Hi. Well, I just wanted everyone to know that the film is going really well. It's called Drift and it's made by Grammar School Pictures. I play a character called Aaron Rilke, the best friend of the main character Colin Miles (played by Joe Ballman). Aaron is really just a cardboard cut-out of myself: he cracks jokes, he fronts a band, he's shit at basketball, and he leaves funny voice mail messages on his phone. The key differences between myself and Aaron are that he's a ladies' man, he's a bit of a hipster, he wears tighter fitting clothing, he's in a successful band, and he's much more laid back than I am. Also his move to Sweden to be with his long distance love ends in blissful happiness, while my move to New York to be with my long distance love ended in heartache. Yes, Aaron exists in a movie, you see, and I exist in real life. But that's not for the blog.

Acting in movies is much different than acting in theater. I like it a bit better, actually. On film, if the scene is in a bar, you're in a bar. So you just sort of show up in the surroundings and play the character. As long as you have your character down, that is. I got that from an interview with Ben Kingsley, who had a similar thing to say about playing in Iranian man in House of Sand and Fog. He said when he shows up on set and is surrounded by sights and smells, and by the character's things, the character comes out of him. Now, I'm no Ben Kingsley, but I've been using that as a kind of guide for my portrayal of Aaron. You see, if Joe and I are sitting having a conversation in a bar (which seems to be all we do in this film) it's easy to just let things happen. I have a beer. The bar is dark. We're surrounded by people talking. Joe is close, across from me in the booth. It's easy to just sit back and listen to him. Plus, on film a lot of a character's feelings can be shown by the way the director stages and dresses the shot. In one scene when Joe leaves my character on the dark suburban street, all I have to do is watch him go up to the house, stand for a moment, put my bike helmet on, and walk away. The dark house behind me, the quiet lawn, the dim streetlamps are enough to show the audience how I feel. I don't need to mug, or shake my head, or show them anything.

One challenge is that there are only a few scenes in which Aaron is doing anything more than nodding, smirking, pointing, (per the stage directions) or asking Joe questions about things he just said, like "She said that?!", or "Are you really going to ___". So I have to give the part a little bit of depth that the script doesn't necessarily give him. Buy that's what it's all about isn't it? A good script is just material to work from isn't it? I look for little ways to do that in each scene. On the whole, in movies
the audience picks up on what your character is doing, not what he's saying. So I try to show a lot with my body and with gestures, being careful, of course, not to be too broad. A little gesture is all it takes. I let the written words come out of my mouth, while showing the subtext in my body. In many cases this gives the words meaning that they don't have literally. But sometimes it can serve to emphasize what the words are saying. Most importantly, it means that I can put various shades of meaning into the countless "Yeahs" and "Reallys" that appear in my portion of the dialog. This morning, we were doing a scene in a bar in which Joe says, "I'm really glad you're here for this part." and Aaron says, "Yeah, me too." There isn't much subtext to a line where the character is outright stating his feelings, at least not in this particular case. So I tried to show with my body the essence of what Aaron was saying. During what I felt was the best take, I was sitting back in my chair, slouched, avoiding Joe's eyes, instead of going for a Lifetime Network half-smile, cock-of-the-head kind of thing. I looked into my beer as I said it. On another good take I looked out at the street and the trees past Joe as I said it. I didn't aim the line at at Joe, but I aimed it at the afternoon, enjoying being there on the porch at the bar with him, having a beer, friends again. I let the line fall out, and tried to show happiness with my body. On the whole I enjoy the challenge. I love acting.

At some point I will to do a full post dedicated to my thoughts about the project, but for now the curious can find the director's blog at http://www.grammarschoolpictures.blogspot.com.

More later!