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Friday, September 16, 2005

Learning To Direct Actors

In order to prepare for my next short film, I've secretly sneaked into my university's Screen Production 2 Lectures to spy on the arts of filmmaking which I can steal for future endeavours. Wasn't much last week, just some stuff about the rise of Interactive Entertainment. Which is something I MIGHT play with. (creating an interactive vides for my short film?) But today's seminar was totally freaking useful beyond belief.

While making Forced Labour, I realized that my biggest flaw may have been my inability to direct dialogue, or even to direct actors properly, since I don't have formal training in directing people, and my many attempts to direct a play back then was repeatedly foiled by my high school. In fact, here's how I direct my actors in Forced Labour.

Me: All right! You are sad. Shocked! DEVASTATED! Your husband had just
been incinerated after activating the car bomb. BOOOOM!

Me: I want you to say 'PLEASE DON'T DIE! I LOVE YOU' in desperation!
Yeah, desperation for the woman you love!

Me: Er... ah... say "SHE'S GOING INTO LABOUR!!" with urgency.

Me: Say, 'KEEP HER KNEES UP' in panic! Ah well, whatever, just read the
rest of the lines according to how you interpret it.

That's pretty much what I did because I thought allowing my own cast members to interpret their own roles and the way they speak without restraining them too much would be the greatest thing to do. Just like my intention with my upcoming Sci-Fi movie in Malay. As I don't know how to write Malay dialogue, I'm assuming that I could let my own cast unleash their acting skills more naturally since I'm giving them room to do whatever the hell they want.

But seriously, that might not exactly be the best thing to do because I am not really allowing the cast members to get into character enough. I should let them know more about the objectives of the character and that particular scene, and to remember that when assigning actions to my cast, these actions are not physical activities nor emotions (they aren't live puppets), give them a verb, give them scenario they can relate to in real life so that they can bring their reaction into the screen.

And most of all, I should give them honest and constructive feedback. Perhaps I was just as excited as my first-time actors when I was filming Forced Labour, my reactions merely ranged from:

Me: Hmmm. Look more hardcore.
Me: Yeah! Fantastic!
Me: Er.... *frowns*
Me: Hmmmmmm... *befuddled*
Me: Ah.... *confused*

When I was recruiting a girl to play the main actress for my next short film, I was very flattered when she praised me for truly having a unique vision for Forced Labour (thanks to my unique editing style... which I ripped off from Initial D's MTV style), but once again, it had more to do with my editing technique that was employed to hide the deficiencies I have in directing actors. (most of the best parts in Forced Labour are the 'cool' parts, where actors just stand and pose, or sit and pose, with zero acting involved).

Shooting will begin on Sunday. Will start taking notes later on what I have to do.