I've been struggling to motivate my crew for months. It's been bone-gnashingly hard. Working with teens is difficult on its own but working with family gives it an added grind factor. At times the returns have diminished down to zero. I've even wondered whether they were working for me or the other way round.
As ever working with your own kids has added implications that don't apply with other people. If I tell them to do something it is mom telling them to do it, not their director. If they're noisy onset they hear the echoes of being told off as children, rather than immediately understanding that we need quiet in the studio. It's hard. I thought about putting this post on Sit up a Tree, the personal development blog, but really I have no solutions to offer other than to say that working with your kids means superhuman levels of patience. With the best will in the world and the best kids in the world it's always going to need the parent to be the bigger person. On other people's sets they are great, composed, obedient, helpful but on mine I have needed to get to screaming pitch just to get attention. There's been more than a few tears and at least one firing. And prompt reinstatement too. Because we are family and because sometimes it's easy to forget that you're dealing with young people who haven't fully figured out the world and who don't necessarily see the realities of time and money in the same way you do. Yet. And that's the key. As the parent or older relative you need to stick to your guns in what you expect from them, whilst having patience as they learn and stumble and lose their way.
In many respects it is no different to when I was teaching young people at college … it's just that teaching your own kids is like teaching the most rebellious students and the most challenging learners. Simply because they're your own kids. For any other teacher they'd be a dream!
At the end of the day of course we will all grow as people. And we will either make films together or we won't. In the meantime I am happy to be practicing filmmaking skills and I am happy that they're learning the nuts and bolts of working life. As ever, it is a privilege. I love working with young people and these are no different because they're my family. It's just a tougher job for me because they're my family!!
In terms of filmmaking, we are making painstakingly slow progress, but it is progress nonetheless. Skills take time and effort and dedication. The most important things I bring to the table are a clear set of goals and a lifetime of experience at getting projects off the ground.
The flip side of that is, of course, that goals can be blinkers and a lifetime of experience can result in less innovation. So working with young people is a perfect balance because they bring energy and ideas and the pioneering spirit to try out solutions in directions my experience might, rightly or wrongly, warn me not not to go.
Working across the generations enables the perfect fusion of wisdom and courage that comes from the compassionate and respectful blending of youth and wisdom that brings about truly new ideas and innovative solutions.
The most important thing about working with your family is recognising and respecting what everyone brings to the table!
This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 at 12:08 pm and is filed under Filmmaking. Both comments and pings are currently closed.