For the past few weeks I've been filming a short, student film for a graduate student at Boston University. I don't have that much experience in the film department so when I was offered the part, I accepted without hesitation - I enjoyed working on my last film and was anxious to gain more experience. The script was cute - I was playing half of a brother-sister duo on a mission to bury their childhood pet. It did not occur to me until I showed up on set on day one that we were shooting the entire thing outside. In New England. In March.
The first day wasn't so bad - I was cold but I got to sit in the car while the director didn't need me. It was an incredibly long, exhausting day but I got through it. Last Saturday, however, we filmed on a beach in the early morning. I have never been so cold in my entire life. And I grew up on a ski team! The wind was incredible, and the spray off the ocean made it absolutely colder. I had on several layers but my hands were in physical pain after about 30 seconds of exposure to the elements. This is about the point in time that I learned a valuable lesson - CONSIDER ALL ELEMENTS OF THE SCRIPT BEFORE YOU ACCEPT A ROLE! ESPECIALLY THE LOCATION!
I learned a second valuable lesson as well through this film. The lesson I learned was about being on stage. Part of what I love about the stage is the dangerousness of "being in the moment." If something out of the ordinary happens, there is no one to call cut. I had to complete a scene while shaking and thinking about the stinging cold wind hitting my hands. I basically had to ignore the elements and trudge through the scene. I was more focused on the cold than the words. I didn't like feeling that way. We took breaks to warm up and it took about an hour to film maybe ten lines of dialogue. I would much rather pretend to be cold and put myself into what I'm saying instead of trying to stop my teeth from chattering. I was reminded of the play Stage Door and this quote hit me:
"But in the theatre, when you hear that lovely sound out there, then you know you're right. It's as though they'd turned on an electric current that hit you here. And that's how you learn to act."
And I realized that while I enjoy film, I LOVE the theatre. This film will be edited to make me seem warm and no one (well, except you, lovely followers) will no how cold I was. And maybe you'll be moved but I won't know your reaction. Part of me can't stand that. This was fun but I don't think I'll be crossing over any time soon. Being cold was pretty worth it to remember why I'm in love with this little thing called the theatre.