Morgan Taylor's Suicide

Archive for the ‘Alorah’ Category


In Alorah, Directing on January 28, 2009 at 9:53 am

Let’s all stop and think how cool it would feel to ride backwards on a wheelchair through a curvaceous dorm hall and shoot a film scene with a wicked cool fig rig and the constant possbility of falling to your death or, worse yet, catching the boom in the frame.

I’m exaggerating the death fall, but the boom-frame certainly was a low point of the night that ruined a perfectly sweet single-shot scene. I feel bad, but at the same time, there’s something inspiring the way we can know that everyone is committed to getting the right shot, the best scene, the work done. We all know that many people on this project, myself included are sacrificing time and other opportunities for this film. The best we can get is the best we should get. No settling for crumbs here. No excuses. Also, I will never make the boom mistake again.

And about line memorization, since it was an issue tonight, I understand why it’s usually not a problem. usually, the takes are short and you can film them as many times as you like and nobody need frett over a botched tongue-twister. This night, if it can serve as an example, was actually a brilliant opportunity to dispel the nonsense about “getting away with it.” In a long, cumbersome, delicately-timed shot, line memorization is the last thing anyone wants to stop for. But far more importantly is the fact that lines, or lack thereof, will affect any actor’s performance in the worst and most avoidable way. An actor barely acts if he or she is thinking about words. And also, I’m sure our friend Michael Caine said something sometime about being performance ready everytime you arrive on set. Smart cookie, that Michael Caine.

Anywho, the end result still looked great. The actors definitely stepped it up, and I’m looking forward to Muffin’s side-project. I think it’ll be loads of fun for the actors and keep them engaged with the project… I wish we had more material and more time to devote to these talented people, but at least they can make jokes on the side.

K, Pau Hana.



Couples Therapy

In Alorah, Directing on January 25, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Project #1 of last week: brain-picking.

Over the break I read a piece of casting wisdom that described the concept of an actor “having what it takes to play the character.” This, as the book says, is not a physical trait or measure of skill or experience but an organic sympathy for the character. However, I had little or no concept of who the characters were at the time of casting nor any clue about how to sniff out sympathy in a ten-minute time slot, so I appreciated these meetings very much.

For the most part, the actors seemed to engage well and energetically with the exercise in which I would interview them in character. Who doesn’t love to have someone listen to their problems? People pay for such services. The most profound insights are already planted anyway, just a little sunshine and… anyway, back to acting.

What I wanted out of these meetings was a chance to align my view of the characters with the views of the actors. And then to encourage the actors to try and fill in the blanks themselves. Not all of the blanks of course, but at least they would put something out there and I could respond to their self-generated material rather than trying to inject them with my own perfect (not) vision.

All in all, I felt it was a very productive week in terms of highlighting areas that need work and areas of strength. There is much to work on from my side- I need to be more mindful of how I communicate ideas to the actors with an eye on the process, not the result. I also need to condense just about everything I say. Smaller, more potent chili peppers if you will. But one other thing of large importance was the fact that I establish a relationship with these people, some of whom I had never really met until this week.

Yes, good meetings. Good therapy. Same time next week. Pau.