The Actors Voice
by Bonnie Gillespie
week of March 17, 2014
Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001792.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.
So, this week, we’re gonna feature a handful of the emails I got from last week’s column on following the letter of the California law, AB 1319.
Bon, great column as always. Here’s a link to my coach’s website. I love her. Is she breaking the law?
Ah, so tough when you learn that a coach you love is, in fact, not following the law that was put in place to protect you and other actors in the state of California. Yeah. Sure enough, your coach is lovely, but she has quite a few of the issues I mentioned in last week’s column, right out there on her website, proving that she’s ignorant (yes, I said it — ignorant) of the law that she’s required to follow.
She’s got her bond and she says so, but she’s not providing you with the language of the law (which is your right to review, ON the Talent Counseling Service provider’s website), nor a contract on the website for her online offerings, and she’s creating hoops through which you must jump to get your money back, should YOU fail to do well with what she’s selling. Nope. Not okay.
Also not okay, the audition coaching that bleeds over into convos about type and brand and marketing and targeting or anything other than craft itself. Also not okay, the companies that *left* California to “avoid” the law, feeling that being based in another state will protect them, even though they do business with actors in California. Nope. Law broken. While your particular coach is doing SOME stuff right, I’m told that Children in Film, Model Mayhem, The Acting Camp, and other very big businesses are on a watch list due to their attempts to dodge the law that absolutely applies to them.
You might want to add that State confusion and red tape could be holding up your “favorite coach” and they are in fact, NOT breaking the law. I spent $200 to file and $18 to get my fingerprints taken back in October. I’m still waiting. When I emailed the state in January, a lady wrote back saying that the FBI misplaced my fingerprints and that she was on it. I’m still waiting. I have contacted her again.
While I know you have the best intentions, I would ask you to be careful before you share the State’s link to the names of the coaches who have “complied”. You might not have the full story. I have been a successful kids’ coach for 16 years and would never jeopardize my students’ safety nor would I not comply with a law. It’s been frustrating to be “lost” in the system and your column just added to that frustration.
Ooohkay. Awesome. Glad you wrote. You’re actually thinking of AB 1660, not AB 1319. (I’ve written about AB 1660 here.) I too filed and got fingerprinted in October and spent three months trying to follow up with the state, only to find out their misprint on their document I was told to provide to the fingerprinting place prevented them from receiving my results from the DOJ, and we have to start all over again. Very frustrating! I’m with you! 🙂
But last week’s column was about AB 1319, a totally different law. 🙂
Absolutely, if coaches work with children, they must comply with the Child Performer Protection Act, which does require fingerprinting, and there is a brand new requirement (an amendment to the law) that requires the fingerprinting satisfaction be listed on all advertising relating to offerings targeted to young actors. Yes, it’s a brand new law (and this amendment is even newer — like, two weeks old) but it’s an important one, and we’ve gotta do what it takes to jump through the hoops, no matter how clunky they are at the very beginning.
And with zero question, AB 1660 applies to craft coaches, headshot photographers, casting directors doing CD workshops, and anyone else working with young actors in any capacity — not just Talent Counseling Service providers like those covered under AB 1319!
I just noticed something cool about the many zillion emails I get advertising various CD workshops in New York. They are starting to carry this disclaimer:
This offer is void for California residents and in any jurisdiction where prohibited by law. If you are a California resident, you are ineligible to register for or to participate in this event.
I take it that’s a way to identify with workshops that are NOT complying with the most recent California legislation!
Indeed, that’s what it looks like, and good for them, getting their awareness of the California law IN WRITING, because that proves they know it’s a law (and it’ll soon be a New York law as well; this is moving through most states with healthy acting markets). I hope they’re enforcing that law and not just putting the blurb in their advertising, but either way, that’s a great start!
I will keep it short but years ago I was taking a class at the [REDACTED] studio. The instructor there that was teaching my class when I would do a scene she would just harp on me to go “get laid”.
I was mortified and humiliated, after two classes of this, I never went back and oddly felt so shamed I did not tell the school even for a month. When I finally did and asked for my money back they did not believe me and blew it off. It has always bothered me that that is how they reacted.
It was a woman instructor that did this, by the way.
I was shocked that this happened at a studio that has such a “good” rep and they still shamed me out the door.
I’m so sorry this happened. Not so much the crass comments, which are bad enough, but that — when you brought it up to studio admin — you were not taken seriously. I understand the need to get folks out of their comfort zone in craft classes, and sometimes that does mean pushing buttons in what may seem like inappropriate ways, in other industries, but once you were no longer feeling okay and you said so, that’s an issue.
As a businesswoman who employs a staff, I can safely say that ANY TIME someone has an issue with ANYONE on my team, it is addressed and the person complaining is treated with respect, regardless of whether I agree that the treatment was inappropriate. It’s about how YOU felt, and you weren’t taken care of, in this very popular studio.
I’m so sorry this happened to you. 🙁
AB 1319-related or not, you were not shown respect either in your craft coaching or in your addressing the problem with the studio itself and I hope you’ve found better coaches to work with since then!
Thank you for letting me know this happened, so I can add this experience to my list of “keep this stuff in mind” when being asked about whether or not I recommend specific acting studios, individual coaches, headshot photographers, agents or managers, etc. It’s important that your voice be heard!
Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Follow Bonnie on Twitter, circle up at Google+, subscribe at YouTube, download THE WORK podcast at iTunes, or hit “like” at the Facebook. For cool weekly emails from Bon and a free MP3, opt on in. Looking for Self-Management for Actors coaching? START HERE! Yay!