Not having a working permit can leave you in the dust!
On set of my twins’ Cablevision Commercial job
So, I have a lot of experience in the industry…DECADES of experience. Yet, I wasn’t prepared for what happened when my twins booked their first commercial.
I always thought to myself that “they haven’t gotten many castings (I have also said “no” to a lot of them because of work, etc.) and if they book something we will just deal with it then.” Well, I created a situation for myself that was incredibly stressful and completely unnecessary to go through, and my kids almost lost their first booking because of it.
When a child books their first TV appearance, whether it’s a big part or not, you can get a working permit their first time online almost instantly in New York – I think this varies from state to state, as I just researched California and I do not see anything like that. Anyway, after their first online permit, you have to keep renewing it faithfully otherwise it expires, and you have to go through an application process, which can take a week or longer to finish. In New York you have to jump through hoops such as getting the school to sign a form saying the child is in good standing…in California, you have to get a pediatrician to sign off on it…you get my drift – it takes some time to fill these things out and send them in.
Now for what happened…my 7 – year old twins booked a commercial for Cablevision and I did not keep up my paperwork for their permits. How did I know that after their first two jobs at the age of 6 months, they wouldn’t work again until they were 7 years old? I called the permit office twice, making sure they could process it in time, and 2 days before their job when I went to check on it the lady working there said that she wished she could help me, but it takes 5 – 7 business days, that I only gave her the paperwork 2 days ago, so in a few more days they would mail it. In the meantime, I would have to cancel my girls from the job because I would need the permit in hand when I got to the set or they wouldn’t be able to work.
WHAT TO DO???!!!! Well, I panicked, like a normal mother would. Then I got on the phone again and asked to speak to a supervisor. I begged, pleaded and (I think) cried to her and told her that we had been waiting years for this moment. They finally aquiesced to fax me the permits which meant that I could get it POSSIBLY before the job, but they couldn’t guarantee. I was at the mercy of beauricratic red tape and hating every minute.
But in the end, it was my fault – it doesn’t cost any money to have a permit, so why not keep up with it?
MORAL OF THE STORY: The business is so unpredictable, and if your child loses their booking because of something that you could have so easily kept up with, then that’s a shame. Keep up with the paperwork – even BEFORE your child gets representation, you never know when that dream job is going to pop up and surprise everyone.
Dara and Danielle, having tea with their “father” for a commercial for Cablevision