Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I Played the Game

I'm Ready for My Close-Up, Mr. HuttonSteve Hutton is working on a series called "Playing the Game," and on Sunday I went to Toronto for the filming of an episode called "Peter and the Wolf." I don't think I'm at liberty to say TOO much about the plot, so let's just say I play a drunk, out-of-control drag queen. In a fabulous outfit. And that there are a few pictures up on Flickr.

Pre-filming, I spent a week researching "over the top" eyeliner techniques. I knew they wanted a deliberately draggy look, and that such a look helps sell the outfit they'd chosen (the Delirium Clothing "Freedom Turkey" get up). I went online to find handy "how-to" articles, and style guides, and YouTube videos. Every night I applied, fussed, erased, repeated.

What did I learn? Colour, blending, and carefully-placed white splotches...and even that wasn't enough; their makeup artists suitably exaggerated me (and even touched my secret spot: under my eyes!)

Even though the series is a relatively small, independent production, I still got an eyeful of the Real Movie Experience. Professional actors who really know their stuff. A lighting, set, wardrobe, sound, and camera crew who actually use clappers and measuring tapes and ladders, and say stuff like "sound ready" in the most non-chalant way.

Most striking is the division of labour: everybody has a job, there are implicit lines of communication that should not be messed with, and an actor's job is to be ready, to listen carefully, and to be made comfortable and pretty while waiting for the next take. Oh yeah, and "play to the camera" does not mean to literally LOOK at the camera. I think.

It was tough work and a long, hot, exhausting day. Walking back to the bus station in the driving rain was actually a relief. I enjoyed myself and have a great deal of respect for the people and the process, and I'm eagerly looking forward to seeing how it all turns out!