Post Production: My First Acting Reel

HANA: A few weeks ago I shared my experience of how I prepped for my acting reel. Today I want to talk about the post-production process and how everything turned out! It was quite the experience doing cinematography on my own scenes, but I am more than happy with the results and proud to share some screenshot samples. 

The first scene we filmed was a monologue from Lullaby, a one act play by Jason Milligan, about a woman whose husband just abandoned her and their six-month-old baby and takes refuge at her sister’s house. The monologue explores themes of grief and desperation as my character confesses a sinister thought while trying to cope with her given circumstances. I was so grateful for Amber Glasgow’s delicate direction and notes during this scene. I was surprised to learn that I needed roughly 7-8 takes on some major moments (I was convinced before shooting that I would nail the moments in maybe 3 takes!) Alas, each time I got to try it again, the performance improved. It was incredibly easy to relax on set and fall into the world of the character. My acting partner Margarita was a pleasure to work with and a great active listener to the more nuanced and sensitive moment. By the end of it, we were hugging and eating the left-over french fries from the set. Working with a supportive team of sensitive and mature crew members is what I walked away from this set with, and I’m more than excited to see the final cut. 

AMBER: Being new to directing, I approached Hana’s reel in the same way that I would want a director to work with me. It was important for my actors to find highs and lows of the scenes, instead of telling them where they were or giving them line readings. With the sensitive material we were working with in Lullaby, I had one major rule: You are not allowed to judge your character. Layering in the given circumstances and making strong choices that elevate the text make for a much more compelling scene, rather than playing the character as evil because she says something abhorrent. 

HANA: The second scene I filmed was an original scene entitled Pirouettes, which is about a choreographer in remission from cervical cancer whose colleague just sabotaged her work from being in a large industry showcase. Earlier in the week, I had scouted a location in a riverside industrial area but due to high winds that day we decided to shoot in a central Brooklyn location. The cast and crew were more than flexible with the switch but eager to shoot quickly due to the weather (it was icy!) Thankfully, the wind seemed to match with the spirit of the scene, and I worked with the energy it gave me. Needless to say, I felt ready to GO! We shot the scene line by line, which was an unusual experience for me but really fun. We were able to shoot in less than 30 minutes and received no strange looks from the location’s “extras”. My acting partner Tyler was equally hilarious as he was professional, and the harmony between myself on camera, Amber on sound, and our PA on slate was impeccable. I couldn’t be more happy with it! 

AMBER: When I asked Hana what kind of themes she wanted to play with, one was ‘anger’ and one of the best ways to tap into that is by betrayal. Since we have such a short amount of time in a reel scene, I wanted to make as strong an impact as possible. Not only is her character betrayed by a colleague, but he uses her health as justification (what a slime ball!). Further working on the theme of anger, I didn’t want it to just be a dramatic scene of confrontation. She’s not there to talk things out or get sympathy from him - her objective is to warn him. You better watch your back, motherfucker. 

At the moment of this writing, we are compiling these scenes into a compilation reel of our year’s finished work. Stay tuned to see snippets  in the upcoming weeks! 

- Hana