Working With Actors: The Inside Look

ariele-and-rutherford-special

You may know by now that one of my primary activities involves working with actors to do photo shoots. Actors, like other types of humans, have very specific personalities. Some are amazing and maintain a positive attitude while being willing to do just about anything; some are genial and team players most of the time; some are too cheerful and always causing a ruckus; and some are demanding and arrogant and think they're the only person on the planet. I have worked with all four types this week, and even had one of them quit after only a few photos, due to a lack of willingness to work with the photographer (me).

Let's start with the project: The Rutherford the Unicorn Sheep Holiday Special! In case you haven't seen my (two) announcements, I am putting together a Rutherford Thanksgiving special and a Christmas special, to be released simultaneous early in November. Photography has been a rapid fire process, designed to get the best pictures possible in the shortest time possible. As a result, working with amiable actors is critical, but not always possible.

 It's a cover reveal!

It's a cover reveal!

 It's another cover reveal!

It's another cover reveal!

 He always looks great in a sweater!

He always looks great in a sweater!

After auditions for the role of Rutherford, I was exceptionally pleased with our choice. The unicorn sheep who plays the character is the consummate team player. He always does as asked, never complains, always does his best, and never makes a fuss, even when asked to do something he didn't anticipate. If every actor was like Rutherford, my life would be made ever so much easier. He also brought in a slew of Walnut Skunks to play the roles of the various Walnut Skunk characters in the episode, and just like Rutherford, they have all been a delight to work with.

 Look at those eyes! She looks positively ravishing.

Look at those eyes! She looks positively ravishing.

The next character we held auditions for was for the big grey cat. Rowan is definitely a character, and sometimes takes breaks without permission, but otherwise, she is also an amazing actor. She makes the most engaging facial expressions, and the way she moves is entrancing. I think she is one of our most enigmatic characters, and definitely brings life to the story. She is a bit vain, though, and we have had a few moments during our shoot where she felt the need to touch up her appearance. We have had a few talks about this tendency, but I think it's one of her eccentricities that we are just going to have to work with.

 First the leg...

First the leg...

 Then the feet...

Then the feet...

 Like I said--it's something we are going to have to work with.

Like I said--it's something we are going to have to work with.

 His energy just radiates from that face!

His energy just radiates from that face!

The next critical character was the orange cat, and we hired a charmer for this role. Wilfred is full of energy and verve, and quite frankly, he makes the set a ton of fun to be on. He's always exploring, whether parts of the set he hasn't been in or new concepts for his role. Curious, lively, and fun are probably the three best words to describe him. He can, however, sometimes cause a ruckus if he gets a little too hyper. Hysterically laughing cast members don't make for a good photo shoot, and sometimes, if a fly or stink bug comes into the room, he just can't help but chase it down. He is definitely an asset to the episodes, however.

 Wilfred sniffs around some of the set pieces.

Wilfred sniffs around some of the set pieces.

 He is very, very curious about what we are doing outside.

He is very, very curious about what we are doing outside.

 Here, he peeks out the window to where another shoot was going on.

Here, he peeks out the window to where another shoot was going on.

 Look at that face--gorgeous!

Look at that face--gorgeous!

Now, for the drama. As I mentioned, one of our actors quit part way through photographing. We ended up removing her character from the episode entirely (thank goodness it was that easy--otherwise we would have had to do auditions and the shoot all over again!). Goblin auditioned for the role of the big black and orange cat, and we were incredibly impressed both with her beautiful appearance and the way she could project--quite a pair of lungs, she has!

But somehow, she couldn't seem to get it through her head that this wasn't about her! She wasn't the main character, in fact, as we found out, we didn't need her at all! Yet, she always kept wandering in front of the camera, trying to get in shots where she wasn't supposed to be, and all around making a fuss whenever something didn't go her way. She was as unhappy with us as we were with her, though, so she quit and we thankfully didn't have to deal with her griping any more.

 She thought the shot would be better with her in it.

She thought the shot would be better with her in it.

 We told her it didn't work with the story, but... she didn't listen.

We told her it didn't work with the story, but... she didn't listen.

 Rutherford was very patient, although the photographer (me) was much less so.

Rutherford was very patient, although the photographer (me) was much less so.

Overall, however, the experience has been wonderful. Working with such great people (Goblin excluded), getting to spend time in such gorgeous settings, and having the opportunity to be involved in such a fun and exciting project is well worth the struggles of managing different personalities. 

I can't wait until the final products are done, so stay tuned for new book announcements!

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