On the train headed back to NYC, a quick little nap and a whole scene shot this morning. The assistant director picked me up at the train station and drove me out to the location, a local bowling alley that the owner was letting the crew use. We arrived to find the crew standing out in the freshly-fallen snow, since their contact person had not arrived at 8am like they had expected him to. Instead, we didn’t get inside until the owner himself arrived at 10. So after a quick set-up, Ashley took Tom and I aside to rehearse our scene while the camera crew set up. After rehearsals, we had a little bit of fun for the day when we had to share the bowling lanes with people who were actually coming in to bowl. Independent filmmakers can’t afford to close down a location.
The scene itself was only about six lines long, and we worked on it for a while in rehearsal. When we actually came to shoot the scene, the bulk of it was being covered in a master shot with the camera moving backward on the dolly as we walked toward it. Needless to say, that is a complicated idea and it took a lot of takes before we ended up with a shot the director was happy with. It was also interesting because I kept getting directions from her on how to play the ending of the scene. I kept trying to take her direction and process the final moment differently every time, but I started to get the feeling that I wasn’t “giving her what she wanted.” The leading actor and I are both theatre people, so we both felt like we warmed up as the takes went along. But I still was never sure if the director was completely satisfied.
After grabbing a quick lunch before rushing back for this train, the assistant director told me how much he really enjoyed my performance, and he apologized for the technical issues with the dolly shot. It’s one of those peculiar aspects to this job; no matter what the actors are doing, it’s really a little pointless unless the camera move works perfectly. Otherwise, they have to get the show again, even if the performance from the actors was the best one of the day. It’s a crazy way to make a living, but there is nothing else I would rather do.