Tag: children

3 Things I Learned About Filmmaking from… Kids

blksinblks1. It’s All About Me
As we grow up, we talk about the reader (or viewer) “identifying with the story” and “identifying with the hero”… basically we mean that the story has to be “all about me.” As reader (or viewer) I have to be the hero, and I take that journey. I don’t just hear the story, I am part of the story… the biggest, most important part. It’s my story. It’s me. As writer or filmmaker that’s a very powerful place to place your audience.

2. I Want To Hear It Again!
We love to hear the same story over and over and over again. Kids can hear the same book read but minutes after hearing it the first time. They will correct you if you get part of the story – or sometimes even a word – wrong. As we age, we do like to see some of these same stories played with… although we still expect certain story points and twists to be met. The trick is figuring out which ones are game for tweaking without alienating the audience.

3. It’s Magic!
Kids live in a world of magic. Nature is magic. Stories are magic. Science is magic. Illusion is magic. There is much science and illusion in filmmaking to craft the magic of stories. Don’t lose the connection to the world of magic so you can see the joy that you (as filmmakers) are crafting.

Anyone who teaches knows the student often teaches the teacher. What you have recently learned from the students and kids around you?

In the meantime…

Cheers & a good shoot to you,

Ciné-surfer: Stella Pacific Management’s Resources Re: Child Labor Laws

Stella Management has a great summary California child labour laws and work hours for film sets here:


Though your production may not be based in California, for early planning purposes anywhere, this page gives you an excellent overview of what hours you can expect are reasonable for child performers. Of course as you near production, ensure that you abide by the local laws.

Cheers & a good shoot to you,

Inspiration at the Movies: My Neighbor Totoro

“I’m not scared at all.”
Mei (My Neighbor Totoro, 1988)

How young children (claim to) have no fear of the unknown! Especially when a big sister or brother challenges them to be fearful of something that they know a little more about.

Mei’s declaration reminds me how much we learn to fear the unknown as we grow up. And yet I believe that the child inside us is always there. We only need to reach within ourselves to recapture the perspective, the whimsy, the power of childhood.

And then when you face a challenge, you can say to yourself: “I’m not scared at all!” Wow, with that kind of power, imagine what you could achieve then!

Cheers & a good shoot to you,

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PM101 in TODo you know about the “Toronto Area PM101 Facebook Challenge (for a free book)“? To learn more, click here: http://bit.ly/fGP0fq

5 Expensive Budgetary Items – I

Wow. It was hard to come up with a short list. Here are 5 of my “favourite” expensive expenses for starters…

1. Period script: Sure you know the costumes and hair are going to cost you, but as soon as you go outside, what about those cars or horses, and set dressing a time period that doesn’t exist anymore? And what about dressing all those background performers too?

2. Animals & Children – OK, I’m cheating a bit here lumping kids together with animals, but they both tire quickly and decisively. They are also similar in that when it comes right down to it, neither of them really cares about your capturing the shot (over and over again). Your takes, coverage and shooting hours will be limited. True animals don’t need tutors, but at least you can speak with children.

3. Night Shoots – The obvious cost is the extra lighting equipment, generator and operator. Not so obvious is that depending on the number of night shoots, you may not be able to hire the crew and cast you want.

4. Distant Shoots – If the distant location is a creative choice, get ready for the cost of travelling the crew, housing them, and paying them per diems… and the time lost for all that travel. If it’s an economic choice (you think it’s cheaper “out of the zone”), it’s rarely true.

5. Anything CG – Computer Graphics Imagery (CGI) is absolutely fabulous, but when the set crew knows there is a CGI team on board beware of the “oh, they can fix that in post” attitude. When CGI is digitally removing tethers and boom shadows, they are still doing effects shots… just more effects shots that the original list of flashy effects shots you thought they were going to do.

Happy budgeting!