The film I later discovered went by several names, which made actually finding it again pretty tough. I eventually found it under the title Intruder (although it did go by Night Crew : The Final Checkout in the US for a while) and was always confused about why Raimi had turned up, outside of that his actors profile was pretty sparse (mainly reduced to cameos) and it just always stood out to me as odd. Years later the Evil Dead Trilogy finally came to DVD and on it was a very entertaining tit bit of information about 'The Intruder' via its special features. Raimi talked about how he wanted to get more experience as a Director by being on the other side of the camera to put himself in his actors shoes.
It was something that, to me at least, made perfect sense. What better way to understand what it was like to be an actor than to be an actor? I had done some acting for other peoples projects when I was young, simply because I was there and available and, most importantly... Free! Because of this, I knew that it would fairly easy for me to gain some more experience as an actor simply due to the fact that I work around other filmmakers all the time and as a result I ended up with, what I call, an 'Accidental Actors Resume' in order to gain more of an insight into what actors go through on set.
Here are the 3 things that I learned whilst acting in other peoples movies and how they helped me grow as a Director.
1. ACTING IS THE MOST FUN YOU CAN HAVE ON A FILM SET
On Legacy of Thorn, we had to grab some reshoots and inserts, our stunt performer wasn't available and I got to spend the evening running around as Thorn, due mainly to me being the only crew member there that was over 6ft. It was the most fun I had over the entire shoot, which was a fairly good experience to begin with, but it really was so good and cathartic just to run around dressed as a masked maniac for the afternoon. This really led to me not worrying about my actors when we were on set so much. Every so often I would get people who would complain, but for the most part actors are having a great time and so I learned just to let them get on with that. If people are happy and having a great time they'll give you a much better performance and create a much better atmosphere on set.
2. HOW MUCH INFORMATION YOU GET INFLUENCES YOUR PERFORMANCE
A few years ago I worked on a short film called 'Liam Is...' as an actor, the director gave me a huge insight into my character, his life, his backstory his relationship to the other characters and we worked on how he would be portrayed. Up until this point, I had mostly walked onto a set, said lines and been killed or chased or attacked or whatever and then gone home, hoping I'd done a good job. With Liam Is... however all that information was amazing to have and for the 3 or 4 days I was on set, I found it amazingly easy to slip into that character whenever the cameras started rolling because I had a sense of his past as well as his presence and for the first time I really understood the discipline of being an actor.
Now I make the effort to talk about our characters in as much depth as possible, even the small ones in order to try and make them more rounded. Of course, I still often get the glazed over look from some performers, but for the ones who listen it makes all the difference.
3. YOU SHOULD BE AS LITTLE OF A PROBLEM AS POSSIBLE
When someone asks me to play a role, I take this on board, fully aware of the stress that it causes myself and my producer Anna, and I work on making myself as flexible as possible. I read the script, learn my lines, check if I need to bring anything (Costume, food for specific dietary requirements), find out what time I need to be there and then apart from that, I simply make contact the day before to confirm the time. That's it. To my shock and amazement, I've found that filmmakers actually like it when people don't cause them extra problems.
I recently work on a short film called 'Night-Man 3' and the director Kieron Johnston contacted me about a week before shooting to ask if I would take a role in it, he'd had an actor drop out and I was fairly local. He was having problems getting in touch with his actors and I could sense that it was a little stressful for him. Of course, the last thing I wanted to do was add more stress to his plate. So I asked him when we were shooting, what I needed to bring and left it at that until the following week, when I checked in to make sure the times were still correct (things like that shift fairly often) and up until I arrived I got the feeling that no one was sure if I'd actually turn up as I had been so relaxed about the whole thing. If you knew me, you'd know I'm on the least relaxed people on earth, so if I didn't make it an issue its not that tough, trust me.
Once there, I also tried to make myself as useful as possible on set in between takes and that went a long way to making the day, way more fun and helped us get done quicker. Going that extra mile aways helps.
IF YOU FIND THIS BLOG USEFUL. PLEASE SHARE. You can keep up to date with our filming goings on at our FACEBOOK PAGE :)