Sunday Shorts: The Actor

Written, directed, produced and edited by Narelle Nash
Starring Deborah Jones, Celia Kelly, Nathaniel Scotcher, Kailey Higgins and Mark Grant

Three people. Three stories. One day. A short comedy about the trials and tribulations of being a working actor that lifts the lid on what really goes on behind the scenes in an actor’s world. 

Article by Narelle Nash

I was a frustrated actor tired of waiting for the phone to ring, when one day I was scrolling aimlessly through my Facebook feed and an article caught my attention. It was written by Mark Duplass (who has a number of projects with Netflix) and the headline read ‘There is no excuse not to be making films on the weekend with your friends’. Intrigued, I read further. 

I had never made a film before and had always thought the notion of prohibitively expensive equipment that I had no idea how to operate, meant that it was impossible for me. Until I learnt of a new wave of filmmaking shot exclusively on smartphones, that was not only being recognised by categories in some of the prestigious film festivals, but that some festivals were entirely dedicated to it. But what to make my film about?

I once heard that if you are not used to writing, write what you know. Hence the idea for The Actor was born. I wrote the roles with five of my friends in mind (one of whom had never acted before) and based it on our experiences in the entertainment industry. Turns out there was a lot of comedy gold there.

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We shot it in one day in one location and entirely on an iPhone 7. I bought a plug in mic for sound and we held up lamps covered in baking paper for lighting. I taped the iPhone to a camera tripod. My crew consisted of myself and one of my actor’s friends as my production assistant. I edited it myself, having been previously self-taught so I could cut my own reels (and not have to pay for them).

I submitted it to Sydney’s SmartFone Flick Festival (SF3) and to my delight and surprise, it was selected from over 100 films from across the world and premiered at the Blood Moon Theatre in Potts Point in August last year.

To date we have been recognised by 18 festivals worldwide, where it has competed not only in smartphone categories but up against traditionally shot films. In February this year it screened at the Melbourne Women in Film Festival, the only smartphone film to do so. Our journey peaked when in April, we won third place at the International Mobile Film Festival in San Diego.

I am grateful to be a part of Cinema Australia’s Sunday Shorts program, I hope people enjoy my film, but more than anything I hope The Actor might inspire others to create their own content and tell their own stories. Your camera is in your pocket.

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