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What is the Head & Shoulders Series?

Jill Scott
Jill Scott guest-stars as Simoneon the series hit series Fringe. Photo courtesy of collider.com.

Well the idea is to record this series only shooting from my shoulders up. I want the emphasis to be on the content, and I want to demonstrate how powerful our voices, facial expressions and very small body movements can be. This idea was inspired by the video of Jill Scott’s Hear My Call. She does a phenomenal job conveying the message of the song using her eyes, facial expressions and body movements, and it shot from the shoulders up.

Why Did You Choose This Poem?

Langston Hughes
Photograph by Carl Van Vechten; Carl Van Vechten Trust / Beinecke Library, Yale

I’ve loved Langston Hughes since high school, particularly his shorter works.  A Dream Deferred is what I chose to place on the quarter page I purchased in my high school year book. I think it takes skill and restraint to write something short that leaves such a long-lasting impression. Also, when I searched the Internet for videos of people reading Mother to Son, most times, it was a woman, which makes sense. However, as someone who had/has a strong connection with his mother, I kept imagining how she would have had this conversation with me. I call it a conversation because I believe it began with a question. Perhaps something like, “Mama, how do you keep going?”

How Many Takes Did You Record?

I think it was around 15. Sounds like a lot for a video that less than 90 seconds but as soon as I began recording, a neighbor started up with his weed whacker then a dog started barking. I’m an introvert. We tend to a bit more sensitive to everything going on around us. Too many external stimuli, and our focus is gone.

How Would you Grade Your Performance?

I’d say a “B”. After watching it a few times, there were places when I thought it would have been better of my voice went up. I missed one beat that I had rehearsed a bunch of times, but this is a learning process for me. I like dramatic stuff.

How Much Editing Did You Do?

Not much. The plan is to spend as little time editing as possible. That might change. I’m not sure. I love simplicity so that will always be my priority.

What’s Next?

I think I am going to alternate and do an original work. I’m a writer but NOT a  poet so I’m a little nervous about this so we shall see.