Two filmmakers chasing the dream of producing their first feature film...
...and financing it solely through winning video contests.


Directing Kids

Our latest contest video is also the latest video I've directed starring children. The first was Bird Island, a music video featuring a little girl going on a journey to a forbidden island. The latest stars a class of 3rd graders singing.

I wasn't exactly dreading directing them, but I was aware that a group of 3rd graders would be considerably more difficult than to direct than a group of adults. All of their unfocused energy is like a bunch of shotguns going off at the same time. Cover your face and hands... but it actually turned out to be a pleasant experience. I spoke in a calm, but firm manner-- I still still let them have fun-- but made absolutely sure the shot list was planned out in advance and everything was well organized.

At one point I had to direct individual kids for potential vignettes in the video. In one situation, a child simply had to deliver a line. In another, a kid had to wink in a very specific way. We ended up doing take after take after take of each... and I realized, especially with the latter vignette, that acting can turn the simplest thing into a weird complicated unnatural mess. The more takes you do past the initial take, the less meaning the line or movement has. That was something I really want to pay attention to the next time I direct-- because once I hit that wall I didn't know how to get them through it. Thankfully, they were all supplemental shots, but if they had been more integral to the video, I may have had to compromise with a performance I wasn't happy with... something I'm going to keep in mind for the future.


quin browne said...

i admire your working with children. i stage managed a panto (very british theater) with tap dancing children, and wanted to stab them all with a sharp pencil.

Post a Comment