Novel Translation

The Greatest Showman – Chapter 21

Chapter 21 – The first scene

The winter in Australia is not only windy but also very stormy. The raging wind makes it almost impossible for people to stand up, it was so strong that it looked like they could just open their arms and fly straight up into the sky like a kite. The wide and boundless horizons were displayed in front of their eyes, and no one could be seen in the vicinity for 30 minutes. The quietness and vastness brought an indescribable sense of solitude, showing that humans were so small in front of nature.

However, after the baptism of boot camp, Renly became more composed, not because he is receptive enough to the perilous circumstances, but because he knows that the most difficult moments are always followed by even more difficult ones.

Tim told him that on the battlefield, staying alive is the only thing that matters. Renly understands this, but there is no way for him to experience it firsthand, even after ten days of training, the threat of death still isn’t clear enough, not even that night in the middle of nowhere when he almost had his toes frozen off had given him that feeling, but at least it was a start.

After the boot camp in San Diego, the entire “The Pacific” crew arrived in Australia to prepare for the official shooting.

From beginning to end, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg have not shown up, rumor has it that they will come to visit the set next week. Tom, who directed the fifth episode of “Band of Brothers”, will not be involved in directing this time, because he is looking for a suitable production company for his next work “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”.

However, regardless of whether Tom and Steven arrived, the filming is finally going to start, and this is 100% certain. All the previous preparations have been made for today.

Looking at the busy set-in front of him, it is more unfamiliar than familiar.

The boundaries of the camera are divided into two parts: the front is the official shooting site, the staff is laying the shooting track, the cameraman and lighting technician are adjusting the light, the props technician is making sure that all the arrangements are okay, the sound technician is standing beside the scenarist and is confirming the next shooting process and then placing the radio equipment where it needs to be; at the back is the standby part, the director is holding the radio and various sections, while the assistant director was listening to the scheduling. Meanwhile, the rest of the cast sat beside a giant caravan, leaving themselves at the mercy of the makeup artists and stylists, while the rest of the crowd stood three feet away, chattering and gossiping……

Renly had seen the scenes of the set of countless movies in his dreams, but when all this is actually happening in front of his eyes, the feeling of feverishness cannot be contained. No, more accurately, he does not want to contain it, he just let his heart beat with thoughts of two lives, he was about to really stand in front of the camera, the first time in accordance with his own will to realize his dream.

Although he does not know whether this dream is realistic enough, although he does not know where this path will actually lead, although he does not understand the burden of breaking the trajectory of history, he, a small butterfly in the end can raise many waves; but he has no regrets, and he will not regret it.

“The actors are all in position.” David Nutter picked up the speaker, and shouted, immediately attracting everyone’s attention, the actors have repertoire set near the monitor, forming a circle. Renly was no exception.

He is a professional television director, very well known in the industry, not yet 50 years old, his resume has “The X-Files”, “Supernatural”, “The Mentalist” and etc., later he also directed “Game of Thrones”, “Homeland”, “The Flash” and “Arrow”.

In the United States, the director of a television series is not always just one person, there may be seven or eight different directors in a season of twenty-four episodes, or even more, who are responsible for directing different episodes. “The Pacific” is the same, a total of six directors for ten episodes, David is only responsible for the first episode and the fourth episode.

“The first scene will start soon, please take your places, and follow the crew so they can walk you through the process, after that understand the position of the camera, if you have any questions, ask them as soon as possible, and then we will start shooting.” David briefly explained to them, and after a pause, “Today is the first scene of the ‘The Pacific’, I hope the whole scene will be shot smoothly.”

Should we applaud now……?

Renly looked around, as he wasn’t quite sure, but then David put the speakers aside and the cast and crew dispersed – apparently, this was the opening ceremony, not as formal and grand as rumored, it was done so breezily. Renly couldn’t help but adjust his breathing, gather his thoughts, and walk quickly to the shooting site.

Although Renly is a complete layman, for television filming, shooting films without any practical experience, however, there is enough information he got by reading various papers and books, in the college he also used the camera to record his own performance for examination, and he also spent constant time polishing his skills in London’s West End, so he knows that the first step is to figure out what he would be doing and how to do it.

In the case of acting, it is not just standing in front of the camera and performing. Most intuitively, the performance needs to be captured by the camera and captured correctly, which requires the actor to understand the location of the camera, lighting, lens, and then move according to the settings of the other actors who are acting in the scene so that they can avoid blocking the camera or hitching partners.

Of course, this is only basic knowledge. As for how to communicate with the camera, how to communicate with the director or audience behind the camera, how to communicate with the opposing actors, and how to perform. Close up, medium, long-distance shots are all very different, these can only be learned slowly in the performance process.

