Screen legend W.C. Fields is purported to have refused to work with children or animals, as they have a habit of stealing the show and upstaging the star. Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and his daughter Pearl proved Field’s caution is as relevant today as it was then, with The Landlord doing more to get Ferrell and McKay’s project in the public eye than a million press releases ever could.
This week, a cute-as-a-button toddler offering her surprisingly lucid plot synopsis of George Lucas’ classic space melodrama, Star Wars according to a 3-year-old piled up 3.8 million views and counting. For some perspective, that’s nearly as many people who tuned into Quarterlife‘s prime-time debut on NBC. The clip makes this viral video thing look easy, but don’t be fooled — it’s been staged to perfection.
This video response from RawVegas.tv, “Star Wars according to a 3-year-old” parody deconstructs the original clip smartly (and picked up 50,000 views in the process). It’s all in the editing. But what’s not addressed is the ethical concerns over publishing video of a child online before they’ve reached an age capable of informed consent — which commenters on the original clip voiced.A similar debate raged in the video blogging community back in November when long-time vlogger Michael Verdi posted a piece, Because Why Not? with his daughters being typically petulant children as he plays the doting parent. A flame war broke out in the comments and on the videoblogging group list, prompting a response video from Verdi and his daughters.
So while kids made great subjects, and work cheap, make sure you don’t put them in a position to hate you for it later. The kid who got the fake Xbox 360 for Christmas, and had his reaction filmed? I’m betting he ends up with some issues.