Working with children is notoriously difficult, but it can also be extremely rewarding.
Especially if you’re a relative newbie, you might find it safer to follow the old adage never to work with animals or children, but they can not only sometimes be a necessity for a project, but they can also really add a lot to the end result.
With that in mind, here are three top tips for making things a little easier when working with children.
Understand the Responsibility
First things first, it’s important to know the responsibility that you have to take on when working with children, as well as the obstacles that you might have to overcome.
For example, it’s a good idea to do some research on child employment law, understand that you’re going have small windows of time in which to work with your younger stars, and make sure that the set is a completely safe working environment.
You can learn more about obtaining a child performance license at Film London.
You may also have to set aside some of the budget for a ‘baby wrangler’, such as Filming with Kids. Baby wranglers have traditionally been more of a feature on film sets in the US, and are professionals who work with children on film sets to help make them comfortable and get the best performance out of them.
Get to Know Them
It’s always important to get to know the actors that you’re working with, and this applies with younger ones too!
Make sure to take some time out before the shoot begins to really get to know them, and make sure to help them feel included, showing them round the set, showing them how pieces of equipment work and such.
The more comfortable your younger actors are in the film set environment, the better kind of responses you’ll get from them once the cameras start rolling.
It’s important to create the right balance of a fun environment that everyone enjoys working in, but maintaining the right level of professionalism to get the job done.
Keep an Eye on Energy Levels
If you have children yourself, you’ll know that their energy levels can be way out of sync with adults, running round causing mayhem one second and having a snooze the next.
It’s important to understand that children can be unpredictable like this, and you need to be able to adapt.
Children won’t have the same stamina or patience as an adult would do to go through loads and loads of takes and rehearsals, so you have to show a little bit more patience and be prepared!
Try to get the shots you need as quickly as possible so that the kids on set don’t get bored or burnt out!
It might be a good idea to try and set up a little reward system so that your younger stars have some sort of incentive to work hard, whether it be some sweets, a small toy, or anything that’s ok with the parents really!