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Jerik
Jun 24, 2019

I don't know what to write here.

Hey, just ran across this subforum, and since I have a somewhat unusual job, I figured I may as well start a thread here in case anyone's curious about it. I'm a studio teacher—I work with kids on film sets. (That includes TV, commercials, promos, any time a kid is going to be on camera.) Specifically, whenever there's a minor on a film set in California, there's required to be a studio teacher present. If it's a school day, the minor is required to have three hours of school time on set, and it's my job to make sure they get it (and to help them as necessary). If it's not a school day (or if the kids are too young to be in school yet), then they don't have to do schooling on set, but there's still required to be a studio teacher present, because it's my job not just to teach the kids, but also to look out for their welfare and make sure the production isn't trying to do anything dangerous, illegal, or inappropriate with them—so I don't have to teach them, but I still have to be there to keep an eye on things. (Unless they're 16 or 17—then a studio teacher is only required on a schoolday. But for kids 15 and under, a studio teacher is required regardless.)

I said "in California", but actually the requirement still holds for productions that shoot out of state as well, as long as either the production company is based in California, or the minors are California residents. I've so far only worked out of state once myself, though.

I should note that I don't have any stories about working on major studio movies, or anything like that. I work mostly on lower-budget productions: indie films, student films, low-budget commercials. The main reason for that is because, like everything in the entertainment industry, there's a union for studio teachers, and I'm not in the union yet—and the really big-budget productions generally use union crews. So I can't really answer questions about working with kids on blockbuster movies (at least not from personal experience). I am on a "Dual Credential Substitute List" where, since I'm otherwise qualified, I can be called up if there's a union production that needs a studio teacher and there are no union studio teachers available, but that rarely happens; because of the list, I've worked a few days on a Netflix show, a few on an indie movie that used union crew, and one day on a major network NBC series, but that's about it.

Anyway, I don't know if anyone's going to have any questions or any curiosity about this, but, like I said, since it's a somewhat unusual job I figured I might as well start a thread just in case.

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Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.




How do you determine your curriculum situation here? Like how do you know what to go over?

Do the actor kids go to regular school most of the time?

How did you get into the job?

PT6A
Jan 5, 2006
THE VOLKSWAGEN DEFENDER HAS LOGGED ON

What are the kids like? Do they appreciate you? Do they resent you?

Are there certain age groups that are easier to work with, or that you enjoy working with more, or conversely, hate working with? I know a substitute teacher and he has... strong feelings about various grades he teaches.

How much parent involvement is there, typically? I sometimes deal with older teenagers (typically 15-17) in my job as a flight instructor and I've had some great parents, and seen some absolutely loving horrific parents.

Jerik
Jun 24, 2019

I don't know what to write here.

Nessus posted:

How do you determine your curriculum situation here? Like how do you know what to go over?

A lot of child actors are homeschooled and have online programs that determine their curricula. For those who aren't, they generally check with their teachers ahead of time and get their work in advance for the days they'll be on set. In either case, I don't have to worry about the curriculum; I just have to worry about making sure they get in the time to do it, and helping them as necessary. (I haven't actually kept track of the proportion of kids I've worked with who have been homeschooled, but if I'd have to make a rough guesstimate, I'd say maybe around half? Maybe a little less.)

There have been times when kids came without enough schoolwork and I had to come up with things for them to do, but those are the exceptions rather than the rule. In those cases, I ask them what they're currently going over in school, and try to find something suitable either among the papers and workbooks I bring with me or online (the educational websites I've used most often include http://www.splashlearn.com and https://www.sciencekids.co.nz. In extremis, if I can't find anything that fits what they're currently studying, I can let them read (a suitable online book if they don't have anything with them). As long as I can justify it being educational and school-related, I can be flexible with what I can count as schooling if I have to be, particularly if the student is all caught up with their actual schoolwork.

I'd imagine when there's a child who's a series regular on a TV show and on set every day for months, things are different and the studio teacher may have to have a larger hand in planning the curriculum, but again I haven't been in that situation myself.

Nessus posted:

Do the actor kids go to regular school most of the time

Like I mentioned above, a lot of them are home schooled. But those who aren't, yes. When they're not on set, they just go to regular schools. The studio teachers have report cards we give the students at the end of the day that they can take back to their schools' admissions offices to show that they actually had schooling on set, and if they have those report cards the schools are legally required to excuse their absences. Although they're called "report cards" and have a space for grades, most studio teachers don't actually give the students grades; they just put checkmarks there. At least for kids who are only on set for a few days or weeks, the report cards are more just to show they had schooling on set rather than to actually determine their grades.

