It goes without saying that lockdown has been difficult for actors; a disaster for professionals, who depend on acting jobs for their income, and a miserable experience for amateurs, who miss the emotional connections with their collaborators.
Throughout lockdown, we've been organizing activities to keep people engaged. We've organized two remote acting courses, using video conferencing software, and we've been pairing up and working on scenes together, recording each side of the dialogue on a mobile phone and then editing together, as if the actors were physically present.
Working remotely isn't the same as being together in the room though. It's a good next-best-thing but it's clear that actors feed off the buzz they get from working intimately with other people, and it's hard to reproduce that remotely. The prospect of us all getting together again in a rehearsal room, let alone organizing a show, seems a long way off. Still, as the lockdown eases, it should be possible to start meeting up again and film could be a way to bring actors together again, working towards a tangible goal. We could film outside, and would only need two actors and a cameraman on set, so it would be very safe.
We had to use mobile phones while people were working remotely. It's possible to do good work with a phone, but you have to work quite hard to get good quality footage. We are fortunate enough though to have access to a good-quality, albeit slightly dated, DSLR. I was doing some monologue work using this camera recently, and I realized that I should really learn how to use it properly. I would also need to get the rest of the necessary equipment together — lights, mics etc. — learn how to use them and improve my editing.
Hunting around on YouTube.com, I came across Darious Britt. He's an indie filmmaker and he has lots of instructional videos online about narrative filmmaking. In particular, he has a thirty-day film school video — a thirty-day curriculum to teach yourself filmmaking.
I had a fifteen day-gap in my schedule, but I knew some of this stuff already, so I started working my way through as much as I could. I think his idea of working on microfilms — very short filma with few, if any actors — while you learn the craft, is very powerful.
So, here is our first microfilm. It's a simple thirty-second montage. It's fast-paced and so required a lot of shots and a lotem> of playing around with lighting. It's a perfect opportunity to learn the equpiment and an important first step towards getting real actors in front of the camera.
I can't wait to get real actors in front of the camera. Here's the film…