Monday, 17 September 2012

Something Changed

Firstly, if you haven’t already done so, read this…

Pretty shocking, huh? The thought of being involved in a project only to find out that not only have they completely changed what you say but that they’ve also turned it into an anti-Islam film is not a good one. And it got me thinking. Of course, it’s pretty rare to find yourself in such a situation but it did make me realise just how much control we give up.

Now, before we start, I’m happy to say that I’ve never been involved in a film that has ended with me having anti-Islam propaganda dubbed over my ramblings. Far from it. In fact, I’ve only been dubbed once and that was because I’d wildly exaggerated my music playing abilities and the director wasn’t impressed with my quivering version of Three Blind Mice. However, once you’ve finished prancing around in front of the camera, you hand over control to the powers that be and your screen fate is in their twitchy hands. During filming you’ve had wonderful ideas in your head of how the final product will look. In your rose-tinted brain, you’re wonderfully lit and every shot is beautifully framed and captures your every thought and word perfectly. 

But we know that this isn’t the case. What usually happens is that during your main scene, the light was just a bit off or someone failed to spot that the Red Arrows were performing 12 flypasts and your moment to shine instead turns into showcasing you as a disembodied voice. What was once gorgeous showreel material is now far better suited to going on your voicereel . You should be on screen in full cinematic glory but instead you’re reduced to embarrassingly pointing out your arm coming into shot  and trying to work out whether that’s your ear on screen. 

However, what’s even worse is when the damn thing doesn’t see the light of day ever again. The first two commercials I was involved disappeared off the face of the earth, both clearly too awful to even be shown at 1am on Food Network. While neither advert demanded a great deal of my acting talents, I was still excited about being involved in something that might actually make it on to TV. Everyone I’d ever met was on high-alert looking out for it but, after a few months, it’s safe to say that their interest waned. Then, one evening, I saw an advert for one of the products. I shifted to the edge of my sofa and scrutinised the screen hoping to catch a glimpse of myself. Nothing. My mum rang. I just saw the advert on TV. You weren’t in it. I explained that it wasn’t the advert I’d shot and that none of the other people I was filming with were in it either. I convinced myself that it was still to come and held a vigil by my TV for months waiting for it. Finally, after a year, I had to face up to the realisation that it just wasn’t going to be seen by anyone.

But to see it and find that it’s been changed to something entirely different?  I count myself very lucky indeed.

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