Now we're on to the final project, which is to interpret a dream in film -- and I have found a helper this time, because I asked the teacher if he knew anyone who wanted help, and in class he asked for any raised hands for people looking for help, and I connected with one person I'd worked with before. I'm a little worried they may not actually show up, because, well, they are young and that's how young people can be, but I hope it works out, they should be able to add to the project in ways I hadn't thought of, which is the goal of having help.
Helping aside, I am discovering something in myself: when we received the final project assignment, it was disappointingly vague, which was similar to the first English class paper -- and I had very much the same visceral reaction -- anger, frustration, confusion, over being told to do something with no instruction on how to get there.
I think the reaction is actually to being assigned creativity. You, go do something creative, have it done in three weeks. What should you do? I already told you, go be creative, I don't want to hear from you until you've creatived all over the place.
I am not sure why this is the reaction, but it feels like something I've experienced in the past, so I don't think this is something new, but because I'm pretty much self-driven the rest of the time I haven't had the occasion of induced creative output in quite a while.
In this case, after a couple days (and after asking the professor about helpers), I came to a relatively acceptable plan for meeting the final project objectives, and have moved into nervousness over how I'm going to get that done.
Of my rules for returning to college, the inverse of "Ask for Help" is "Participate". When I was a theater student back in the 1990s, I didn't go to the mainstage shows, I didn't even go to my friend's projects, I was so wrapped up in my own stuff that I didn't think beyond arm's reach, and that not only wasn't supporting the theater program, but also wasn't helpful to me either.
So, in order to participate with the MSUM School of Media Arts, Design, and Entertainment, last spring I went to the Capstone premiere, which is the graduating senior projects, and the Juried Show, which was a selection of the best from all Film/Animation projects from the year; I joined the film appreciation club (which I haven't been super good at attending due to scheduling), and I am super open to helping if someone asked me for help (but that hasn't happened yet).
A few weeks ago, I saw a post on Facebook for an audition -- the guy who posted it I knew is also a student in the MSUM film production department, and the cast was one young man, and three men, any age.
My first reaction was, wow, that sounds like a cool project, I hope he finds some men, any age, actors.
It took two days to sink in that I am a man, any age, I can act, and I want to support the film production department any way I can.
Now, "Is Derek An Actor?" is a complicated question. Once upon a time I thought being an actor would be fun, but eventually decided, no, it wasn't my thing. In the meantime I took a bunch of acting classes, acted in a number of plays, and the complicated answer is yes, I have skills as an actor, no, I'm not a really good actor but I'm OK, and no, I don't generally want to be an actor.
However, if I'm going to "Participate", them's the rules, so I signed up for an audition slot, went, and got cast as the character with the second-most lines.
Now, my reaction was: oh no, now I have to actually go and act.
However, this production went really, really well, I thought it was an excellent experience. A lot of it was the actor I had to interact with the most had a lot of good ideas and made it easy to perform against him. The climactic scene of the short film is an argument between him and me; my character messed up badly, and his character reacts with anger.
The way the script is written, and the way our first rehearsals went, ended up with a sort of fist-shaking, "why I aughta..." level of anger.
One later run-through, he grabbed me by the shirt; afterwards he asked if it was OK, and I said yes.
He seemed to be realizing that the way for this to work is to really, really, make that climax...climactic -- he has to look unhinged, I need to look scared, and as he increased his anger I reacted appropriately and it went from "that guy has an anger problem" to "OH FUCK HE IS GONNA STAB THAT GUY IN THE FACE".
I think there's still a 10% chance it is going to look goofy, but the way that scene felt, it's going to look good, I'm so excited to watch.
But, it'll be a good month or two before they're done developing and editing -- it was shot on really-real actual movie film! -- so I will have to be patient.
In the meantime...another audition has been posted, the main character is a young man moving out of the house for the first time, and another character is his absent father. Guess which one I'm auditioning for? They sent me the script to read the scene for when I audition and I'm not sure how well I'll do, but I'll still go to the audition, that's Participating.