Time for Some Comic Relief
Writing a film journal makes you retrospective. As we’re edging towards the end of rehearsals for The Indestructibles, my low-budget epic SF film, I think it’s time for some comic relief.
Here are the three most ridiculous moments had over the years, rehearsing for theater and film.
Ridiculous Moment #3: Getting Out of the Cage
At third place, we’ve got a moment most of us have experienced, though perhaps not in such an extreme way.
You know how sometimes, when you get very nervous, your brain seems to leave your body completely and things you knew very well for all your adult life are suddenly beyond your ability to grasp? This was the case for the actress we’ll call H.
H was playing a lead role in a comedy I wrote for the theater, The Kid Who Turned into an Egg, playing the little kid. In this scene, she was put in a small cage. Halfway through the scene, she would slip through the cage’s bars and get out. This was never a problem. The distance between the bars was great and she was so small she could fit in her own purse.
One rehearsal, she was sitting inside the cage, when suddenly the show’s producer came in. The producer was kind of a bigwig, which already made H nervous, and, in addition, H wanted the producer to hire her for other shows as well. The second H spotted the producer, her brain left the building.
The director called H to come out of the cage. Now, slipping through a set of bars seems trivial to normal, non-nervous people such as yourselves. The task, however, is not trivial, to anyone whose brain has left the building.
Wanting to follow the director’s direction, H put one leg between one set of bars and another leg between another set of bars, then tried to pull herself out of the cage. She tried this again and again, not understanding why she wasn’t out of the cage yet.
Once I literally picked myself up from the floor, where I had dropped from laughter, I explained to her that both legs had to go out of the same two bars. She then got out safely.
As a small side note, I’ll just add that H indeed became one of the producer’s favorite actresses, and she worked for her many times in future shows.
Ridiculous Moment #2: Turning Around Is Hard
At second place, we’ve got a ridiculous moment, which proves that direction, when given, should be precise, or bad things could happen.
This time, two men were carrying a woman on their shoulders. The woman had one leg on one man’s shoulder and another leg on the other man’s shoulder. They were carrying her like a queen from place to place.
As they were carrying her, the director yelled: “Now, turn around!”
I’ll let you guess what happened next. Go ahead. Take a moment.
That’s right: The man on the right (his right) turned right, and the guy on the left (his left) turned left, immediately threatening to snap the woman’s legs like a wishbone. She screamed, they stopped, and no one was hurt.
Now you see why it’s important to be clear when talking to actors.
Ridiculous Moment #1: Concocktion
This one is my fault. Actually, it’s no one’s fault.
Sometimes things look one way when they aren’t, and sometimes things sound one way even though the speakers’ intentions are completely different. This is one of those cases.
As happens once in a while, since I am a writer of science fiction, I happen to use the word ‘concoction’. It happens. There’s nothing wrong with it.
As also happens once in a while, when using an actress whose original language is not English, even though her English is perfect, a word here or a word there may get the stress on the wrong syllable.
Case in point: When the actress read the word ‘concoction’, she stressed the first syllable (CONcoction) rather than the second (conCOCtion). She was reading the line, I immediately corrected her, and the following dialogue ensued. Neither of us (I hope) was aware of what the dialogue sounded like until after the fact:
She: Line line line CONcoction—
She: Line line line CONcoction.
Me: Coc. Coc.
Me: Coc. ConCOCtion.
She: Ah, coc. ConCOCtion.
And then, as she read the next line, I thought, “Good thing this wasn’t recorded. I could have been sued.”
I hope you enjoyed this comedy relief moment in the film journal.
Next time, we’re going to go back to talking about what happens when superheroes go bad, how Earth can be saved, and how to film it all with no budget.