Before You Hit Record: Rules for Working with Animals and Children

Never Work with Animals or Children?

Before you hit record on your video session, I have a a couple of “rules” for working with animals and children. But, this also could be titled, “Video Recording Rules from a Crazy Cat Lady.”

Okay, I confess. Six years ago I was just one cat shy of being a “crazy cat lady.” I had four beautiful and loving cats. Sadly, that has changed and now, I only have one kitty.

A couple of years ago I was recording some videos in my living room “studio” and…forgot to sequester ALL the cats in another room before I started.

In the middle of a what I’m sure was a “purrfect take,” this one jumps on my lap (yes, the gorgeous red head in the photo). This was Phoebe. She was full of fun, whimsy, and made me laugh. And this would not be the only video recording she would photo bomb.

Yes, it’s a bit vexing when you have to re-record, but…I’m so glad I have some outtakes from these moments. You see, it never occurred to me that I would lose Phoebe two years later and very unexpectedly when she was only nine and a half (she had a brain tumor).

I miss her terribly and I’m grateful I have video (and photos) of these moments.

Now, there are a couple of things to learn from this and W.C. Fields said it best, “Never work with animals or children.” There are many reasons that this is a complicated scenario, but primarily they are scene stealers and completely unpredictable.

So, Rule #1 – Sequester kids and animals in another room (preferably with an adult supervisor for the kids) when recording video or doing Live interviews with TV programs via Skype or Zoom .

Rule #2 – Refer to Rule #1.

Seriously though, I have worked with animals and children many times in my career and the one thing that most people seem to forget is that animals are just that – animals! And…children are just that – children!

Animals have a limited amount of good takes during the day and then they are DONE. Even well trained animals have their limits.

Children are the same and remember, they are NOT mini-adults. Your best takes with kids will be the first two or three and then…they’re done.

Now, I warmly invite you to join my Facebook Group to Grow Your Business with TV Interviews.

Marianne Schwab is the the creator of the ‘Seen On TV’ Academy and, as Audience/Authority Accelerator, she is the go-to broadcast media expert to show you how to get booked on TV and ace your on-camera interview. Her producer credits include Live with Regis & Kathie Lee, Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, Runaway with the Rich & Famous, E! Entertainment Television ON E! Specials, and many more. She has worked in broadcast for over 25 years and is currently the Executive Producer for CMP Media Cafe, a company specializing in broadcast public relations where she provides customized media coaching services for clients.

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Copyright © 2021 by Marianne Schwab. All Rights Reserved.

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