Working with youth

I have written earlier about working with minors with their special permitting and chaperone care. These are just the details of our work.

In a project for a training kit for after school programs, I had two students that were chosen to be hosts for their school tours. The program directors hand picked them. I had a screen test that the students seemed to handle just fine.

I had sent them scripts well ahead of time and made the required preproduction location surveys and was getting close to the shoot dates. I had experience other students in interviews and some small testimonials, chosen by program directors, and had good success, but this was a more demanding experience for a middle school student.

I went to one of the schools the day before the shoot. The program director called for the student to come to the office for last minute preparations. We found the student had quit the program not letting us know. Fortunately, there was a backup and was ready to go.

That student was on time and started out well. Then the surprise came. Apparently his mother didn’t know his father had signed the release & refused to let the student participate. After some wrangling by the director we were able to proceed. Fortunately, the student did a great job. Whew! What happened to the other student in the video?

You might know how difficult it is to get students from two different schools in the same place for a video shoot, but when the one you thought would be no problem isn’t prepared, you are doomed. She didn’t handle her lines well and when we had returned for a second shoot (no $$$$) she didn’t show up. Oh my! We had taped the two students together with an adult host, so we couldn’t replace her. With some creative editing and some screen test footage, I was able to pull it out (felt that way).

Lesson? Bring the students, parents and the program director together in a meeting. Develop a relationship and establish the importance of the student showing up and prepared. Parent buy-in is important and could save you on production day. Prepare for the worst and be happy with your successes.