We had costume issues.  We’d get distracted by what shot number this actually was or the position of an arm which belonged to someone otherwise out of shot.  We’d dissolve into giggles.  We’d regain our composure then dissolve again.  The lines made us laugh.  The reactions of the others made us laugh.  The out-takes form a fascinating Singing Librarian character study.  At first, I’m messing around, but only because the director is as well.  Then, I’m struggling to get on with the business of shooting the scene (you hear me say “So…” quite a number of times, as I attempt to get back on track).  After everyone starts laughing, you see me struggling to contain myself, and managing.  And then, just as everyone else has regained their composure, you can see that I’m still struggling, and I lose the battle.

I don’t think I lend myself to screen acting all that well, but the filming process was fun and fascinating, and the première was a truly enjoyable experience.  I cannot judge my performance, or the film, objectively (but you may be able to – follow the link at the foot of this post to see for yourself), but I’m glad I did it, if only to have had such fun finding geeky t-shirts for my character and getting to walk up the red carpet.


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Dancing penguins cause a stir

Just before Christmas, I trundled off to the cinema to see Happy Feet, drawn by the concept of tap-dancing penguins – what could possibly be better than penguins doing a bit of shuffle-hop-step?  Well, having one of them sing with the wonderful tones of Hugh Jackman certainly didn’t do any harm.  It wasn’t one of the best films I’ve ever seen, and it wasn’t the best I’ve seen this year, but it was certainly entertaining with amusing characters, catchy music and wonderful choreographed penguins.  Some aspects of the ending are rather credulity-stretching, which is quite a feat when suspension of disbelief has managed to cope with flightless birds singing and dancing their hearts out.  But overall a most pleasant viewing experience, and I’m quite tempted to buy the soundtrack.

However, the film seems to have caused a bit of a stir on the other side of the Atlantic, as I discovered when wandering around the internet looking for various views on the penguins.  The environmental theme of some of the movie has irritated certain columnists, and it has even been labelled as propaganda by some.  The most bile-filed reaction to it would seem to be the words of Michael Medved.  I hadn’t heard his name before, and will be sure that I don’t return to his little patch of cyberspace in a hurry.  His main bone of contention is that the film’s trailers do not indicate that there is any environmental message, which means that it is stealth indoctrination.  It is true, of course, that the trailers don’t go in to this aspect, but trailers always go for the flashiest aspects of a movie rather than any political or social content (unless that is itself a selling point), as that will ensure more bums on seats.  I suppose I can give him, and other detractors, that point, but the other objections to the film just make me cross.

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