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BOTD 02-08-13 The Price of Fame - A Memory Man Production

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The Price of Fame
A Memoryman Production

[justify] You are a famous Hollywood actor currently playing the lead role filming a period family drama. Your star struck eleven year old son Dean has one ambition - to follow in your footsteps and has already appeared in a couple of very minor film parts. This time you have helped to secure him a substantial support role playing your wayward son.

It is the first time you have worked together and his professionalism has astounded you. He listens intently to the director, soaking up all the tips he's getting and when the cameras start rolling really lives his part. The director is delighted with his performance and has told you he's the easiest kid he's ever had to work with and that his acting ability, combined with his athletic physique and bordering on cute, good looks, could well make him into a child star.

Until, that is, you reach one of the pivotal parts of the plot where, in exasperation, you crack and drag your tearfully protesting film son to the woodshed for the hiding of his life.

In real life Dean is a generally good kid who has never suffered more than the odd cautionary smack across the seat of his pants, he has no fear of you, rather the opposite, he idolises you. In the sequence the camera is to show a close up of his frightened tear stained face and his pleading as you order him to drop his pants before it pans slowly away to settle on the wide heavy strap hanging from the wall. Unfortunately in this situation real life suddenly breaks through and his acting becomes wooden. Furthermore his wails during his simulated hiding sound contrived as does the post spanking scene where amid supposed deep wracking sobs he is to splutter a resolve to mend his ways.

After several retakes the Dean is getting frustrated with himself and turns to you in tears "It's no good; I just can't hack it Dad. I can't pretend cry, you'll have to give me a real hiding." You demur, but you know that this sequence is meant to be high drama blending into pathos; so for the sake his career, reluctantly, you concur. The director brings in more cameras to cut between and extend the apparent duration of the hiding.

Knowing that what is coming next is to going be real Dean is palpably nervous re-shooting the first sequence, his frightened face and cracked voice satisfy the director after a single take. Then the camera focuses on you lifting the strap from the wall and the part you are both dreading begins. Dean lets himself go with real heartrending performance but he no baby and has suffered a serious hiding before his sobs have built up to the required choking intensity that the director calls cut.

You are so appalled by the welts you've left on his bottom and the hurt and extreme distress you've caused him that between you you mess up the subsequent apology scene. After two further retakes Dean's choking sobs have died away to the extent that the director requires you to take up the strap and re-ignite them.

You dig your heels in and flatly refuse, pointing out that there is no requirement for a real hiding in your contracts but then Dean then surprises you (and makes you proud of him) by butting into the argument telling you "It's OK dad, we are getting paid plenty and now that I know how much it hurts I won't fluff it again." In spite of this intervention you remain adamant arguing that Dean's distress after his hiding is still so apparent that there is no need to stick to the absolute letter of the script. You appear to be winning when Dean comes over to catch your sleeve. Looking up at you he pleads " Aw! C'mon dad we hafta do it right if you wanna Oscar."

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Now What

Last edited by David M. Katz on Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:52 pm; edited 5 times in total (Reason for editing : Corrected formatting after several tries)

Can you dig it?


If this is meant to be current, it wouldn't happen. There are child welfare workers on set. Even Michael Cera, who was a legal adult when Youth in Revolt was made got his "whipping" with a foam belt. The director would have to settle for "good enough" or find a different way to make Dean howl.

For the sake of argument and the scenario, we ARE getting paid well. If Dean is willing, and given that he's already tenderized, I'll go along with the director's--and Dean's--wishes knowing it won't take as much to reignite the flames. Not planning on an Oscar though--people who are "mean to" women and children rarely win, no matter how good the performance.

"Wait Until Dark" was on TCM earlier this week. Audrey Hepburn received an Oscar nomination for her part in it, but the best performance was Alan Arkin's although he received no "official" recognition.

Finally, for anyone who watches "Raising Hope", the boy who played Trevor this week is the son of the series producer. Normally I'd scream nepotism, but he was as good as he was cute. If you haven't seen the show, highly recommended for those with quirky senses of humor.

John Boy

Well, Dean, I am not really comfortable with this, but if you are fine with it, and as long as (Toward director) We do it in one take, we can try again, but no more after that.


Editor Extraordinaire
I'm going to explain to Dean (and the director) that there is a reason it's called acting. Perhaps there was justification for the first session with the strop, as Dean had no real life experience he could draw on. The director has a very real corporal punishment scene, for which he should be grateful. We'll finish the apology scene without resorting to any further use of the strop. If the director is worth his pay, he will use creative editing to make use of the real sobs from the first takes.



I agree with Kat here. There is absolutely no reason to give him another hiding, especially when it wasn't scripted to begin with. The director will just have to make do with his footage and we will continue on with the rest of the scenes.

Never Spanked Though? Must not really be my kid Evil or Very Mad


I am surprised he became woosdemn if real life kicked in. He should have been wailing and writhing hysterically. Anyway,I thought directors had all kinds of ways to make kids cry. As well paid as we are it is time for him to earn HIS money. Its a hard one though. There are load of films where the wooden reaction of the young actor where the same yelp is used for every stroke or you only see the aftermath with the odd tear rolling down the face. Some kids might pull such dignity off but not many.

If we want one more go I think it may not take much as I will be reigniting the flames and their may be a more of a reaction. Otherwise of we can go with the footage. and refilm for reactions and face shots for which I suggest someone shows him Basil Rathbone as Mr Murdstone and see how the young David Copperfield takes that caning in the 1935? version.


How proud of him am I for his want and willingness to do this right!!!

I will echo JTT's sentiment; my boys hardly ever spanked?!?

I'm largely in agreement with Doc and Kat that the director should be able to make this work but I'm willing to do ONE retake if Dean is adamant about it.


I agree with everyone else. If I can get it together and do my bit, the director should be able to cut in the previous scenes to make it as realistic as he wants.

The first thing that occurred to me, though, was that Dean needs to work on this issue himself. When Henry Thomas had to cry during the ET scene, he thought of his dog dying. Surely we could come up with something like that.

While the original CP might have had some justification, I just can't see doing it again.


I'm with Kat. Once is enough and if the director gets stroppy.............

David M. Katz

I am with Kat and those who are with Kat!

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.


Dean has remembered what I have apparently forgotten: business is business and in the movie business, the director is in charge, furthermore non permanent injuries do not count. I will do as my son suggests: what the director wants!



Since I did whip him once and since Dean is positive about a second why shouldn't I do it?

Not that it would have happened in first place...

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