Making a short is hard and expensive, so if you’re in a position like me where your kids have already taken all your money, why not put them to work! With their endless energy and ability to never stop talking, they’ll make for some great unpaid talent. So if you’re trying to upskill with some filmmaking R&D, forget calling Tom Hanks, because your kids will bring the drama. Here are a few benefits of casting your own kids in your next short.
Cost-effectiveness. Using my children as on-camera talent saves me a significant amount of money since I don’t have to pay for child actors, studio teachers, or a casting director. Plus, I can just bribe them with snacks and such, instead of paying them with actual money.
Example: “Nail this shot and I’ll let you watch Netflix until your Mother realizes and starts screaming at us.”
Building Memories. Not only am I testing out new technology, but creating a memorable experience for the family. Hopefully the film will serve as a reminder of a special time we had, or else it’ll definitely ensure I have enough embarrassing footage to bring up at their weddings.
Flexibility. Because I am basically a bus driver for my children’s activities, I know their routines and schedules. I can work my creativity around their availability, rather than going back and forth with an actor and their managers and their agents and their girlfriend’s dog sitter, so on and so forth. Like, when my daughter has soccer practice or when my son has a tantrum because we ran out of grapes, you can just work around it. Also, we have a natural chemistry and understanding of one another, which can lead to more believable and authentic performances. This is a nice way of me saying, you can yell at your children and get them to do what you want because you made them.
So get yourselves some mini humans and start filming. Don’t have kids? Knock on your neighbors door, find your nieces and nephews, heck, borrow mine. People say “don’t work with kids,” but I say do it. There are millions of them running around without a job so go make them work. Just have snacks handy.
And if all else fails, use your sister’s dog Wrigley.