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w/e 8 July 2018

I started off the year going out to see things — movies, plays, exhibitions — pretty often, helped by the awards-season glut of good new movies, but, looking at my list for 2018, this has almost come to a halt.

But! This week, I did go to see Shape of Light: 100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art at Tate Modern which I liked more than I expected although, given I’m not big on abstraction, that might be faint praise. My favourite photos were those by Ellsworth Kelly, best known as a painter, to the extent that Wikipedia page doesn’t even mention his photographs.

I often find myself trying to take fairly minimal photos — this seems like a common route for people who don’t want the difficulties of taking photos of people — and Kelly’s photos showed how far you could take this and still produce something interesting. You can see them on the Matthew Marks Gallery website:

Ellsworth Kelly photographs
Photographs by Ellsworth Kelly on the Matthew Marks Gallery website

The more bare they are the better, I think. Something to aim for.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been doing a short course with the Salon Collective, one class a week, focused on producing a short scene to use as part of an acting showreel. The structure was more-or-less:

  • Decide on the kind of roles you’re likely to get cast as.
  • Work out which pairs of people (and their likely characters) go well together.
  • Do a bit of improvisation together.
  • Create a more specific background and event for a scene, then do a longer improvisation using that.
  • Using video of that scene for reference, write a condensed version of the best bits.
  • Learn the lines and rehearse that, probably tweaking and cutting some of it.
  • Perform it on set (an apartment in Greenwich) for the camera.

All of which we’ve done, and we await the edited, graded, etc. finished footage. The final three points all happened within a week, and everyone got some good, interesting scenes from it (judging from the rehearsals I saw).

Photo of hands by Dominic Kelly
dominickelly A beautiful still from a scene I coached last week. Great experience working with @yannickhausler as DOP and @richardjpow as director. Hands provided by @geraldine.brennan and @philgyford

I’m uncertain about my performance, but we’ll see how it looks. I felt pretty lost and useless, unable to conjure up the required emotions. Maybe my preparation hadn’t been right or enough but, ugh, I felt so dry. Nothing there. An emotionless husk.

I often have trouble reaching depths of emotion towards the sad/upset/etc. end of the scale. It’s not that I’m hung up on “I can’t cry!” particularly (quite a common acting hang-up I think) but that would also be a good symptom of the problem. I know one shouldn’t, for one’s own mental health, compare oneself too closely to others, but at these moments I feel dead inside, while I see others go from zero to a teary, screaming mess within seconds.

Here are the Ask MeFi questions that grabbed me most this past week:

Finally also via Ask MeFi this video which I think saw way back when, and which is lovely so worth seeing again:

I can cry! Wipe your happy tears, and I hope you have a good week.

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