The Actor And The Rushes

Viewing rushes for an actor is an acquired taste, and many actors do not want to see the rushes at all. They feel it makes their performance too self-conscious. Many, however, especially stars, demand it and have the right to be present written into their contracts. They want to maintain quality control over their work and voice their opinions about the direction the film is taking. Only stars of great popular value can place themselves in such a ¡2 position.

oi Besides, a lot of directors feel that an actor has no place at dailies. They ™ feel that seeing the daily footage only bruises the actor's ego and takes < away from the power of the director to control or manipulate the perform-„ ance. Depending on the actor, this can turn out to be true, and if it is true, and the actor sees the rushes anyway, it can cause problems on the set in the subsequent days of shooting. The general rule on most movies is, no actors at the rushes. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and every actor/director relationship is different. The director might ask you to attend the dailies or you could ask permission on your own. You just might be granted the privilege.

So, why would you want to go to the rushes, if you have no decision-making power in the progress of the movie? There are several reasons. First of all, you can benefit a great deal from watching multiple takes of your work and becoming accustomed to what you look like on the screen. If you don't have a highly developed relationship with the image of yourself on the screen, it can eventually become detrimental, even crippling to your future in film acting. Sometimes you envision yourself as being completely different than what your image turns out to be. I am not talking about your technique now; I'm simply talking about your film presence and what it conveys.

The first time I saw myself acting on the screen, I had a strange feeling that is difficult to describe. It was like suddenly seeing someone up close that I had only previously observed from afar—like meeting a familiar stranger. It was like falling in love with someone with whom loving is forbidden, and yet knowing in that same moment that I would allow myself to fall. It's hard to admit it so blatantly, but I fell in love with myself, or rather the self that I could see moving within the image on the screen, a self that I had only had a glimpse of before, never knowing for sure if it was really there. And now seeing it, before me on the screen, was like opening up a door that would change my life forever. It was the beginning of a fleeting love affair that I was about to pursue, and just like any other relationship of such an intense nature, it would be beset with care, nurturing, and land mines. g

This relationship with the self comes with the territory of acting. Like any lasting relationship, it requires attention and skill to keep alive and healthy. Viewing the rushes of your work in a film can be (if you choose to see them in the first place) an excellent tool to bettering your work, as long as you can see yourself in the right frame of mind. The same technique of assessing your work that should follow any exercise work should now be ^ employed to assess what you see in your work in the rushes. It's a wonder- § ful opportunity, because you see yourself repeating the same actions and S scenes over and over again, but with the added advantage that you can learn § to be an observer of your work, detached from yourself. You can learn to be objective, at least to some degree. g

To develop the skill of objective, constructive observation of your screen image, you must first accept what it is and hopefully, as occurred with me, love—in the most positive sense of the word—this image. This doesn't mean that you egotistically become involved with your looks or that you become enraptured and enthralled. It means that through an acceptance of what you are projecting, you can clear the slate. This enables you to constructively criticize you own work. Without this loving acceptance, it is very difficult to be a film actor at all and nearly impossible to assess your acting work.

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Responses

  • Leanna
    What are rushes in acting?
    7 years ago

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