How to Direct Friends and Family
In the world of independent films, sometimes casting consists primarily of friends and family as opposed to, well, classically trained actors. Directing and working with these relatives and friends can be a bit problematic, since they might not have the same work ethics as actors. Learning how to separate friends from actors is a tough task. Here are some steps that may help simplify it. Before anything else, understand that because of your budget, you HAVE to use friends and family members in these roles. Otherwise, you have no movie! Meet with them beforehand, in interview mode per se, to determine where their strengths and weaknesses lie. Explain the entire filmmaking process. You do not want them to feel surprised in any way. Inform them that they need to think of you as the director, not a relative or friend, because this is more than a hobby. Understand their limitations as actors. Remember, these are not trained thespians, but rather pals willing to do you a favor. Offer to pay or provide for meals. They will probably turn you down, but at least make the offer to show gratitude. Be sure to throw them a wrap party or send "thank you" notes so they know that you, the director, truly appreciates their efforts.