Don't Cast Family or Friends

Kim Welch

Senior Member
Staff member
If you are serious about your short get a serious actor who is in your school theater class or advertise and find local talent that will work with you for trade off.
 

Theresa Pickett

Moderator
Can Family Members Be Involved In Your Movie?

Can Family Members Be Involved In Your Movie?

I've Been In A Family Member's Movie

I think some filmmakers can make excellent short movies with family members. I offered to act in my husband's movie LOOK for $35 and free food. LOOK won 6 awards, earned distribution, and has been profiled with photos of my husband and myself in your magazine. I think I was a better actress in LOOK because I was comfortable with the direction of the movie. I knew I could trust that the filmmaker in charge was keeping my best interest in mind.

I'd Put My Daughter In My Next Movie :D
My 3-year-old daughter has training as a dancer in hip hop, ballet, and choreography. My daughter has trained on the job with two professional test photo shoots for the cover of a local magazine. She has learned about how photo sets, much like movie sets, are very fast paced. I've profiled some of my daughter's accomplishments in writing on Yahoo, which I receive payment for clicks. As you can see from the lively photos for Babiators sunglasses on my blog NashvilleMommy.blogspot.com, which I don't receive payment for clicks, my daughter has an awesome on camera personality. I'd put my daughter in a movie I was shooting because I know best how to encourage her to take direction. As my daughter's preschool teacher I'm a great coach. I can read my daughter's signals of exhaustion and boredom.

Good Filmmakers Can Encourage Family Members To Receive Training
I think my family's background in the movie industry gives my daughter the advantage of being able to train for free under her mom and dad. As a certified teacher I've learned how to teach reader's theatre and improve children's prosody, which is the way a reader emphasizes the words correctly. I understand how to coach child actors and I think I'd be able to coach my daughter if she ever showed interest in being in any of my future movies. I have plenty of friends who would help train my daughter for cheap or free free as a favor if my daughter needed training from someone other than me.

Would Your Family Honestly Want To Be In Your Movie?
I think the big question is whether your family is actually interested. If a family member is half heartedly accepting a role choose a different actor. I feel that there are tons of aspiring actors who would love to be in a movie and who would take the role seriously. Don't cast a family member in a role because you have a lack of confidence in holding an audition.

What I Recommend
As I was a casting director for an Ivy League student movie UNCLE KILLA I learned that auditions are not intimidating. Aspiring movie directors could ask family members to act as casting directors or producers to help scout talent in an audition. Use what you have available, which sometimes is only family members, to make your movie happen. Don't be afraid to try out an idea using family as actors. You could always revise your movie and reshoot a different version with professional local actors.
 

Kim Welch

Senior Member
Staff member
Of course there are always exceptions but statistically one of the biggest mistakes students make is casting family and friends instead of real serious actors.
 

Theresa Pickett

Moderator
I agree. I was just saying that the topic you raised was more nuanced.

I think a lot of student filmmakers might use family as actors because of a lack confidence in attracting talent to a student project.
 

Kim Welch

Senior Member
Staff member
Yes, I do agree with a lot of what you say I am just pointing out a problem area. Bad sound and friends and family actors are the two biggest problem areas from what I hear and read.
 

Theresa Pickett

Moderator
I like that you're pushing student filmmakers to think outside their comfort zone. You're right that guerrilla filmmaking on a low budget doesn't have to mean a poor quality movie. I really appreciate your advice as you've seen tons of student films on your website and niche community.
 
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