Friday, July 21, 2006

BrisBane Marie

I flew up to Brisbane two weeks ago to shoot a couple of ads for Super Cheap Auto Barn. I had worked with the director, Tim Bullock before (on the One day Cricket ad) and was looking forward to some sunshine and getting back in front of the cameras. I’ve done enough ads now to get over the once stupefying fear that used to turn me into a block of wood and can now relax and enjoy the process. I like watching a crew work, I think it’s important to know what each member does, what they need to do their job and how to stay the hell out of their way. That was the best thing about working on the Micallef Program all those years ago – between make up (mainly facial hair) and shooting I would simply observe and watch how a show was put together. Since then I have seen many different crews work, sometimes badly but on the whole I’m always amazed at how seamless it all seems.

Some lessons I’ve learned about acting for camera (for anyone who cares to heed them):

  • Never say “Wouldn’t that light look better over there?”
  • Respect the crew and get to know their names
  • Improvisation is handy, as is a sense of humour.
  • Bring your own Soy milk – sookie la la
  • Bring a book – a good, long book.
  • The perceived division between ‘Actors’ and ‘Extras’ is smaller than you think.
  • The costume dept will always ask you to bring your entire wardrobe.
  • Taxi Drivers are generally weird.
  • Know camera terminology and if you need to confirm a shot for your acting size, politely ask the D.O.P not the director.
  • The crew generally gets to eat first. Fair enough – they’ve been there since 5.30am what time did the Hotel clerk wake you sleepyhead?
  • Just because the director asks you to do it a different way it doesn’t mean (hysterical neurotic actor voice) “THEY HATE ME…OH MY GOD” .
  • Comedy is better played straight and Drama is nonexistent in this country.

While in Brisbane I went a caught Impro Mafia doing their thing in the O’Malley’s Pub. Basically a series of tricked up short form games – they were hilarious and played off each other really well. Afterwards we talked all thing impro and they showed me the delights of the Pig and Whistle. P.S. a couple of them also have a sketch comedy thing they are producing called Sexy Detective – it’s got some great gags especially for the jaded media student out there. Dutch Filmmaker was my favourite.

While in town I also managed to visit every comic store in the local vicinity (I had time to kill during the day – most of which was literally killed by watching Superman Returns - yawn). Get this though – in Brisbane the comic stores were mostly filled with…GIRLS! “What?” I hear you say…has the world gone mad? No, just in Brisbane, fat, sweaty, smelly fanboys haven’t succeeded in driving the female population running and screaming to the exit. There is hope for the pop culture world yet.

Things coming up:

More Cave shenanigans on the 30 July and the 20th August. Come and say hi.

As usual I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a web comic (inspired by the guys over at Double Fine Action Comics)

More corporate acting work on the horizon which is great and keeping the mouths full.

ABC 774 – every Monday fortnight I’ve been appearing alongside some other Impro mates on Derek Guille’s program and having a ball playing “Who Gives a Quiz” (around 9pm)