A guide for parents.
CALIFORNIA WORK PERMITS:
You can apply for a Minor’s work permit (ages 15 days to 18 years) online, by mail, or in person. I recommend the Van Nuys office if you go in person.
A note prior to applying online: Be sure your school uses a STAMP rather than an EMBOSSING MACHINE, since you can only used embossed letters by MAIL, they don’t scan for online applications. As almost all notaries now use a stamp rather than an embosser, try to get your school to use a stamp or, if they use an embosser, then MAIL in your application in plenty of time so you have the work permit when you arrive.
Always carry five photocopies of your work permit with you for auditions and bookings, as well as the original when you are going ANYWHERE in this industry. Sometimes they have a copier, sometimes they don’t.
Where to stay during pilot season:’
We have a ton of parents who stay at the OAKWOOD APARTMENTS in Toluca Hills. They provide a full service apartment experience with two swimming pools and two community rooms. Rosie Forti there is a wonderful person.
They also have many special events for young actors and their parents.
I caution, though, that although it seems safe there, that you should be as cautious as you would at any new setting and watch your kids carefully, because many times the other kids are not as supervised as many parents would like, and they are testing their boundaries as all kids do, so be sure to keep your kids close and safe and supervise them carefully when staying at Oakwood. Follow the rules and you’ll be fine, but don’t think because other parents are lax that you should be. Protect your kids.
Also, if your kids are the type who are adventurous and need constant supervision, then remember that Oakwood is not a baby-sitting service and will not take care of your kids, you need to do that yourself. Ask for the rules, and FOLLOW THEM!
Oakwood is also home to dozens of frustrated parents who will give you questionable advice because they are new and misinformed, so remember that there are over 1,000 places to study acting in Hollywood, and many of the parents make extra money by selling classes and other services. Some are good and many are a total waste of time. If you already have your agent, manager and classes set, and you are happy, then remember that you are seen as a customer by everyone who comes to Oakwood.
Many agents and managers try to steer their clients away from Oakwood, because it is so full of overnight experts who are eager to share their misinformation, but if you stay focused and listen to your reps, you’ll be fine. If you listen to all of the noise from other parents, then you’ll be confused and unfocused. There is lots of noise in Hollywood, tune it out.
Actorsite also comes to Oakwood, and we try to educate parents there, but it’s hard because there will be 60 or so different acting schools visit Oakwood during Pilot Season, and we are one of the few who offers a truly effective program.Sa
When you come to Los Angeles, you are “dancing on a spiderweb” and there are MANY distractions. You’ll have people selling you expensive “walk the red carpet” publicity packages (party time but it does nothing for your career!) and other expensive distractions when you should be in your classes working on skills.
Be an aware consumer: Stick with your acting classes and skill development and you’ll be fine. And screen who you train with. Remember, MANAGERS MAY NOT BY LAW CHARGE YOU A FEE FOR CLASSES OR PICTURES, so if they say they want to Manage you then want you to take their expensive (and usually worthless) class or private lessons, then run away.
Remember, ANY company or individual who charges a fee for "lessons, coaching,seminars, workshops, or similar training" must be bonded and registered. So remember to ask any provider of such services for a bond number so you are protected! This is STATE LAW! Additionally, agents and managers are forbidden BY LAW from charging their clients any fees for any services, including "lessons, coaching, seminars, workshops, or similar training", so if your manager asks for money for services, rather than earned commissions for bookings, say NO and report them to the City Attorney, MARK LAMBERT at firstname.lastname@example.org . This is STATE LAW!
As far as other places to stay, there are many, and there are a ton of shared situations, too.
Another “package” place is called ARCHSTONE in Studio City. Again, watch your kids no matter where you live in LA. And Archstone is also full of “experts” who have something to sell, so be careful there, too.
You can save tons by renting an apartment in the San Fernando Valley. The general rule of thumb is to stay on Burbank Blvd or South of Burbank, and rent in a building that has gated parking. The apartments are much cheaper in North Hollywood and Sherman Oaks, and very close to everything.
One bedrooms go from $1100 to $1500 (With pool) and you can furnish an apartment easily by buying a bed new, and filling in with Garage and Yard sale furniture. You can furnish an apartment for less than $1000 if you enjoy weekend yard sailing.
As far as short term leases, you can ask any landlord if they will take a month-to-month with deposit or a short term lease. It’s difficult but it’s not impossible to find if you just ask.
There are many other options, too, from far more expensive to very cheap, just remember to stay near the SAN FERNANDO VALLEY or HOLLYWOOD and don’t go to far away from those areas. For instance Redondo Beach is a long drive from most auditions. Orange County is a LONG drive during the day.
Another caution is that sometimes there have been reports of people advertising apartments for rent and taking deposits on units that either don’t exist or belong to someone else…don’t send money blindly to anyone to reserve an apartment unless you physically know that they have an apartment to rent. So it’s better to come and stay in a hotel to find an apartment that you physically look at than to send money over the internet…some people set up fake realty companies to take deposits and then disappear with the money…be careful and check out who you send money to.
There are tons of vacant apartments in the San Fernando Valley, so they will be here when you arrive, just don’t think you have to do so much prior to coming, other than staying in hotel, etc.