3 Tips for Working with Young Performers

3 Tips for Working with Young Performers

Filmmakers are sometimes warned to avoid working with animals or children. Both of these situations offer unique challenges, but that doesn’t mean they don’t also create rewarding experiences too.

Child actors are taking show business by storm, and they often deliver performances as incredible and skilled as any of the top adult actors on the scene. For professionals in the entertainment industry, knowing how to interact effectively with young performers is a must. Here are three key tips to help ensure the child actors on your set feel comfortable and are able to produce their best work.

Treat Them Like Professionals

Treat young performers as if they are professionals, because they are professionals. Every child actor on your set has had to go through screening and meet high standards to get to where they are today. They’ve demonstrated their skills and professionalism already, so treating them as if they can’t keep up with the pace of the job will only hurt your production. They’ve made it this far and deserve to be treated equally to the other professionals on set.

Don’t belittle the child actors on your set, or you risk alienating them. Providing young performers the same esteem and care that you would show any other actor will encourage them to work hard and keep up with expectations. Treat them like professionals, and you’ll get professional results.

Leave Room for Fun

One of the challenges of working with young actors is that they might not have completely acclimated to the stress and bustle of a professional set. This doesn’t mean that these performers can’t do their jobs; they simply require a different sort of environment to produce their best work. Having a friendly, welcoming, and fun attitude on set will give young actors the encouragement they need to feel comfortable and work well.

When they’re not working front and center, young actors need resources to help them de-stress to ensure that they don’t get burned out. Simple provisions, such as a table of snacks or a few toys or games, can do wonders for keeping the mood on set comfortable and exciting for everyone.

Keep Their Needs in Mind

When it comes to basic needs, child actors require special attention, especially younger performers. It’s important to recognize that children do not have the same physical and mental stamina as adults, and expecting that they function the same way will likely result in discord and sub-par performances. This special attention is even more imperative for young performers in prominent and more demanding roles. Directors must be hyperaware of the needs of child actors, as it is easy for them to become overwhelmed on set.
The pressure of being in front of the camera can be extremely daunting for kids, so allowing them to take breaks and recharge throughout production is imperative. In the same way that you should allow them time to have fun and be a kid, you should also allow them quiet, off-camera time to recover their energy.

Child actors can be a joy to work with. The guidelines around working with young performers don’t have to be restrictive if filmmakers and producers don’t allow them to get in the way. Follow these tips, and your experience with young performers is bound to be a success for everyone involved.