Acting in a Short Film

Monday's ShootThe entertainment industry is unique in that artists in the field not only use their top craftsmanship to create incredible visual stories that touch the soul, but it also is a playground for artist’s to try new things. My latest cross over experience is acting.

Yes, I’ve acted before, so it doesn’t sound too out of the ordinary, but this time it’s a bit different. My normal and most recent experiences were improvisational to hone my directing skills by engulfing myself into the actor’s world. Every now and again I’d show up as an extra in a feature like The Dark Night, but I had never played a lead character.

Back in my twenties, I hosted a television variety show for the Wisconsin Television Network and I had a short stint as a news anchor at a local television station, but I had trouble keeping a straight face. I cracked up during one newscast so bad that the home audience watched me laugh for almost two minutes before I gained composure. Journalism just wasn’t my thing.

Last Monday night the cast and crew descended on a small grocery store where we shot several scenes of a short film with me playing the lead role. Tonight we’ll shoot the remaining scenes, have a wrap party and then the film will go into post. The cast and crew made the experience a lot of fun and they have all been very encouraging.

The story is tentatively titled, A Christmas Angel, and is about my character wondering if political correctness has taken over Christmas or if the Spirit of Christmas still exists. The theme of the short suggests that the Christmas Spirit will always exist regardless of commercialism or political correctness, as long as we take time to give of ourselves to others.

The story has a hint of It’s A Wonderful Life and a dash of Touched by an Angel in it. The story is designed for the general public and includes a really cute four-year-old girl. This little darling gave a great performance during every shot. Her eyes were alive at just the right times and her precious smile was perfectly timed, but thankfully she didn’t steal the show or overshadow my performance (Actually, I’m okay with cute kids standing out).

Our first night of shooting moved really well and we ended a half hour earlier than scheduled. The outdoor scenes were a little bit tougher, as we were shooting in single digit temperatures – Gotta love Chicago. And yes, the Bears won because the bitter cold is their friend.

The film will premiere in two weeks for a small group of two hundred people. Depending on their response to my performance, I may or may not allow it to be uploaded to YouTube the next day. That’s right, as part of my agreement, I have the right to decide if the story is released on the Internet of not.

To some extent, having that kind of control as an actor can be a good thing, but it also puts a lot of pressure on me to figure out how I can determine the quality of my performance. After all, we tend to see ourselves differently than how others see us. Some times its for the better, which keeps us moving forward in our dreams, and other times we become our worst enemy and hold ourselves back from sharing new discoveries and abilities.

Of course, I could put the short on this blog with password protection so only my readers could see it. Hmm, I’ll have to give that some thought. Leave me a comment below if you would want to see the short or would prefer being spared.

Copyright © 2013 by CJ Powers
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