26 June 2012

Guys On Film

Photo by Libby Csulik.
Or rather: guy. Or rather: me. Last Sunday I attended, in a little bar in Williamsburg, the screening of Android Insurrection. You may recall my experience filming Android Insurrection a little over a year ago (see 5/11/11). In that time the director has dropped us completed acts here and there through Vimeo, and the whole thing was off to the presses (They use presses still, right?) in the spring, but this was my first time really seeing the fruit of our labors. This was in fact my first time seeing myself die on screen.

Actors often mention in interviews that they are loathe to see their own performances. The reasoning is often offered that all we can see is the mistakes, but I think it goes a layer or two deeper than that. There's a dissonance between what we perceive of ourselves, and what is objectively observable by a camera. It's similar to the response most people have when they hear their recorded voice. The view from the inside is just too subjective to immediately match with what other people perceive.

So there was a lot of that. I did, I have to admit, come out of the screening vowing never, ever to have my mouth open in performance again unless I was speaking. There was also a more positive response, here and there. I may not have a face that sucks one in, but neither is it loathed by the camera (if only I could slice out this weird, Willsian slope to my neck/chin [my nin; my check] area) and once or twice during filming, I fancy I managed to contribute something useful to the storytelling with my eyes.

There was also the more introspective consideration, as I sipped my vodka tonics and laughed at the sheer balls-ery of some of the movie's moments. I was watching myself of a year ago run around a warehouse in new Jersey, before I acted in Sacred Ground, before I had been to Seattle, before I had this new job and a baby girl on the way. The idea that you can never step into the same river twice felt very real indeed during this experience, which proverb stands as a lovely contrast to such lines as, "I only care about you and me making it out of here alive. Me, because I only care about me. And you, because I'm gonna kill you once we get out."

And the movie? Well, there's one word that describes this movie, and that word is: Art. Pure art. Which would of course be two words, so you can choose either - "art," or "pure." One of them is the only one to describe Android Insurrection. Well, also "movie," I suppose. I mean, if you want to be technical about it, there are probably several words that can, together or of a piece, describe my cinematic debut. At some point soon, I may have a private screening for a select few adjective-makers, and leave them to label it.

The thing that's great for me about doing this movie is that it fulfilled something for me, a childhood fantasy, and it not only did so but it did so with a positivity and lightness of which I consider myself very lucky to have been a part. When the screening was over, Friends Nat and Virginia and I, and eventually Joe and Libby, enjoyed one another's company for as far as we could manage on the trips to our respective homes. It was a fitting reward for a job...well: fun.

Sadly, in spite of having acquired an American distributor, Android Insurrection is not yet for sale in these United States, and so I can't link to it for you. If you'd like a copy dubbed into Thai, I understand that may be possible at this time using something called an "Internet." Happily, there is the "party video," edited by the inimitable Maduka Steady. I emphatically encourage you to enjoy:

Android Insurrection Party Video from Andrew Bellware on Vimeo.


Andrew Bellware said...

We don't use presses. We use looms. Children are better because their little hands can reach in-between the wires to get the shuttles. We keep them barefoot because it makes it easier for them to climb up the gears.

Jeff Wills said...

That would explain all the toe-shaped "cigarette burns" on the film. China's got nothing on you, Bellware.

Andrew Bellware said...

"Bellware never was my favorite." -- Foxwell