How To Get Actors To Succeed In Virtual Production
Episode 6 of The Making of Resignation: Performance Anxiety
A common question from observers of the fast-rising virtual production trend in filmmaking is this:
“What do actors think of it?”
It makes sense that this is top of mind for producers considering whether the learning curve is worth it.
Even if costs can go down and creativity can go up (which if you’ve been watching this Making of Resignation series, you know we’re convinced are both the case), you can’t fault a producer for saying:
“Yeah, but what if Tom Cruise doesn’t want to act in front of an LED wall?”
When we shot the pilot for Resignation, we sought out actors who would be willing to be experimental with us. Not just from a technology and workflow standpoint, but also in doing an indie TV show. That’s not your usual gig. We briefed them endlessly (it probably felt like to them) about what they were walking into.
And then when they walked in and saw the LED volumes for the first time, they were awestruck. As performers, every single one of them saw the creative possibilities. Every single one realized they were about to get the chance to try more takes, do more pages, and wait around less each day.
And whereas every one of them is a pro, we’re glad we gave them the heads up on virtual production before they walked in the door.
Our rule: Give your actors the virtual production tour ahead of time.
(The reason is not about persuasion…)
We haven’t found an actor who isn’t willing to perform in front of a virtual background. Turns out, actors don’t need to be convinced to do virtual production. After all, Tom Cruise has been acting in front of virtual backgrounds since at least the ‘90s.
However, actors want to be mentally prepared for the environment they’re going to perform in. We recommend giving your cast a tour of your LED studio before their first shoot day. (And if they can’t swing that, schedule-wise, at least show them that famous Youtube video on the making of the Mandalorian).
Most actors are curious about the way it all works, so give them the inside look before they walk in. The ulterior motive is to help them accurately visualize their performance in the space they’ll be in, so they can focus on acting on the day.
Sure, a pro can walk onto any set and knock it out of the park (and one of our players did just that). But the magic of virtual production is so in-your-face that letting your cast process the crazy environment before the day they have to show up to work their magic is a pro move on the filmmaker’s end.
With that preamble, we’re excited to share Episode 6 with you, and introduce you to the soon-to-be-award-winning cast of Resignation!
Stay tuned for Episode 7 tomorrow! It’s the doozy where we shot 8 locations in a single day.
— Team SHOWRUNNER