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Directing kids


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#1 Joe Riggs

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 01:10 AM

The lead in my film is a young girl between 8-10, having never directed kids before, I would be interested to hear how others handle working with kids and eliciting a great performance from them.
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 05:02 AM

The key is great casting, hold auditions and see as many children as possible. You may give the part to a first timer or a more experienced child actor (although the latter can come over as false unless they're extremely good), but it's a worthwhile process. Make them feel secure comfortable within the cast and crew and explain their character's world or emotions in a way they can understand.

On my short film, which involved complex relationships, we only allowed the child actor to read through the script once and had him learn the lines on a day by basis working with the other actors.
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#3 Serge Teulon

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 08:16 AM

Working with children requires a director that can tap into a child's imagination.
There was a documentary, which I saw a long time ago, about "Encounters of the third kind" and in it, there was a scene that showed Spielberg brilliantly tapping into his lead child's mind so that he could deliver the right feeling for the scene....a good one to check out!

Also find out what the child likes to do in play time....computer games, dolls, lego etc....a previous experience that I had where a lead child just burst out crying in between scenes, led me to pull out my iphone and got her to play a game on the phone. I believe it was tap tap.....my kid's favourite!
It worked a treat!

good luck!
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#4 Walter Graff

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 09:16 AM

All of the pro kids I have worked with in that age group are surprisingly mature and never required much more than anyone else. Sometimes about all you need to know with direction is talking in a more simplistic way. Kids that age have no life experience so examples of how you like something to be often don't work unless it's a reference to something in pop culture that they can grasp. I wouldn't overthink it, its not as hard as it sounds.
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#5 Serge Teulon

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 01:19 PM

Yeah you're right Walter....the pro's are scarily mature for their age!!
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#6 Richard Boddington

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 11:01 PM

All of the pro kids I have worked with in that age group are surprisingly mature and never required much more than anyone else. Sometimes about all you need to know with direction is talking in a more simplistic way. Kids that age have no life experience so examples of how you like something to be often don't work unless it's a reference to something in pop culture that they can grasp. I wouldn't overthink it, its not as hard as it sounds.



Yeah you're right Walter....the pro's are scarily mature for their age!!


I hope you guys are right I have two in my next feature! :D

R,
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#7 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 04:14 AM

Don't direct them or treat them like kids. Talk to them like you would any grown up - they're more switched on than one thinks.
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#8 CM Houghton

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 09:48 AM

Jodie Foster had some interesting things about acting and how she was directed when she was a kid that might be helpful.

She basically said that her previous directors had instructed herto be "be natural" or "be herself" but that sort of thing never really helped her. Her life as an actor changed when she worked with Robert DeNiro on Taxi Driver.



I think you can see that in her work, her acting after Taxi Driver is far better than it was before that film.

I don't know if this short clip will help you, but I liked that interview a lot and this thread made me think of it... I hope it's helpful.

Edited by CM Houghton, 22 April 2009 - 09:52 AM.

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