I started with a super-fun, comedic booking for the folks at Eyeconic. The final media on this one should be out soon! Here are a couple behind the scenes shots from that project.
Happy Labor Day! This was a summer to be grateful. With my first return to the industry after a full year teaching in the classroom, I was a little unsure if I'd be able to jump back in and book. Well, I did and I'm so happy that I could. Here's some highlights from a fantastic summer on both sides of the camera.
I started with a super-fun, comedic booking for the folks at Eyeconic. The final media on this one should be out soon! Here are a couple behind the scenes shots from that project.
Of course, there were plenty of trips to San Francisco for auditions. It's great to see friendly faces from Cast Images at castings. Love carpooling when we can too!
And another booking for a comedic office industrial. Yay!
There was studio teaching work for me too at beautiful locations. I missed working outside during the school year!
Plus, there were monthly sketch shows at Sacramento Comedy Spot. These keep me sane during the school year when I am not able to be auditioning and working in the industry full time. Love creating and performing all manner of random sketches with this wacky crew!
Then, in the most serendipitous way, my Gemini split actor/teacher life came full circle when I discovered that a First Grade student I had in my very first year of teaching is now a stand-up comic who frequently performs at Sac Comedy Spot too! This is Sydney Stigerts then and now. She's spunky and smart and has been that way since she was six years old. She's one to watch!!
All good things must come to an end. Thank you, summer. Until next time, I've got a hundred stories to read and ukulele skills to practice with a sweet new class of little ones.
Great behind the scenes look at studio teaching and set life!
"Director's Know: When Child Actor's Are On Set, The Studio Teacher Is In Charge"
Image by Disney taken from article by NPR (link above)
Setlife is nothing is not highly variable. As a studio teacher, it takes creativity and flexibility to support students learning on the go. Technology, in many ways, makes it easier than ever to make a seamless transition from the home classroom to the classroom on set. Here are some ways my students and I have used technology in our "classroom" on set and even on location:
So wherever a job takes me, I'm thankful to have technology to make students' jobs easier and more fun and engaging. Like on location at...
Golden Gate Park
And so many more. I'm excited to see what adventures await in 2016!
Summer is a great time to be on set. Well, at least when it's not 100 degrees! I got to travel a bit, meet lots of awesome kids, and even work with some animal stars too. This business is nothing if not unpredictable!
Here are some acting and studio teaching highlights from Summer 2014...
This "baby"kinda stole the spotlight on location in Oakland. Teslas are pretty!!
Studio Teaching in Golden Gate Park on a sunny day. Ahh...
Recognize this little monkey?
It's Crystal the Monkey from The Hangover 2 and she's the sweetest thing ever!!
What a blast studio teaching on set for Gibby, a feature film coming in 2015.
That's all for now. I won't say it's been easy to build momentum in this industry, but it sure has been awesome. Looking forward to more monkey business this fall!!!
If you, like me, have been a parent in the entertainment industry more than a few hours, you probably discovered there are a LOT and I mean a TON of factors out of your control in this industry. That being said, in order for our children to be successful, we as parents must maintain healthy mentalities and nurturing environments for our kids, control the factors within our control 100%, and let the rest go.
At times, and especially in the commercial world, talent seem chosen with as much (or as little) thought as a shopper chooses fruit at the grocery store. Imagine a gal has a hankering for apples. She travels to the store and chooses two Fuji apples that catch her eye. Does that make the other Fuji apples (or Granny Smith or Red Delicious or even the bananas on the other side) any less than the two that were chosen? Of course not. Do you think the other pieces of produce pound their stems against the counter agonizing over why she didn’t want them? Think they wait for the next shopper to scoop them up and write a check? Silly right? Castings can be like that. Let them go.
As a parent, the way we handle the process will affect our children. Treat these castings like visits to the store. Go, smile at the shoppers, and be the people that you are. Be available. If a booking does not happen this time, it’ll happen another time.
If it’s fun for your child, great. If not, find other adventures. Childhood is short and too precious to squander in the casting office.
TIPS FOR POSITIVE CASTING EXPERIENCES
-Accentuate the Positive: With my five-year-old, I use wording like “we’re going to visit our friends at so-and-so’s office” and “you get to do a camera job today.” If we have no sides, as is often the case for commercials, I say, “it’ll be a surprise!”
-Eliminate the Negative: Stay away from pejorative statements like “you lost that audition,” and “that other kid beat you.” It’s not about winning and losing. And for goodness sake don’t criticize your child’s appearance. His/her hair, teeth, skin, etc. are the way they are. You love your child. Build them up with love and help them to see each person who walks through the door with love as well. A loving heart is a happy heart and will always be much more attractive than a cute face and outfit.
-Pack for Success: When your child was a baby you toted a diaper bag with all sorts of supplies, right? With that in mind, pack an audition backpack for the casting trip. Include water, a (non-messy) snack, and a full change of clothes to utilize in the car. Also include some compact, novel, and quiet activities to pass the time pleasantly in the waiting area.
-Arrive Full, Leave Empty: Before your child steps into the building, make sure he/she has a comfortably full tummy. Before he/she leaves the waiting room into the audition area, make sure he/she has an empty bladder.
