Top of the week to all and sundry. I’m on set at the moment with my mind filled with better places I would rather be than at work. I don’t know why I have a sudden urge to go on a holiday. The strange thing about it is, much of our work actually does seem to outsiders like one big holiday; we work far into the night when others are sleeping, sleep and lounge when most others are working. What most people don’t know is that for every scene that lasts for, say a minute or a minute and a half, an approximate three to five hours’ work goes into making that scene possible depending on how many people there are in the scene.
Usually, when people badger me about wanting to act I smile and ask them why they want to go into it – the fame or the love for it. I think someday, when I become a producer, if anyone accosts me and inundates me with pleas to induct him or her into the world of acting, I will make sure their first scene is a party scene where the main characters meet and have some sort of conversation or specific action to take. Those of my colleagues in the business who read this bit will probably snigger at my sadism, and with good reason too because we all know how full of drudgery “party scenes” are.
The worst part of a party scene isn’t the fact that it takes at least four hours to record a scene (I for one, have once begun one at 9pm and did not finish recording till 4am the next morning), but that one would have to nurse the very same half filled glass of wine or beer, with a strained grimace and faking a conversation with a member of the opposite sex who is supposed to be your significant other in the movie, whom you have silently vowed to never give the opportunity to take “the relationship” further than the confines of the set – you kinda get the clues regarding their intentions when they still keep leaning onto you even after the director shouts cut, and you politely have to remind them that the take is over.
Or maybe a plate of food you are supposed to be carrying but are not allowed to eat for “continuity” purposes. God help you if it’s actually a really lovely dish and the producer emphatically urges you not to waste the “props” as he is on a tight budget, or the miserly props manager – they always are – sidles up to you and begs you with a whisper in your ear to take it easy on the grub. I usually scoff the lot if I’m hungry and dare them to “disgrace” their production by not refilling my character’s plate. You watch that hot sizzling food slowly turn to a congealed mass of dulled brown slabs of meat and sodden vegetables atop icicles of yellowed rice fast stuck in a frozen lake of brown grease. Now imagine going through this routine coupled with the tedious movements, dances (again, heaven forbid that you should forget your sports deodorant at home), all the while trying to look like you’re having an absolutely fabulous time for at least fifteen to twenty times. Finish this gruelling routine, expectantly wait for the movie to come out in six to eight months ,sit down to watch and wait for that scene you laboured in for ten hours straight disappear in two minutes flat with your loved ones about you grumble about the scene dragging on for an unnecessarily long time. Yes I do believe it would make for a fitting welcome to the acting community!
Darn it! I’ve gone and got carried away with my distaste for crowd, especially party, scenes and my desire to inflict them on naïve aspirants and forgotten about the holiday I really wanted to talk about. Well let’s hope I remain focused next time and not get distracted by my innate sadistic desires. Have a great week everyone!
PS: Kudos to two of my fave people, Formerly Stealth Reader and Rosa Winkler for getting the quote on my last post correct. We shall sit at a round table with our lawyers and iron out the modalities of reward. Cheerio!