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5 Essential Documents Every Child Performer Needs

May 31, 2017

Preparing the Essential Paperwork Required for Your Child's Career

The entertainment industry is filled with paperwork.  And though we're becoming a very paperless society,  there are still a few essential documents you should carry with you whenever your child is auditioning or working.  In many situations you will need hard copies of important information.  As part of your job as a responsible parent, preparing paperwork is indeed your homework.  Thankfully Children In Film has all the information and tools you need.

Maybe you've seen this scenario: your child books a job and your family couldn't be more excited!  You get word from your agent as to where the shoot will be, and what you need to wear.  You inform your school that your child will be missing class and you collect the proper study materials. You pack a bag with snack items, school supplies and extra things to keep you both busy. (It sounds like you've been following the KidStart Program - good job!).

The day of the shoot arrives; excitement and nerves are high.  You report to the set. You feel prepared, you've listened to your agent, and you're ready to go... or, at least you thought you were.  Alas, many times parents and performers are unprepared with the following items; don't let it happen to you:

1.)  Entertainment Work Permit

Did your permit expire? In California, Entertainment Work Permits expire every six months and should be kept current for auditioning and for work.  Even with the State's new online system, it can still take days to get a permit approved.  It's just better to be safe than sorry. Enhanced Members are encouraged to utilize our Permit Service department if you have questions about the process or need assistance processing a permit in a hurry. 

2.)  Statement of Trustee

Did you open a Coogan Account? Anytime you book a job, your child's employer will need a Statement of Trustee, evidencing proof of a blocked trust account as required by CA law. You may or may not have been warned that Coogan Accounts must be opened and documentation must be presented to production within certain time constraints. 

Search for reputable Coogan Account providers, and review the KidStart program - particularly steps 2,3 and 5.

3.) Extra Headshots

Every aspiring actor is in need of a good headshot. The headshot is your first impression on any potential agent or manager, and will be the tool casting directors use in order to determine who they'd like to see at an audition.  While it would seem obvious that you will need great photos when auditioning for work, it's also imperative that you carry extra copies when you work.  You never know who you will meet on set and your child's photo should be treated like a business card. Want to know if your headshots stack up against the rest? Compare them with winners of Children In Film's Photo Contest.

4.)  Tax Reporting and Immigration Information

Do you have all your ducks in a row for the payroll department?  Are you not sure how to fill out tax documents for your child?  Do you have a copy of your child's birth record, social security card or passport for his I-9.  Copies of these documents should be kept on hand so that payments for work can be processed without delay.

5.)  Updated Resume

One important piece of paperwork your minor must have is a solid resume and you should keep it current at all times.  While it's fairly easy to update your Children In Film profile so industry pros  can find you, it's equally important to keep a paper copy updated and stapled back to back with your headshot.  Read our section on photos and resumes to make sure that these important pieces of paperwork are up to speed.