Every actor has a good side and when you’re shooting, we all have a preferred angle. The one that makes us look nicer. Because we spend time in front of the mirror working on our craft, we know this… *straight face * Some angles work better for the story or the character and we appreciate directors who indulge us in changing angles to find the one that works…
All actors have a stand out feature, unless your face is perfect like Charlize Theron or Thandie Newton and I bet even they have things they’d like to change. I’ll tell you mine- my mouth. I never seem to know what to do with them. The lower lip protrudes (a word I learned as a wee little kid whenever I threw a tantrum. Mother would say, “See your protruding lips!”) and the upper lip has a natural sneering-like quality. I notice it whenever I watch my sad or crying face on screen.
Did I mention that actors scrutinize EVERYTHING?
Then comes a DOP who gets my face and frames me from an angle that makes me look amazing. I think I want to marry a DOP now… lol! It used to be a writer… I love the relationship some writers have with words. I wish one would fall in love with me and write something that captures my uniqueness. Wouldn’t it feel immortal? Yeah, that’s digressing for vanity sake.
Julia Roberts also has a standout mouth. She too wears it well, or have we just gotten used to it? There’s always something; nose, eyes, eyebrows, legs, ears… The trick is to master your standout feature and know how to manipulate it in performance.
Actors also have a good side to their personalities and like a ride or die chic; we will follow the creative process to the ends of the earth – when we trust the visionary – Director or Producer… When you break that trust or look like you don’t know what you’re doing, well… let’s just say we’re not “ready to go into the lion’s den and none of us will die on the line, because we have a black man blood in us (the one that runs in the opposite direction of trouble- in this case, you) and African pipo, we’re born great. I bet you never hesperred it.
In that case, an actor can shut down and become a living doll – doing whatever is required, but unable to connect entirely. Then it is called a “job”, not “work” or “project”.
We love and want to be a part of the process. Filmmaking is a collaborative effort. Theatre! Now when I say actors, I’m not referring to socialites. I mean “practitioners” who consider this- life’s work; who are willing to transform physically, mentally and emotionally for the story or more importantly to some, the message.
Actors are not always temperamental and erratic – you just try acting like a loon for a week and see if it doesn’t rub off on you.
We’re human beings with feelings and a ‘nearly’ normal range of temperaments, just like you. Being constantly photo-ready isn’t always exciting, but it gets done with grace and sometimes, a little more ‘realness’. A little understanding would be great.
I learned the lesson of graciousness early. In 2009 – 2010 I worked with Joke Silva and during that time, she had to leave her home at 4am every day to arrive at the Project Fame studio, which was in Agidingbi at the time. Because of her schedule, she was always sleep deprived; yet she was gracious and patient – always! It was a huge lesson for me, an attitude I decided to emulate. Being courteous doesn’t come naturally to all, but everyone tries. The job demands it.
So anytime you don’t see an actor’s good side, turn to the other side (try a different approach) and you will see differently.
Written by Omoye Uzamere (Performer, Creative Nut, Foodie!)