Noureen Lakhani: Is a typical film set all that typical?

Illustration by Noureen Lakhani

Ever had the dream to be a film star, walk the red carpet and sign autographs? Well, that package comes with the other side that isn’t seen to the public; the side full of learning lines, hard work and commitment, which I experienced recently.

Through an audition, I became part of a family drama series, based within my community, which has filmed two episodes in the last year. The initial stages we went through were not simply us receiving a script, then action. I was lucky to be mentored by a professional actor who taught us all the skills of acting and script.

We did simple exercises, such as vowel pronunciation, mime movement, and thoughts aloud, my favourite part. Before every line we recited, I had to say my emotion. For example, as a daughter, my line would be “I don’t want to go to my room”, and before that I could say ‘stubbornly’ or ‘sadly’. I learnt that one phrase can have different meanings, depending on interpretation.

The best part of the process was film day. The room we were based in was full of lights, and people talking over each other in deep thought. Hair and make-up took up 45 minutes, because precision was vital. I had to make sure that the clothing I wore didn’t blend in with the colour of the room, or even make the room look dull. These kinds of things I had never thought about in my life until this day.

Illustration by Noureen Lakhani

When the director cried ‘Action’, I felt all eyes on me. Every move I made had to be planned and for a purpose. Having the advantage of being on a film set, anything that went wrong, I could redo, as long as I started off in the same position. But if I changed position, I could potentially ruin the shot. Through 8 hours of repeating lines and messing up lines due to the repetition, the camera men had produced 9 hours of film, which they had to cut down to 10 minutes. Thank god I wasn’t in their position! I would hate to watch myself over and over again for 18 hours. All in all, the day was full of fun, and I can’t wait till the next episode is filmed.

    Noureen Lakhani , 15

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