‘Pearl’ – why I love doing short films
Pearl is a great short I did with Nick Barrett a few months ago, it is now starting the screening and film festival entry points of a short’s journey. Looking at the end result and the production stills, it is certainly something I can use to talk about what I have been doing, great production stills and of course get to do what I love, act!
The pluses of doing shorts are
- Experience on a set with often inexperienced directors
- You are getting to practice the art of acting, which means that you are open and warmed up when going to other castings. It is always easier to get more work when you are working.
- Watching the crew do their job so you really understand where you, as an actor, fits in
- Getting to play and explore characters out of your type-casting,
- Establish how you are perceived by directors and casting people in how they cast you
- Practice about being open, truthful, honest on camera and not being too ‘theatrical’ – I watched some people auditioning the other day for a film role and you could see those who have done a lot of theatre and not much screen work
- Getting to watch yourself back, yes it is horrid but you have to see behind the lines, wrinkles and fat bits to how you are portraying the character and moving the story along
- Really understand how your only importance on screen is how you move the story along, so when you audition think about how what you put over sells the story.. so be a yummy mummy with an edge but you have to be believeable as a yummy mummy in the first place.
- You have something to talk about in those meetings when they ask that dreaded question ‘What have you been up to’
- You get to meet and work with other actors and crew, plus working with some young directors.
- You learn a lot about camera angles, shot size and keeping quiet when necessary
- There is more freedom to play with characters, costume, make-up than on TV and big budget productions. You can have a lot more creative input
- It may inspire you to make your own! Be warned though you do need a good sound guy, bad sound ruins many an ambitious film!
- You will feel that you have done your job, of being an actor. Classes are great but you need to act. It will make you perceive yourself as an actor and motivate you to keep going!
- Marketing yourself as an actor – you can market the film on your social media sites, you may get to go to a screening so a positive networking situation, you can use the production stills on Spotlight, you may be able to use the footage for your showreel.
- You learn the importance of the edit; how listening and reacting is so important , how you can be left on the cutting room floor for the sake of the story or how when another actor has a huge amount of lines that does not mean it is their scene and where the camera will look to you for reactions to tell the story.
Pearl is beautifully shot, edited and was a lovely film to shoot. As always, being well fed is a bonus 😉 It was quite scary though also seeing what was in that playhouse.. I was also very pleased I did not kill myself with all that running 😉
It was a last minute call to action and myself and the other actors hurried to spend a sunny English day film-making. The finished result is great, to be honest much better than expected and I got to prove my yummy-mummy acting credentials again. Trust me it is all acting, though I did a workshop last week with a very experienced TV director who after seeing me work, informed me I can play an amazing bunny boiler!! Well at least it is not boring casting.
I am actually playing a neurotic, bunny boiling yummy mummy next week so he is obviously not the only one to think this….. Comments are not required on this point 😉
NOTE: I cannot believe I am playing so many yummy mummies at present, it is so far away from how I perceive myself but I played about 13 of them last year such as Through The Fire The Vamps and already booked to play two more in 2014 and we are only mid January!. Hence I need to get out of my own self image and get acting work by how others perceive me.. and then twist it, turn it on its head and make myself the scariest/funniest/darkest/weirdest/most messed up/perfect yummy mummy.
I also play a lot of crazy strong women so the two typecastings I have leave a lot of room for fun and play 😉
If you want to read more 15 practical tips on acting & getting rebooked on low budget & student films