A Hollywood acting guru challenges a young actress to confront her demons in order to maximise her potential

Acting can be an incredibly difficult craft to master. Which is why many go through the tormenting mental process to reach the next level. ‘The Craft’ is a short film by Armand de Saint-Salvy (29 Gold Stars) about a young actress who is challenged by a Hollywood acting guru to confront her demons in order to maximise her potential. The entire film takes place on set, as we witness the incurable depths that can be reached to perfect the art.

I wanted to give the audience an insight into the harrowing emotional training actors go through in order to master their craft. And to show the inherent dangers in this art form, particularly when the mentor pushes too far. It’s inspired by an amalgam of events I’ve seen take place when I was in acting class.

To pull off such a difficult script, the acting needs to be on at the top of its art. Zoe Terakes delivers a stronghold performance that lets us dive into her mixed emotions. As where Helen Thomson masterfully walks the thin line between a genius and an abuser. Which after all is what makes the movie so powerful and deceptive to the viewer.

We rehearsed this like a play making sure the actors were completely off-book (script memorised)

We used real people for the audience members. In order to get honest performances out of these non-actors, we staged the play for them, and filmed the audience with two cameras; Watching the two lead actresses play out the entire film in one take. To get the performances from the young actress and her teacher, we ran very long takes (like 8 mins long). So that they could work off each other without interruption. We shot on an Arri Alexa, using old Russian anamorphic lenses and in post, we added a 35mm 200ASA Kodak grain in post to give it a gritty, filmic look.