As we move deeper into the editing process, I’m becoming very familiar with all of the material. Here, I’m now aware of the strengths and weaknesses of each shot. One aspect that I have been able to reflect upon is the quality of acting in each shot, and the performances are a reflection on myself as a director and how I guided the actors to get the best performances out of them. Throughout the shoot I felt that the way I engaged with the actors and worked with them to get the best possible performance was quite well for a first attempt at being a director. I incorporated many of the techniques that I learnt from the lecture that spoke about directing actors. In each case I gave the actors a scene goal, an overall goal and established their relationship to the other actors. Descriptive words were also very useful in guiding their performances. For example, when talking with Jordan (Colonel Fitts) about how his character should hold himself and interact with the other characters, I described his character as ‘hard’, this meant that he was to be very abrupt and dismissive of the other characters. Similarly, I described his character as ‘fast’ – in this case The Colonel should always be moving, fidgeting and not relaxed. This worked in direct contrast to other actors such as Smiddy’ – who was described as ‘soft’ (smiles, relaxed movements, interacts well with other characters) and slow (slow movements, speech, reactions).
Due to time restrictions, we really pushed though all of the dialogue, ticking each section off as we go. However, I really wished we allowed more time for improvisation. Clancy (who played Smiddy) improvised in a number of scenes, adding in some of his own dialogue, character interaction and body movements. It is here that I feel we got our best performances from Smiddy. It would have been nice, particularly for Jordan’s character ‘The Colonel’ to get some more improvised acting, giving us a greater range of material to choose from – as many of his performances seemed very rigid…and in many chases quite bring.
I should have know better really. As a musician, when I’m recording, I very rarely play a song exactly the same way each time I go for a run through in recording. It is with this variation that I usually get the true magic, the unguarded moment.
So next time I film, improvise! It’s more exciting, it’s fresh, it’s original and it let’s the characters have more creative control over the project (which I like the idea of).
(The King of improvisation…Jimi Hendrix)