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-   -   Creating intimacy in short films (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/techniques-independent-production/67785-creating-intimacy-short-films.html)

Emre Safak May 20th, 2006 11:24 AM

Creating intimacy in short films
In feature films, the actors have plenty of time to know each other. Not so in short films, where the actors typically rehearse one or twice before the shoot (if that). It feels awkward and fake asking them to embrace, kiss etc. when an emotional bond has not been developed.

How do you approach intimate situations?

Cole McDonald May 20th, 2006 01:06 PM

Are they experienced actors? Can you take them out to dinner...or arrange for them to go out to dinner. Have them take in a movie...have them go out on a date :). Acting is like real life only better.

Emre Safak May 20th, 2006 01:34 PM

So you encourage them to spend as much time together as possible then? Forgive my ignorance, but if they go out to dinner, should they be in character?

What about rehearsal techniques?

Andrew Todd May 20th, 2006 01:36 PM

write a short with characters that are awkward. if that doesnt work get them hanging out together .. have like a pre shoot BBQ with lots of free food and drinks.. that usually brings people together.

Cole McDonald May 20th, 2006 02:23 PM


Originally Posted by Emre Safak
So you encourage them to spend as much time together as possible then? Forgive my ignorance, but if they go out to dinner, should they be in character?

I don't know about in character, I think that may be adding stress to the situation which is that part you're trying to get them over.

Don Donatello May 20th, 2006 04:18 PM

do not have them date .. they don't have to be a couple ... they are actors - if you cast your project correct they'll pull it off ... do have do 1-2 rehearsals ..if they're not giving you what you want RECAST !!..
remember the camera can hide allot ...one actor/ress maybe much stronger then the other = camera stays on them ...

Michael Wisniewski May 20th, 2006 05:26 PM

There are a lot of great acting/improv exercises that actors can do to quickly warm up and develop a bond with each other. I'd approach a local acting teacher to show you a few. Explaining them in print is very difficult, one of those "you had to be there" things, but I'll try anyway.

The exercises can be as simple as throwing a mime-ball back and forth to each other, or taking turns repeating a single word over and over again while using a different emotion every time the word is said. I like to use mime-objects in the exercises because it forces the actors to engage at a deeper level and get out of their heads. That's the main thing is to get the actors out of their heads and start reacting naturally to the scene.

One of my favorites is having them mime-throw a knife back and forth at each other. Make sure to coach them to make it believable, there should be pin pricks, handles, spinning etc on that blade, it makes the exercise much more powerful. You can also throw around a mime-baby or mime-cat where the actors have to make the sounds themselves.

My other favorite, which is more complicated, is a Beastie Boys exercise where the actors thump/dance along to a repetitive beat and take turns coming up with improvised ryhmes, with of course the trademark super strong syllable on the last rhyming word. This one gets people warmed up fast, very high energy.

And then there's the one where you pass a clap back and forth ... ok anyway.

Emre Safak May 20th, 2006 05:43 PM

I have read about funky rehearsal techniques like that before. I actually wanted to implement them on an earlier film, but the actors were more experienced than me and I reasoned that I would probably do more harm than good.

Do you have the actors do them before the shoot too?

Michael Wisniewski May 20th, 2006 06:41 PM

Yes, I use the exercises as warm ups for rehearsals and shoots. And ask the experienced actors! they are experts at this. Most actors appreciate the warm up. Play the games yourself, with a several people, to get a feel for what it does. Specific games can be used to target problems with the actors.

Scott Tebeau May 20th, 2006 07:44 PM

For projects I have cast in the past I go through a few phases in the audition process. First I select a few people that are most suited for each roll and then I begin mixing and matching different actors to find some kind of chemistry. There have been times when I had to give up on my first choice in an actor because my second choice seemed to fit in the ensemble better.

I find it is like putting a band together, just because you pack a room with brilliant musicians doesn’t mean they will be able to make music.

There in never enough time, try to make the best use of what you have.

Rand Blair May 22nd, 2006 02:45 AM

Lots of closeups, try saying kiss her again several times.

Brian Andrews June 16th, 2006 08:28 AM

I've only done one short film, but I was amazed at how well my actors hit it off. I took a bit of pride in this from the casting perspective--giving myself credit for picking a great group of people.

We had one rehearsal a few weeks before the shoot. We were all together for about 4 hours, had some pizza, talked, laughed.

They all got along so well because most of them were the same age, all were living in NYC or Brooklyn, and all were trying to "make it"...basically they had a lot in common. My co-leads were even in a class together in the past but they didn't really meet or interact, they just recognized each other.

If they are real actors they should have no trouble creating intimacy. It may require a few takes but they should be able to get it right. Don't forget to direct them--tell them what you are looking for, help them get to the right place for the scene.

Good luck.

Emre Safak June 16th, 2006 09:11 AM

I remember with some embarrassment a little exercise I did in an audition. There was a scene between a couple, so I asked the auditioning actress to place her hand on her mate (the person she was reading against). I thought touching would help them form an emotional bond, but he was emotionally restrained by nature and she froze up, so I sank into my seat as I watched her deliver her lines with her hand feebly on his leg.

The moral is you have to adapt to the situation.

Bob Safay June 16th, 2006 03:40 PM

Emre, interesting last name. Bob SAFAY

Matt Champagne June 24th, 2006 11:16 PM

All I can say is don't worry so much. I just finished working on a short where the shoot is in Louisiana, and the cast and crew are primarily from here...but the lead flew in from Canada the day before the shoot. Absolutely no rehersal time except before takes, and the two leads had very intimate scenes...far more than just kissing.

If you get professional people you can usually expect professional results.

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