Landing the Role of Kate

A chronicle of my actventures

Overdue Updates (it’s a long one)

So, I did say I was busy, right? Hopefully. Anyway, the busy-ness paid off. I had a wonderful visit with my sister and… I got one of the jobs I interviewed for! Hip Hip Hooray! This of course means I will have less time to do acting. For instance, just today I had another request for me to be an extra on Friday in Leverage, but I had to turn it down because I will be at work because I have a job now (That’s still exciting for me to say having been unemployed for basically 9 months). But I will still be able to do the film in the summer because I’m only schedule for 1 day of shooting.

But wait, didn’t I have my web series shoot? And didn’t I start my acting class? Yes to both! And I loved both! So, I’m going to give you the low down on each after the cut.

First, the web series, which is called The Majic Shiznit Show (I have to promote it now, since I’m in it and all). I went in for the shoot with a 6pm call time. I thought that since my scene was fairly short I’d be there for a couple hours, maybe three. Wrong. Shooting was of course 15 minutes late to start, so at 6:45 we began setting up the lighting and camera. Awesome. The Director of Photography (DP) was hurt, so he was doing the least amount of work as possible. But he did a really great job nonetheless. Then there were other scenes I was in that I didn’t even know I was in. No words, but I still had to be there. So, I left at 10:30 or 11pm.

So, the scene went really well. It was actually quite interesting, and that Michael Caine book came in handy, unbelievably so. I almost want to write Mr. Caine a thank you letter, but I know he’ll never read it, so whatever. First we did the master, then we did a medium of just me and then a medium of just Sean. Sean didn’t really know his lines. This was… frustrating, but totally fine at the same time. Just like the book says, if the other actor isn’t giving you anything, or is majorly sucking, still act it like they’re unbelievably awesome so that it doesn’t hinder your own performance. You never know what the director will end up using in the edits. (Of course, I later learned that the other actor is actually editing the thing, but you know, whatever). But even though he didn’t know his lines, he kept in character even during my shots.

After that we had the other two characters who barge into the bedroom (the scene is in bedroom at a party). Which meant changing the lighting and such, then midway through we had to dump the video card contents onto the laptop and wait since there was only one card. Sigh. But it allowed the other two actors to, um, learn their lines. Did I miss the memo about not needing to know your lines? Anyway, they quickly wrapped those two actors, and we were left doing the close ups of me and Sean reacting to the guys who barge in. The director read for the actors, and gave us… nothing. Which was fine, expected I suppose. But it was a very realistic look into acting. There I am, talking to a wall and the director who is halfass reading the lines (which the actors fudged up and missed half of anyway). I had to find a mark on the wall to keep going back to as I looked between the two of them so that it wouldn’t look like the other guy grew and shrunk throughout the scene.

Saying that reminds me that I seemed to be the only person concerned with continuity. Sean kept moving and changing how his clothing looked and how our positions were. It was frustrating because I was “just an actor”, and even though it was really low key, I felt like I couldn’t really say anything like, “Dude, continuity. You were there before. The pillow wasn’t there before. People notice these things!” So, if you watch my scene and notice continuity errors, know that I strove to avoid them best I could.

Now, one thing I haven’t mentioned yet, mostly because my mother reads this blog, is that I actually had to take off my shirt in the scene. Yeah. This was… tricky. For the most part I’m wearing a shirt and the camera is just above it, but there’s some shots of my bare back. Basically we (meaning me and the female wardrobe person) taped a bra to my front with duct tape. It was just like wearing a bikini top, actually even more coverage than that. No big deal. Nothing indecent. All PG, mom, don’t worry! But, I figured I’d tell you guys about it before you saw the scene once the episode is posted. Heh.

