Wednesday, May 31, 2006
What the H-E-double-hockeysticks is a WRANGLER?
This photo is an example of my wrangling work. What is a wrangler you ask? The other day someone thought this meant I was a cowgirl...but alas the loose definition is: A (crazy) individual who is hired to work on the set to help the baby achieve what is needed for the photograph/commercial/whatever.
Wrangling was only 12 percent of my income last year, but it was a nice change when I couldn't model. How did I become one? Well, some clients, when they book child or baby models do not have it in their budget to hire a wrangler, so often, moms are asked to help out on the set.
In January of 2005, my then 2-year-old was booked on a job without a wrangler, and she was NOT having it AT ALL. I worked my magic on set and got some really great photos from her. Another little boy was in an even worse state of mind, and I asked the client if I could work with him, because really he couldn't get any worse then he was. I was able to win him over and get some awesome shots of him. In a flash I was hired by the client to wrangle for the rest of the week.
That is what started my 12-percent-a-year wrangling career. It is one of the most demanding jobs on your mind and on your body. I almost always wear kneepads when working with babies, because they are wiggly, and we constantly have to re-set them into their positions. The most challenging part for me is reading the babies as soon as we meet eyes. I can usually tell if they will be independent enough to come on set without their parents or not.
I have to bridge the gap between our professional world and their baby world. Most of the time it goes really well. Other times the baby just isn't in the mood. This is why 99 percent of the time, more than one baby is booked for the shot. In the case of covers, it is more like 10 to 30. Many wranglers use toys, noisemakers, and other props. I do have a magic bag of items, but I usually just end up singing to them, talking to them, playing made up games, and bribing them with cheerios.
Since I am a mother, I do NOT want the baby's to be "tortured" by their experience. I want them to leave having had fun that day. And I want to leave having had fun too.
Click here for a few more wrangler photos...scroll down to Baby Wrangler Portfolio.