I just did a photoshoot for a German department store catalog. They flew to NYC and shot exteriors in Brooklyn and SoHo. It became a combination of things I don't want at a photoshoot:
1.) Outdoors in hot, humid heat
2.) Heavy down coats as wardrobe
3.) Child models
One would think this would be a deadly concoction for things to go terribly wrong. I was sure of it. We were all cranky and the kids were getting overheated and even more cranky. Things could've gone way worse, but there was one particular model, 13 year old Simon Jimenez. Like wow, his parents have raised him to be a model human being! (yes, pun intended)
This young man never once complained, and wore 5 layers of a clothing, a down coat, a wool hat and scarf, and skateboarded, all with a smile on his face! There was a moment when I had to section off each of his 8 sleeves (layers upon layers) to show on camera, and the poor kid actually tried to keep his arm straight for the entire time. I told him, "No no. You just hold my hand and rest your arm". I cannot begin to describe to you the amount of weight I felt when he relaxed his arm and held my hand. He was really trying to create less work for me and wasn't going to say anything about it!
When we went on break, I took off his layers until he was down to his base: a long sleeve thermal shirt. The kid was actually going to keep his sleeves rolled down to keep from getting wrinkled. "Nope," I said, "You roll those sleeves up to your armpits and get some air on those arms. You will not suffer!!!"
At the end of the shoot, Simon went up to every single person of the crew, shook their hand, and looked into their eyes. With a genuine grin on his face, he said, "Thank you. Thank you so much for everything." You can tell he meant it and it was real every time he repeated it. When asked what he was going to do with his new earnings, he said "I'll probably save it for my education or something. I can't really think of anything I want to buy so...yeah. My education."
I was told Simon has a twin named Spencer who was equally wonderful the previous day. Since they were identical twins, the client thought it was only fair to book both of them for a day.
Readers, I am gushing about these young men because we don't see this anymore. I don't experience nearly enough of this behavior on set and we certainly don't see this in our "regular" kids. I don't want to go on a tirade about these newer generations and a failed system and all that....no. I just want to say that moments like that make a sweltering day full of hardships totally worth it and if your child has potential to do that, I suggest your raise them to do just that: be wonderful people.