Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

The beast has landed and it smells funny

Today, our job was getting insert and reaction shots of the most terrifying, time wasting, uncooperative beast that a film crew can ever have the bad luck to try and shoot.

That’s, right, I’m talking about…

Babies.

You thought it was going to be cats, didn’t you? Not by a long shot. Everybody thinks that cats are totally impossible on sets – that’s only partly true. It’s theoretically possible to train a cat to do things on cue (I’ve seen it done). Just try to get a baby to do anything at all on cue. Go on, try it. On a set, it results in seven people crowded around all jingling keys and making funny faces at the baby in a attempt to get him/her to smile and look in a certain direction, which invariably just makes the baby either get bored and go to sleep or start crying hysterically.

Basically, you have to point the camera at the baby and pray (if that’s your thing) that somewhere in the hours and hours of footage will be a few seconds when the baby has the facial expression you were hoping for and is looking in the correct direction.

Generally, the ideal situation is to use twins or triplets, but things can still go wrong even then. Sometimes, all the babies are fussy (which is when we need a smiley one) or all the babies are asleep (when they need to be awake), or all the babies are awake (when they need to be asleep).

You get the picture.

We had it easy today, as they were using babies who had very different personalities – one was smiley and happy, one was fussy, and one had that perpetual “What you talkin’ ’bout, Willis” look but didn’t cry, which made it easy to get different reactions by simply switching the babies, so we didn’t spend nearly as much time standing around waiting on the babies as we normally do.

I’m off to bed.

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