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Directing kids


Joe Riggs
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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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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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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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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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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.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6YERuLuzfs

 

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
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