My son recently booked a small role in a feature film and I thought about how I prepare for the time we will be on set. There are many moving parts and it is best to be aware of what to expect before you show up with your little star. Here are a few things you need to know!
1. Print, read, and re-read the booking email!
This email is vital to you showing up professional and prepared. Once you are booked for a job you should receive a call sheet or info that shows the following:
- Shoot/booking date – the day you are booked for the job
- Your call time – the time you should arrive on set
- Set location – the address you report to
- Parking information – this can sometimes differ from the set location
- Set contact person – call this person in case of emergency or if you are going to be late for any reason
- Wardrobe information – always bring 2-3 extra outfits for your child. This includes an extra set of socks, underwear, and shoe options. There will often be specific info based on the role that determine the colors that can and cannot be used, as well as restrictions regarding logos, branding, and style, time period & season.
- Rate of pay and overtime- if you have any questions regarding this handle this prior to getting on set with your agent or whoever booked the role for you.
You should always be aware of how long you are required to be available on set. You may be booked from 12pm -5pm but only work from 12pm-3pm. If you are getting paid by the hour, make sure you know how many hours you are guaranteed.
Ask if there will be overtime pay as well. You may also be paid a flat rate regardless of the length of time you work. Keep in mind small babies usually can’t work more than an hour and small children may have limits as well that vary by state or union rules. Make sure you understand and are okay with all terms and conditions before your child starts any job.
2. Bring a pen!
In order to work and get paid on most sets the parent or guardian will need to fill out a number of forms. These can include but are not limited to:
- model release forms
- non disclosure forms
- tax forms
- proof of identification
- model vouchers
If you do not understand any of the forms ask questions and be sure to take a photo of everything you sign for yourself and your agent.
3. Don’t forget permits and proof of identification!
You and your child will likely need to provide proof of identification, and in some cases a valid work permit and trust information. Don’t forget to bring your driver’s license or state ID as well as the social security number of you and your child. You cannot work or get paid without the proper credentials and ID. If you are unsure of what is required or how to obtain any necessary permits – ask before you arrive!
4. Pack a snack and activity bag!
Fight boredom and nerves with snacks, toys and activities that are age appropriate. Sure, they may have craft services (food on set) but they may not. And there is no telling if they will even have something your kid will like.
Set days can be long – especially for older kids – and you don’t want a grumpy, hungry child to contend with. Puffs, fruit, granola bars & popcorn, juice boxes and water are all great choices.
Just be sure your kids don’t have any candies or gum that can change the color of their mouth. Also, messy, sticky food and candies are a no, no. Especially once the child has been changed into her wardrobe!
Activities can include baby toys and lovies, crayons, paper, books, electronic tablets, or other small items that can keep your child occupied while you wait. Don’t forget the baby wipes, tissues, and hand sanitizer – because kids are a mess (duh) and there could be a lot of people milling around and coming in contact with your child.
5. Photos and tearsheets…
Ask permission to see if you can take any pics behind the scenes. Get clear on their policy for sharing on social media as well. I have had clients who want you to tag them in photos and others where it is strictly forbidden.
Ask your contact on set to see if she knows when the project will be released and who you can contact for digital copies of your child. You have no idea how hard it can be to find the work your child does once the job has been wrapped.
These will not be sent to your agent. It is your responsibility to track them down so make it easy for yourself! It never hurts to ask – even if the answer isn’t what you want to hear.
Simply knowing what month or season the project will hit the public can help you narrow down your search and help you locate your little one so you can add it to their portfolio…and brag of course!