TAKEN IN is a handmade feature film about a man who must spend a weekend alone with his estranged teenage daughter at a roadside resort. It is here that Simon and Brooklyn must confront the issues that have driven them apart, and ultimately choose how they will move forward...together or alone.

TAKEN IN was written and directed by personal filmmaker, Chris White. It was made entirely with cash and in-kind contributions from friends and family. The story (co-written with his wife Emily), was inspired by Chris’ theatre work with students at a therapeutic boarding school. The film is dedicated to his own teenage daughter, Gibson.

TAKEN IN was filmed at South of the Border, Dillon SC USA in the Spring of 2011.

10 March 2011


The actors in TAKEN IN face a unique challenge. The film calls for neither traditional stage nor camera acting really…it requires utter, life-like truthfulness, moment-to-moment. And this is extremely difficult to accomplish given that the story is a complete contrivance...and, of course, the fact that they are being photographed while doing it.

So where do they start…preparing for this kind of work?

There is no clear-cut path or plan to follow…no real “schools” that train actors for this kind of filmmaking.

There are films worth watching…films with acting that succeeds at this.

The films of Mike Leigh, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Christopher Guest, come to mind. Viewing these films is helpful for actors insofar as they get to see someone else succeed. But. Working actors need process and practice. How does understanding what’s so great about Javier Bardem in BIUTIFUL (2010) translate into behavior on set? Mere mimicry will not suffice.

First, there must be trust. Trust between the actors themselves, and their director. Complete physical and emotional safety is a must, and there must be plenty of room to fail. As well, a willingness to try new things, to become…to stay…uncomfortable with each other builds trust.

If trust exists, it will manifest itself in an ongoing conversation between actors and director…an imaginative back and forth about the characters and story that never stops. “Action!” and “Cut!” aren’t spoken anymore. Instead, there are just tiny moments unfolding between people. Truth is revealed.

Trust and talk is important, yes. But there is something else at work here…something more deeply human.

Most people are pretty good at advice-giving, problem solving, offering our two cents at the drop of a hat. “We’re either talking or waiting to talk,” as the saying goes. But the actors in TAKEN IN must step away from this framework, and open themselves to their scene partner.

Good acting is listening.

And in the words of actor Alan Alda, “Real listening is a willingness to let the other person change you.”

What a discovery! Dig deep enough into the process of making a film like TAKEN IN, and you find the film’s theme buried deep.

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