So after the final casting of all the main characters it was important for me as the director to get the team together and begin rehearsals. So everyone weekend for 5 weeks consecutively we held rehearsals at Barking Library in Essex. I picked this location due to it’s accessibility, the space outside and because I am a member of the library which enabled me to book rooms. We used a library to cut costs on renting a hall space, or a room elsewhere. Below is a short video of a few of the rehearsal days. The footage was recorded on my iPhone.
I placed a huge emphasis on building relationships during rehearsals, between the actors in aim to improve their chemistry on set. This meant getting the actors to talk to each other over the phone before meeting. I spoke to the mothers of Louie and Jack to arrange a play date for the lads before we all met for rehearsals. The boys play young ‘Daniel’ and ‘Billy’ in the film. I did the same with Ruth and Rebecca who play ‘Shanice’ and ‘Taylor’ in ‘A bit about Angie’. This meant that before the rehearsals actually started the actors had already become friends, they knew each other, this made my job so much easier as we didn’t need to waste valuable time on ice breakers. This left me with more time to explain to actors more about the film, the process, what I expect from them and most importantly who they have to become for the next few months. Because ultimately ‘the actors are the words with which you will tell your story. They allow the audience to enter the world of your drama by bringing to life the scripted characters’ (David K Irving 2006: 119). This heightens my responsibility as the director to be challenge the performance of the actors in rehearsals in order to get the best out of them on set. So this is what I did. I worked the actors tremendously hard week in week out before we started shooting.
For the key roles of ‘Frank’, ‘Daniel’ and ‘Billy’ I spent much more time detailing who they are, they’re character journey and what drives them. For this I gave one to one sessions making sure that the actors knew they’re jobs inside out. I also instructed the actors to highlight the key lines for their character to help them focus in on the script, as these are the lines which will ultimately tell us the most about the character and the emotions that they are experiencing at that moment in time. ‘The actor might use highlighters already but why not also use coloured pens to underline and annotate your script’ (‘Top tips’ 2016) this method will also help with learning the lines.
- Who is he? – He is a former West ham hooligan and Billy’s father. He is a mechanic and a typical mans man from East London.
- Character Journey – He has had a very tough life and there seems to be no let up. He has been silently dealing with his Kidney failure making him very depressed, he then learns that his son died during an operation trying to save him. Making him even more upset and depressed. He receives a little bit of joy in getting a new kidney.
- ANGER/ DEPRESSION – SAD/ DISTRAUGHT – GLIMER OF JOY/ REFLECTIVE/ THANKFUL
- Drive – Supporting West ham, being there for Billy, recovering from his illness
- Who is he? – He is a showman, very popular, cool and attractive. He is Frank’s son and best friends with Daniel. He is troublesome with a good heart.
- Character Journey – His mother left him at a very young age, doesn’t really know how to treat women. He starts off pretty content until he finds out his father is dying, then becomes this man on a crazy mission, you then see Billy’s fearful side and then he’s patriotic side before he dies.
- CONTENT – UPSET/DRIVEN – FEARLESS – FEARFUL – PATRIOTIC
- Drive – To save his father
- Who is he? – He is Billy’s best friend, he’s loyal, funny, smart, socially awkward and misunderstood. Always get caught up in something because of Daniel. He is a listener and a good conversationist.
- Character Journey – He comes back to his area excited and full of optimism, before he encounters the girls who embarrass him. He then is taken back by Franks rant in the kitchen making him rather timid. He then becomes fearful when he can’t find Billy. He is distraught along side Frank, then begins to cope after the entire incident blows over.
- EXCITED – EMBARRASSED – TIMID – ANGRY – DISTRAUGHT – COPING
- Drive – To become successful and help is best friend Billy become a better person
Rehearsing with the actors has been great but a long and tedious task. We will now move unto filming various parts of the movie. I am excited to learn more about the actors and the entire production in the coming weeks.
Library, B. (2016) Barking library – barking learning centre – London borough of barking and Dagenham council. Available at: https://www.lbbd.gov.uk/residents/leisure-libraries-and-museums/libraries/find-a-library/barking-library/ (Accessed: 4 March 2016).
Rea, P.W. and Irving, D.K. (2006) Producing and directing the short film and video. 3rd edn. Boston: Focal Press. PG 119.
Grant, R. (2013) Top tips & tricks to learning lines for actors! | act on this – the TV actors’ network. Available at: http://www.actonthis.tv/2013/09/top-tips-tricks-learning-lines-actors/ (Accessed: 4 March 2016).