As I arrived in Cork, the ever prolific and hardworking Rouzbeh Rashidi informed me that in addition to HE, we were to shoot some scenes for another feature film he was putting together (in collaboration with Maximilian Le Cain), and he did so in a tone of voice which suggested that shooting two feature films simultaneously was a perfectly reasonable thing to do, the obvious thing to do infact.
He said he wanted to explore on camera some of the ideas I have been developing on this blog over the months, aswell as create fictional, improvised scenes, then finally explore my attitude to cinema generally, in scenes which would be both fiction and documentary. However, as the scenes progressed and as we accrued material, it was decided that the footage would form a feature film of it’s own: “Boredom Of The Disgust And Monotony Of The Tediousness”.
5 OF THE BEST
Firstly, Rashidi asked me to write down my five favourite actors and actresses, on a piece of paper, and then discuss what I liked about them, or why I thought they were great. Normally an easy task – I always love a good list, and walking down the street lost in my thoughts, I could probably reel off one name after another, but when someone asks you to name names, suddenly the mind goes blank. However, after some thought, I did manage to come up with five actors – (in no particular order) Charles Laughton, Marlon Brando, Michel Piccoli, Jack Nicholson and Jean Gabin (on my reserve list were Alain Delon and Robert De Niro). For actresses, I decided on: Tilda Swinton, Emmanuelle Beart, Irene Jacob and Delphine Seyrig, and ran out of time before thinking of my fifth (which would have been Monica Vitti). I then offered my reasons for including each. Obviously a lot was said about the excellence of each actor’s technique, but, in the end, what we respond to in each actor is their personality, each of them is intrinsically compelling – and I’m not talking about them playing compelling characters, it’s something in them, call it energy, call it spirit, there’s just something about them that is alight….Of course, as I write this blog, I can think of many, many others I could add to the list (Dirk Bogarde anyone?).
The next set up had me expounding my theories on acting more broadly (never needing to be asked twice to do so of course) – many of which may be viewed as “controversial”, such as the fact that there is no difference between stage and camera acting, but that a lot of people make a lot of money by inventing a difference: then charging good money to explain what the difference is, then charge again to “teach” the actor how to “adapt” accordingly. The wider point, of course, is that a whole industry has sprouted up around the idealism and the ambition of young people who go into acting – and this industry is made up of “business people” who create a problem for the actor and then offer themselves as the solution (in the same way cigarettes create an aggravation for nicotine in the smoker, which can only be soothed by smoking). A classic example, is the “career guru”, who charges actors £50 an hour to assess the marketing effectiveness of their materials (ie – headshots, CVs, covering letters etc). During this hour, the actor is subjected to a comprehensive criticism of all that he has been doing to “get work”, and at the end, the guru gives him list of things to change (whether it is an improvement is moot of course). What else is the guru to do? Imagine that the desperate actor entered the guru’s den, hoping to find out “where he’s going wrong”, but, after only 10 minutes, the guru simply turned round and said; “congratulations! I’ve checked your stuff, and everything seems in order – keep doing what you’re doing and success will soon be yours”, then ushered the actor out the door? Wouldn’t the actor feel cheated out of his money? Isn’t he paying for the guru to criticise him?….With the £50 spent on the guru, the actor could have gone onto Amazon and bought a Flip HD camera and started making his own films…..I didn’t put it this way in Boredom Of The Disgust & Monotony Of The Tediousness, but my point is the actor should remind himself that all he wants to do is offer a presentation to an audience (and hopefully delight them in the process) – this way of thinking will keep him fitted for the task – all else should be kept in perspective. If our work becomes simply a marketing mechanism, it will not be long before the lies breed an all consuming self-loathing, and then what?
The next part of the Boredom Of Disgust & Monotony Of The Tediousness blogs, will look at the fictional improvised scenes we created.