Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Typical Scene for Alex on the Hawaii Five 0 Set?

By Pam

Al is standing next to a cookie on the set.

 "Okay Al," says the director. "Time to get out of the woodshed." 

"Okay, okay," Al says, obligingly. "I'm off-book now. Anybody got any gum? You know me and my mouth noise."

Al goes to his mark. He fidgets a bit and takes a deep breath. The director yells action. Al begins speaking and has a false start. "Fuck," he says under his breath. "Sorry guys, not much turnaround. I'm a bit tired."

The director repositions his cans. "SPEED,” he yells. “Rolling.....aaand.......ACTION." 

Al begins delivering his lines without a hitch this time. After 4 takes and a few minutes, the director orders a pick-up shot. He needs Al to be smaller, and asks for a larger apple box for Scott. 

The assistant director orders Al back-to-one. Heand positions his gum between his cheek and teeth. 

"Okay,” says the director, “let's do this. I need circle takes. And give me more balls, Al." 

Alright, what the heck just went on here? You kind of get the gist, but here are the meanings of the terms of the trade.

Cookie. A flat board, like a flag, but full of irregular holes used for creating a pattern of shadows when put in front of a light.
Woodshed. To rehearse or practice reading copy out loud. This term is said to come from old theater days when actors would have to rehearse out in the woodshed before going into the theater to perform.
Off-book. When an actor knows his or her lines and no longer needs to carry the script.
Mouth Noise. Also known as "clicks and pops." A dry mouth produces much more mouth noise than a damp one. Cigarette smoking also contributes to a dry mouth. The less mouth noise you have, the less editing has to be done later.
Actor's Mark
 Hitting Your Mark. The ability to physically stop on a preset mark or put down the product in an exact spot.
False Start. Term used to describe a take in which the talent makes an error within the first couple of lines. The take is usually stopped, and a new take is slated.
Turnaround. Cast and crew rest time, from wrap until next day’s call time.
Cans. Slang term meaning headphones.
Speed. Exclamation that indicates the film and the audiotape are running simultaneously at the correct speed.
Pick-up Shot. Small parts of a scene that are re-shot, usually because all angles were not captured satisfactorily during the first shooting.
Small. A very subtle performance by an actor.
Apple Box
Apple Boxes. Wooden crates that elevate an actor, a cameo or furniture on a set.
Back-to-One. Direction given by the Assistant Director after a take. It means to go back to the position which you were in at the beginning of the scene.
Circle Takes. A director’s favorite or most usable filming of a particular scene. Used to expedite the editing process.
Balls. A deep and resonant vocal tone.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Alex has Found a Happy Medium

By Pam

 Is Alex a great actor? Well, let’s see. According to Rae Lewis (Yahoo! Contributor Network, May 24, 2007), The Top Eight Qualities of a Great Actor are (Of course, these are givens. There are other individual factors that come into play):

Number Eight: An actor must be flexible.
Particularly difficult (at NIDA) was the constant feeling of being under a microscope and judged as a performer, and he, like every actor, was frequently rejected for roles. 
"You're told, 'You shouldn't take it personally' but what you're being told as an actor when you audition and you don't get the role is specifically: 'not you, this role'."
 Number Seven: An actor must be dedicated.
"I certainly aspire to art. That is why I am involved in this craft." "I love doing what I'm doing and I'm so grateful to be working."
 Number Six: An actor must be passionate.
“I was taught by very passionate people and I am a passionate person. I was taught that passion is either constructive or deconstructive. I keep trying to build on that and be constructive. If you don’t approach a character passionately, if you’re not trying to elevate the material then you’re probably in the wrong job. I want to be better each day. “
 Number Five: An actor must be confident.
“There’s a saying: ‘Hollywood eats the weak.’  And I’m still here, baby.”
 Number Four: An actor must be talented.
ALEX O'Lachlan is touted as one of Australia's most talented up-and-coming actors…
(June 16, 2005, Role a Real Pearler, By Jonathon Moran; Source:

Number Three: An actor must be loud.
At NIDA’s Parade Theatre, Alex was expected to perform Shakespeare in an auditorium which held 707 and included 2 galleries.

Number Two: An actor must be enthusiastic.
“I'm very tenacious, and I'm a go-getter. When I believe in something, I go after it."
 Number One: An actor must be personable.
“My mom, my dad and my grandparents have always taught me the importance of giving. It’s a real principle in our family.”
From Alex’s own quotes and factual information, he has the qualifications to become a great actor. So, why doesn't he think so?  Could it be he is so fearful of fame that he holds himself back?
Dec. 2007 - "I do not think I'm a great talent. I think I'm a medium talent, but I think I understand the business and enjoy the business.”

Sept. 2009 - “I’m not a great talent. I’m a medium talent, but I have a good work ethic. I’ll work because of that. But I knew I had to chase it.”

Nov. 2011 - “Look, I don’t think I’m massively talented but I have a clear understanding of how it all works. And I work really hard. I work my arse off.”

Well, if that’s the way he feels about himself, that’s fine with me. Alex may never want to be a great actor. What he seems to consider himself is a Journeyman.  A Journeyman, by definition, is any experienced, competent but routine worker or performer. A worker who is reliable but not outstanding.  He shows up for work, plays Steve McGarrett for several hours a day, and goes home. It’s routine and he’s competent at it.

Some people are just happier being average. In Alex’s case, he is successful and happy in this moment. It’s this journey he’s taking that will eventually get him to his desired destination.
 “Hopefully I’ve got the chops once this [Hawaii Five 0] finishes to do something that’s good enough to make people see me in a different light again.”
 Wherever Alex wants to go, he’ll get there. Even if he prefers staying in the shadows, he’ll shine through.