Posts Tagged ‘ Kanga Reel Productions ’

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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“Are you an actor?”

Over the last few months, I have spent some time filming with Kanga Reel Productions for their next short film, Marty’s Project, wherein I play an irritatingly enthusiastic young man.  Each day of filming has presented its own unique challenges (not least because I find the differences between stage and film utterly baffling), but one encounter has particularly lodged in my mind.  On this day, we were filming various exterior shots, and in addition to the joys of remembering words, managing to stay in shot and not look directly into the camera lens, we had passers-by adding interest to the proceedings.

In one of the day’s final shots, I had to bound up to the other characters and encourage them to hurry up as we all gathered outside a convention centre.  This was proving tricky, as I was far too far away from them to hear their dialogue, so had to be cued for my appearance visually from quite a distance.  As I was waiting, a couple of teenage girls came up to me and asked what we were doing.  I explained about the film, and they looked suitably unimpressed, as teenagers are required by law to do.  After a moment, though, one of them asked in hushed tones “are you an actor?”  I think what she meant, of course, was “are you famous?”, since fame seems to be the most important commodity to the young.    Sadly, for her, I am not even a Z-list celebrity – I have been spotted in a bookshop by someone who saw me on stage before, but that doesn’t quite qualify for big-time name recognition.  I didn’t really get to answer her question, as I was called into action at that point, but it stuck with me.

I’m not famous.  I’m not (usually) paid for performing.  But on reflection, yes, I am an actor.  It is at least as important a part of my identity as being a librarian, probably more so.  It may not be healthy, but I feel most alive when I’m involved with theatre, whether on the stage or dressed in black in the wings.  The combination of adrenaline, camaraderie, enjoyment and sense of accomplishment is unbeatable.  In both areas of my life, I strive to do the best I possibly can – performing arts may well be my hobby, but it is important to me to be the best that I can possibly be in each new role.   It’s not easy (as anyone who has had to deal with my backstage panics knows), but it feels like what I’m meant to do.  Having had two months away from the rehearsal room, I really miss it and am eager to start on my next theatrical projects.  It may be odd (and it sounds unbelievably pretentious!), but I think that while being a librarian is what I do, being an actor is what I am.  It is my passion and my gifting – doing it for fun rather than for a living doesn’t make that any less true.

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