Oh, here, I can show you what one of the report cards looks like:



Yes, they're pink, and we sometimes call them "pink slips", which I guess could theoretically be confusing given the other meaning of that phrase, but in practice that's never come up.

Nessus posted:

How did you get into the job?

Well, when I was still in grad school, I got into teaching, not so much because I'd had any great aspirations to do so as because I needed money and that happened to be the job I got. Separately, I'd always sort of wanted to get into acting, but had never known how, and eventually did manage to get a few acting jobs and get involved in that world as well, getting parts in some independent movies. Of course, this wasn't easy to work around a full-time teaching job, but through being involved in acting I found out about studio teachers, which I hadn't previously realized were a thing and figured if I wasn't likely to be making a living acting or writing or in other creative pursuits any time soon (that being what I really wanted to do), that might be an ideal "day job" to have if I needed one; I already had experience as a teacher so it might not be hard to get into; it would give me a flexible schedule so if I did get more acting roles it would be easier to deal with; and it would put me regularly on set and in the film industry.

It took a while to get into, though, because you can't just decide to be a studio teacher; you have to be licensed. And before you can be licensed, you have to have a teaching credential—which I didn't have; I had worked as a teacher, but as a private school that didn't require actual teaching credentials. So I had to get my teaching credential—technically I had to get two credentials, because normally in California you'd get either a Single Subject Credential if you're teaching middle school or high school, or a Multiple Subject Credential if you're teaching elementary school, but to be a studio teacher you need both, and the Single Subject Credential has to be specifically in math, science, social studies, English, or a foreign language. (Mine is in physics.) Then, after you have both credentials, you have to take a twelve-hour class put on by the state labor board about child labor law and policies involving children on set, and then take an exam at the end of the class. So it took a few years to get all that and finally get my license.

(In some regards my path is fairly typical... a lot of studio teachers were previously classroom teachers, and a lot of studio teachers also do some acting on the side.)

PT6A posted:

What are the kids like? Do they appreciate you? Do they resent you?

Oh, for the most part I get along great with the kids. Most of them may not be thrilled about the prospect of doing schoolwork on set, but they know it's something they have to do—and hey, they only need three hours of schooling on set, so it's less time in school than they'd have on a regular schoolday. (I did have one kid try to talk me into just saying he was doing his schoolwork without his actually doing it: "No one will ever know!" But he didn't take it badly when I refused.)

I'd say there's only one kid I ever had a real problem with, and that's because I caught him goofing off playing games on his iPad when he said he was using it to do schoolwork—that was, if I recall correctly, in the second week of a two-week shoot, and he kind of resented me for the rest of the shoot. But he was a handful anyway. He wasn't a regular actor (though he had his own YouTube channel he was proud of)—that was his first time on a movie set, and if there is justice in the universe it was also his last.

PT6A posted:

Are there certain age groups that are easier to work with, or that you enjoy working with more, or conversely, hate working with? I know a substitute teacher and he has... strong feelings about various grades he teaches.

I know as a classroom teacher, I had trouble with middle school—but on set I haven't really had much trouble with middle-school kids. I think it's largely because the sorts of kids who would misbehave and cause trouble in school would also cause trouble on set, so they don't get hired; for the most part child actors are relatively well-behaved. There is some difference in behavior, though; I think the younger kids do seem to be... well, friendlier, for lack of a better word, or at least more inclined to talk to and interact with the studio teachers even outside of school time. The older kids want to be more independent, and... well, not that they're unfriendly, but they're more interested in doing their own thing as much as possible. That's a generalization, though, and not true in all cases, of course.

PT6A posted:

How much parent involvement is there, typically? I sometimes deal with older teenagers (typically 15-17) in my job as a flight instructor and I've had some great parents, and seen some absolutely loving horrific parents.

