Collabor8te Filmmaker Interview: Deborah Haywood
DEBORAH HAYWOOD ON WORKING WITH KIDS
C8: A lot of short films we come across feature young protagonists – you have a significant track record or working with kids, any top tips?
DH: I don’t really have a ‘method’ for working with kids. I try to talk to them on their level, and am possibly good at spotting kids with the right ‘spirit.’ (fingers crossed). Perhaps being a Mum myself helps, and also that I used to be the one who did the kids parties when I worked at The Pizza Hut.
C8: What is it that you enjoy most about working with younger actors?
DH: I think the great thing about working with kids is that they are so natural. They are too young to feel subconscious, so if you create a safe environment for them, they just do it.
C8: What’s your approach to working with little ones on set?
DH: When I first cast Demi and Billie (the sisters in ‘Sis‘ – see clip below), I had a feeling they’d be interesting, so I did some impro with them (playing doctors and nurses, operating on The Hulk etc) and they really got into it. This is really important I reckon. After a while they were able to forget about the camera but at first they wanted to touch it and ask a million questions, and Demi was obsessed with the boom!
C8: Do you try to get them to learn lines, or understand their character before shooting?
DH:I don’t teach them the script or get them to learn it, I direct them on camera, and feed them their lines, and take my voice out in post. I got that tip from that bloke who directed ‘Let The Right One In’. I went to a Q+A of the film and asked him to talk a bit about directing children. He said that’s how he did it so I thought I’d give it a go…
C8: Are you looking forward to working with Demi and Billie again on ‘Twinkle Twinkle’?
DH: I actually got the idea for Twinkle Twinkle when I was doing those first impros with Demi and Billie on ‘Sis‘. I wanted to write a few scenarios for them to practice feeding them lines, and then Twinkle just came to me as I was doing that. I decided not to give them the scenario, ‘cos my belly was telling me it could be juicy as a piece on itself, so instead I later wrote it as a short film.
I’m so excited (and nervous, of course) to make it.
Clip from ‘Sis’ dir. Deborah Haywood (2011)
Following her first short Deborah was selected for Screen International’s Stars of Tomorrow, 2007. She is BIFA nominated and has won several awards including Best Short at Soho Rushes Short Film Festival.
Deborah is developing feature Pin Cushion with Gavin Humphries and ifeatures2, as well as co-writing the adaptation of award winning novel The Killing Jar, with author Nicola Monaghan.
Deborah is represented by Mark Casarotto, at Casarotto Ramsay Associates.