Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

23 Mar 2003, 22:15 p.m.

In Which I Pretend to Be an Actress

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2003 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Hal, Miguel and I filmed our parts in Hal's film, tentatively titled Don Juan, late Saturday night. Hal (who actually said "Camera rolling...action!" several times) used a digital camera, but only during one extreme close-up did I think I resembled Heather from Blair Witch. And, thanks to technology, we could watch our footage that same night, radically reducing time-to-wince.

I had not anticipated that Hal's behavior would be so easy to understand. He wants to make real his vision of the finished product, and so fusses over details and impersonally uses his tools (the actors). He's like a programmer that way.

We had to try again and again and again to get things right. Another take, because of street noise. Another take; you paused too long. Another take; your voice went too high. Actors really do work hard, running the industry-specific risk of repetitive emotion injury.

At one point, Hal directed Miguel and me to sit very close to each other, with our faces almost touching. Once our noses were less than a foot apart, I started laughing, and it took a minute for me to stop. I wondered why I was laughing. I only realized later that I had laughed to dispel the tension of breaking my intimacy/personal space taboos.

It looks like we'll do some voiceover work in April and perhaps premiere the film in early May. While I'm enjoying the process and learning a lot, last night I dreamt of pursuing a tortured infatuation with Roger Ebert. So maybe the sooner it's over, the better. For us all.