They say to never work with children or animals, but children have so much to offer the film industry: cheek, charm, and natural ability.
However, as much as it can be beneficial to work with children when filming your advertisement, there are some tips and tricks that can make the process easier for everyone involved.
If you’re apprehensive about filming with children for your advertisement, or you’re just after a few pointers, here’s our quick guide to working with children when filming an advertisement.
Know the rules and regulations
Unlike working with adults, filming with children comes with a lot of red tape and it is essential that you understand the boundaries of your child actors.
If your child actor is under school leaving age, they may need a performance license to be in your advertisement.
If the child requires a performance license, they will also need an approved adult to be with them at all times on set – this could be a parent, guardian, or ‘house parent’ which is a registered chaperone.
There are also many restrictions when it comes to child employment which you can read about here. For example, children are not allowed to work for more than fours hours without a break for at least one hour.
Be aware of the children’s energy levels
Children don’t regulate their energy levels in the same ways that adults do; one moment they could be entirely hyperactive and the next they could be dozing off to sleep.
We spoke to the guys from Filming With Kids who said: “Kids often have bursts and depletions in energy without you expecting it. This means that they’re less able to do take after take like adults can, nor can they go through the same gruelling rehearsal process.”
Be mindful of this when you’re on set and try to do the majority of takes when your child actors are feeling energetic – this is when you’ll get the best performances out of them.
Keep the children entertained
It’s not all fun and games on set, there are often lulls in morale and sometimes things can get a bit boring, especially for children.
Children usually aren’t able to occupy themselves as well as adults can in these situations, so it’s crucial that you have an assortment of things like toys and games on set to keep them entertained.
This would also be a good time to get to know your child actors and to let them get to know you. Ask them about themselves, why they like acting, what they do in their spare time and, most importantly, if they’re enjoying themselves. You never know – you might be able to bring out some of their hobbies and interests on set!
This guide is simply scratching the surface of what you need to know when working with child actors, but working with children can be endlessly beneficial, so don’t be afraid to involve them!