The first time Renly stood in front of the camera, he was a little nervous, although he had lived two lives, but those experiences weren’t useful to him. The palms of his hands were slightly permeated with sweat, but he didn’t hesitate and went forward to ask for advice, one question after another.

Darin Rivetti was a little impatient, as the chief dramaturg of the “The Pacific”, he needed to manage too many things, because this is the first scene, that is why he worked on it personally, but the young man in front of him was asking the most basic questions, this is either to embarrass him, or to humiliate him, finally he got irritated and shouted, “You idiot, you come to ask me questions that even newbies know.”

However, Renly wasn’t at all startled, with a focused and serious face, he glanced at him, “This is my first work, so I need to confirm the differences between what I learned in the academy and the actual work, this is to be more efficient. Don’t you think so?”

Darin looked at the sincere expression of Renly, deep pupils in the brilliant sunlight penetrated the brown mellow and light, a serious and solemn death grip on his throat.

The words of rebuttal couldn’t be uttered at all, and he could only vent out his irritation, “In the end, which blind guy selected you for this role, in fact, he actually chose a rookie? Eugene is an important character, the main character! Main Character!”

“Mr. Steven Spielberg.” Renly was still full of pure innocence, making Darin almost choke himself with his own saliva.

Darin turned around and was ready to leave, but Renly called out to him again, “So, is the first scene a medium to long shot, or a close up to medium shot? Will the camera rotate handheld, or will it move according to the track?”

Such trivial questions, make Darin secretly clench his teeth, in his heart he kept warning himself: ‘bear it, bear it, it’s only the first day, bear it, there are still six long months after that’. But maybe he could give this smug “genius” a little warning, like a rookie in a boot camp, “Medium to long range, track movement.” Darin didn’t bother too much, he quickly replied to Renly, and then turned to leave.

Renly nodded and went to his position to start preparing for his first shot – the first scene of the entire “The Pacific” drama, in order to mark the beginning of the production, a relatively simple scene was chosen to be filmed.

The content is about physical examination conducted by Eugene’s father, Eugene still had a problem with his heart, so he couldn’t join the army, which made him disappointed, so much so that he even cried, that is also the first time Eugene appeared in the series. However, considering that this scene is longer and more complicated to shoot, with close-ups of the face, David chose a scene after that scene as the first one to be filmed.

Eugene left his bedroom and went downstairs, where his father and brother were listening to the radio, the war was getting worse, and his brother, who was about to join the army, was sitting face to face with his father in his uniform. Eugene stood at the door of the living room and saw such a happy scene, but recalled that he could not join the army because of physical reasons, and he felt lost while also feeling some anger, so he rushed out of the doorway, the scene to be shot is Eugene standing at the door to survey his father and brother, filming of this scene should give five seconds of footage, starting from the emotions of his father and brother to Eugene’s shock, and finally ending with Eugene leaving.

This is a relatively rich, yet relatively simple content, no big ups and downs, with a relatively simple emotion to show, the shooting should be relatively smooth, the choice of this scene as the opening of the whole set of episodes, couldn’t be more appropriate.

Standing at the stairway, Renly let his thoughts settle down, he glanced at the camera standing directly in front of him, and then looked at the camera standing behind the dining room on the left-hand side facing the living room, in his mind he built out the three-dimensional composition of the scene, after getting ready, he made an “OK” gesture, indicating to the director that he was ready.

After a while, when the actors of “father” and “brother” were also ready, the voice of the assistant was heard, “The Pacific, August 3, 2009, Act 3, Scene 2, First Take.” After that, the crisp beating of the plate rang out, announcing the official start of filming.

Renly took a step and walked down the stairs, the sound of the radio came to his ears, and he heard the narration of the tragic conditions of the war in the Pacific, which made his feet pause, turning his head, he saw his father and brother who were listening to the news in the living room, his feet completely stopped and stayed in place, looking at the two figures in a bit of a daze.

At this point, a red light appeared in his field of vision, and then gradually backed up, this unexpected red light disrupted the rhythm of Renly’s performance – didn’t he said it would be the medium to long shot? Why was it a close up? Didn’t he say that it would be the track shooting. Why is there a cameraman carrying a camera in the line of sight?

“Cut!” David’s voice broke the quietness of the set.

First scene, and he got stuck.

T/N – Sorry because there were no chapters for the last couple of days, as for this chapter it was kind of a pain in the… to translate it, so if you notice any mistakes, please give me a heads up. Also, in this chapter a lot of technical terms were used, I am not that knowledgeable when it comes to filming so if you see a mistake when it comes to technical stuff in the chapter, please write it to me down in the comments. Thanksss!!! Enjoy the chapter.


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