Hit your mark, say your line, quit your whining.

OK, that's just a joke.

What do we need to tell you about acting. You already know how to act. I can tell you that if it's the first day of shooting the director is probably a bit stressed and nervous. He's wondering if the sets are all there. If we have costumes and props for everyone. If the denouement in the 3rd act works. So pet him. Rub his belly. Oh wait, that's the instructions for the cat.

Tom Rowen and David Ian Lee in Clonehunter

If you're working on a Pandora Machine picture you're probably doing it for one or more of three reasons:

  • the IMDB(external link) credit
  • material for your reel
  • to keep me from releasing those pictures of you from your time in Uzbekistan.

We go to a lot of trouble to get the IMDB credit for the movie. Every year it seems they make it harder and harder to get. But it really is a priority for us. If, for whatever reason, your credit doesn't go up on IMDB, please feel free to put it up there yourself. Just note that for the new picture credit to go up at all it takes us having a release date, or something. We don't even know anymore. But the point is that the IMDB is important to everyone, we know this, and we are trying to get it up there just as soon as we can.
Many filmmakers are very difficult as far as giving material to actors for their reels. We will give you your stuff for your reel at any dang time you like. If you want the raw footage (that happens sometimes) we'll roll it right off onto your hard drive. We'll tell you that the picture isn't mixed or color-corrected or whatever, but if you need material for your reel, you need material for your reel. You may need to give us up to a week's notice before we can roll anything off for you because the computer needs to render overnight for you, but other than that we'll give you whatever you want whenever you want it.
If I don't check in with my contact in Tashkent, the photographs will go out immediately to all the major news organizations in the world.

Shooting Android Insurrection. Photograph by Libby Csulik

Here's the thing I think is surprising if you're a lead in a feature (especially one of our features). It's how little attention will be paid to you. Everyone is running around and fussing about every dang thing in the world except for you.

Broadly speaking there are two kinds of movies: ensemble pictures and "Alice in Wonderland" type pictures. With the ensemble movies there's a big gang of characters all running around and arguing. Those are, of course, always fun. With the "Alice in Wonderland" picture the lead goes from place to place running into crazy Red Queens and Cheshire Cats and what-have-you and reacting to whatever the wacky character in the scene is doing.

Alice in Wonderland pictures are hard because frequently it's about standing around relatively stoically while other actors get to have all the fun.

Daryl Boling in Pandora Machine

Now, just as an acting and writing note, the lead of course can't be static. The lead character absolutely must be active.

But relatively speaking, the lead in an Alice in Wonderland has a lot of days on set watching other people having fun.

The other thing about acting is that whatever you do, never ever under any circumstances

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