Holy cats, I have been on a huge wild learning curve this summer with several different film projects. With so many different hats I wore both in front of the camera and behind it, figuring out what and how the heck to say things is really hard sometimes, especially if you want to guide, direct, present an opinion, teach, share your feelings, or allow for discovery… and saying it in such a way that feels authentic, heartfelt and assertive is a whole other level to consider.
I arrived on set a few weeks ago of The Big Muddy Web Series to meet new and returning cast & crew. I always have stomach butterflies from excitement and anxiety before every artistic endeavor. It matters to me to bring my A-game each and every time in art…and in life!
As we rolled into the first scene location, the director instructed me to rehearse actors and set up some basic blocking and threw me the reins. Even though I worked with the director and crew last year, I still feel it’s new every time. I felt my throat lump up, so I took a huge gulp and called the actors needed for the first scene.
After having them read through the lines a few times, I staged them approximately where they might start at the beginning of the scene. We discussed where the set exits and entrances were. We talked about the actions each one might be doing.
I noticed slight blank and puzzled looks at times so I kept re-phrasing my words again and again to see which line of communication I put down would be picked up. My head was swimming. I had two lines of talking going on, the one inside my head connecting me to my soul and the other line directing my outside communication to the actors.
I observed differences in acting experience and body awareness. I kept thinking and honestly sort of panicking, how am I going to get these guys to link elbows and express their character when the camera rolls? All them had focus and determination, which gave me a starting thread to weave them together.
I kept thinking, you can do this, you can DO this! Playing with creative muses is great fun and they seem to have their own timing when it comes to expression. Then the light bulb went on…be fiercely encouraging, both in my head and in my rehearsing game (fiercely...meaning hang onto that inner hellion in you that wants to win and share that win with others).
Being fiercely encouraging means communicating in a respectful, truthful, uplifting, sometimes funny way to allow for growth, discovery, and expression so we can create some pretty badass things in art and life. When I choose to communicate this way, I also heal myself and it can lift us all back up into a place of openness, trust and sharing.
As I kept running the scene rehearsal (and every scene rehearsal after that) I focused my energy best I could to encourage everything that went right and figured a way to carefully phrase how an actor might consider another choice when things felt stuck or needed more development. As we gained momentum rehearsing, I was tickled to hear about character discoveries actors made to apply in their scene. I appreciated and listened to their ideas and concerns making them a priority in rehearsing scene movement and action.
As sappy as it may sound, I was honored by each person who shared their trust and allowed me to rehearse and co-create. Every actor brought their life experience and willingness to learn. I couldn’t have been more proud to work with this bunch (and you can see that by the smile on my face, thanks Clayton for snapping the picture!)
My faith in sharing and making some things transparent about my thoughts and creative processes is that it will resonate with you solidly and empower you to get your buns moving on a project or goal that has been calling your name. Be fiercely encouraging talking to yourself and kick it up a notch, two or three. Get after it, live out loud in life and art with love.
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Blog by Mary Riitano...
I'm a Montana actress on a journey sharing my heart and growth through blogging, stories, and poetry, I have faith you'll find empowerment and inspiration to create like a champion in your own life!
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