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Old October 5th, 2005, 04:03 AM   #1
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difficult choice...opinions needed


I have been looking for a child actor for months for my feature. And finally i'm down to 2 selections. They are suppose to play a 7-9 year old kid for the film.

Choice 1
8 year old kid - he physically suit the role. He is not great at acting, but not too bad either. He can remember every lines, no problem. But he can't bring the emotional scenes well. Therefore if i pick him, he'll do the lines decently, but the emotional scenes may not work as well.

If I pick him, it is believeable to pair him up with my actress who's 26 and acts as the mum. But acting wise, may not be as good I want it to be.

Choice 2
12 year old kid - Good acting, can bring the emotional scenes well. Problem is, he is a bit too old for the role.

If I pick him, it may not be as believable to play the kid of my actress. But will have much better acting.

Part of me wants to pick choice 1, and another part of me wants choice 2. I believe it'll be easier for me to direct choice 2, due to older age, more talented and experience but unfortunately, i'm worried that he physically does not suit the film. I don't know if better performance will compensate for this.

If I pick choice 1, I will have more difficulty in getting a decent performance, and it won't be close to the performance given by choice 2, but his physical attributes suit the film. He's not too bad though, just that choice 2 is more talented.

I only have about 2 months time left, and we have not been able to get the one that has the 100% elements i need even after 5 months of searching. So continue searching for actors is not an option at the moment.

What's your opinion? If you were me who would you choose?
I'm going bald soon juggling between these 2 choices. arghh.
Michael Chen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 5th, 2005, 06:59 AM   #2
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I say go for the better acting. Hands down. Have your makeup/wardrobe people age the actress a few years.

Think of all the times you've sat through crappy acting, especially kids, and thought how bad it all sucks.
Reid Bailey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 5th, 2005, 03:50 PM   #3
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do a 1 1/2 - 2 hr rehersal with kid 1 and the actress mom ... see how well the 2 interact ? have kid 1 read lines slightly different ...
if kid 1 parents are there you might ask them to go into another room to see if kid 1 improves ... tape the rehersal ( have somebody operate camera for you ) ...

repeat with kid 2 ...

view video tape to see which you prefer ...
remember in the end it how it looks on the screen not how it looked to your eye watching live performance ... the camera might make kid 2 look younger ?
also ON camera emotional content on actors face can be smaller then live performance ...
Don Donatello is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 5th, 2005, 07:30 PM   #4
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I agree with Don to test the 8 yr old kid some more. See how he responds to intense direction and lots of takes of one "emotional" scene. It may be more work to direct him, having to get him "into the moment" for each scene, but end up better for your film. And with some intense work, he may just "get it" about acting. Maybe spend a day with him, a camera, a field monitor, and an acting coach so he can see the differences. Tell, Show, Do, Review.

OTOH, is the story really hurt by an older boy, or can you tweak it, or are you being myopic about your original plan for a 7-9 year old? Some 12 years olds are big for their age, and look even older on screen. If he is small, can you get him to act younger than he is? Or make mom look older with makeup as Don suggested, if that is the big issue. A 12 yr old could have 29 yr old mom easily.

Can you adjust to the 8 yr old's weaknesses with different editing or shot setups? ADR?

Can you cheat a shorter body double for some shots if you choose the 12 year old?
You are either growing or dying.
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