The future is digital content. When you are making a content for the digital space, you have got to be extremely careful for Amateurism. And often people think Amateurism is only confined to technical side of the content. A Filmmaker in the semi-pro level would be focused on sound, visuals more than anything else. But what is often least thought about is Acting.
A commoner would forgive your film for poor aesthetics but would never tolerate for in-acting because Acting is the most noticed component in films and that’s why they say 80% of directing is casting.
But we are short filmmakers isn’t it. People with little money. How can we get professional actors. And can we ever dream of making film of long takes. Mind you, Long takes is a luxury. You know it doesn’t happen. Because You need Actors who can withstand long amounts of time, Pulling off dialogues with emotions and with ease. This will not work when you have amateur actors around.
But we are storytellers, isn’t it? We dream big. We don’t settle for mediocrity. Though we have little money and only amateur actors, we aspire to get that aesthetics spot on, something that you witness in Art-house films and Great Directors’ Films that superbly employ long takes. And As experts say when people are conscious of the cuts, it can’t be a good film.
So what do we do? We decide to go for it. We perform rehearsals, with the camera. We motive and inspire actors.
But on the finale, the day set for the shoot, You know it is not going to work out. You will settle for random and unnecessary cuts. You would tell yourself. People wont mind it. But my dear, you of all mind it. You never wanted this in the first place.
Settling for mediocrity is often the solution for finishing our short films.
But rewind back.
Go back to your rehearsal sessions.
Go back to the place where you trained your actors.
You might have noticed something. something that wouldn’t bothered you much. But let me tell you that is the prime reason for the mediocrity.
It is when the Amateur actor is idle. When he was put in the frame for no reason. or even he was there in the frame for a reason like listening to the fellow actor speak or see. But he is idle. He is simply there. He is not responding. He is just chill.
Amateurism in Acting is best seen when the subject or the character is idle. A trained actor would know how to manage that idleness.
A recent example would be in Kavan Where TR is in full swing, controlling the scene and Vijay sethupathi is idle. But look closer. He wont be idle. Look at this body language. Look at his mannerism and expression. It wont be idle, though the character itself has little to do in the scene.
How to Manage this In-acting in our Short films?
Either you leave out the actor and go for a close-up of the main actor in action or you give the secondary actor some objects to play with.
A detective is conversing with an inspector. The inspector gives his theory of a murder.
The detective interrupts and give a detailed observation which lasts for a minute.
Throughout the scene, the inspector would have to listen to the detective. He has nothing else to do.
A clever actor would do this with ease. He would shake the head. show attitude in his expression and at the least play with his lathi
But an amateur actor cannot do this. There is where we as Director pitch in.
Often times I have seen Filmmakers directing the main character. but the other character who is idle doesnt know what to do and hence wastes the frame. An audience noticing this, would readily pull himself out of the film.
Though Long takes is a costly affair for short filmmakers. attending to these small but crucial elements will go a long way in making a film with superior aesthetics.