It worked out perfectly. Monique not only had the perfect look for the character but she has improv experience and therefore was able to work without a proper script and think on her feet. And she was more than willing to follow me all around the city, ducking rain drops, jumping on and off subway trains and dealing with overly self important transit officials "You do have a permit to shoot here don't you?" Yes sir, I do, it's right here beside my platinum card
It has been a long time since I've worked with actors and I have never before worked with an actor who wasn't a friend or relative doing me a favour. I've worked with "talent" doing on screen presentations for instance but that is a different matter. In that case, you are working with a salesperson more than an actor
As a director, when working with talent, you better have your ducks in a row. You need to be organized, you better know your shots (the shot list again) and you better know what you want out of the scene. The actor needs direction; everything from the emotional tone of the scene to "hands in pockets or out of them"
Monique was experienced enough to ask these questions and I was enough in control to give her answers. I also had a good enough vision of my shots to be able to describe to her what I wanted, where to position her etc. An actor needs that. They need to know that the director has a clear vision, it gives them confidence and establishes trust.
Although a director needs a vision and needs to demonstrate that he has a firm grip on the situation, I feel that this kind of production is a cooperative arrangement. I want the actor to be fully involved and to participate. Monique was wonderful. She was thinking about her part, asked me pertinent questions about her character but also knew enough to suggest certain shots such as "If I look that way will that affect the previous shot?"
She was thinking about more than her role, she was thinking about the shoot in general. That was wonderful. It gave me energy and kept me on toes which is a good thing
I've reviewed the footage and I'm very happy with it. I got the shots I needed, Monique looks exactly right for what I want and having this character footage is helping the whole video gell in my mind.
Next up, editing begins