I went to the University of Texas at Austin for two years for film school, and then moved to a tiny town in New England where I discovered film and filmmaking in the most amazing ways. After college I got a job at a small film company, and that got me hooked. My first job was on a TV show, and they told me I had no acting experience, so I had to go to my classes and show them what I could do with acting and voice, which was a little bit intimidating, but I found that I needed these two things that I lacked a lot in my own career. The film I worked on was a really good one for me – a very slow, raw story told from point-of-view; I had to learn to speak the role, but what I needed to do was build up this character and a relationship first and then I could let my instincts do the talking. I worked on it for months and it came to me in a very natural way, though I still had to work on it.
Do you do research before you start shooting? Or is that too much effort?
No, I do research on any work where there’s no script. It can take two months for a film to be in post, so there’s so much information you need to consider that you don’t need to go through the research process. Some people write in an outline, but I prefer to do it in terms of the work. I don’t want to write an outline and then just go shoot it. You spend too much time thinking ‘What does this take and how will it look?’ or ‘How do I make it look cool?’.
The biggest challenge of shooting a film is having no idea what a scene will look like, which means you have to go through the script and figure out what the best way to set it up is. You have to think: This scene has nothing to do with this other moment. What will that scene look like? Because you can’t tell a story if you don’t know what the story takes place in. For me, the process of going through the script is far from a waste, but it’s exhausting. There are certain things you have to do with your head, so you need to be creative in using your hands. Having a script is like having a blueprint, but it’s better to be able to adapt to whatever circumstances the script says.
I also go through things as they come up and add notes. When
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