Rain in the Mountains, Day Fourteen (with tips for acting in indie movies!)
What is Rain in the Mountains?

In my (limited) acting experience, I know that you can know your lines stone cold and then — boom! — soon as you get up on stage, the mind goes blank. So it is with acting for the camera. The director calls action and… the lines… just… aren’t… there. It happens even to the pros — Al Pacino, Julia Roberts, Harrison Ford. Watch any gag reel (the outtakes in the credits of many comedies, or on some DVDs). Even the best can draw a blank. It happens. Pros know just to laugh it off.

But amateur or non-actors often don’t. Today we spent a whole reel getting a few simple lines. Around Take Ten, frustration started to snowball. Read more…

On top of all this, Joel and Christine just realized that they had been breaking the 180 degree line and would have to re-shoot a shot we thought we had finished. Of course, we still finished before 2pm. We rock!

 

Acting in Independent Film Notes
1. If you don’t know what exactly to do when the director calls ‘action,’ say something before the camera is rolling.
2. The camera sees everything. Always stay in character, even if you or someone else goofs. The best way to ensure a natural performance is to feel inside what the character is feeling. Without any effort, it will show up on your face.
3. Speaking of your face, the place the audience is concentrating is almost always the eyes. Be sure you know where to look, especially if you’re supposed to be looking at something off-screen. This is what the director is talking about when he or she talks about “eyeline”.
4. Remember exactly what you do. When you stand, sit, or move in relation to the lines matters in the editing room! Most indie features don’t have the budget for a dedicated continuity advisor. So you have to be your own. Quick tip: If you have long hair, always wear it behind your shoulders. Remembering what shoulder it’s over is a pain!
5. There will be a lot of waiting. Take the opportunity to rehearse your lines. If you have few or no lines, be sure to always have a book or some other quiet distraction handy.

 


I might also add that we had, for the first time this shoot, a location change — two of them actually. We started the day at a private residence in Olympia whose doorway was later matched with a living room at the Erickson farm. Between, we went to Oak Meadows Buffalo Ranch. Buffalo are cool!

I post about the movie about every two or so days. Keep checking back to follow the progress of the film. If you have questions or commentary, leave a note in the comment section below.