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September 29, 2017 6:42 am  #1

On the film set (self obs)

Hey all, I was encouraged to share some acting observations so here we go. 

I booked a gig filming a PSA about domestic violence. It was designed to promote awareness and provide information about laws and lawyers and rights and such. **Trigger warning about domestic abuse**

I portrayed the abused wife. During one scene I was supposed to portray the anguish of being physically and verbally abused. The actor playing my husband would get into my face and yell, and I respond accordingly. No where in the script does it say "she starts crying" but... it's kind of the natural response.

The biggest thing about film sets is the mantra of "hurry up and wait" We wait for the camera, we wait for sound to go through the boom mic, we wait for the lighting to be just right. It can be kind of tedious but sometimes I appreciate the wait time. It can be very sudden too, when they slate and say "action" and Boom! You've got to be there. I haven't had too much trouble with it, but I attribute that to my training more than anything. I'm pretty good about getting into the moment.

So we're in the kitchen and "Action" is called. This scene will be silent in terms of dialogue so we were to improv everything. He begins yelling at me about not making dinner.... I can't really describe what is going on in my head. It is a mixture of being in the moment and recalling times I felt like I was a failure. The emotions rise up and soon enough I'm sobbing. We continue to improv the scene where he yells at me and I'm basically begging him to stop. 

Filming continues. I improv doing the dishes. In the cloud of emotions and shouting I do not how badly my hands were shaking. I do tend to shake rather violently (hands and body) when upset. As we film we are getting directions from the director from the side "Okay, now do a slap. Do a hair pull. I want you to shove her into the wall" This is where things get a bit surreal and kind of funny.

Not for the first time, I have caught my co actor off guard. He's worried about actually hurting me and concerned with how upset I am. Through my tears I assure him that I'm fine. He is unsure about how to go about shoving me particularly about the neck. At this point I am coaching him and keep sobbing so I don't lose emotional momentum. "Just grab and pull pressure at my collarbone, it will look like you're choking but I won't get hurt" 

We continue to improv for about 3-5 minutes and then the directer cuts. It was all done in one take. There will be extensive editing of course; we paused for direction every now and then, but then that was that.

For my part, I get out of it really quickly. Once they yell "cut" I'm very quickly myself (one time I wasn't, but that's a different story I'll tell on a different thread). I've worked with actors who need a lot of time to recover. They'll go off and be alone for a while or something. I think I usually just feel really good about doing a really good performance in one take so I just feel good and stop right away. 

Fun acting fact: how actors handle emotional scenes largely depends on how they've been trained. I'm more of a Meisner student. It's all about the moment and being in it and responding to your environment. I've noticed Method actors tend to be more intense when the cameras are not rolling. (Method actors are like Shia LaBoeuf, Heath Ledger, Christian Bale). I dabble only a tiny bit with Method. I personally don't think it's good for mental health to live too long in a dark character.

Anyway that's my first obs


September 29, 2017 6:52 am  #2

Re: On the film set (self obs)

I love how you kept sobbing between takes, I kind of want to hear that from actresses. Have you ever had to rely on eye drops or non emotional tricks to bring out tears, or have you always been able to become emotional?

I'd probably enjoy watching that scene. Have you seen the film yourself? Can you describe your expressions and tears?

Women crying is super hot  ~TorNorth

September 29, 2017 8:04 pm  #3

Re: On the film set (self obs)

Thanks for your first acting observation, ShyActress!  I really appreciate how you explained everything and I could picture the scene in my head. 

I am interested in hearing your male crying observations!!!  Have you ever gotten to hug an actor while he was crying?  Probably warrants a whole new thread.


September 30, 2017 5:34 am  #4

Re: On the film set (self obs)

I'll include some male obs too Admittedly they are fewer and far between because it's just not as common. 

I've never had to rely on eye drops for myself. We did use them for the child actor though. I haven't seen the final cut of the film yet, but hopefully I will soon so I can add it to my demo reel. In terms of my expressions? Hmm I mean it was full on sobbing, scrunched face with tears rolling down my cheeks.  

     Thread Starter

September 30, 2017 5:53 am  #5

Re: On the film set (self obs)

Do you curl your bottom lip when you cry on set? Are your crying expressions the same or similar when you cry in real life. I’m always curious to know how “real” an actors crying expressions are.

Women crying is super hot  ~TorNorth

September 30, 2017 7:22 am  #6

Re: On the film set (self obs)

I would say so yes. In terms of it being "real" I'm always really crying and really there emotionally, so my crying is the same in real life as it is on stage

     Thread Starter

September 30, 2017 9:32 am  #7

Re: On the film set (self obs)

I’m going to burden you with some more storytelling too - female focused this time.Have you worked actresses where they are the ones crying? Some details about what methods they used, if they were able turn off immediately after the cut and they’re facial expressions.

Women crying is super hot  ~TorNorth

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