How To Successfully Direct Child Actors

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Working with kids is one of the great challenges for beginning film and TV directors. After all, W.C. Fields said, “Never work with children or animals.” They’re both unpredictable and take real focus and skill. So I asked my friend Rafael Barreiro, a director and producer who’s worked internationally, and now teaches at the university level for some advice. Here’s his thoughts:

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What’s Your Best Time To Create?

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Science tells us that we’re driven by cycles, which I believe impacts our creativity. Although we can force ourselves to do almost anything, I think we do our best work at specific times of the day. For me, it’s morning. From about 6am to noon I do my best writing. After that I can do email, phone calls, meetings, or other work related tasks, but for my best writing, it has to be in the morning. Last week in London, I picked up the book “For Writers Only” by Soppy Burnham. She ran down the list of times of day when a number of great creators were at their peak:

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Where Is Your Creative Space?

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If you’re a serious creative person, you need to find the place where you do your best work. In a coffee shop, in your bedroom, in the basement, on the patio – wherever your creative juices start flowing. For me, I need complete silence. My perfect location is probably a bank vault – no music, TV, email, or other distractions.  My office is also

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The Twilight of British Christianity Continues?

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I’m in London this month, and this past week the newspapers reported the results of a new “commission” that has decided in the tiny slot of religious programming it produces, the legendary British broadcaster BBC airs too much Christian content and should produce more shows for Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs.  I completely

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How to Stop Worrying About “Life-Work Balance”

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There have been hundreds of books, seminars, and consultants focused on helping people negotiate the demands of balancing life and work. Yes, there are workaholics who can’t seem to turn it off – ever. But here’s what I think: Life-work balance is only necessary when you’re doing a job you hate. That could cover a lot of careers obviously, because everyone has their own preferences. So if you hate your career (and plan to stay there) then yes – start working on the balance thing. But if you

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Do You Have The Courage To Speak Up About Your Ideas?

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We don’t normally think of the bravery of creative artists these days. In other areas, while the media may consider Bruce Jenner coming out as a woman “brave,” most people reserve that honor for men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line – like soldiers, police, or firefighters. And certainly anyone else who makes the ultimate sacrifice in the service of others. But throughout history, those with creative ideas have put their lives

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Creatives: Work When You Don’t Feel Like It

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Write, design, paint, create music – whatever you do, do it everyday. Get into the habit, and never wait for inspiration. Artist Chuck Close said, “Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, your output will be limited and you’re not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.”

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The Socratic Method and Creative Leadership

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A number of years ago, a foundation invited my wife Kathleen and I to a private retreat at a resort in Montana to discuss the role of Christianity and the culture. There were about 12 people in the room who came from a wide variety of disciplines and backgrounds. The process they used was the Socratic Method, which was developed by the philosopher Socrates (470-399 B.C.). Realizing that a society of lazy thinkers wasn’t a good thing, he devised an

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