One student’s thoughts on his first film experience

November 7th, 2007 at 11:10am brian

I thought that this description from our acting student JP on how he approached his first film was really interesting and wanted to share it with the rest of the readers here. If you have thoughts on this or your own approach, be sure to leave a comment!


Hey, all

Just thought I’d take Ben’s suggestion and send around some of my thoughts and reactions to my film shoot with FAMU. I thought it was a great chance to put to the test everything we’ve been doing and see how it’s helped. It was great to try out, listening to your partner, reacting to their behavior, not knowing what was coming in a scene, delivering a line after learning a script by rote, and getting out of your head and just being real. I can see I still have a way to go, but the class definately has brought me several steps ahead. I felt more confident in front of a camera and in front of other more experienced actors. I felt more assured and had less fear of inferiority after all the work from class.

Of course when the camera starts rolling the fear of looking good, being good, and the temptation to get into your head starts popping up. On day one, when I was in front of the camera for the first time and the director shouted “action” I was nervous as hell. I felt like I was in my head. it was s simple scene, nothing very emotional like we’d been practising, so I went back to day one or two of class- I put my attention on my partner and just started noticing simple behavior in him- “He’s looking at that window. He’s very intent. He looked sideways. He’s starting to stroll.” That helped me forget myself almost like magic. It was great.

I had one angry scene where I was supposed to bawl out two other people. That one really made me nervous. I was worried about over-doing or being “actorish.” Truth be known I still have to see the cut before I can judge it, but I found that forgetting the logical reason why I was shouting and finding an emotional basis for it (my sister is cuddling with a total stranger who is almost 20 years her senior in a very overly-affectionate, almost sexual way) helped me to be more in the reality of it and to feel the anger more.

During some scenes where I wasn’t supposed to be looking at my partners, who are usually my center of focus, I found it helpful just to chill, take a few breaths, and focus on my other senses- the cold air, the birds chirping, the picturesque landscape, the stinking hay in the barn. that helped me forget myself, my pose, my messy hair, the rolling camera and just stay more in the moment.

There’s a lot more I could say, but I think that hits the high points. All in all it was a great experience. If any of you have some more filming thoughts or some tips, please by all means send ’em around. Thanks Brian for getting me the role, and thanks to both the teachers for getting us this far. Cheers all. See you monday.



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