CHECK AVAILS AND HOLDS
Think of these as bagged apples in the cart before the shopper checks out. If the shopper changes her mind, they go back in the produce section. As a parent of a young child, I choose to keep these to myself. That way, if the client makes other selections and releases the hold, there’s no disappointment or explanation to make about changed plans. But if not…
Beep-beep, ring-ring! Your child booked the job! Congratulations! Now you show up to set with that little darling and let production take it from there right? Of course not. You love your child and want a successful experience on set. You still have an important role to play.
In a perfect world, the production team would think of everything your child needs and wants to be completely content on set. They would have your child’s favorite foods, entertainment, and comfy quarters. They would always put your child’s needs and desires ahead of their project vision. But the reality is that they may not.
By law, productions employing minors must possess a permit to employ and provide a studio teacher to look out for the health, safety, and morals of minors on set. (For more on the Studio Teacher's role and to learn about Child Labor Law please read my FAQ post or visit http://www.dir.ca.gov/DLSE/dlse.html) In addition to those things, your child will benefit tremendously if you advocate for them alongside the studio teacher and assistant director on set.
With a little teamwork between yourself, production, and the studio teacher, your child will have the best day possible on set. He/she will be comfortable and production will run smoothly. Here’s how to make it happen!
TIPS FOR POSITIVE WORKING EXPERIENCES FOR MINORS ON SET
-Pack Your Bags: Think of bookings, especially location shoots, as day hikes and expect the unexpected. When it comes to being on set, it is far better to "have and not want than to want and not have," particularly when it comes to kids.
Be especially prepared for weather. Shoots frequently occur out of season and kids are inevitably fighting the heat for fall/winter shoots and the cold for spring/summer shoots. Weather can also change unexpectedly. Keep a “set bag” packed and bring it with you to all shoots so you can always supplement what production provides. Here are some suggestions for items to include:
*your child’s original work permit and two copies (He/she cannot work without it!)
*healthy, non-messy snacks (ex. crackers, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, etc.) and water or other non-sugary beverages (in case your child does not like what production provides)
*jacket (to wear between shots)
*hand warmers and/or body warmers (to tuck in layers of clothing)
*undergarments (undershirts, tights, etc. to offer an extra layer under wardrobe)
*large blanket or towel (great for sitting upon and/or warming up)
*hat with a brim
*umbrella (portable shade in sun and protection from water spots on wardrobe if it drizzles)
*extra vouchers from your child’s agent (for represented talent)
*an activity or two that is compact, quiet, and clean (no markers, play dough, etc.) Even better if it's one that can be shared with new friends on set! :)
*any other comforts specific to your child's needs
-Leave Siblings at Home: Generally, insurance covers only employed minors and one parent/guardian per minor.
-Arrive Ready for Action: As with castings, bring your child well rested and fed and be sure to use the restroom upon arrival.
-School: If your child is school-age (6 to 18 years unless graduated from High School) and missing school on a shoot day, it is your responsibility to bring the work that your child is missing from your child’s school.
Three hours of school with a studio teacher is equivalent to a full school day. If your child attends school for any portion of the shoot day, it counts as six hours and that time is subtracted from the time your child can be on set!
In order to receive credit for schooling on set, your child's school may require a "pink slip" AKA a studio teacher's school report. If the studio teacher does not offer to complete one, it is your responsibility to request it prior to the completion of the project.
-Be Present at ALL Times: A minor’s parent/guardian MUST remain in sight and/or sound of the minor. The only time guardianship is released is upon signing a guardianship transfer to another adult on set who is available to care for the minor in event of emergency and/or able to take the minor from set at wrap.
-Be Your Child’s Advocate: You know your child better than anyone else. You can read their expressions. You know their schedule and their temperament. If your child needs something to be comfortable, speak with the Studio Teacher. The Studio Teacher is the intermediary between parents, minors, and production on set. Everyone on set wants a safe, successful day and happy kids. If something is not going right or makes you feel uncomfortable, speak to the teacher. If that doesn’t solve the problem, speak to the assistant director. When you do, stay positive whenever possible and remain focused on problem solving.
With a little teamwork we can be sure that our kids are happy and comfortable on set and that things run smoothly for production too. Now go out and have some FUN!
WHAT IS A STUDIO TEACHER?
A studio teacher is a dual credentialed teacher (single and multiple subjects) who has received training and passed an examination on Child Labor Laws specific to the entertainment industry in the state of California. Certificated studio teachers hold a “green card” from the state of California allowing them to work with minors on set.
WHAT DOES A STUDIO TEACHER DO?
Studio teachers, in addition to teaching school-age children, are responsible for attending to the health, safety, and morals of minors on set.
HAVE STUDIO TEACHERS BEEN FINGERPRINTED?
Yes. It is a requirement for CA Credentialing.
HOW MANY HOURS ARE MINORS ALLOWED TO WORK?
Hours of employment vary by age. This chart from The Studio Teachers breaks it down nicely:
DOES MY PRODUCTION NEED TO HIRE A STUDIO TEACHER?
