At the end of my third year I was not regarded as much of an actress. A physical theatre performer and dancer yes. But straight acting… Let’s just say that mine was not the first name that would come to mind in my year group. And the repercussions of this has affected my confidence in my straight acting and the agent I have now. Which made this past weekend both unexpected and rewarding.
Earlier this year a friend I had met via my Master’s studies, who had done his undergraduate work at a different institution asked if I would have liked to audition for a short film he and his sister were making. Although I didn’t get the role he and his sister remembered my work, and asked if I would like to act for their short film in the 48 hour film project this last weekend. So this last Saturday I joined team Zwoosh. It started with a message, summarizing that we had drawn the sci-fi genre, the wardrobe options I would need to take with and my character description: psycho bitch.
So I arrived on set at 7 in the morning with freshly highlighted hair, wardrobe options, a full makeup kit and my straightener. I was greeted by an amazing crew, tea, rusks and a script. Just before we were about to start our first read through of the script the tiny model who was playing my sister sat down on a low couch, and a moment after her I sat down. As I did the couch broke and the two of us were thrown to the floor. In a tumble of laughs we stood up. As the admittedly 51 kilogram model claimed she had picked up weight recently I joined the conversation:
“Well in that case it has to be me. I’m not sure my self-image is going to survive this shoot”
Our director, who had witnessed the fall, joined in the laughter:
“Now that our two fat actresses have been knocked down a peg we can start”
The laughter set the tone for the rest of the day off camera, which was a fantastic change of pace considering the heavy subject matter of the shoot. My character was deeply disturbed, and the scenes my co-actor and I were shooting were very emotional and challenging. As we wrapped a very difficult scene my co-actor, who is more experienced that I am asked if I had ever done such challenging work before. I hadn’t, and neither had he. It was exciting to be challenged, in manner that wasn’t in physical theatre. and it was so much more rewarding when our director, editor and director of photography were all impressed with my work. Congratulations were handed out via fist bumps and the word 'respect' after scenes were wrapped. Considering how nervous I had been the day before I was not expecting it. Especially as I had always been considered more of a dancer than an actress I was happy and humbled by all the compliments. And considering how professional all the members of our team were I was blown away by the fact that there were keen to work with me again.
One of my favorite moments on set on Saturday was when I was doing Sudoku when I knew I wasn’t going to be filmed for a while. One the crew members walked past:
“You’re blonde, and you’re doing a sudoku.”
“And…? Just because I’m blonde doesn’t mean I’m stupid”
“Yes, but I do sudoku”
The character I played was married, and as is expected for a married woman, I was given a ring for my left ring finger to show this on film. As I was about to send a picture to my boyfriend my co-star saw what I was doing:
|The little bits that make the character...|
“Please tell me you’re going to post that photo on facebook.”
“No. I don’t think that’s wise”
“Just as a joke. I’ll comment and say that I was there, and that it was amazing”
After I finally got all the fake blood out of my hair, and assessed all the blisters on my toes from spending a day shooting in high heels I was happy. I had done challenging work, well. I had spent time, and laughed with an amazing team. And I’m not sure, we had made an amazing short film. The details of which I will write about once the film has been screened. For now, I'm holding thumbs that we will do well! Go Team Zwoosh!