Getting Started in the Industry

We cover all the topics essential to making it in entertainment in a specific order that gets
results.

Organize

Organization is extremely important on your path to success. Balancing your child’s career and schoolwork along with the regular demands of having a family and a life of your own is a challenge. Organizational methods such as carrying a notebook or programming your smartphone won’t cut it; within the entertainment industry, there will always be rules, laws, and tons of paperwork. With a little extra homework, you’ll find yourself well prepared for any situation.

Business Tools

Smart Phone

  • A private phone number to give out to industry professionals (don’t give out your home phone number)
  • GPS mapping app (Scout, Google Maps, Waze, etc.)
  • Calendar/planner to keep track of auditions/expenses
  • Email access
  • Additional apps useful for the business such as Tiny Scan, an app that turns your cellphone camera into a scanner allowing you to keep records of any documents you are requested to sign, especially when there is no available copy, or even keep electronic copies of your time cards 

Post Office Box | a permanent address

  • Do not give out your home address, this will help keep you safe from scams and predators
  • PO Box operators can receive packages (messengers, FedEx, etc.) and forward your mail
  • A permanent PO address eliminates the need to notify multiple parties of address changes. You don’t want to miss your residual checks!

Physical Map & Printed Directions

Even if you have a good GPS, do not assume it’s a miracle worker. You may still want to find and print out directions from an online source, such as MapQuest, as a backup. It’s good to know where you’re going before you get in the car and how long it will take to get there so that you may add extra time for traffic or delays. Don’t be on time, be early!

“To Go” Bag

You should always have a bag packed and ready to go with the essentials for auditions or jobs, for calls can come in at any time. Being prepared for such an event will help with your success. This bag should contain:

  • Extra clothing: Pack a jacket in case the weather turns cold, or the AC is on high. Zip ups or button down are better than pullovers because they keep hair and makeup intact.
  • Snacks: It’s a good idea to bring juice and snacks, but try to avoid foods that contain large amounts of sugar, caffeine, or dye that can stain clothes, teeth, or tongues.
  • Toys & activities: Audition wait times can be long. Try to make the waiting time fun and enjoyable for your child by packing a few quiet items. Helpful Tip: Older kids and parents might consider bringing head phones to drown out waiting room gossip.
  • Headshot & resume: Your child’s photo and resume should be stapled back-to-back. Have 10 extra copies on hand just in case. The resume should include your agency information (if available) and a note that your child has a current/valid entertainment work permit.

Legal Information & Record-Keeping

Rules and Laws are different in every state and it’s important to understand your child’s rights under the law. If your child books a job on location, be sure to review the laws for your home state as well as other states in which you intend to work.

Here is a list of record-keeping documents that industry pro’s are likely to ask for:

  • Original birth certificate or green card (click here for information on obtaining lost records)
  • Social Security Number (have copies of your original card if possible)
  • Picture ID (click here for passport office and information)
  • Valid work permit (mandatory in some states including CA, GA and NY – click here for a list of state requirements).
  • Coogan Blocked Trust Account Info (mandatory in some states). Click here to learn more about minor blocked trust accounts.

Schooling

School age children (6-17 years old) are required to maintain satisfactory academic standing. Entertainment work permits that are required by law in major hubs cities (such as Los Angeles and New York City) are only obtained after your child’s school has signed off on the application form.

Now is the time to communicate with your child’s teachers, counselors, or principal and let them know of your plans to pursue a career in entertainment. You will need the cooperation of the school and to communicate with them frequently about missed days and assignments.

Parents of children who audition frequently and are consistently working usually consider home school as an option. Regardless, it’s important to consider how you will manage school in your industry endeavors while you are getting organized.

Do the right thing!
Although Coogan “Blocked Trust” accounts are not required in all states, we strongly recommend that parents open such accounts. It’s a smart investment in your child’s future.  (Tip:  if you open an account in CA it will be good in every state.  UTMA and UGMA accounts are not valid in CA)

Continue Reading