Entry #2079
9:33 AM - October 13th, 2020
OK, I can finally admit it. Whew, here we go...

I did not think Cameron had it in him. I couldn't even tell while shooting if it was going to work. I stopped after about 90 minutes and told him we were done for the day and I loaded all the footage and started editing because I just needed to see it.
Ya see, I had a plan B. I would absolutely cut them out of this movie. I'm really really weird about this and I feel the need to explain myself.

I hate kid actors and the idea of kid actors. I think it's forcing children into adult situations (show-business) and adding stress to their brains that is unnecessary. It immediately blunts their ability to be carefree and kid-like. Social media does this too. So when I had the idea to have the kids ask me questions to tell the story of Meeting Michael, I resisted. Like, I just resisted my own brain...
Then I went into the attic (which they've never been in until this last weekend) and I felt that 80s magic of old attics and kids finding things and... the wonder/magic... it was overwhelming. And I realized I owed it to the idea to just try it. Because the truth is, we're in our house. I'm not taking them to an audition, they're not on a real set... none of this is like showbusiness. They will feel NONE of the actual stress of performing, they're just hanging out in the attic with lights and cameras.
But I also realized they might not be able to "act" in front of a camera. That's a thing that is harder than people think. And there's tons of examples (even in BIG TIME movies) where the kid doesn't have it and was clearly someone's family member getting a gig. It's embarrasing and I hate it. So I most assuredly had a back up plan if it wasn't working.
My concern was Cam overacts all the fucking time. He thinks acting is being BIG AND FUNNY AND OVER-EMOTIONAL. That worried me. Vienna is shy and too much in her own head. Neither of these are great traits for what we're doing. End result so far? Vienna is still too much in her own head and it took a LOT of takes to get her out of that and have her just say things comfortably so it wasn't like she was reading the words in her mind. She mostly got there, but it was a lot of work and repetition. She's honest to fuck too smart for her own good sometimes. It's spooky how her brain works.
Now this is going to sound like I'm saying mean shit about Cam, but, Cam's brain doesn't think much.
He's in the moment - ALL THE GODDAMN TIME. I knew that... but what I didn't know? Is that he could deliver a line like he just thought of it and you literally cannot tell. Everything he says in the movie I worked out with him beforehand and then he performed it... and honest to motherfuck while editing I couldn't remember if that was true or he was ad-libbing most of the time. A couple lines were over-the-top, but the opening scene where he's looking at the pics and the towel? He was so good, it rewrote the script. I had to react in real-time and he MADE THE MOVIE BETTER because of his line-delivery and how it changed MY reaction. I'm good at ad-lib, I've done it for 20+ years now and I'm very self-aware of how the scene is goin while filming... it's a rhythm thing you can't really teach? You're born with it and then you practice repeatedly and you get this groove where you just feel it. Hard to explain. It's why I can do split screen Egos stuff effortlessly because I just know the characters and the point of the story so well it's IN me.

But to do that with a 6 year old? I mean... he just nails it. And he understands, like... here watch this:
That's video of me absolutely fucking up what we agreed to. He rolled with it in the only way you could - and then when I called him out he defended what his choice was - AND HE WAS RIGHT. He had to say it like a question AGAIN because I fucked up. But he didn't ruin the take. He just kept going until I RUINED the take.
Dude. DUUUUUUUDE. You see me laugh as he was totally right and of course my brain is thinking more about the lighting and camera angle than ANYTHING I'm actually saying... but after loading that footage? And watching his brain work? Holy shit - he's born with it. Like, I can act with him and he brings shit TO the table. He's thinking of the better GOOD. He's thinking of what the scene is supposed to be in the END... he's not thinking about HIMSELF. It's the core of good acting: you have to be outside yourself and you have to do it at lightening speed.
So yeah, this is deeper than just "being a performer", his brain works in a way that is valuable for performing in intimate settings like film and television. He's born with it. No other way to put it.
And when he's an adult, he can do with that as he will. He will not be going to acting classes, he will not be going to auditions. He gets to be a kid and play. But he has options many don't if he chooses hat avenue...
...thank GOD because I'd have cut those little fuckers in a heartbeat if they sucked.