Kids appearing in your films

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tom hardwick
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Kids appearing in your films

Post by tom hardwick »

Filming children! For goodness sake. I always revelled in the 'silent permission' granted me at weddings to film the children. It is images of them, and the old and frail, that will make my films so watchable, so valuable, so historical. But that's an aside.

In the end, and one by one, all the schools I used to film Nativity plays at, dropped off my radar.

The last school to stop asking me to film had a policy: If for any reason whatsoever you don't want your child to be filmed or photographed, just say. Your child will not then be eligible for a part in the upcoming school play.

This worked for about 3 years (and I'm pretty sure many unhappy kids were teased or bullied about not being allowed/good enough to act). However, and this is the point, the day arrived where the excluded became the majority, and to have any school production at all meant not having it filmed.

Such a shame. All that hard work by the head of drama being allowed to evaporate into the ether. All those kids who will end up acting in EastEnders losing their first on-stage performance. The next Sir Laurence Olivier being ignored, and so on.

Do you know, this summer Celia took photos of me on a little stone bridge over a babbling brook. We both looked at them, smiled and moved on. We were surprised to be accosted by 4, maybe 5, pubescent teen girls, who stood in our path 5 minutes later .

They accused Celia of taking pictures of them down by the water, using me as 'cover'. We were impressed by the leader's bravery in doing this (peer pressure?) and Celia happily showed them the series of pictures she'd taken. Of handsome me. I was at pains to point out, gently, that we were perfectly within our rights and that I was a photographer and knew the law.

But the girls were adamant. They saw the pictures on Celia's phone and could zoom right in and yes, there they were, so please delete them. This Celia did. The girls were satisfied, and moved on.

We discussed this situation. How radicalised these kids must be to believe and think that anyone taking pictures is breaking the law / is a paedophilic child-abuser. We thought it sad that kids are frightened (in school? By parents/ influencers?) in this way.

Of course they had no right to demand this deletion, and we reinstated the images from the phone's recycle bin, but we both agreed that it's a sad and bad state of affairs to get into. Especially for this new, upcoming generation.

My view is that if you're out and about in public then brace yourselves, because you're going to be filmed left right and centre all day long, on CCTV, on phones and yes, on hidden cameras.
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Howard-Smith
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Re: Kids appearing in your films

Post by Howard-Smith »

Yes I totally agree it is a sad state of affairs when school productions can’t be filmed and people are so paranoid about photography and filming taking place in public areas. Also there’s a grey area with regard to whether a licence from the local council is required for using actors under 16 in films. Someone I know has told me that filmmakers have been fined heavily for using under 16s in films without having a fresh licence for each and every filming session, so I’ve obtained such licences when filming with her children. I’ve researched this subject but am still not totally sure that it’s a definite requirement.
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TimStannard
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Re: Kids appearing in your films

Post by TimStannard »

Howard, are you talking about under 16s who are knowingly in the film and whose parents have given permission, or under 16s who, as in Tom's examle, just happen to be in a public place and in the background of a shot?

As for school performances, we regularly films them and are often irritated by parents spoiling the film as they hold up their phones to film (despite being instructed not to by the head). It is much easier for the school to have some sort of control if they know that only one film will be produced and that it will only be distributed to parents and stuff alond with a stern warning that it may not be reproduced or streamed in part or its entirity. There are children who, for one reason or another, cannot be filmed. By liaising with us we can ensure they never appear in the finished film - something over which the school has no control when all and sundry are filming. And believe me - they WILL film, especially if they will not have the opportunity to obtain a copy film of the whole production.

These are all arguments you can use if you want to make a bit of pocket money filming.
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it
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Howard-Smith
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Re: Kids appearing in your films

Post by Howard-Smith »

Tim, my comment regarding local council licences was in connection with using actors under 16 in my films. I’ve always had full parental permission of course and have always insisted that at least one parent is present throughout every moment of filming. But whether or not a licence for every filming session is a legal requirement remains unclear. One particular parent of a child actor is convinced that this is indeed the case so therefore I do obtain a licence every time when filming with her child but I’ve never done so with regard to someone else who has been in several of my films. My understanding of IAC advice on the subject is that a letter of consent from a parent should cover us sufficiently.
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TimStannard
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Re: Kids appearing in your films

Post by TimStannard »

Howard, that's very interesting. What is the licence you apply for and receive? Do Dudley Metropolitan Council (or whoever you're under) issue a "filming children" licence? (I'm asking out of curiosity, so please don't go to any effort to dig one out)
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it
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Howard-Smith
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Re: Kids appearing in your films

Post by Howard-Smith »

Tim I’ve actually obtained the licences via Walsall Council as the child actors involved live in the Walsall area. I will email you more about this.
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