I've heard horror stories about demanding stage parents who only want their kids to act so they can get a cut of the money, but I haven't run into them myself. For the most part, the kids on the sets I've been on did seem to genuinely enjoy what they were doing, and their parents seemed to be reasonable and supportive, if in some cases a bit eccentric. (Again, though, that type of stage parent might be more common in big national commercials, which I've never worked on because they're union productions.) If anything, rather than parents being too meddlesome, I've run into parents who kind of go the opposite direction. Minors are required to have a parent or legal guardian on set as well as a studio teacher, and technically the parent is also supposed to be within sight or sound of the minor while they're on set, but I've worked with parents who were content to just stay in the trailer or green room or some other place where they can't really see or hear their child. I don't press the issue—my job is to make sure the minor is okay; if the parent wants to be lax about their parenting I'm not going to get in their face about it. Even if they're not going to be within sight or sound of their child, though, actually leaving the area is another matter, because that could cause serious liability issues if something happens to the minor. If a parent really has to leave or can't come with their child one day, though, there is a workaround: they can appoint someone else as temporary guardian, either a friend or relative or, if one is willing, even a crew member (as long as that crew member will be in a position where they can reasonably keep tabs on the child). I've been on a few sets where parents whose kids work regularly have paid people to be temporary guardians when the parents couldn't be there, which... seems weird, but is legal. I guess there are people who... I was going to say who make a living as temporary guardians on sets, but actually I doubt they do it full-time or get paid that much for it; more likely it's just a way for them to pick up some extra money. (The few paid temporary guardians I've encountered have all been fairly young; I guess for them it's just an odd kind of babysitting job.)

Baronash
Feb 29, 2012

So what do you want to be called?

Jerik posted:

look out for their welfare and make sure the production isn't trying to do anything dangerous, illegal, or inappropriate with them

What kind of authority do you or the guardian accompanying the child have if you feel a situation is unsafe or innappropriate? Like, if the scene from Twilight Zone is about to play out in front of you, what are you empowered to do? Same question for something that isn't illegal, but verges on skeevy like Sia's Elastic Hearts video.

Baronash fucked around with this message at 07:02 on Apr 7, 2020

N. Senada
May 17, 2011


What’s your workspace like? Are you given a space privately or is it someplace other people come thru?

zmcnulty
Jul 26, 2003



Jerik posted:

If it's a school day, the minor is required to have three hours of school time on set

This makes me wonder, how much work do these kids actually do on set? Like if the kid is the lead in some TV show I suppose it's a full day. But if they are Boy Holding Rake B (or whatever extra) and just have to stand in the background in a single scene, wouldn't they have much much less work to do? Is the three hours of schooling still mandatory? If there are multiple kids of varying ages, do you teach them all at once?

Baronash
Feb 29, 2012

So what do you want to be called?

You said that studio teachers are a requirement on a film set. Does that requirement extend to other parts of pre and post-production? Would you be onsite if a kid needed to be part of a table read or ADR session?

Jerik
Jun 24, 2019

I don't know what to write here.

Baronash posted:

What kind of authority do you or the guardian accompanying the child have if you feel a situation is unsafe or innappropriate? Like, if the scene from Twilight Zone is about to play out in front of you, what are you empowered to do? Same question for something that isn't illegal, but verges on skeevy like Sia's Elastic Hearts video.

Well, obviously the first thing the studio teacher does if there's an unsafe or inappropriate situation is talk to production and tell them to change it. But if production refuses to budge, the studio teacher can call OSHA (if it's a safety issue) and/or the state labor board (if it's a matter of something inappropriate for minors or a violation of child labor law), and the production can end up getting shut down (and if it's a serious issue the producers, or whoever's responsible for the situation on set, could end up in deep legal trouble). That rarely actually happens (in large part because production knows it could happen and therefore that it's probably a good idea to resolve the issue before it gets that far), but in principle yes, there are means of enforcement.

N. Senada posted:

What’s your workspace like? Are you given a space privately or is it someplace other people come thru?

Depends on the set. By the book, production is supposed to have a separate classroom set aside just for the studio teacher and the minors, where they can work without being disturbed. In practice, in lower-budget films, that often doesn't end up happening, and we just have to find a place as out-of-the-way and quiet as we can. If the minors have their own dressing rooms, as happens on some of the not-quite-as-low-budget range of the low-budget productions I usually work on, we can use those as classrooms when the student needs to do schoolwork.

