What Parents Should Know About Kids Casting

MAY 14, 2018
Minor’s Talent Onboarding at Central Casting Los Angeles
Minor’s Talent Onboarding at Central Casting Los Angeles

Interested in getting your child in movies and TV shows? The process for casting and being on set with children is different than it is for adults, so even if you’ve worked as a Background Actor, you may not know the ins and outs of kids casting. This guide has everything you need to know to help your child be successful on set.

Register with Central Casting

Central Casting casts minors from 15 days old to 17 years old to work in movies, TV shows, commercials, and many other productions. To register, bring your child and required I-9 documentation to one of our registration sessions in our Los Angeles, New York, Georgia, or Louisiana offices. Our guide How to Get Your Child on TV and Movies has all the information on how to register and the types of roles we cast for kids.

Make sure your child’s photo and file are current

Casting Directors book their projects based off your minor’s photo in our casting platform or by any photos they ask you to submit. We know children grow quickly and their look can change in a matter of months, so it’s important to keep their casting photo up to date. Casting Directors recommend updating your child’s photo every six months or any time their look changes. If you haven’t been able to bring your child in to update, be sure to let the Casting Director know of any changes to their appearance and have a recent photo handy in case you’re asked to submit one.

Keep your minor’s work permit up to date

One of the most important documents in kids casting is the work permit. All minors need a valid work permit to work on our productions. The process for obtaining and updating minor work permits varies by state. You can learn more about work permit requirements by reading our guide or by visiting your state’s department of labor website. It’s important to keep your child’s work permit up to date so Casting Directors can continue to cast your child in our productions.

If your child is required to go to school on set, always bring a tangible photocopy of your child’s work permit to show the teacher. You will need to show this every time your child works.

Be professional on set

Being on set is exciting and gives your child a front row seat to how movies and TV shows are made. Please be aware and help your child understand that while being on set can be fun, it’s also a work environment. There are strict laws governing how long children can work on set and production is trying to get all their work in while managing the limitations on their minor Background Actors and any principal minors in the scene. Your child should remain in your sight at all times and should not be left in the care of another child’s parent or any crew member. It is your job to make sure they are safe and behaving on set.

Follow production’s directions

During filming, production will have a designated area for parents and guardians behind the scenes, but still within sight of the child. Please stay in the designated area so you don’t disrupt the cast and crew.

When your child is not filming, you may be sent to Holding, a school area, or craft services. Please don’t wander from your designated area. Studio lots and location sets are busy places, so for everyone’s safety, stay within your designated area.

Kids registering at Central Casting Los Angeles
Kids registering at Central Casting Los Angeles

Bring homework for school on set

A unique requirement for kids casting is school on set. If you live in a state with school on set requirements, you will need to bring your child’s valid work permit to show the teacher and enough homework to keep them busy throughout the day. Don’t forget to bring enough school supplies (pen, pencil, paper) for a full day.

For more information about school on set requirements in your area, visit your state’s labor office.

Have a plan for meals

Some productions provide a meal through craft services. If you are provided a meal, your Assistant Director will let you know when your designated meal period is. Craft services is available to you only during those meal times; please eat breakfast before you arrive to set and bring snacks if you need them. Production cannot accommodate everyone’s dietary needs, so if you or your child have special dietary restrictions or preferences, you will need to prepare your own food.

If you’re booked on a production that is a “walk away lunch,” no food will be provided for you or your minor. You will need to bring your own food or purchase food from vendors.

Be prepared with battery packs and entertainment

You can bring books or other forms of entertainment for you and your child while you’re in Holding. If you bring electronics, bring your own battery packs, as you will not be allowed to use production’s outlets for charging. If you plan on playing music or video with sound, you will need to bring headphones so the noise is not disruptive to production or those around you.

Temperatures on soundstages can be unpredictable, many are often kept at a very low temperature. Please bring your own blankets and sweaters, wardrobe will not provide these for you.

Central Casting Los Angeles

We’re excited to announce our new Los Angeles Kids Facebook page! This is a new and easy way for parents to find jobs in Los Angeles that are only for children. These same posts will also show up on our website in the job posts section of the Los Angeles Kids page. Keep an eye out for new posts from Casting Directors!

Now that you know the ins and outs of kids casting, you’ll be prepared the next time a Casting Director calls to book your child. Keep an eye on our job posts and brush up on our common messaging questions so you’ll know what to do if you get a message from Central Casting.

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By Meghan Dubitsky

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