Yesterday, I did a bit of acting for a corporate video. And to be honest, it was the easiest day in my life. Compared with directing, acting is a doss. A director has to handle a bunch of people with different and various interests, put up with egos and backchat, has to think about time, lighting, sound, safety, the public as well as what is being said on screen. He/She has to think about people when they are hungry/thirsty or has to feed them up as (most) actors will not eat unless forced to and hence go all sleepy on set (that goes for the bulk of actors/actresses that I have worked with). The director has to put up wth people who have not memorised their lines, people turning up late, incompetence and the sound of barking dogs in the background. At the end of it all, we are not even the ones on the magazine covers!
The actor has to do three things. Turn up on time, learn the lines and obey the director. Simple. Having a brain is an optional extra. Being friendly to the public helps but is not needed. And to be honest, compared to being behind the camera, it is a relaxing gig!
All right, I was not exactly spouting Shakespeare, but it was not too bad. It was so easy to switch off and just obey the director in what he wanted. For once, I did not have to worry about the failing light, people walking in the background or the lack of time. It was not up to me. All I had to do was obey. Plus I just chatted with the curious passers-by when the director was changing angles, what an easy day!
So, the next time an actor/actress tells you about the trials and tribulations of the set, tell them to buzz off! They got nothing on the director…
(The view from the other side of the lens…)