Ok now that I’ve made you chuckle a bit, let me explain why I decided to be overly dramatic ….
I am not a “big-time/small time” actor in the least and whatever acting/singing jobs I get are so “few and far between” that even my grandmother’s teeth (minus the dentures) were closer together. So it was a shock to discover that not only am I in a movie that premiered at the 2009 T&T Film Festival over this weekend, but that I am in two of them.
The first one, The Ghost of Hing King Estate, I filmed that in late 2007 and just didn’t know what became of it. The other, Minutes to Midnite, a short film (20 minutes) I filmed earlier this year and well I knew when that one would premiere. I have only “bit” parts in both of them (less than 5 minutes of screen time in both but hey at least I’m on the screen.
What I didn’t anticipate is my reaction to seeing myself on the big screen. I still haven’t seen “The Ghost” movie yet but my friend Clint saw it on Saturday night and told me that he liked my accent in the scene. “Uhh what accent”, I replied. I just didn’t recall having any kind of accent in the movie. At that point in time I decided that I obviously sucked in that movie since I remember filming it but I don’t recall having an accent of any kind. For me having an accent in a movie would’ve required intense concentration and I don’t recall concentrating much in filming those scenes. Sigh….
On Sunday afternoon around 3pm, I saw Minutes to Midnite. This is a 20 minute short filmfilmed, directed and written by a guy named Ryan Khan. It is “gangster-type” short film using folk tale characters in the lead roles.
I liked the script. My character, though a very minor role, was interesting. His name was ShakesBear and even though he hardly spoke whenever he did, he usually quoted lines from Shakespeare. Uhh Interesting Concept (I thought to myself). Then I saw the film and realized that most of the lines and sceness I had in the film ended up on the cutting room floor (just like Michelle Monaghan who had all her scenes cut from Constantine and Syriana so that it was if she was never in the movie) and those that I did deliver sounded wooden and plain just awful. I couldn’t bear looking at myself far less hearing my own voice.
I must say that the short was interesting and his editing and cinematography was really good, but for the life of me, I just could understand why someone didn’t pull me aside and say: “Hey, Yuh stinking up de short boy!!!” Now I know for sure that I don’t have the stomach to look at The Ghost of Hing King Estate.
This is the firs time I’ve have seen myself on the big screen. My previous outings have been on the small screen (TV) and even with those I have rarely seen the episodes that I filmed.. I have been on two local soap operas, Westwood Park and The Reef both by the same director (guess she liked my work). I however, have only seen three scenes from “The Reef” while I have never glanced at an episode with me in it from ‘Westwood Park”. The Reason? After I shot Westwood Park I moved to Germany for the Lion King and therefore never saw myself on screen. My mother video taped the performances but it got lost making it way around family members and so I have no idea of my performances. Is that a good thing? I am beginning to think it is not otherwise I would’ve realised how bad I look on screen and halted this movement.
On the other hand, I have been complemented by some of the directors I have worked with when a scene I shot has been really good. So I guess I am not all bad. I just can’t get over how bad I was in Minutes to Midnite. While I want Ryan’s work to be seen by as many people as possible, I just wish there was a way to edit my character out of the movie. I was literally an extra with a few lines that got edited to three and even with that, I found no reason for my character to even be in the movie. I feel traumatized. I didn’t even stay around for Ryan to ask me what I thought about the movie. It must’ve pained him to have to work around the scenes.
I know I am probably going a bit overboard with my “pity party” right now but I am not kidding when I say that “I stunk to high heaven” in that movie.
Oh well we all have done things we are not proud of, isn’t that so –
Halle Berry – Catwoman
Eddie Murphy – Norbert, Pluto Nash, Harlem Nights
Kyle Mac Lachlan– Showgirls, Touch of Pink
Julia Roberts, Catherine Zeta Jones – American Sweethearts
Shaq – Kazam, Steel
Jennifer Lopez, Ben Affleck – Gigli
The Cast of Batman & Robin
LOL boy am I full of myself or what!!!! Here am I comparing myself to people who have made millions of dollars for bad roles, while I barely crossed TT$400 for the short film. Then again, were their performances bad or was it the entire movie? Sigh….alone again., naturally.
I also did a stage reading of a local play called Playing Hamlet by Ronald John this weekend that was so poorly attended that the cast was ecstatic on Sunday when the audience had 12 people in it. It was a small venue that seated about 40 persons so you know how bad things were when we were excited for 12? I think one night we had 4 people. It wasn’t a bad play and I enjoyed working with the group of actors that came together for it.
For me, I just wished I had a bigger role in it. Out of an 83-page script, my character came in on Page 67 (Second Act only) and lasted for about 12 pages and 30 lines of dialogue. I had to keep reminding myself that “there are no small parts, only small actors”. Steups….Whoever came up with that obviously was in therapy.
A shining moment for me came on Friday night (play opened on Thursday) when the lead actor could not make it and I filled in for him. I think I hammed it up a wee bit too much though. I was so happy to have so many lines that think I tried to “Meryl Streep out” every line I had. No. I didn’t cry (not for lack of trying) but I did give a lot of lip quivering ever so often. I am so sad when I think about it sometimes. Yes some scenes I just sounded like Halle Berry in Xmen 2 after she won the Oscar…a wee bit overdone. Others were really good. There was a scene in which I cowered after killing someone and I was proud of myself how I did it. Even the actress I had the scene with said she “felt” a connection to me during it. I grinned internally.
Anyway, that is also over and now it is back to work and my normal life. As if much ever changed…..