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WORKING WITH MINORS 

Working with minors requires both special preparation and attention to safety and care. This is a serious legal issue. A child working on a film is technically employed, even if they are not paid. Therefore, state child labor laws apply. Yes, even for student films. 

PRODUCTIONS WITH MINORS 

Minors must have a Permit to Work before they can be employed. They must bring the Permit to the set with them each day they work. Studio Teachers will want to see these permits before they allow a child to work in your film. It is the responsibility of the minor’s parents to obtain this permit. Be sure to ask whether the child has a permit when you are casting the film.

 

Permits can be obtained at: 

Department of Labor Standards Enforcement 

6150 Van Nuys Blvd. Room 100

Van Nuys, CA 91401

(818)901-5484

 

Any request for filming with minors must go through the Production Approval Process. 

Minors are not covered under Pepperdine’s blanket insurance and require additional approval. 

TO WORK WITH MINORS, STUDENTS MUST:

  1. Provide any additional Insurance required for production with Minor.

  2. The child must have a permit to work.

  3. The student filmmaker must hire a studio teacher.

  4. The student filmmaker must obey all child labor laws.

Therefore, if your script calls for a child, you need to plan ahead. Consult with your Professor for permission to enter the process. 

 

Working with minors will be subject to script review and approval by Production Operations and Underwriter. An additional premium and or risk control may be required. In order for any exclusions to be covered, Underwriters working with Production Operations will require the following: 

 

  • A detailed description of the scene and how it pertains to the story.

  • Shot lists and storyboards.

  • Details on where and how the scene will be performed.

  • Detailed shooting schedule with breakdown of times minor will be on set.

  • Details of all safety protocols put in place to protect people and property.

  • Name and contact information of studio teacher.

  • Proof of enrollment in an upper level Screen Arts Class or an approved Screen Arts Co-curricular.

RULES REGARDING MINORS: 

All California laws regarding working with minors can be found at studioteachers.com

 

State Regulations 

  • The child must have a permit to work

  • A studio teacher must be hired to look out for the safety and welfare of the child. The child may not perform any act that the studio teacher does not allow. The studio teacher has the discretion to remove a child from your production.

  • Studio teachers are required for all children, even when school is not in session. A parent or legal guardian must be present at all times.

  • If using an infant from 15 days to 6 months, a nurse must be present. No infant under 15days old may be employed in a film.

  • The amount of time that a child may work will vary based on age.

Work hours of minors

  • No more than 8 hours in one day of 24 hours

  • No more than 48 hours in one (1) week

  • No earlier than 5 a.m.

  • No later than 10 p.m. on evening preceding school day

  • No later than 12:30 a.m. on an evening preceding a non-school day

 

If a child is in a film, it may seem fun. But you are technically making them work. Sets are dangerous. Use extreme caution and always consult and obey your studio teacher. 

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WHO IS A STUDIO TEACHER? 

A Studio Teacher in California is a credentialed secondary teacher who has been certified by the Labor Commissioner as a Studio Teacher (they have passed a series of tests and are familiar with the laws governing the use of children in films). You can’t just use someone who has a teaching credential. 

 

As a general rule, a certified Studio Teacher must be present whenever a minor is working. A Studio Teacher is required to be present for minors ages sixteen to eighteen “when required for the education of the minor” that means that a Teacher is not required on non-school days weekends, holidays and summer vacation, for example. 

 

In addition, the legal guardian or parent of the minor must be present the entire time the child is working and within sight and sound of the child. Relatives, neighbors or babysitters are not legal substitutes even if they have written permission from the parent or legal guardian. 

 

The term “studio teacher” is often misleading. The fact is, that teaching is, arguably, the least important of the teacher’s responsibilities. In California, a Studio Teacher is responsible, by law, for the health, safety and moral well-being of the child or children working on the film. The term “welfare worker” is sometimes used and is much more appropriate. 

 

A Studio Teacher has the absolute discretion to remove a minor from a production without any repercussion if the Teacher feels that the health, safety and/or moral well-being of the minor(s) may be compromised. Because of this responsibility for the health, safety and moral well-being, the Studio Teacher is required even when school is not in session including weekends. 

MINORS PERFORMING PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES 

Physical activities may include walking, running, throwing a baseball, etc. Prior to rehearsal or filming, the production should perform an initial review of the physical activity, including but not limited to: 

  • The age, height, weight, and maturity of the minor

  • The physical fitness, coordination, expertise in the planned activity, and film experience of the minor

  • The amount of additional information and movement the minor will be asked to consider (i.e.camera position, acting, looking over shoulder, waving arms, etc.)

  • How wardrobe or props will affect the actions and/or vision of the minor, the amount of rehearsal and preparation time which has been provided

  • The appropriate amount of protective gear or equipment necessary to safely perform the activity

  • The area around the minor during the activity, and any other factors affecting the minor.

Prior to rehearsal or filming of the physical activity, the Director, First Assistant Director, and Stunt Coordinator should confer with the minor, minor’s parent/legal guardian, and Studio Teacher to review and discuss the activity. 

 

Please note that some physical activities may constitute a stunt and minors may not engage in any stunts. 

A FEW POINTS TO REMEMBER: 

  • Young children have shorter attention spans than adults and they tire quickly. The work hours of minors are strictly regulated and vigorously enforced. The total number of hours a child may work are determined by the age of that child. Extension of these hours is not allowed. There are penalties for violation.

  • Given the shorter working hours of children, you must schedule shooting time accurately and realistically.

  • The presence of a minor on the set means you and your crew must conduct yourselves professionally and responsibly to insure the safety and well-being of those under your supervision, who are not able to care for themselves.

 

For additional information on child labor laws and obtaining permits for minors, visit the Department of Industrial Relations site: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/DLSE-CL.htm 

WORKING WITH MINORS PRODUCTION APPROVAL PROCESS 

  1. Minor/Studio Teacher Confirmation form.

  2. A copy of Minors Work Permit must be delivered to Production Operations prior to filming.

  3. A copy of the Studio Teachers Certificate must be delivered to Production Operations.

  4. All insurance paperwork for Minors required for Production.

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