Holding rehearsals is one of my favorite aspects of filmmaking. I often can't contain my glee at playing pretend with my colleagues. This isn't usually a problem but as I will be playing one the of leads in Delta Phi, I'm starting to wonder what I can do about it. It doesn't help that the script is funny by my standards (because I wrote it).
I sort of hit the ground running after Real Boy since I knew I'd have more time and resources for my next project, so I started writing for Delta Phi sometime back in May of this year. Since I'm deeply connected to the subejct matter (it's about people who know they're not real and the woman who writes about them), the concept kept getting really heavy really quick, and humor was my best way to mitigate that. The script even has a sock puppet.
We're shooting in two weeks and I have to solve this laughter problem, so I do a little research.
Laughter is a release in somatic tension. Our threshold for holding in laughter lowers based on the amount of tension we carry. Writers use this a lot in thrillers and action movies. Pretty much anything that breaks the pace will likely com across as hilarious.
So I tried yoga. I'm practicing balance. Fixing my gaze on a single point. Breathing into my stomach. All the things that I tell my actors to do anytime we're on set, only now I finally get to hold myself to the same standard. I can manage not to laugh while I'm directing, but being engaged with the action, knowing that you're being observed, it's a different game.
This past week we just practiced lines and a little blocking. I have yet to annotate the script so we haven't really dug in yet, although I do have concept maps and character sheets done. I'm hoping next week we can do some color coding and notate the tonal shifts with stickers. Time to go back to Office Max.
It's fun though, I love it. Everytime we're acting it's like something invisible and special fills up the room, something so different from the seeming irrelevance of daily ilfe that it makes me wonder how anyone could want to do anything else besides make stories.