Shooting "Witness"

On my way...
I left early yesterday to go to a shoot in Hamilton for a short film called "Witness."  The film is about a man who will murder a woman unless an innocent bystander intervenes.  Of course, it's about more than that but I can't give away the plot ot ending...that would be unfair. 

Sitting on the GO train.

Guess who I play?  That's right....I'm the poor woman who is going to be murdered.  Fun. *sarcasm fully intended* 

Jordan, who plays "Zachariah" the man who has to save me, getting some effects make-up.

Me with my "pretty" make-up done for my one scene where I am clean and not screaming. 

Here's the set up : I'm on a wooden table tied up with leather fasteners and gagged.  I spend the film struggling and crying and pleading.  So you can imagine what a wonderful head space that is to be in.

Now I have to say the crew and director were amazing.  They did everything they could to ensure that I was as comfortable as I could be considering, and that the shoot moved along as fast as possible. 

Now I don't know how others like to work but here's how I do:

I get into a this case it's a really dark place filled with despair, fear, panic, and desperation.  In order to make sure that my performance is as authentic as can be I have to stay there.  It's not a switch I am able to turn off and on at will, so in between shots I relax and stay quiet, releasing my grip of that place a little, but holding on to it enough that I can go back easily when "action" is called.  What it looks like is me immobile, quiet, and making as little eye contact as possible.  It's not a fun place to be in.  I spent a lot of my day crying, and panting, gasping, and struggling, and screaming. 

And believe me it was real. 

In the moment, I stop thinking and let my body take over.  And the pent up energy of those thoughts just flows through me.  I don't mean to get pretentious, or metaphysical, I'm just trying to explain how it feels on the inside.  What my 'process,' for lack of a better term, is like. I just really feel the bonds, and the gag, and the darkness, and the smells, and the sounds, and when I focus on my discomfort, and all those tactile sensations it creates a panicked feeling in me, then I just let the scenario shape that panic.  The result is, hopefully, a believable performance.   

That's how I work.  It may not be a technique, but it works for me.  I focus on physical tactile sensations that relate to the situation, and I think of how the character would breathe and begin to breathe that way.  Then my body takes over, creates an energy, and I use my imagination to channel that energy towards the desired performance.  I'm a very physical and visual person, so tactile sensations really work for me, as does clearly and vividly imagining the scenario I'm in.  I convince myself that I'm there, and then I'm not acting, I'm just reacting.

Another result was that I freaked out the entire cast and crew.  They were all uncomfortable once we started shooting those intense scenes.

At one point, the AD came up and told me the Director wasn't quite sure what to do since he was freaked out that I was crying and stuff.  But I said that we should just plow through it as much as possible.  Any breaks would just prolong the dark place that I was in, so the faster and more efficiently we could work, the better.

Overall, the shoot went well.  We even finished on time.  And that never happens!

The crew was amazing! I'd love to work with these people again...just don't strap me down again guys, okay?

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