Moving right along, we had a table read of KAISHAKUNIN. Hearing the dialogue you’ve been staring at for months is always an eye-opening experience. Do the lines sound natural? Does the conversation make sense once it’s in the air and off the page?
Is the intention of the character properly communicated, regardless of the words? Sure, some of this can be shaken out in a read-through between the director, screenwriter and producers, but it’s the acting that will determine how the audience receives the story.
The first time someone other than the production crew reads the dialogue is in audition. I’ve found that to be an emotional roller coaster. It’s at once euphoric and terrifying. The words are out of the inner circle and given life by another person. It’s a chance to see what the actors can bring to the role, but it’s not until the table read that you have a chance to see the actors playing off of each other.
KAISHAKUNIN explores the power of legend and the nature of truth. Sussing out fact from fiction is at the heart of the story and requires a subtlety. Our principal actors, Jeff Swisher (home owner) and Michael D. Bird (traveling samurai), must be able to carry not just the dialogue, but the implication and underpinnings. Dialogue is the tip of the iceberg buoyed by underlying history and the characters’ intentions.
Lucky for us, they were able to carry it off.
We were also able to try out a few costumes on our actors. Since we’re going for a period look, proper costuming gets significant consideration in preproduction. I rather like the look of the last photo in this series.
Next up is a revisit to the primary shooting location at Gessha to get our actors familiar with the spot and see how well our story boards match up with reality.