Schooling For Child Actors
Schooling For Child Actors
Gabrielle Schary (Casting Director) gives expert video advice on: How does a child actor go to school while on a set?; Is the education of a child actor monitored closely? and more...
How does a child actor go to school while on a set?
They go with the studio teacher, who is employed to be on set to keep an eye on their welfare and to teach them their appropriate school work based on what grade they're in. It could be in a separate room. It depends where they're shooting. If they're shooting in the studio, it could be a separate room. If they're shooting on location it could be in a trailer. If they're shooting basically anywhere that's going to have a separate, quiet, uninterrupted space, those are the requirements that they dictate. It's got to be comfortable temperature-wise, lighting-wise, and it's got to be quiet where they can do their homework.
What is a 'set tutor'?
A set tutor is also considered like a studio teacher. It's somebody who has teaching credentials but is also been established with the state as somebody to look over children's welfare on set. So when they are shooting, they are there making sure they are safe and when they are on their school break after their work time or before their work time, they can either, the whole time they are on set they are allowed so many hours of work, so many hours of school, so many hours of rest and relaxation. So when it is determined that it is time for their schooling, the studio teacher or the set tutor will take the children to a location and help them with whatever, wherever they are at with their own schoolwork.
How many hours of school a day do child actors receive while on a set?
Depending on state regulations. Every state is probably a little bit different, but in California, babies have the least amount of time on camera; newborns as little as 18-20 minutes. Then children up to a six year age can have six hours on set, while children 6-9 years can have 8 hours on set and then 9-17 can have 8 hours, but they have more work time, less school and more relaxation and recuperation than the younger ones do. So depending on how old your child is, and depending on what state your child is going to be working in, depends on the hours of schooling that they receive. It's good idea to go online and find out from the Labor Board what the maximum amount of time your child can work or is allowed to work, and then make sure the production doesn't accidentally exceed that.
Are studio teachers accredited by a state board or agency?
Yes, you need credentials, and you have to be tested. It's a state given license, so you have to be registered with the state and meet the criteria. If you are a studio teacher, you need to have teaching credentials. If you're a nurse for a baby, you have to have nursing and paediatric credentials. That person is the person responsible for the welfare of the child, so the state makes sure that they're credible, and that they're not just some person that was put in this position.
Do studio teachers make their own lesson plans?
They usually try to maintain, in my experience, the consistency of what education the child is going through. If the child is in the third grade, and they are doing this book report that is due, they will keep on the projects that their regular teacher has given them so that they don't miss out on their education.
What are the signs for parents to tell a good set tutor, or a bad one?
Basic professionalism and attention to detail. A set teacher or studio teacher that is aware of the regulations is concerned, is compassionate to the children, and is disciplined enough to make sure that production doesn't exceed what they're supposed to do.
Is the education of a child actor monitored closely?
The education of a child actor is not monitored so much in commercials, because there's not consistency. You may work a commercial, and then not again for three months, and it'll most likely be a different studio teacher. The school teacher, if your child's enrolled in a regular school, will be able to determine if your child working in the film or commercial industry, is suffering from it in any way. If their grades start to slip, if they miss too many days of school, that would probably be the most consistent barometer.
Do child actors do well once they return to normal school?
It depends on how balanced and centred the child is, and how the parents have helped to keep community in the child's life. Has the child been able to maintain the friendship with their neighborhoods friends and their school friends? Have been able to maintain their particular activities? As the kids go away for six months and then come back, it is going to be the emergence part all over again. It is almost like the new kid coming back.
Do many child actors go to college?
I really don't have the statistics on that, to be honest with you. Children will either continue on in the film business, or they may make enough money to go away to college. That just depends on the child. It's very individual.
Can a child actor earn enough to pay for college?
It is reasonable to assume that if you are in a big city and your child starts to establish a reputation and professional relationship with casting professionals, that they could make enough money to, if not pay for the entire college, at least make a dent in the tuition. With that said, I would not put my children in this business to pay for college. I would put my children in this business because they really felt a calling to be a performer.