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How to Make Dhyrak: A Dramatic Work for Three Players and Camera, Truncated with Only Two Players (1999)

Attempting to shoot a script with a leading actor missing.
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Nikki Hunter ...
Herself
Zandra Mukes ...
Herself
Scott Andrew Hutchins ...
Himself
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Storyline

When Abdul-Khaliq Murtadha couldn't make the shoot for the deadline, the director and other actors work through how they might shoot the script, "Dhyrak: A Dramatic Work for Three Players and Camera, Truncated," if they had a full cast. Practices, foul-ups, and inside jokes abound as Michael Nyman music blasts on the soundtrack. Written by Scott Hutchins <scottandrewh@home.com>

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5 May 1999 (USA)  »

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Connections

References The Quest for _____ (1998) See more »

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Clumsy
20 July 1999 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

I think only people who were involved with this film's production would find it funny. Of course, it was never supposed to be made at all, but I had to put out something for a grade, and this is what I came up with. It lowered my grade from an A to a B-. Perhaps indicative of the result is that the participants want to see the film maybe once, but aren't interested in their own copies. They are however, interested in shooting the script we had intended to shoot.

First of all, the attempt to edit in-camera was an utter failure, even though it worked (with the same model camera) on _The Quest for _____. The VHS transfer also sucked royally. (IT had been shot in S-VHS). Joe Cannon commented that the film looked like filler for a porno or a snuff film. What we did was make one take of portions of an unrehearsed script and try to film it, or wander around trying to figure out how to film it in faux cinéma-verité style. You see Nikki suggesting the idea for the film (although I had it the night before, when I expected the worst--not getting anyone for the part of Draec after AK had to back out at the last minute). You also see music running through snow-distortion (the instructor really hated that, even though it was supposed to be funny, at least once I got to the editing room it was supposed to be funny). This is what happens when you are the only person whose grade it affects and don't have many friends, at least who are actors that are available on a Saturday morning. The whole production is a self-deprecating disaster which suggests that I have no skill for cinematography whatsoever, because so much of it is bad. Often it's because the camera was taping when it shouldn't have been (it wasn't my camera, anyway, and there was obviously something wrong the tape (since it made noises and wouldn't play back) and the camera (since it wouldn't switch off).

Nikki and Zandra were amazed at how calmly I seemed to handle the situation, while it ate me up inside. This is easily the worst work I have committed to film to date, but I believe it had more to do with the situation than any declining skill. It is, unfortunately, the only one I have access to in finished form, giving me little with which to demo. I tried to get some witty commentary on my part and theirs, but that's sporadic at best. I also need to find a better location from which to shoot it in, and a dry spell where there won't be any mud so I don't fall with the camera, which I repeat was not mine (it was Michael Maitzen's).

By the way, my Dhyrak voice sucked royally on the early attempts that appear here, though there is a funny scene in which I try to get Nikki to crack some sort of nut (substituting for in-shell walnuts, which I still can't find and will surely have to wait until the Christmas season to obtain) on her head, as was in the bizarre, Beckettish script, only to discover I couldn't even crack it with a nutcracker, which I then proceeded to lose.

This was the most unpleasant filmmaking experience I ever had, but I laughed a lot in the editing room. It does mean I won't be sending my résumé to Telematrix, since Mike Smith has got to be convinced that I suck at this.


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