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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Auditions + HD Tests

When you're an actor or model, there comes a day when you're gonna have to kiss a stranger on camera. For me, yesterday was it.

The day started off with a photo shoot audition for the portuguese post office company. I hate having to dress up in classic clothes, I always end up looking like a nerd...
But anyway, there I was standing in front of an Hasselblad with a digital back of 23 Mpixels and smiling as if I was relaxed. I do get relaxed nowadays, I think I'm pretty comfortable on camera. But somehow I just can't stop thinking of things like "is this the right expression?" or "are my teeth showing a little too much?" At least the good thing about photo auditions is that they're really short.

Afterwards I went to a set where my brother was directing a commercial. He wanted me to test his new HD camera, the Canon XL-H1 with a lens adapter for professional film lenses. Luckily, I had Javier Aguirresarobe to light the set - he was responsible for the amazing photography of Alejandro Almenabar's "The Others". He wasn't lighting it for me, but still it was something great to take advantage of.

Javier peeking through the Arri LT's viewfinder


I felt embarassed when Javier apolodgized every time he would cross in front of my humble little camera; it's amazing how the bigger people are, the more humble they seem to be. I guess it has to do with confidence; someone who isn't sure of himself usually isn't nice to other people because he or she believes that being nice and humble is a sign of weakness. But not this guy and not the other big DP I met the other day, Jose Luis Alcaine, a guy that works with Almodovar all the time ("Mala Educacion" and "Volver"). They were both amazing guys, not stars at all.


Me testing the Canon XL-H1

The tests worked out great, the little HD Canon looked like film, thanks to Javier's lighting and to the film lens. And thanks to the beautiful ladies we had on set, too. I noticed that because these were prime lenses, you kinda have to think in a whole different way; especially me, that I'm used to shooting on video with zoom lens, where I just zoom in for the framing instead of moving the camera forward. And that's something that my teachers all told me - to move your camera instead of zooming in or out when setting up the frame. Now I know why you HAVE to do that in film. I also learned how to set up the lens, the camera assistants helped me out with that. It's really an unbelievable privilidge to have all these people around, who've been in the field for years, willing to teach me all the stuff they love to do.

Later in the day, with my fashionable clothes on, it was time for me to get in front of the camera - I went to the kissing audition. There was this girl who didn't know she was supposed to kiss someone else and she was totally surprised when the casting director said she would kiss me. First he had asked her in front of all the models in the waiting room if she'd be OK with kissing; she finally answered yes after a nervous pause. The audition was terrible; she kinda ruined it because she was really nervous about it. It's just a kiss, not a marriage proposal! And a technical kiss, no tongue involved! Even so, she was completely stiff and didn't seem like she was in love with me at all...

Oh well, I guess she just didn't deal well with that. To me it was also new, but I really saw it as work and nothing else. I know the audition didn't go well, but the good thing about having a lot of auditions is that you get to forget about it and not stress if you're gonna get the job or not. So for all you actors who are in crummy agencies and want to get more camera-comfortable, try and get yourselves into a modelling agency because they get you a lot of auditions for commercials. And that's a good practice.

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