But recently, I've had the urge to be on the other side, and this is a report on what that's like. I didn't do it to find out which is my “best side,” the angle that actors believe shows their facial features off to the best advantage. But I did discover which side that is.
My recent on-camera experiences began just a little over a year ago, when The Albany Times Union Advocate videotaped me recounting my beef with the New York State Canal Corporation. You can see that here.
Naturally, I wondered what it would be like to actually be part of a real video project, so I auditioned for a part in a short film by a student of a cinematographer I've worked with.
It's based on a short story by Isaac Asimov, and my one scene was shot yesterday.
The student told me that my character, a politically-savvy curmudgeon, was based on his grandfather, and in fact, the location shoot took place in his grandfather's kitchen. So I met the man, Lee Distin,
and used his recently published book, “Corporatocracy, A Revolution In Progress,” as my main prop.
I hope you'll read the book, and when the video is finished, that you'll be able to see that, too.
Let me state clearly that after the experience, I have even more respect for people who put up with the demands of the task. Lighting, sound, continuity, position in the frame – all are extremely important. And while you're dealing with all of those tasks simultaneously, you have to act – not as you would on a stage, but for the camera, which is a much different skill-set.
The expression and delivery are critical, and have to be the same in every angle that's shot. I only had a handful of lines, and yet when the young and accomplished director commanded “Action,” I hardly ever delivered everything as written, or even as directed.
Turns out, if he does a blooper reel, I'll be the star of that, because I gave him more screw-ups than good takes.
So, the answer to which is my best side? The one where I'm most comfortable, I'm afraid – behind the camera.