In the few union productions I've worked on, though, I had my own entire trailer. That was nice. (Well, technically the trailer belonged to the regular studio teacher who normally worked on the show and I just got to use it for the day.) I think that's actually the norm on major productions—the studio teacher does get a private space for the school—but as I said, since I'm not in the union yet, I don't work on a lot of those kinds of productions.

zmcnulty posted:

This makes me wonder, how much work do these kids actually do on set? Like if the kid is the lead in some TV show I suppose it's a full day. But if they are Boy Holding Rake B (or whatever extra) and just have to stand in the background in a single scene, wouldn't they have much much less work to do? Is the three hours of schooling still mandatory? If there are multiple kids of varying ages, do you teach them all at once?

If it's a schoolday, they have to do three hours of school regardless of the time they're actually on set. Yes, I've worked on productions where the kids were extras who were just in the background of a scene or two, and they still had to do three hours of school. Heck, on the NBC show I worked on that one day the two kids I worked with were only in one scene; they were in school longer than they were on set. (They did have lines in the one scene they were in, though; they weren't extras.)

There is one exception: if the kids go to their regular school before coming to set, they don't have to do schooling on set. However, there are legal limits to how long a minor can be kept on set (depending on their age), and if they went to their regular school, that counts toward six hours of their time on set, regardless of the time they were actually at their regular school. So, for instance, normally a 10-year-old can be on set for a maximum of nine hours a day—or nine and a half hours, counting a half-hour lunch. If that 10-year-old went to their regular school before coming to set, even if they only stopped by their school for an hour, that means they can only be on set for three hours, or three and a half hours if they're there for lunch. But if they're only going to be needed on set for an hour, that could still work out better for the production than having them do three hours of school on set.

As far as teaching all the kids at once if they're of varying ages: yes, but remember that most of the time the kids bring their own work, so most of them don't need that much close supervision and it's not as difficult as it sounds. There are limits to how many kids one studio teacher is supposed to be able to handle, though. If a production is using a lot of kids on the same day, they may need to hire multiple studio teachers: they're required to have one studio teacher per ten kids if it's a schoolday, or one studio teacher per twenty kids if it's not. (I worked on a music video once where there were seventy-something kids, which meant production had to hire eight studio teachers.) Now, if there are multiple kids in different grades who each need a lot of help with their schoolwork, then it might also be a good idea to hire multiple studio teachers, even if there are fewer than ten kids total, but in that case it's not required.

Baronash posted:

You said that studio teachers are a requirement on a film set. Does that requirement extend to other parts of pre and post-production? Would you be onsite if a kid needed to be part of a table read or ADR session?

In general, yes; if the kids are being paid to act, a studio teacher has to be present. That includes table reads and voiceover. Again, though, there is one exception: if it's not a schoolday, if the kids are doing something that doesn't require their actually being on a film set (wardrobe fitting, promotional publicity, ADR, etc.), and if they're going to be there for less than an hour, then they don't need a studio teacher. But if it's a schoolday, or if it's going to take longer than an hour, then a studio teacher is required even for ADR.

[ETA: Actually, it's not even just if the kids are "being paid to act"—the laws apply even if the kids aren't being paid. (Which, for instance, is sometimes the case in student films, or really-low-budget webseries; actors who are just starting out—kids and adults—often do unpaid acting work to get material for their reels and resume.) Basically, all this applies "where minors perform to entertain the public" under someone else's direction, whether or not they're being paid for it.]

Jerik fucked around with this message at 05:02 on Apr 8, 2020

Baronash
Feb 29, 2012

So what do you want to be called?

What's the process for getting from where you are now to getting into the union? And for you, what was the attraction to studio teaching vs general substitute work?

This is pretty cool by the way. One of those jobs I never knew existed, but makes total sense once you hear about it.

Jerik
Jun 24, 2019

I don't know what to write here.

Baronash posted:

What's the process for getting from where you are now to getting into the union?

The primary requirement to get in the union is that you have to have had 30 days of work on union sets within a one-year period—which isn't easy to get, because of course union sets hire union studio teachers. So the main ways to get union days are either to get lucky and be working on a project that isn't union when it starts but then goes union—if you were already working on it, you're grandfathered in and can continue to work on it even though it's union and you're not—or to get called in on a union job because there are no union studio teachers available. Like I mentioned before, I have worked a few days on union sets for the latter reason, but unfortunately not 30 days within a one-year period.

