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Rehearsals with a robot

Directing acting rehearsals Dead ED

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#1 Abdullah AbuMahfouz

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 01:34 AM

Hey guys!  Lookin for some advice on conducting reharsals for talent for my short film , Dead ED. 

 

You can check details on it on the Facebook fan page here:  https://www.facebook.com/DEADEDMOVIE

 

I have two main characters: 

 

Khan - The protagonist, a man from the other side of the planet forced to work in the desert wastleands

ED - Khan's only companion, ED is a service droid designed to protect and clean the wasteland.

 

The relationship between these two characters is similar to a master and a loyal pet.  Khan sees ED as something less than a best friend, and will learn ED's true value by the end of the story.

 

My dilemma here is that I have never worked with a character like ED's before.  The script is well written with great opportunities for subtext, but the fact that the character is a robot conflicts with the idea of exploring these opportunities (in my mind at the moment) 

 

I haven't gone through rehearsals yet, and I figured that I would explore this further with talent, but I would like to hear other input as well.  I have gone through my analyzation, but this seems to be the only hiccup for me. 

 

What kind of exercises do you suggest for this situation?

 

 

 


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#2 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 01:56 AM

I have seen sentient robot character's that date back to the 20s into the 2000s ("Metropolis" 1927 to I, Robot 2004). Depending on the time this is set in, there is no reason to think your robot character (DON'T call it a "Droid:, that's Lucas' and you want your character to be unique to YOUR story) wouldn't be a highly advanced, autonomous and to a certain degree, sentient machine which from what you've described about the plot, seems to be the case. You need to think 0f the character as a "Thinking Machine" . The conflict comes from it's programming. Think about H.A.L. from 2001 and 2012. HAL was programmed to understand the completion of Discovery's mission was imperative and it's only reason for existence but was also programmed to be truthful. It was then programmed to lie without having it's original programming removed This created conflicting directives resulting in something that resembled schizophrenic behavior.Your robot may have developed augmented programming by interacting with human beings which may act as something resembling computer virus' that result in unexpected behaviors, making it "behave" more human like. It's motivations are all programming BUT just like you PC, sometimes it does things that are annoying and unexpected. Sometimes it won't cooperate at ALL, sometimes it's so fast, it surprises you and does things that are amazing. Adjust your thinking and you'll figure it out. Then your problem will be making Khan's (REALLY??!) relationship with ED real within the context of the story.

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 05 August 2013 - 01:59 AM.

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#3 Abdullah AbuMahfouz

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 06:26 PM

I have seen sentient robot character's that date back to the 20s into the 2000s ("Metropolis" 1927 to I, Robot 2004). Depending on the time this is set in, there is no reason to think your robot character (DON'T call it a "Droid:, that's Lucas' and you want your character to be unique to YOUR story) wouldn't be a highly advanced, autonomous and to a certain degree, sentient machine which from what you've described about the plot, seems to be the case. You need to think 0f the character as a "Thinking Machine" . The conflict comes from it's programming. Think about H.A.L. from 2001 and 2012. HAL was programmed to understand the completion of Discovery's mission was imperative and it's only reason for existence but was also programmed to be truthful. It was then programmed to lie without having it's original programming removed This created conflicting directives resulting in something that resembled schizophrenic behavior.Your robot may have developed augmented programming by interacting with human beings which may act as something resembling computer virus' that result in unexpected behaviors, making it "behave" more human like. It's motivations are all programming BUT just like you PC, sometimes it does things that are annoying and unexpected. Sometimes it won't cooperate at ALL, sometimes it's so fast, it surprises you and does things that are amazing. Adjust your thinking and you'll figure it out. Then your problem will be making Khan's (REALLY??!) relationship with ED real within the context of the story.

 

That's very very interesting!  Thank you so much for the advice, this helps a lot.  A "thinking machine" with strange bugs and hiccups on its own is an idea I haven't really thought about.  When I was analyzing the character, I wanted to build him around loyalty.  But now, I think I will go with an approach where that this is a learning machine, and though it can not conflict with its hard-programming (loyalty), it still learns and develops emotions from the events happening through out the story; the events in the story give good motivation for this.  At this point, it seems less of a machine to me, and more of an actual character.  Thank you! 


Edited by Abdullah AbuMahfouz, 05 August 2013 - 06:26 PM.

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#4 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 08:40 PM

 
That's very very interesting!  Thank you so much for the advice, this helps a lot.  A "thinking machine" with strange bugs and hiccups on its own is an idea I haven't really thought about.  When I was analyzing the character, I wanted to build him around loyalty.  But now, I think I will go with an approach where that this is a learning machine, and though it can not conflict with its hard-programming (loyalty), it still learns and develops emotions from the events happening through out the story; the events in the story give good motivation for this.  At this point, it seems less of a machine to me, and more of an actual character.  Thank you! 

Well, after all, I AM a genius. :rolleyes:

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 05 August 2013 - 08:41 PM.

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