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Careers: Acting, Performing, Directing/16 year old daughter landed lead role in latino show

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Hi Kitty!

My 16 year old daughter has been acting since she was 6 mostly independent films, but last year she filmed a local TV sitcom pilot "The Garcias" based on the directors childhood experiences with his off-beat family. My daughter plays the role of oldest sibling 15 year-old (Bernadette) who has two younger brothers, cares more about her hair, and learning to drive so she can run away with her boyfriend. In the pilot episode the parents are trying to decide how to redecorate there living room, while my daughter (Bernadette) torments her youngest brother (10 years old) by teases him that he's getting dumber by the minute after he brought home his first B on a test.

The pilot episode was recently picked up by the New York Television Festival who's very interested in looking at turning this into series after a private screening got a very positive reaction. Next fall my daughter will be starting her Jr. year in High School, and hopefully applying to colleges because she's very smart. I don't want her to miss out on a huge opportunity, and my daughter is very excited because she's work so hard at her craft for years. We're at a crossroads so what do we do? I think doing this show could bring good extra savings for college. I don't want college to be an after thought in her mind?  

Any advice would be greatly appreciated the last thing I want is my teenage daughter to hate me for killing her dreams.

Answer
You have a couple things to consider if you choose to allow your daughter to continue working on what might become a regular TV series.  Assuming it will be filmed in NY, I took the liberty of looking up the union rules for that state.

Here are a few excerpts from the Young Performer's Handbook, presented by the Screen Actors Guild (and AFTRA) http://youngperformers.sagaftra.org/

"Under the provisions of the Child Performers Education and Trust Act of 2003, all minors working in New York must have a valid work permit issued by the New York State Department of Labor... Work permits are valid for six months and require satisfactory academic performance."

If your daughter is unable to maintain good grades, she doesn't get to work.  In addition, a set teacher is provided (in NY after the second day of employment).

"Work day rules:
-- Minors may not work before 5:30 a.m. or after 10:00 p.m. on evenings preceding a school day (work days must end by 12:30 a.m. on non-school days). The minor's final work day must be concluded at least twelve hours before the
beginning of the minor's next regular school day.
-- On a school day (determined by the calendar of the district where the child resides),school age minors must receive at least three hours of instruction. Maximum allowable hours and times of instruction vary by grade level.
-- Minors through age 15 must be accompanied at all times by a parent or guardian. The parent or guardian is entitled to be within sight and sound of the minor at all times." (This includes hair/makeup and wardrobe).

You can read through the handbook in much more detail on the website.  If everything is set up according to union rules and guidelines, it is possible for your daughter to both work and attend school.  Of course you know her best, some people can handle the demands of working while going through school, while others can only focus on one or the other, but not both at the same time.  In any case, the work permit is only for six months each time; if her grades slip too far, she won't be eligible to work, and you have the right to be present with your daughter her entire time on set; for safety, supervision, and ensuring that she continues with her education as well.  

Good luck to you both, whatever you decide.
~Kitty

Careers: Acting, Performing, Directing

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Kitty Kavey

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I can answer questions from those looking to get into the fashion or commercial modeling industry. Specifically, the requirements, what is needed, how to find an agent, what they look for, how to avoid scams, the difference between what a commercial model does, and a fashion model, would travel/relocation be required, what is on a comp card and in your portfolio.

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Both my acting and modeling resume/portfolio is available online on my website. I am a member of the Screen Actors Guild, and also have available my actor's demo reel and voice-over demo online. I founded both the Florida-Models.com and Florida-Actors.com websites, which provide free modeling and acting info to the public. I have moved into directing, producing and screenwriting - and have won awards for my writing. I have worked in the industry as both a model and actress in Florida, New York City and Los Angeles until October 2007. I now reside in Europe.

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