By the way, there's something I realize I should have been clearer about earlier: there are multiple unions involved in the movie industry, and a particular production may be a signatory with one union and not with another. The most famous union in the industry is, of course, SAG-AFTRA, but that's just for actors. Most of the crew unions, including the union for studio teachers, are part of IATSE, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. (Well, that's its original name, and what the acronym stands for, but its full name is now the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada.) IATSE also includes unions for cinematographers, makeup artists, etc.—most of the crew members who work on sets. (But not directors, who have their own separate union, the Directors Guild of America, unaffiliated with IATSE.) A lot of even relatively low-budget productions use SAG-AFTRA actors, because, well, most experienced actors are SAG-AFTRA members (and also SAG-AFTRA is very strict about its members not doing non-union work). But IATSE can be more expensive, since there are generally a lot more crew members than there are actors—and since SAG-AFTRA does have affordable low-budget contracts available to low-budget productions. Most if not all of the big production companies have contracts with IATSE that require them to use IATSE crew members for productions above a certain budget—I forget what the threshold is; I want to say two million dollars, but that could be wrong, and it could actually vary by company. But a lot of indie productions don't use IATSE crew, even if they do use SAG-AFTRA actors. So when I say most of the productions I've worked on have been non-union, I mean only in terms of IATSE—most of the productions I've worked on have used SAG-AFTRA actors, but they've used non-union crew.

Baronash posted:

And for you, what was the attraction to studio teaching vs general substitute work?

Well, as I mentioned, one of the main reasons I got into studio teaching was because I had done some acting and liked the idea of having a "day job" that was in the film industry—and, unlike a regular classroom teaching job, it would allow me to set my own schedule. But I have worked as a substitute teacher (briefly, while I was getting my teaching credential), and that's not something I would want to go back to—even without the film industry connections, I like working as a studio teacher a lot better. Yes, unlike a classroom teaching job, being a substitute teacher does allow a flexible schedule, but that's about the only advantage it has over full-time teaching, and that's something I also get as a studio teacher. And as a studio teacher, I'm dealing with much fewer students at a time; I'm usually working with relatively well-behaved kids... and honestly it's just kind of fun being on set. And the pay is a lot better for a studio teacher than for a substitute... and will be better still when and if I get in the union.

Oh, another minor perk of being a studio teacher, or any job on a film set, really: you get free food, and the food on a film set is generally very good. If you're there for more than six hours, production is contractually required to provide you with a full meal, and even if you're not, there are always plenty of snacks available outside of mealtime. (The department providing the snacks for a film set is called "craft services", and that term—or "crafty" for short—is often informally used to refer to the area where the snacks are, or the snacks themselves: "I'm going to go see what's at craft services.") Of course, this varies depending on the budget of the production; student films may just have some chips and granola bars for craft services, and the meals may just be pizza or be something from Panda Express or El Pollo Loco. But on the bigger sets, and especially on union sets, there can be a huge variety of different choices available at craft services, and the catered meals can be restaurant-quality, with multiple entrees you can choose from.

There are disadvantages to the job, of course, the main one being the unpredictability of the work; while on average I work pretty regularly and make a decent income (well, usually; right now of course I'm not working because all production is shut down due to the COVID-19 coronavirus), I don't necessarily know my schedule in advance, and may not know when or even whether I'm working on a given day until the night before... which can make it hard to make plans. Of course, if there's a day I have an appointment or something I really want to do, I can just say I'm unavailable that day, but I don't want to take too many days off, especially if I don't know how many days I'll be working that week. Again, this isn't an issue for studio teachers who work regularly on the same show—a TV series with kids in the cast will generally have a regular studio teacher who works on the show every day—but in my situation I work for many different productions usually for a few days at a time, or often (if it's just a one-shot commercial or music video or a movie that only has kids in one or two scenes) only for a single day. Still, I enjoy the work, and while there may be something to be said for the predictability and regular schedule of a full-time classroom teaching job, there's nothing I miss about working as a substitute teacher.

GoutPatrol
Oct 17, 2009

Coal Jobs for the Coal God


Nap Ghost

What's the most kids you've had to work with in one day? Do they all have their 3-hour class block together, or it is staggered depending on their work schedules? How would teaching work on a set where you have a wide age range of kids (like, from 6 to 16.)

Jerik
Jun 24, 2019

I don't know what to write here.

GoutPatrol posted:

What's the most kids you've had to work with in one day?

