A number of truly fantastic child actors and actresses have graced our screens over the years in television and film, and it would be fair to say that they make it look pretty easy.
However, what the viewers see is the end result of many months of hard work and time spent on film sets.
Working with children on camera is probably just as daunting for the film crew or photographers as it the youngsters.
You might be wondering how the directors and film crew do such a wonderful job working with younger children with the risk of stage fright, tantrums and non-cooperation potentially looming at any point.
Here are five top tips when it comes to working with young actors to help bring out the best in their acting skills so that you end up with the best possible material for your project.
Build up a rapport
It’s really important that you build up a positive understanding with the child early on in the filming process, ideally before the cameras are switched on.
Gaining the child’s trust is key as highlighted in Timid Monster’s article discussing tips for directing children. This can sometimes be more effective outside of rehearsal time, therefore, see if you can arrange a time with the child’s parents to take them out for a milkshake.
This will go a long way in the child being able to trust and be more comfortable around you, which will be a big help on set.
Create a positive environment
Children respond much better to positive energy and will become much more comfortable in a filming environment which is friendly and welcoming as recommended in Backstage’s article.
Help the youngster to overcome any nervousness about acting on set by introducing them to the rest of the cast members and film crew. You could even take them around the set and show them interesting pieces of equipment.
While this might sound simple, it could go a long way in making the child feel more at ease and comfortable in an unfamiliar environment.
Bring in the baby wrangler
Time is clearly of the essence when filming, therefore, a very effective solution to ensure that your young actors are cooperating and performing at their very best is to hire a baby or child wrangler.
The role of baby wranglers is to help make the child feel as relaxed and happy on the film set as possible so that the director and film crew can get to work on achieving the best possible shots.
Filming With Kids very own baby wrangler, Peter, said that “Filming must fit in with the child’s schedule. It sounds obvious, but this is often overlooked. There are also some tricks of the trade to keep children animated without wearing them out like making sure there is a supply of their favourite toys.”
So if you yourself will be working with children on a film or photography set then it could definitely be worth considering hiring a baby wrangler to help make sure that your time on set goes as smoothly as possible.
Know when it’s time to stop
It’s no surprise that spending a long day on set will result in young actors becoming tired, bored and unproductive. To help maintain a higher level of productiveness and ensure that the child is really giving all they can during production, try and get your shots as quickly as possible.
Furthermore, if things aren’t quite going the way you’d like them to, then it’s perhaps time to call it a day. You certainly don’t want to run the risk of making the child feel stressed and discouraged, so make sure you know when it’s a good time to stop for the day, or at the very least, have a break.
Always say thank you
Lastly, it’s vital that you always remember to thank the child for their hard work and cooperation, as well as telling them how great they have been.
This can really go a long way in maintaining a positive vibe, and it also lets the child know that you appreciate all of their hard work. Rewards are also a great way of saying thanks and sustaining a good relationship with the child.
All in all, make sure that the child leaves the film set with a smile on their face! For more tips on encouraging your child’s cooperation on camera head to the Clickin Moms blog.
Featured photo credit: Shutterstock via shutterstock.com