I’m helping a friend record a corporate video on Zoom. In front of me right now there are two lovely men in their middle age – on a screen. They’re going into business together and they’re making a video about the services they offer, and the overlap between their skillsets. Believe it or not, I’m onboard as a tech consultant and general person with an eye on performative things. It’s fine. They’re doing great – but it helps me see how much those of us who do this kind of thing for a living take for granted. I can think of dozens of people I know under the age of thirty who did really badly at school but who could deliver this content swiftly and engagingly. Drama is useful, kids.
These guys are dropping the vocal energy constantly, and falling into speech patterns, but it’s difficult to help them hear it in themselves. As a result it’s hard to hear their content through their tics.
Right now my friend is getting them to say “Wahoo” before each line just to raise the energy a little bit, and I’m snatching a downtime to write this.
It’s been an interesting process, helping them. They’re both in their own home made greenscreen studio, so there’s been all sorts of hijinks with lighting. It’s moving towards 4pm now so the balance of natural to artificial light is shifting in their homes, which will probably throw up some issues before long. And we aren’t in the same room as each other, so much of the environment tweaks we make are guesswork. We might have just discovered what was reflecting in one of their pairs of glasses… It’s all such a lot of business… I love it but I also love being in the room with people.
Two years ago I hated self-taping auditions with a bitter passion. Now I’ve adapted, and partly because of the learning experience working through Zoom for The Tempest, I’ve come to enjoy the process. I’m not busy working twelve jobs suddenly, which helps as it’s easy to get angry at the fact you know that you’ll be up against some fucker who has all the time in the world and their own studio while you have to throw it together with an iPad gaffered to a picture on a hook in your kitchen at 2am against a recording of yourself before starting work again at 8. Now I’ve accepted self taping is part of my craft I’ve agreed with myself to apply to mastering it even when pushed for time. I tr with all aspects of my craft. And that involves finding it less stressful and more fun when I’m having to improvise a studio in my home.
These guys are thinking of this shoot as a difficult thing, which I think is making it harder for them. Often, the easier you think something is the better you are at it. But often, ease, like inner peace, can be hard to find.
Anyhow. We’re going for another take.
“If you did that on a movie set you’d be fired,” says my friend to one of these lovely men – smiling. He just let out a huge yawn to camera while his scene partner was talking, and binned the take in the process. We are almost at the end of it though. The light is going and soon one of them will start inevitably glitching into the greenscreen. I’m gonna stop snatching moments to write and focus on what they’re doing.
All said it was an interesting day. One of the two guys has had a fascinating history, betrayed in snippets of his life casually stated over the course of the recording. He’s been flying to some of the most dangerous places in the world at short notice to try and stop people dying violently. You wouldn’t know it to look at him, but he’s seen things, certainly by my standards. To most people’s standards. To him his stories are commonplace, so he needed to be reminded occasionally how unusual his truth is for most listeners. We are all like that, to a lesser or greater extent. The things we take for granted are frequently the most unusual for others. Everybody’s story is fascinating if you dig past their reluctance to accept that of themselves.
Apart from mine this evening. Not much I can do to make what I’m doing swashbuckling. I’m once more ensconced in my cosy bed with chamomile tea and a sleepy Lou. Mmmm.
I’m gonna turn in. Nice to be helping out on some sort of filming again. I need to get in front of that camera again. Never felt readier, just as the industry is buried in poo. Roll on the changes…