“I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how wonderful and unique my experience was working with Kevin and Zak on the movie, “White Knuckles”. Unlike the other work I’ve done in my 15 years of professional acting, I was able to tell my part of the story exactly the way I wanted to.” Clyde Tull
A seasoned actor and gifted artist named Clyde Tull plays the retired gentleman/stranger Reuben that appears late in White Knuckles – a film by sabi. Julie encounters Reuben in the hospital sequence in the third chapter of the film. Originally, the character of Reuben was written into different scenes and was part of circumstances that were to affect both Julie and William’s story. But as the last act of the film was crafted on set organically (as the story was unfolding) the written concepts of Reuben were changed by the director for what was happening in the moment / on set with Clyde – and what was necessary for Julie in the final sequences. Both Clyde and the director Kevin Shah worked together to create an entirely new character (conceptually) for Reuben– one that has resonates with audiences in ways neither could have predicted.
The words of Clyde Tull (on the process of White Knuckles):
“I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how wonderful and unique my experience was working with Kevin and Zak on the movie, “White Knuckles”. Unlike the other work I’ve done in my 15 years of professional acting, I was able to tell my part of the story exactly the way I wanted to. This was the first time I did not have to memorize someone else’s words and attempt to make them my own. My dialogue with my scene partner, the wonderful actor Martie Ashworth, was created in the moment, based on a story outline and clear objectives from our director, Kevin. During the shooting, I noticed that I was just as committed to facilitating the director’s intent as I always was, but I was not burdened with having to remember and recite lines.
For me, this process was both liberating and joyful, as it allowed me to follow my impulses and make the points I wanted to make in the order I wanted to make them. With neither of us knowing exactly what the other one would say or do, Martie and I interacted more authentically, responding naturally to the ebb and flow of the scene. It felt more like a real conversation than anything I’ve ever done. I also remember the speed and efficiency of the process. As I recall, we had two cameras, one on each of us. After our discussion with Kevin, we shot one long take and a couple of brief close-up/retakes, and it was done. Very efficient use of time.
I really enjoyed that afternoon of shooting, and every time I have a script to learn, I think about it. I hope other directors and producers will use this process in creating their projects.” – Clyde Tull
The director asked Clyde to contribute some thoughts about what didn’t work / or could potentially be a pitfall with such a process, in addition to what is detailed above. Clyde, always responsive with insight – offered the following:
“Kevin, as I considered negative thoughts about the process, I could only came up with one. It’s not a negative thought about my own experience, but rather a negative thought about the process, a potential problem perhaps. It is this: directors and producers who are brave enough to use this process need to be careful to pick actors who are truly comfortable with it. There are fine actors who, due to their training and their personality, are only comfortable with a script. In other words, not all actors can improv well. They may freeze up or go way “off message” and thereby waste a lot of valuable time. Actors doing this work need to really know the story they are telling and be willing to tell it in their own words.”
Sabi wishes to thank Clyde Tull for his thoughts, words, and contributions to White Knuckles. The character of Reuben created through an interdependent process of collaboration was a hit at the cast and crew screening of the film. The entire family of White Knuckles wants to thank you sincerely for all of your artistic work and sabi looks forward to working with you again.