Sorry for the delayed response—was away from the forum for a bit. Anyway, as I mentioned in a previous post, there's a limit to how many kids can be on set before you need another studio teacher. You need one studio teacher per ten kids if it's a schoolday, or twenty if it's not a schoolday. The set I've been on that had the most kids was a music video for a popular Nickelodeon teen singer (though, since I'm not really up on my Nickelodeon teen singers, I had never heard of her before that job and didn't find out till afterward how well-known she was, at least among the relevant demographic); there were seventy-something kids on that set, but that meant there were also seven other studio teachers (it was a schoolday), so I only actually had to supervise ten of them...

...In theory. In practice, many of the other studio teachers just seemed content to sit in one place and zone out and assume the kids were doing their work, so I ended up doing more than my share of walking around and actually checking that the kids were doing their schoolwork and helping them as necessary. I've been on other sets with multiple studio teachers where the head studio teacher (there's always a designated head studio teacher) assigned each studio teacher a specific group of kids that were that teacher's responsibility, but on this set that didn't happen, so it was... honestly kind of chaotic.

As for the most kids I've ever had on a set by myself, with no other studio teachers... hm. I'm honestly not sure, offhand. More than ten, certainly (on a non-schoolday), but I don't recall that I've ever been on a set with the maximum of exactly twenty. If not, it's been close, though. I do remember I did have the maximum of ten on a schoolday at least once.

GoutPatrol posted:

Do they all have their 3-hour class block together, or it is staggered depending on their work schedules?

Depends on whether they all have to be on set at the same time. Technically, they should all be having their class block together, since the studio teacher should be present when they're on set, and the studio teacher also should be present when they're in school, and the studio teacher obviously can't be in both places at once. So ideally, if the kids can't be in school at the same time, there should be a second studio teacher. In practice, lower-budget films often don't do that, and the rules get bent a little. I've let productions get away with some of the kids being in school while others are on set as long as whichever kids I'm not with have their parents with them... and as long as the set and schoolroom are close to each other. If the set and the schoolroom are in different buildings or far enough apart that you have to drive between them, though, I do have to draw the line there; even if I'm not actually in the same room as some of the kids (as long as their parents are there), I'm not okay with not at least being in the same general area.

It's better, though, of course, when all the kids do have their blocks at the same time, or, if that's not possible, if production hires multiple studio teachers so one studio teacher can be with each set of kids. Which is the way it's supposed to happen, really, and I'm pretty sure that's the way it does happen on the larger, bigger-budget sets.

GoutPatrol posted:

How would teaching work on a set where you have a wide age range of kids (like, from 6 to 16.)

That happens, and it's usually not really a problem. Again, most of the kids bring their own classwork from their regular schools or their homeschool programs, so I don't need to come up with my own curriculum for them, and most of them are pretty self-directed and actually don't need a lot of supervision or help; I'm always there to help them if needed, of course, but most of them know what they're doing enough that I don't actually spend a lot of time focusing on helping out any one kid, so working with multiple kids at once isn't an issue, even if they're at very different grade levels. Of course, if there are multiple kids who do need a lot of help and direct supervision, then things can get a little harder and one might have to wait a bit while I'm helping out another, but that would be true regardless of their age range.

Fleta Mcgurn
Oct 5, 2003

Porpoise noise continues.


Are there any curricula specifically aimed at this demographic? I know you said they bring their own materials, but is there a standard "Studio Kid" curriculum of some kind?

Jose Oquendo
Jun 20, 2004

At the end of 2018, a study was published by London Metropolitan University showing that certain bacteria, normally present only in intestinal tracts or feces, were found on McDonald's self-service screens.


Is this pretty much every kid you work with :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZDdQWeNmL8

Jerik
Jun 24, 2019

I don't know what to write here.

Fleta Mcgurn posted:

Are there any curricula specifically aimed at this demographic? I know you said they bring their own materials, but is there a standard "Studio Kid" curriculum of some kind?

There's no special curriculum for kids on film sets, no. Kids who go to their regular schools just get their assignments from their regular teachers in advance for the days they'll be on set, and do the same assignments as kids in their class who aren't actors. Kids who are homeschooled just use their usual homeschool programs, which aren't specifically geared toward actors. On the rare occasions there've been kids that haven't brought their own work and I've had to come up with things to do, I just came up with assignments based on what they're supposed to be learning at their grade level.

There are a handful of special schools that do cater specifically toward child actors, or who have enough child actors attending them that they make special arrangements for them, but they're very much the exception to the rule, and even then each school does things differently and there's no standard curriculum across them.

