Sunday, October 19, 2003

The Movie…

Standing in a huge crowd, the world suddenly begins to spin faster and faster. You feel like you´re in a time warp whilst everyone else around you is in fast forward. Their lips move and although the sound comes out, you can´t understand a thing they´re saying! You begin to panic and you realise that you´re the one freeze framed in time whilst rest of the movie is going on without you. Your movements are pre-programmed, your words pre-written and you feel like that cheesy actor in the afternoon´s never-ending soap opera.

These film cuts, though rare, are built into your life when suddenly you forget your lines and you can´t remember what movie you´re in. Somebody shouts “Cut!” and you recognise the voice as your own. However, you´re the only one that stops to take a look around and should there be a mirror near by, you might not recognise your own reflection.

Most people when confronted with these movie breaks, search desperately for their remote control and only breathe a sigh of relief after pressing the play button. They return to the lines that they learnt off my heart and the movie goes back to it´s natural speed. Other´s take the time to reread their script and analise the role they´ve chosen in the great theatre of life.

Running through some old tapes in my memory archive, I found myself doing some Science homework. If you add so many grams of substance x, and you slowly add it to so much of substance y, you get the desired product z. My formulae were always spot on and I loved the fact that I controlled the outcoming product. Even when I experimented with different chemicals, I could still control the measurements and the desired outcome.

Unpredictable, is what every writer, screenplayer and director tries to make their movie, and because of this word, every movie is screened differently. On upcoming auditions, we often turn to our fellow actors for the perfect formulae... depending on how their role went... they will give you the perfect lines and poses, which unfortunately might not work for you on your screenplay. This causes confusion on set and until you find your own script and positions, you end up hiding in the limelight or behind the cameras.

I once sat on a beach, under a full moon with a writer that has big dreams. Somewhere under this sky that we share, he´s making it big in New York and from this distance, his movie seems to be a box office hit in the making whilst mine resembles a small town puppet show. One thing he taught me (other than to make pebbles bounce on the ocean´s surface... which I still haven´t learnt how to do, in case you were wondering!) was that every writer, reaches a block. An empty page with plenty of space to write words that refuse to flow through your dry pen. When that stage comes, you panic and look around desperately for inspiration. Some borrow words from a stale song or even copy the words out of their neihbours book, anything to write the perfect novel!

At the bottom of a Macdonald´s Sundae I reminded myself and my two fellow stars in the making... that you control the role that you´re playing no matter what movie you´re in. Of course, there are those bits in the movie that you can´t avoid (like kissing a prince and him turning into a frog!) but you still get to choose the face that you put on for the camera and the growth your character takes. The quicker you can come out of that coma and start kissing amphibians again, the sooner you come across the toad that turns into a prince!

Being the energetic jelly bean that I am, I was gifted with an unlimitted supply of inspiration and optimism. However, my critical role came on air and I had to scream “Cut!” before I fainted on set! During this break, I stressed about my upcoming role. I came to the part of the movie where I could continue to allow my character to fade into a supporting role or drastically change her screenplay. Not only was my role on the line but whatever changes I made would affect the roles of the actors around me and I knew that I could turn a perfectly good movie into a Hollywood Hit... or Major Flop! Desperation took to isolation where I found myself watching reruns of all my former episodes, looking for a formula that would garantee success in my up and coming attraction.

I´ve got the remote control in my hand and soon i´ll be pressing the play button once more. I didn´t find any formulae and i´m going on set with no notes in my hand. This epiphany came to me whilst writing my comments on a site for reuniting old schoolmates. I wrote “If I´d known then what I knew now, I would´ve laughed more and stressed less”. As I wrote this, I wondered if in the next ten years I would be giving the same comment about present that i´m living. Looking back at the last video in my memory archive, I smiled as I remembered my english teacher so passionately saying “This is no rehearsal people! Don´t save your talents for a future that never comes, smile coz you´re on stage!”. I take one last moment to wonder if she´d be smiling her knowing smile whilst reading this column...

Throw your scripts out the window! And roll camera!

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