My Experience Filming Homesick
This short film “Homesick” is based on my brother RuoMing’s book “From Death to Life”. I’m glad to be the main actor acting as my brother’s role.
We have been preparing for two months before the shooting, looking for cast. The director and producer are flying back from the United States and all the cast are acting in film for the first time. It was a great challenge to everyone since there were many unknown factors. Praise the Lord, the words of God said, “And we know that all things will work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose. Don’t doubt, just believe.” During the four days of shooting, the words have been emerging in my mind, and every time there is a situation, after praying, it was always resolved.
On the first day of filming, I was actually very nervous, especially when the studio lights went on, and the camera started rolling. I could feel that the body wasn’t mine any more. Often a scene, an action, or a conversation would repeat more than 10 times.
The next day, we went to the Prison to shoot the scene, in which I called home to tell my father I was released from prison. The response I got from my father was that he didn’t want me to go home. My joy from being newly released suddenly crashed at that moment. Although it was my brother’s feeling, I actually had this feeling, too when I was acting, because this is what really happened to both us before. In the afternoon, we went to the prison. When the iron door behind us closed, it meant that you are no longer a free man. This was the sound I was most afraid to hear when I was still in a life crime. When the haircut scene came up, the electronic razor buzzed over my scalp and as all the hair fell to the ground, my heart sank and brought me back to the past. The loss of my hair made me feel like a prisoner again. It was like being labeled again, but this time it wasn’t the same. Thank God, because of His grace, because of His love, my heart is so joyful, no fear at all.
The third day was a relatively smooth day, and I really appreciated all the workers in the Prison Fellowship. Without everybody’s cooperation, it wouldn’t go so smooth.
In the afternoon, we went to a hospital to shoot the scene where my father had knee surgery, and my brother came to take care of him. I could feel the pain and patience my brother felt in order to seek my father’s forgiveness. I could also understand how my father was also hurt and suspicious of my brother. Praise the Lord, all these qualms were resolved after patience, obedience, and constant prayer, so that our father and mother can finally put aside their doubts, and believe that my brother’s repentance was true.
The fourth day was also our last day of filming, I did not expect it to end so soon. It was like the blink of an eye. The project was going to be finished! Today happened to be the day of Feb 28, the Peace Memorial Day, a holiday, but it was raining hard.
The first scene was about my brother stealing my father’s money while he was taking a shower. I was so ashamed of myself when I was shooting the first scene because it happened so frequently before. I can’t remember how many times I had been caught by my father. The second scene is about our neighbors gossiping behind my father and mother’s back.
I thank the Lord, all these things have passed and we have all been saved by God’s grace. In the afternoon, we went to a motel to shoot the drug bust scene and the last scene. When I was being handcuffed in bed, I actually had fear at the idea of becoming a prisoner again. All my past life moments flashed in my mind, and the handcuffs were being constantly opened and closed, bruising my hands, which reminded me of my previous experience. So I kept praying in my heart until it finally quieted down and there was no more fear. When the director called “cut”, that meant it was the end! I knew it’s all done now! Although I was very happy, I wasn’t ready to say goodbye yet.
This was the first time in my life I was the main actor and my first time getting involved in shooting a film, I was really very grateful and cherished this rare experience.