1. Always be early. If your call time is 9 a.m., please plan on arriving 15-30 minutes early, to allow for breakfast, getting lost, checking in with the correct person. When you first get to set, introduce yourself to the 2nd AD (Assistant Director) or look for someone with a walkie talkie who can announce your arrival on the radio so that the person you need to check in with can find you.
2. Assume that your child will be whisked off to wardrobe as soon as you arrive. This may not happen, but if it does, be ready to go. This means, have your wardrobe and paperwork with you at all times. Do not leave anything in the car. When you meet the Wardrobe Supervisor (or assistant), take note of their name, in case you need something while you are on set. For instance, if you find that your clothes or shoes are uncomfortable or need to be adjusted, ask someone on set to call for Wardrobe. Do NOT ask the director or someone outside of the wardrobe dept., because they will be annoyed and unable to help.
3. Please make sure that you keep your child’s work permit current. If you ever show up on set without a permit or an expired permit, they will send you home. Period. Don’t forget your Coogan account information and your child’s ID (passport, birth certificate, report card, etc..for the I-9). Know how many deductions you want to take on the W-4.
4. When the Sound Operator (or assistant) puts a microphone pack on you, ask them their name. This would be the person that you would find when you need to go to the bathroom (and turn off your mic), at lunch, or wrap at the end of the day. Do NOT ask wardrobe or some random person on set to take the microphone off for you, do NOT do it yourself, and be aware that when you are wearing the microphone, everything you say is being heard by someone else.
5. When you meet the hair and makeup department, ask them their names. If you are on set and would like some gloss on your lips or some powder, do NOT ask the hair stylist – kindly ask someone with a walkie talkie to let makeup know that you need something. Conversely, if you need help with your hair on set, ask for someone in hair and do not bother the wardrobe supervisor or someone who can’t help you.
6. When an AD or PA (production assistant) comes to get you to take you to set, please be ready to go at that instant. Do not make them wait for you or decide at that moment that you need to use the bathroom. There are people waiting on set to start shooting and they do not want to be waiting for you.
7. Please monitor your child on set. Do not allow them to eat junk food all day. Do not allow them to eat candy that will color their tongue and teeth (it looks horrible on camera). Please make sure to always feed your child before they come to work, even if they say they are not hungry. The work days are long and the main meal may not be until late in the afternoon, which is later than most kids are used to eating lunch. Lunch is 6 hours from the crew call, which is printed on the call sheet.
8. Do not bring other children, relatives or friends to set. It is one parent/guardian for one child, unless you have gotten permission from production for an additional guest.
9. Don’t ever leave your child unattended on set. Do not sit in your car charging your cell phone or take your child away from the set or their holding area without letting the Studio Teacher and AD know.
10. Let the Studio Teacher and 2nd AD know if your child has special needs, like food allergies, medications that need to be taken at designated times, or special educational needs/requirements.
11. Be prepared to stay 8 ½ or 9 ½ hours (depending on child’s age) from the time you start. That means, making arrangements for other children at home and clearing your schedule so that you don’t have anywhere to be.
12. Always bring 3 hours of school work for your child (unless it is a weekend or summer). That means books to read, assignments from school, a laptop, worksheets, and practice books that you can buy, in case they don’t have enough homework. Don’t assume that there will be a wireless connection available, so bring hot spot or your own device to get online.
13. Please prepare all of these items, plus any wardrobe that you’ve been requested to bring, and your child’s school work, the NIGHT BEFORE. If you do it in the morning, when you are tired and rushed, you are sure to forget something.
14. Never leave set without turning in your voucher, contract or time card to an AD or before returning wardrobe to your trailer or the wardrobe supervisor. You may also have to sign out on a SAG-AFTRA time sheet.