SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — With months of canceled opportunities passing by for people in the entertainment industry, two UCSB theater alumni decided to create a film remotely while practicing physical distancing.
“We got the idea that maybe we could do a hybrid between theater, film, a Zoom Production and just kind of like an art piece,” Firelight Entertainment co-founder Gabrielle Korte said.
Together, they recruited 20 artists — mainly former Gauchos — from six states across the country to act in William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night's Dream.”
"It was an experiment, we didn't really know what is was going to look like,” Korte said. “We didn't really know how it was going to be because it was such a new format."
Each actor and actress filmed themselves using their own cameras or phones before sending their scenes to be synchronized into a full-length 80-minute production.
"We had to entrust a lot of the filming to the actors,”
Firelight Entertainment co-founder Sian Ayres-Harden said. “We had some incredible footage come in and we had some not so incredible footage but we had to work with it."
Collaboration was critical for both directors.
"Using a laptop or cellphone to communicate was difficult,” Korte said. “Once we got into the swing of it, it actually was a lot easier.”
"It was tough but it was super fun,” Ayres-Harden said. “When they finally got what you were talking about, it was experimental."
After six weeks of hard work, the final product was completed with a soundtrack, animation and transitions.
"I hope it inspires other people to really push the boundaries of what's possible,” Korte said. “Push the boundaries of what they think story telling can be."
"Considering it's never been done before, to create what we did we're so proud of it,” Ayres-Harden concluded.