By law, a studio teacher MUST be present when minors ages 15 days – 18 years are employed in the entertainment industry with only a very few exceptions (please also see “exceptions/exclusions” question regarding permits). However, minors age 16-17 who require schooling need a studio teacher only for the purposes of school and only on days when school is in session. On non-school days, they may work without a studio teacher so long as they have a permit to do so. (Please see link above for details on hours of employment.)
“Employers shall provide a studio teacher on each call for minors from age 15 days to their sixteenth birthday, and for minors from age 16 to 18 years when required for the education of the minor. One studio teacher must be provided for each group of 10 minors or fraction thereof. With respect to minors age 15 days to 16 years, one studio teacher must be provided for each group of 20 minors or fraction thereof on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, or during school vacation periods. (Child Labor Pamphlet. http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/ChildLaborPamphlet2000.html#52)”
WHAT IS THE RATE FOR HIRING A STUDIO TEACHER?
Rates are determined between production and individual teachers, however, standard rates are established and held by studio teachers within each given region of employment.
WHAT ABOUT NON-UNION AND/OR UNREPRESENTED MINORS?
The same laws apply regardless of the child’s union status and/or agency representation.
HOW DOES THE STATE DEFINE “ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY?”
The entertainment industry is defined in state regulations as ". . . any organization, or individual, using the services of any minor in: motion pictures of any type (film, videotape, etc.), using any format (theatrical, film, commercial documentary, television program, etc.), by any medium (theater, television, videocassette, etc.); photography; recording; modeling; theatrical productions; publicity; rodeos; circuses; musical performances; and any other performances where minors perform to entertain the public." [8 CCR 11751] (Child Labor Pamphlet. http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/ChildLaborPamphlet2000.html#52)
WHO NEEDS A WORK PERMIT?
“Minors aged 15 days to 18 years employed in the entertainment industry must have a permit to work, and employers must have a permit to employ, both permits being issued by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. These permits are also required for minors making phonographic recordings or who are employed as advertising or photographic models. Permits are required even when the entertainment is noncommercial in nature.” (State of California – Industrial Relations)
HOW DOES A PARENT/GUARDIAN OBTAIN AN ENTERTAINMENT PERMIT?
Obtaining a permit is free and easy. Just be sure to allow time (ideally two weeks-one month) for processing. To print an application, visit: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/dlseform277.pdf
ARE THERE ANY EXCEPTIONS/EXCLUSIONS THAT ALLOW MINORS TO APPEAR WITHOUT A PERMIT?
“Minors of any age may appear in the following venues without permits [LC 1310]:
• In any church, public or religious school, or community entertainment;
• In any school entertainment or in any entertainment for charity or for children, for which no admission fee is charged;
• In any radio or television broadcasting exhibition, where the minor receives no compensation directly or indirectly therefor, and where the engagement of the minor is limited to a single appearance lasting not more than one hour, and where no admission fee is charged for the radio broadcasting or television exhibition;
• At any one event during a calendar year, occurring on a day on which school attendance is not required or on the day preceding such a day, lasting four hours or less, where a parent or guardian of the minor is present, for which the minor does not directly or indirectly receive any compensation.
• High school graduates and minors who have been awarded a certificate of proficiency pursuant to EC 48412 (such certificate being equivalent to a high school diploma), also do not require permits [LC 1286(c), 8 CCR 11750].” (Child Labor Pamphlet. http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/ChildLaborPamphlet2000.html#52)
WHAT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF PARENTS/GUARDIANS ON SET?
Parents/guardians have the responsibility to:
-Obtain work permits for non-emancipated minors.
-Make production aware of school requirements for the minor (school calendar, educational needs etc.)
-Remain in sight and/or sound of minor at all times.
-Accompany minor to special 1 hour period calls (ex. wardrobe, publicity, make-up, etc.)
-Refrain from bringing “other minors NOT engaged by Producer to place of employment without Producer’s specific permission"
(Studio Teachers, 2009).
Want to maximize your child's success on set? Read my blog entry, CASTINGS, CHECK AVAILS, HOLDS, AND BOOKINGS: MAKING THE PROCESS POSITIVE FOR KIDS
WHAT IF A STUDIO TEACHER IS NOT PROVIDED ON SET FOR MINOR TALENT?
Parents/guardians can remove their children from the entire production and go home if a studio teacher is not provided. Additionally, fines range from $500-$10,000 for each violation and can include jail time. To file a report, see How to Report a Labor Law Violation
WHAT IF I HAVE A QUESTION NOT ADDRESSED ON THIS PAGE?
Please visit the links for the references below.
CA Child Labor Laws. Retrieved March 10, 2013, from www.dir.ca.gov/DLSE/dlse.html
Child Labor Pamphlet. Retrieved March 10, 2013, from http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/ChildLaborPamphlet2000.html#52
State of CA – Industrial Relations. Retrieved March 10, 2013, from http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/DLSE-CL.htm
Studio Teachers, The. “Working Hours Chart.” Retrieved March 10, 2013, from www.thestudioteachers.com
Studio Teachers, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 884 (2009). The Blue Book: Employment of Minors in the Entertainment Industry. Copyright International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 884.