MONOLOGUE is a collaboration between actor and camera.
Location: Washington Square Park, NYC
Weather: 50 degrees °F with 20 MPH winds
Lighting: Daylight - Cloudy - 1 PM - March
Take Selected: Three of Three
Equipment: Sony FS700 using Face Detection, SmallHD AC7, RedRock Micro Wireless Follow Focus with Manual Control Servo Attached to the gimbal of my rig for ZOOM control, Glidecam X-22, Sennheiser Lav, Rodes Shotgun.
Biggest Challenge: The tourists, crazies, and students that make Washington Square Park so unique also make it an incredibly difficult place to capture a complete take without interruption, fear of someone running off with your gear, or noise issues without a proper crew.
Today I also used my RedRock Micro Wireless Follow Focus system as a zoom control on the lens for the final close-up on Kia's face. Getting it mounted to the rig was difficult because it is milled for RedRock equipment. I zip tied it to the gimbal.
One man banding this shoot today was really tough. A couple of PA's or an AC would make life much easier.
Key Takeaway: Keeping the location simple will be key to getting the shot especially once the summer arrives and the streets are busier. If a busier location is needed having several volunteer PA's will be necessary. Making sure the actor is well rehearsed and comfortable (physically because of the cold and mentally with the piece) was really helpful.
A big thank you to the NYC Mayor's Office of Film and Broadcast for getting my optional permits turned around so quickly. The steadicam is considered an "handheld" device, but it's nice to have the permit to show the police officers when they stop me looking like Robo Cop.
Kia REALLY knew her monologue and that made the day far less complicated despite the very busy and unpredictable location.
Edgar Lee Masters (1868-1950). Spoon River Anthology. 1916
ALMOST the shell of a woman after the surgeon’s knife!
And almost a year to creep back into strength,
Till the dawn of our wedding decennial
Found me my seeming self again.
We walked the forest together, 5
By a path of soundless moss and turf.
But I could not look in your eyes,
And you could not look in my eyes,
For such sorrow was ours—the beginning of gray in your hair,
And I but a shell of myself. 10
And what did we talk of?—sky and water,
Anything, ’most, to hide our thoughts.
And then your gift of wild roses,
Set on the table to grace our dinner.
Poor heart, how bravely you struggled 15
To imagine and live a remembered rapture!
Then my spirit drooped as the night came on,
And you left me alone in my room for a while,
As you did when I was a bride, poor heart.
And I looked in the mirror and something said: 20
“One should be all dead when one is half-dead—”
Nor ever mock life, nor ever cheat love.”
And I did it looking there in the mirror—
Dear, have you ever understood?
About the Project:
MONOLOGUE showcases the skill of a single actor performing one continuous steadicam shot on location in NYC operated by Richard Patterson. The performance can be the reinvention of a soliloquy from a play or film, or a completely original piece. The length of the performance must be a minimum of one minute. The scene will be blocked out the day of the shoot at the location. The monologue must be executed within three takes.
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