The Animal Project

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And a bit about good acting

I had the good fortune to attend a screening of this film with the Director (and friend), Ingrid Veninger, the cast and much of the crew. The evening kicked off with a presentation about making the film and ended with Q&As

The film was, in part, an experiment in writing a script for the actors. This began by seeking out a set of actors who were diverse and interesting people each providing individual character archetypes to form a set that could be the base of an interesting story.

One result is that every viewer will be able to see some aspects of themselves and their story somewhere in the film. They might laugh, cry or just shake their heads knowingly. Whichever is the case, they will become involved. Brilliant filmmaking.

The film also reflects brilliant acting. During the Q&A one question was: “what did you learn about acting from this work?”. Several of the cast (led by Hannah Cheesman, if I recall correctly) Immediately exclaimed: “Don’t act”. The implication is that acting is not a pretense of a something, it is being that thing.

Basil Hoffman said: ““Acting is many things, but for one concise description of good acting, this is my definition: Acting is disciplined truthful behavior in contrived situations.” (Hoffman, 2009)

Aaron Poole plays Leo. In one scene he reflects on  the challenges of being a single dad, reflects on his lost wife and sinks to his knees by his couch saying “I need help”. This is disciplined, truthful behaviour. Anyone who has gone to this place in their lives will feel this moment to their core.

So, what does Leo do? He wraps himself in his courage (literally, see the picture to the right with Aaron in his lion costume) and goes out to find and hug his son.

The cast provide many other moments of truth. Your special moment might be eating poutine,  kiss you right now!, or watching the bunnie project. One thing is sure, you will be gifted with such moments. Every member of this cast fully embodies Hoffman’s definition.

DO be sure to see this film.

By the way, the picture of Leo is a production still by John Gundy and makes quite an addition and conversation piece on our cabin wall. So also be sure to wrap yourself in your bravery and face life.

For an extra treat, watch the bunny project: