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Free Me – a short film by Dakota Miller

Dakota Miller is a talented director / producer here in Wichita, Kansas – or at least, I think he’s talented based on the one thing I’ve seen so far (Thinking back, actually, I might have seen something else he’s done – I know I’ve seen the demo reel for Thespis Productions before.)  Honestly, I probably would have never seen Free Me if it wasn’t for the fact I’ve got a small role in it, but after seeing it, I really do think he’s pretty talented!

This is actually the second thing of Mr. Miller’s work I’ve played a role in – the first one I’ve never seen (I’m not sure it’s ever been released), and the first time around I was just an extra without any lines.   This time I had a couple of lines to say… and promptly flubbed the first one.  But more on that in a minute.  After watching it, I was really impressed with Hannah Carter (the main player in this bit), she did a REALLY excellent job!

It’s always cool to see something go from the shooting phase to the finish phase – seeing a scene from the perspective of being on camera to seeing the same scene from the viewpoint of the camera is downright trippy.  I did it literally a dozen times with The World of Gamer Zone, and even thought I was editing it myself, I was always slightly wigged out by the first couple of minutes of footage I saw, seeing Meredith and myself on camera looking at the TV screen.

This was even weirder because I wasn’t involved in editing – I just saw the scene from the point of view of a participant (I dread to use the word ‘actor’, because I can’t consider myself one, just like I couldn’t consider myself a writer or author for quite a while, and in the case of ‘actor’, I’m not sure there will ever be enough opportunities to do it to finally consider myself an actor.) Then, 20 minutes ago, I saw the finished product.  Twice.

The first time I watched it my brain clamped up when I saw myself on screen – every little detail about me was critiqued, my delivery, how I was standing, the gulp that was caught on camera at one point, etc.  Yes, I’m a more than little self critical – even with my huge ego – whenever I do something creative.

Worse, I was dreading one of the lines that happened in there.  I flubbed the line the first time, and then the second time… which meant I was screwed.  I knew this from The World of Gamer Zone experience – once I say something wrong, I have a hard time ‘unsaying it’ in my mind so I can say it properly.  There must have been 10 takes caused by my inability to unsay that flub in my head.

But, I watched it all the way through, grimacing, then got up from the computer for a few minutes, and watched it again, and came to a conclusion:  they all did an excellent job!  It was a good story, with a nice little twist, and everyone did a pretty good job at their delivery.  But I really think Hannah Carter did an excellent job freaking the hell out as a drug addict being confronted by her past friends!

And Dakota didn’t hate my performance too much – after this one, he has once asked me if I’d do another one, but unfortunately my schedule was wrong to be involved in that one.

So is one of my big ambitions in life to be an actor?  Well… yes and no.  I love this sort of stuff, and have considered doing theatre or trying to pick up more bit parts.  But I don’t put myself out there for roles, or bill myself as someone seeking acting parts, or even really make a whole lotta noise about doing it.  This is one of those areas where you’d have to be pretty motivated to make a living at it.  And since making a living is rather important at this stage in life, I’ll just have to make do with whatever happens to come my way from time to time.  I sincerely hope, though, this isn’t the last time I do something like this – it’s a whole lot of fun! 🙂

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