After we wrapped that scene, there were some party scenes we had to do. One was me leading Sean out of the party and into the bedroom. It was cool because the extras all parted for us. It was much nicer being the talent and not an extra. The other scene was at the same party and was part of a music video when Sean does a rap. This was hilarious and ridiculous. The extras all stood in front of me hiding me then on cue parted and I turned to look at the camera as the DP and director rushed in with the camera and a fan. Haha! So I have this sexy stare with a wind effect going on. It was so funny. I saw the daily for it and just laughed. But it looks good and I’m excited for you guys to see it.

Overall the shoot went well and I really enjoyed it. I really like acting. It’s a lot of fun and feels pretty natural to me. But you better believe that the word ‘wrap’ never sounded so good!

Which is a good segue into my acting class…

I had my first class two Sundays ago (we had this week off since half the class couldn’t make it because of Easter). The teacher, Shelly Lipkin, is wonderful. He’s very knowledgeable about not just the craft, but also the industry. Each class is 3 hours and we meet once a week. The other students were equally great. Everyone was enthusiastic and actually quite good. Again I saw Michael Caine at work when Shelly offered some of the exact advice from the book. I definitely advise any aspiring film and TV actors to read his book! However, Shelly also offered a ton of other words of wisdom and something any book can’t give you, tone and expression. To have someone demonstrate is a really great learning tool.

For our first class we were put into pairs and given a script about a page long. There’s a term for it, but I really can’t remember it (I’m even trying to reverse google it and it’s not working out. Frustrating.) I’ll describe it though. So, the scripts are simple phrases that can be played by anyone, that is, any age, race, gender etc., and in any emotion. The point of the exercise was two-fold. First, to practice reacting, which is what acting on film really is, and second to see ourselves on camera.

So, the first partner would be on camera and read their dialogue with their offscreen partner who is positioned next to the camera. The first time we did just a basic read through with what we sort of took from the scenes we were given. Then Shelly took the offscreen partner aside and gave them direction on how to play their role. That’s where the reaction part comes into play. In one my partner was talking to another person and just ignoring me (still saying her lines though). In another my partner had to act like she was grooming my hair, so she was really close to me. It’s a little confusing at first because this stranger is all up in your space, but that’s the point. An instinctual reaction. To her, I had to act like a little kid running about and not paying attention as well as like a drill sargaent. The drill sargaent one was taken as more of me having an attitude towards her, but whatever.

After everyone went (there’s 9 people in the class, but only 8 were there so it was even pairs) we watched ourselves on tape. Oh my gosh. So embarrassing! But definitely worth seeing. The camera truly picks up everything. Also, I noticed that my voice is identical to my sister’s, not that I didn’t already know that, but it was really exemplified. I was critical of myself, of course everyone was overly critical of themselves, but Shelly said that I was really interesting to watch on camera and then five other people were like, “Mmhmm!” But in a genuine way, well, at least they seemed genuine. So, that was encouraging.

For our next class we were all given monologues to memorize and read. Mine is from the movie Monster, but I’m not supposed to know how she reads it in the film, or even who she is. We have to figure out who we are, who we are talking to, and what happened just before we give our monologue. I still haven’t learned mine (whoops), but I’m getting on that tomorrow.

I think the class is going to be really helpful, and it’s a lot of fun so far.

I’m planning to do an upcoming entry in a different than usual format. I’m going to interview Dan Martone, who runs two film festivals, and either post the Q&A verbatim or do a summary of the interview.

Well, that’s all the updates! Hope everyone is doing well.

-Lorena

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April 6, 2010 - Posted by | Acting in Film by Michael Caine, Gigs, Observations | , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Gotta love Mr. Caine. It’s an oldie, but a classic.

    Comment by Trisha | April 6, 2010 | Reply

  2. This is great that you are getting more opportunities to study and learn about acting and the industry, and I must say that it’s really interesting reading about it in this format.

    Can’t wait to read about more of your experiences!

    Comment by Luludee | April 8, 2010 | Reply

  3. I don’t know that you and Rachel sound the same. Similar, yes, but I think less so than me and Si, for example. I think I can tell the difference, anyway.

    Make sure you let us know when the episodes go up online!

    Comment by Matt | April 22, 2010 | Reply


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