The Called Part 3

March 4th, 2011 by Wordsman

The lead actor turned away from the director, got into his poorly defined character, and turned his gaze toward the camera.  In physical terms, this change of eye angle was very slight, but the psychological ramifications were huge.  Before, he was merely standing in the vicinity of filming.  Now he was on film.

People have many difference reactions to being on camera.  Some love it.  They live for it.  They feed off the energy of an imagined audience and become incandescent, transforming into someone they’d never before dreamed.  A recording device grants quickness to their words, grace to their feet, and a variety of mystical qualities to their hair.  They say the camera adds ten pounds—and for the true actor, it’s ten pounds of confidence.

Of course, there are others who do their best impression of Flick, the kid in A Christmas Story who got his tongue stuck to a light pole.

The camera is fickle.  It chooses the targets of its awful awkwardness-inducing powers at random.  The semi-willing lead in this production, for example, seemed competent enough.  He wore a suit, which—though slightly too broad at the shoulders and much too broad around the waist—had recently been ironed to within a thread of its existence.  His tie was done up in the rare Atlantic knot, which looks so silly that people only tie it to show off that they can.  Before he opened his mouth, at least, he appeared perfectly comfortable with a script in his hand.

There were other factors that didn’t show up on camera as well.  As captain of his high school debate team, he had gotten first place in both the Policy and Lincoln-Douglas Debate categories at the NFL (National Forensics League) National Tournament.  As valedictorian, he had given a graduation speech that a number of adults called the best they’d ever heard—to be fair, most of them saw his mother on a regular basis, and may not have been able to afford to say otherwise.  In college, he had stood up to present issues before the student congress so many times that he had been unofficially banned from their meetings.

In short, this kid was no stranger to the spoken word.  But in front of the camera, he delivered his lines with all the elegance of a man with a mouthful of ice cubes who was getting over a hangover while trying to impress a woman and learning to ride a unicycle.

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