This particular trip to sunny Teignmouth was Actually Jakes Idea, I was reluctant at first because I felt so crushed with work on the Indiegogo pitch and other things, I had let this swamp my thinking for the actual film.
The plan had again been to meet tip and Rusty at Teignmouth oh what Joy that Tip has his own van and was ok bringing Rusty saving me expense and a long round trip.
Initially I had reservations about this shoot, I was and continue to be very hard pushed for time, and not wanting to cut corners I knew after the first meeting that I wanted to work with Tip. The fact that there is no dialogue does make the risk of the unknown a little less risky.
But what had been set up as screen tests, had morphed naturally into a mixture of screen test, location scouting, testing shots, and actually a bit of team building.
Myself and Rusty were able to find and refine some of the external shots and I did propose a correction to an original idea of the busker shot that has now developed from my initial plan into a nice combination of two shots into what Spielberg would call ‘oner” and everyone else simply calls long take.
We also went through the motions of the several other shots, the reaction shot turn to camera in the cafe scene because I wanted to see what Tip would initially bring to this It was a real intensity perhaps too much intensity…
The movement of the character that I will include in my notes in another blog and the shots under the pier that now feature in the pitch video.
The idea was to get tips skills in delivery of the pitch but it was so windy I quickly realised the sound would be terrible but the image looked too good to pass up so we filmed without sound for inclusion in the pitch.
Finding my original shot of the abstract dutch tilt of the entrance to the beach we are calling the half moon shot proved a challenge for Rusty, which was strangely gratifying! It was a photo I took a year or so ago and an early shot idea that uses confinement and abstract framing to describe the internal turmoil of the character, he is of course moving through his own head. With the photo on my phone Rust of course rose to the challenge of finding the exact composition, and this allowed me some time to chat more to Tip and give him more of a sense of the character in the space.
In actual fact the team building part of the day was possibly the most valuable, It was my first time working with a trained actor and Tip was very keen, enthusiastic, and helpful.
In terms of what was achieved by the day, I felt very strongly it was important to bond with Tip and begin to communicate some of the character elements and ideas It was in this sense a very very important 3 hours.
Tip listened and added suggestions most of all was very keen to try different things. he was open to ideas, and grasped the basis of the character very effectively.
My concerns at working for the first time with an actor, and how I might communicate idea etc proved to be found less. And actually I really enjoyed the day working out how to bring some of these ideas to the shoots and how to employ them, has begun to solidify.
I had done some preparation before the day looking at various videos and advice from other directors, and although it was a lll pretty obvious, I discovered that developing your own style and being clear is of far more importance.
I want to try an experiment where having implanted the ideas and framework of the character, on the day of the shoot I ask Tip to internalise all this and then forget it, I need to find a way to reduce the performance, to condense the emotion and background and then ask Tip to contain it, in other words to not act or perform, but just to be, there is an old adage of ‘don’t act, react’ In the absence of other actors to react and work off, I have to find a way to enable Tip to do this, and put this across to him without It sounding like I am asking for less!