Let’s talk about child actors.

And then let’s talk about the art of reading a breakdown posted on the various sites.

I have recently been in touch with SAG-AFTRA regarding whether or not a Coogan Account is required in the State of Texas. The reality is that it is not, but it should be. Right now, only California, New York, Louisiana and New Mexico require that account.

Parents, a Coogan Account is named after the incredibly famous child actor, Jackie Coogan. When he was 18 or so, he found out that his parents, particularly his mother, had pretty much spent every dime he had made and he had literally nothing to show for all those years of extremely hard work. He ended up suing his parents but recovered almost nothing.

Please talk to your banker and your accountant because I am neither.
However, I will strongly encourage you to open an account in your child’s name. Expenses having to do with the child’s career (travel, hotels, food, training, transportation, etc., etc.) may be paid out of that account but that money is earned by your child and should be held in trust for him/her. It could be college tuition some day!

SAG-AFTRA has one of the most concise and clear explanations I’ve ever seen of the Child Labor Laws. They were kind enough to provide me with the
following link:

Please take the time to read it.

And thanks to Trish Avery, Executive Director of SAG-AFTRA local DFW, for the following:

“Although there is no federal ‘Coogan’ law, the Texas courts may require a portion of earnings be set aside for a minor in a trust. (See Tex. Probate Code sects 903-904). We highly recommend all minors have a trust account set up for them.”

Laws vary from state to state, so it is incumbent upon you to do your own research in your own state.

Parents, I am presenting a 3-hour seminar on September 20th in Austin entitled “SHOW BIZ KIDZ: HOW TO”. The Seminar will cover the right way to get your child involved: getting and keeping an agent; work permits; State of Texas laws regarding minors on a set; avoiding scams; how to prepare a resume; headshots; training; not spending an unnecessary amount of hard-earned money; safety and so much more. Avoid the pitfalls and create some fun memories (not to mention the possibility of college tuition) for your child. Please contact me for additional information. donise@acastingplace.net

And now, for reading a breakdown. I am completely stunned by some of the things I am seeing posted on the various sites.

If this is a multi-million dollar corporation wanting to pay you $500 or $600 for a day’s work AND use fee, you are being severely ripped off.

The word “PERPETUITY” means FOREVER! And, conflicts mean that you can’t do a commercial for a like company. As an example (and this is just an example and not based on a real breakdown) if IBM wants you to work for a day for $500 and that includes use in perpetuity, then you can NEVER do a commercial for a conflicting company such as Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Dell or any other computer company. Think about it. Another major computer company may be looking for talent for a SAG-AFTRA national commercial (tons of money plus residuals for each time it airs) which could result in thousands and thousands of dollars but you will be in conflict and unable to participate! Please note, there is no conflict when you do print work, but there certainly is when you do a commercial!

Be sure to find out the USE of any commercial. Is it regional, national or worldwide? Union or non-union? Is it television or web? How long will it run? What are the conflicts? Know before you go!

If you have an agent and your agent didn’t submit you, it is most likely because the pay is too low and the use too excessive! Discuss anything that you intend to self-submit on with your agent before doing so!

Thanks to all of you who have been kind enough to write about the monthly column. And, as always, thanks to Dan Eggleston for his approval in doing this and posting it to his various sites.

Let me know if you have any specific questions you’d like answered.

And remember, I am expressing my opinion only, not that of any other CD. Also, always keep in mind, that your agent has the final word on everything pertaining to your career, so listen to him/her!

Did you know that August is the only month with no official holidays? So, Happy entire month of August!

Hope to see you at the Network Austin Mixer on the 13th!

Donise L. Hardy, CSA
C August 1, 2014

Posted by: Donise Hardy on August 1, 2014 @ 2:11 am
Filed under: For What It's Worth

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