Acting in Down On My Luck, a short film by the University of Westminster, was an enjoyable and enriching experience.
I played the role of Marielle, a 35-year-old South American, single mum of 17 year old Isabel. Marielle works as a cleaner and a barmaid. She dreams of running a food mobile business and becomes financially better off to help her daughter. One day, during a cleaning job, she finds £2000 and takes the money, only to find out that the money belongs to the hero of the story, Keith, who falls in love with her after he sees her working in a pub. He had lent the money to his brother and tells Marielle about the stolen money on their first dinner date. The story has other subplots involving the other characters and they are all entwined. I’m pleased to say that there’s a happy ending for everyone.
This short film project is by the first year students of the University of Westminster’s BA in TV Production. It is part of a three episode Television Drama series featuring three very different stories that revolve around one opening serenade scene that tie the series together.
I was immersed in becoming Marielle. She was a great learning curve for me in terms of applying acting theory/technique into practice.
I’m still reflecting on how to close the gap between acting theory and practice. For example, one thing is to prepare for a scene from beginning to end and feel the emotion building as the action/ scene unfolds, another is to arrive on set next day and be told that the scene is going to be shot from the middle to the end. All the physical /psychological/emotional process that would start at the beginning of the scene (walking to the door/opening it, seeing my hero, listening to him) doesn’t happen. The beginning of the scene is only shot afterwards. By starting the shooting from the middle of the scene instead of the beginning of the scene, I missed the build up for my psychological/emotional state (whatever that may be). I know I have to let that beginning go altogether in order to be in the present and play ‘that specific moment in the scene’. It’s easier said than done though. I’m thankful for this shooting as now I’ve realised the director can decide to start the shoot from anywhere in the scene and that my mental/emotional state needs to be independent of the logical sequence of actions/order of the scene (to which I went through from start to end at home and had relied on that ‘logic’ for coming alive in the scene).
I love acting for screen, practising will make it perfect.