Jose Oquendo posted:

Is this pretty much every kid you work with :

I'm, uh, I'm just going to assume you weren't actually expecting a serious answer to this question...

Odddzy
Oct 10, 2007
Once shot a man in Reno.

How spoiled are the kids on average in comparison to "regular" kids?

Jerik
Jun 24, 2019

I don't know what to write here.

Odddzy posted:

How spoiled are the kids on average in comparison to "regular" kids?

Well... child actors tend to come from relatively wealthy families. Acting lessons aren't cheap, neither are headshots (and while an adult actor may be able to get by with new headshots only every few years, child actors are changing fast enough they need them more often), and so on. That's not to say that all child actors come from rich families. You don't technically need acting lessons to get an acting job, and while headshots (and heck, to a lesser degree even acting lessons) can be expensive, they're not so prohibitively expensive that a working-class family couldn't pay for them if it was a high priority for them and they saved up and made some sacrifices. (Professional headshots cost a few hundred dollars—and really, even they're not completely necessary to get an acting job, though they certainly help.) But still, overall, though not all child actors come from well-off families, demographically they definitely skew wealthier than the general public.

But as far as being "spoiled" in the sense of always demanding their own way and not getting exactly what they want... no, that doesn't really usually happen. After all, those children are there to act, and a big part of acting is following directions. They have to say their lines; they have to do them the way the director says; if they're told they have to stay away from the set until further notice because the grips are rearranging the heavy lighting equipment, they're going to do that. A spoiled child who won't do what they're told won't get work as an actor, because no director is going to want to work with them. At best, they might get cast once before anyone realizes what they're like on set. So, at least in my experience, the kids on set tend to be well-behaved and pleasant; I haven't really run into any kids on set I'd consider spoiled (with the possible exception of the one kid I mentioned in a previous post who got resentful about my catching him playing games when he was supposed to be studying—but again, that was his first acting job).

Mind you, I'm not saying it never happens. Maybe I've just been lucky. I'd also imagine kids who come from influential families and have more weight to throw around might be able to get away with more on set, but again I haven't worked with any kids that way. (I have worked with some kids who've been on big projects, though... I worked once with the boy who voiced the lead character in Coco. A really nice kid, and completely down-to-earth... though admittedly I guess he's not exactly a household name; he may have voiced the lead role in an Oscar-winning movie, but most people have no idea what he looks like, or even what his name is (Anthony Gonzalez, for the record).)

Odddzy
Oct 10, 2007
Once shot a man in Reno.

Wow, thanks for the response. It sounds like a hard life for the kids.

Jerik
Jun 24, 2019

I don't know what to write here.

Odddzy posted:

Wow, thanks for the response. It sounds like a hard life for the kids.

Hm? How so? The kids I work with generally enjoy acting—their parents don't push them into it; their parents get them into it because the kids get interested and want to try it out. The kids genuinely enjoy their time on set. (Again, I'm not saying this is always the case, and I have heard of stage parents who get their kids into acting not because their kids want to do it but mostly so they can get a share of the income (minors' acting income is partly protected, in that a certain fraction goes into a special "Coogan account" where it's held till they turn eighteen and their parents can't touch it, but an unscrupulous parent could potentially get their hands on the rest), but I haven't really run into those cases—and I suspect that happens mostly on the big union commercials, and the kids in question are just among a sea of extras.)

I mean, yes, being an actor is a lot of work—memorizing lines, sitting in the makeup chair for extended times, trying to hit your marks and match your actions between takes while accounting for any redirection the director might give. But it's work that the kids enjoy doing. I wouldn't say it's really a hard life for them. Heck, I wish I'd gotten into acting when I was a kid.

What it isn't for most of the kids I work with is a way to make a living (not that at their age they need to worry about making a living yet). Most of these kids don't work all that often—maybe a few days a month if they're lucky, and most of them much less than that. There's a reason there's the cliché about all the waiters in L.A. being aspiring actors—the vast majority of actors aren't working regularly enough as actors to get by without a day job, and that's no less true of child actors (minus the day job part). Of course, they're going out for auditions as well when they're not acting—and that part I'm not involved with; studio teachers aren't required to be present for auditions. But when they're not on set and not auditioning—which is most of the time—they just live the same as any other kids.

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pisshead
Oct 24, 2007


How do you keep them away from Dan Schneider?

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