Saturday, 19 June 2010

Corporation Acts

Corporate video - the first one I did was for M&S when I worked there in about 2001; a spoof of various films which would probably have prompted a hefty lawsuit or two if it'd been more widely seen. It's possible I now own the sole surviving copy of my recreations of Hannibal Lecter and Renton in "Trainspotting", and trust me, that's a good thing.
By contrast, the PriceWaterhouseCoopers vid I shot this week had all the hallmarks of filmmaking - high production values, great production talent and a very tight shooting schedule.
Originally I was up for the maverick, off-message non-PwC type with a brash tie and Rolex, which is a part I tend to get seen for a lot. But when Tod called me on Tuesday, there'd been a volte-face of mammoth proportions and I was instead offered the experienced, aspirational PwC executive - basically a paragon, an archetype in a very crisply-ironed shirt. These parts worry me, because playing someone perfect is much harder than playing someone flawed. And the audience is not likely to be very forgiving in their assessment of how you're doing in the job they want.
Anyway, the whole process was made delightfully bearable by the crew, my co-actor Nina Voelker and the director Sacha Damjanovski. Like almost all video directors, he is an independent writer/director/filmmaker. Unlike most, he has just released a truly great-looking feature called "Dance With Me". This, in a gorgeous Small World way, stars Adam Napier, who I worked with on "Cornelius Crow" and "Folie a Deux" for Sean Martin - check links right.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Total Recall

Not everyone does recalls, but most do. Captain Cabot does them, but he doesn't expect actors to perform in front of each other (for which he is devoutly adored). A similar approach happened at a casting I went to for "Actors of Dionysus", but there the unlucky ones were surgically excised during the day, so the parts went to the last men standing. Strangely invigorating though.
Plently of directors do want you to exhibit in front of your peers, though, and although this process sounds like torture I honestly think it's a very effective means of raising your game, and it's worked for me in the past - "Midnight", most notably. Plus you get to see how good the competition is.
Trouble is, though, it's damned good. There's at least five of us, including me, up for Roger Flavieres (the lead); two for Ballard (the psychiatrist) and about three for Gevigne/Gratin/Leriche. The first Ballard kicks off and he's prepared so well, done so much work it's practically at performance level. The applause is genuine and enthusiastic, and the next contender jokes "follow that" - which is what we're all thinking.
As I watch the other Rogers I'm filled with conflicting emotions - each take is very different, and a way of doing the character that I hadn't considered. But I stick with my character choice - world weary, compromised, mercurial. As the afternoon wears on, my emotions crystallise and clarify. It's not that I didn't think of these other approaches - I don't think I could have done it those ways. They're not parts of myself I could recognise and use. I've gone with my instincts, and I've done more work than I've ever done for an audition before. I can't ask more of myself.