Sunday, April 5, 2009

Little Toy Gun

In which our Diva reflects on her day as Creepy Mystery Woman

Random waking-up thought of the day: "Acting is what happens inside the curves."

No clue, but it sounds kinda profound, huh?

Great day on The Storm yesterday with a whole new set of cool Chicago film people.  Thanks to the two JRs of JR2 productions, Whitney the Clark Kent of directors, Nate the action man, Stephanie the chess goddess, and the whole crew.  I had a longish day, but everyone else had two VERY long days, and they're all champs!  (Hopefully they're all safely sleeping in right now!)

I think (hope?) Blue will surprise you when you see her.  She's all stillness and economy of movement, which is a challenge for perky-fidgety Val!  The stillness made it all the more important to find her default posture, and I was having a little trouble with that at first, until I tilted my head down a little bit to peer through my hair.  (It was a big deal in their concept of the character that her hair partially obscured her face, which was another challenge.   Not just because of what bits of expression might be lost, but because having my hair anywhere near my eyes drives me nuts.)  And *click*, there she was!  Funny how sometimes all it takes is the tiniest adjustment.  From the reactions of people on set, I think (hope?) she came across right.  Did I succeed in making real someone so very different from me?  We shall see...

Once again, forgot my camera, and I was doubly kicking myself for it when I saw what an awesome location Michael Reese Hospital is.  It closed last summer, though apparently it's connected somehow to other buildings that are still open.  But it has parts that look maybe a little dated but could be cleaned up easily enough to look like a working hospital... and parts that look like the zombies are waiting to grab you if you step off the elevator!  Chicago location scouts, take note!  (And get it while you can.  Apparently the property is slated as part of the Olympic Village if we get the 2016 games.  Which I want mostly for the proposed augmented public transit service in the burbs.)

It seems obvious to me, but people always seem surprised when I tell them I've done a little bit of target range shooting in addition to stage-combat firearms basics.  I have no interest at all in ever touching a real gun anywhere but on a range under qualified supervision, but it's such an incredibly valuable experience to have.  Ninety percent of convincing gun handling is not being afraid of the prop.  Which you can get from a stage-combat class firing blanks, along with valuable sense impressions like just how loud it really is, and how heavy it really is, and the smell of the metal and how stays on your hands.  (I don't even have a very good sense of smell, and that's a key thing for me.)  But when there's an actual projectile coming out of the thing and that force kicks back into your arm or shoulder, when "Don't point the barrel at anything you want to keep" is Rule Number One for much more immediate reasons, everything feels completely different.  If you're an actor (or a writer, for that matter), find a good basic class and take it.  There is no substitute. 

Also, I have big pieces of paper in a box around here somewhere with holes in them that say "Look! I can hit things with a .38!  And occasionally with a 9mm!"  Which is really very cool.

Also also, shoulder holsters are very uncomfortable.

I was off to the side during a shot setup, wrapping myself up in Blue's music, when one of the PAs (who's also an actress) asked what I was listening to.  She and another girl seemed surprised/impressed that I'd made a playlist just for the character, and they're going to keep it in mind.  So yay, I shared one of my favorite tools with other people!  And a nice reminder that what other people learn from you doesn't have to be any great stroke of genius, just something useful that's new to them.  I know it's true of some of the things I've learned from other people, when I gush at them about it and they give me this look that says "Um, yeah, okay..."

Here's Blue's playlist on MySpace.   (It's an imperfect way of sharing these, since I have a lot of older and/or obscure stuff, so something is always missing.  In this case, three or four songs, plus one substitution -- my preferred Snake River Conspiracy cover of "How Soon Is Now" isn't available, but t.A.T.u.'s is.  But it gives you the general idea, and it's convenient.)

Give it a listen, and then think about going from that person to operetta silliness for Die Fledermaus rehearsal this afternoon.  If Prince Orlovsky wants to keep from being bored, he should try that!  :-D

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