On this week's episode of the No Film School Podcast, we lead a fascinating discussion on how directors can work with young actors to produce astounding performances. Our guests include director J.A. Bayona (The Orphanage, The Impossible), first-time screenwriter Patrick Ness, and 14-year-old Lewis MacDougall, the leading man of A Monster Calls.

A Monster Calls, which hits New York and Los Angeles on December 23rd, is not your typical feel-good holiday story. It follows a child as he slips further and further into a fantastical relationship with a tree monster in an attempt to cope with the impending death of his mother.

For the actor, screenwriter, and director, the film’s heavy themes posed many questions. How emotionally intense should a screenwriter render a child's role? How does a director encourage a young actor to reach deep into his emotional depths? And what does it take for the actor to get there?

It took the efforts of all three to pull the final product off. Here's how they did it.

Listen to the episode by streaming or downloading from the embedded player above, or find it on iTunes here.

Please subscribe and rate us on iTunesSoundcloud, or the podcasting app of your choice. You can play all of our No Film School interview episodes right here:

This episode was produced and edited by Jon Fusco.