An Actor Prepares
The one thing I've always struggled with as a professional actor(which is what I like to call myself) is how much to prepare and how to prepare. This is especially true for film work. I just shot a short this past friday with some college friends. It was a zombie short - but somewhat ambiguous as to whether there were really zombies. The character I played experienced a head injury that ends up impairing his sight and hearing, so it's unclear what is real and what he thinks is real.
My buddy pitched the film to me a few weeks ago as something they'd been batting around for a while. "That sounds like something you'd really need the actor to carry for you, the film wouldn't work without them." Then I convinced him that I was the one who could do it. He didn't need much convincing, he likes me, we've known each other for a while, and have a really good working relationship.
So I got the script. I read it. I gave myself two hours to work on it, not knowing what I'd really need to do to prep. I knew that the role required fear, real, primal fear. And it needed an understanding of that moment when you end up making a high-stakes decision knowing that you could be completely wrong. But I didn't really know what to do. I went over the few lines. I thought about what it would be like if I thought my best friend was a zombie, or I thought he was a zombie, and I had to kill him. On the subway, I imagined what it would be like if I suddenly lost my sight.
I guess that's the trick when it comes to preparing - it's totally different depending on what the character calls for, and depending on the film. When it actually came down to shooting, I didn't feel unprepared at all. I had thought about who this guy was, and what actually led him to make the decisions he did. But I still always feel a bit lost when I start out with a script.
It should be edited soon - I'll let you guys know as soon as it's done!
-- Shawn Dempewolff