Natalia Gurkina’s’ “Confessions” illustrates a number of key filmmaking techniques. In just 60-seconds, her film—winner of the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Mobile Motion Film Festival—teaches the value of minimalist dialogue, understated acting, reaction shots, and starting in the middle of a story. Another point—often overlooked in filmmaking discussions—is using background actors (extras) to enrich a scene. You’ll seldom find a better example than the performance of the makeup artist in “Confessions.”
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, best known for his Oscar-winning “The Lives of Others,” valued the contribution of background artists so much that he’d cast famous German actors in nonspeaking roles.
While background actors should not attempt to steal their scenes, they need to be as committed to their roles as the lead actors are. Because they have no lines to deliver, everything comes from facial expressions and gestures.
If the make-up artist’s performance in “Confession” motivates you to look for background acting roles, you’ll find excellent how-to-do-it advice in Joe McGauley’s “11 Simple Secrets to Becoming a Professional Movie Extra.”
To see more of this year’s Mobile Motion prizewinners, visit MoMo’s YouTube channel.
Submissions for MoMo 2018 will be open in October 2017. You’ll find the rules and the link to the FilmFreeway entry form here.
You’ll find tips for finding good actors—whether for the lead or the background—in John Swanbeck’s “10 Casting Tips for the New Director.” Swanbeck is also the author of the modestly titled book John Swanbeck’s How To Steal The Scene & End Up Playing The Lead