Sep 10

What Is the CHSPE (Showbiz Term of the Day)?

What Is the CHSPE ?


Barron's CHSPE Guide

Don’t you hate it when everyone uses acronyms, like CHSPE, and you don’t know what they mean?  I know I do. In this particular case, the term CHSPE is not uniquely a showbiz term (view showbiz terms in myShowbiz Term of the Day” posts).


In fact, the CHSPE really has nothing to do with acting or showbiz.

So why talk about the CHSPE here on my acting blog?

Well, it just so happens that as my daughter, who is a child actor, gets closer to the age of 16, the CHSPE is something of great interest to us. For those of you who have teen children who are trying to work in the entertainment industry in California, you may know how frustrating it is that so many roles for 12- to 17-year-olds are being filled by 18-year-olds and older, also known as 18TPY.

The CHSPE can also be important for reasons that have nothing to do with the entertainment industry.


“What Is the CHSPE ?”

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Aug 31

How Do You Quickly Get a California Entertainment Work Permit?

California Entertainment Work Permit –

Every minor working in the entertainment industry in California is required to have a California Entertainment Work Permit.  For those who need an entertainment work permit quickly, there is now (as of January 1, 2012) a faster, easier way to get a California Entertainment Work Permit.

This new temporary entertainment work permit is not only a help to the guardians and children who need a work permit quickly and from a location outside of California, but it is also an advantage for the employers desiring to hire these children.

I’ve previously discussed California Entertainment Work Permits in a number of posts, including “How Do You Get a Child Entertaiment Work Permit in Southern California?,”  “What’s New in the California Entertainment Work Permit Office?,” and “Where Is the Entertainment Work Permit Office in Van Nuys?”  Be sure to take a look at those and other posts in the Work Permit category for more on the topic of Entertainment Work Permits.

The basic process to get a California Entertainment Work Permit for a minor child is to:

  1. Download the work permit application.
  2. Fill out the application.
  3. Get the child’s school to fill out the school section (or attach an affadavit if the child is home schooled), or attach the most recent school grade report if school is not in session.
  4. Take the filled-out application plus any additional paper work (past work permit for renewals, birth certificate, etc. as stated on the permit application) to the work permit office. Alternately, mail it with a self-addressed, stamped envelope, but expect a return time of at least two weeks.

But if you are really in a hurry to get a work permit and/or you are not near the California Entertainment Work Permit office, what can you do? You’ll be glad to know that you now have an easier and faster option.

So, “How Can You Get a California Entertainment Work Permit Quickly?

Continue reading to learn about this expedited California Entertainment Work Permit.

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Aug 28

What Is a Headshot? (Showbiz Term of the Day)

What Is a Headshot?

I’ve had several young actors email me recently to ask, “What Is a Headshot?” While I often talk about headshots on my blog and in the emails I send to my subscribers,  I don’t exactly answer the question, “What is a Headshot?

So today I picked “headshot” to be my “Showbiz Term of the Day“.

If you are pursuing a career in acting (or in performing or some other field in showbiz), you have undoubtedly heard the topic of headshots come up. You know every actor (and performer) needs to have a headshot — a good headshot — in order to get into auditions, get into interviews with agents, or to be considered for a variety of different jobs related to the entertainment industry.

In fact, you don’t even have to be in the entertainment industry to need a headshot. Now everyone needs one for online profiles, websites, and for promotional business materials.

For those of you who are just getting started in the entertainment industry, I’d like to provide a clear  answer to the question, “What Is a Headshot?”

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Jun 21

What Happens When Your Child Actor Auditions?

Child Actor Auditions –

So many times, I took my daughter to auditions and then wondered about exactly what happened in the audition room while she was in there.  How can you really know what happens when your child actor auditions? (Technorati: HHM5YUTKMSEY)

If you are like me, you wish you could be a fly on the wall so you could see exactly what your child does as well as what the casting director and others in the room do during an audition. As a parent, once your child actor goes behind that closed door, all you can really do is sit and wait for your child to come back out and hope that all goes well.

For more about what happens in child actor auditions in general, refer to, “What Happens at Movie Auditions for Kids?” and “What Happens When Your Child Is Auditioning for a Kid Commercial?

From time to time, my daughter would come out of the audition room looking less than happy. And on a couple of occasions, she got really upset and cried after she came out of an audition.

I remember one particular audition when the waiting room was filled with kids and parents. We had to stand for a while before we even found a place to sit. Then, it was another 40 or more minutes before she got called in to audition.

The atmosphere in the waiting area seemed tense. It was crowded, warm, and noisy, and parents and kids all seemed restless or annoyed over the long wait.

My daughter finally went in to audition, and in a few minutes she was back out.  She came walking towards me and then broke into tears.  I was concerned and even felt embarrassed by her reaction, as everyone looked to see what the problem was. We hurried outside.

This was the first time she’d cried after an audition, and it was very upsetting to me. I couldn’t imagine what could have happened that was bad enough to make her cry.

As soon as we got outside I asked her what was wrong.  Through her sobbing, she managed to tell me that the casting director was grouchy and was “not nice” to her. She had not said thank you or good job, but just “OK.” and then “You can go.”

I hugged her and told her I was sorry. And then I asked her probably too many questions.  I was trying to gain some insight into what happened and determine whether it was as bad as she thought. I also hoped to prevent her from getting upset like this again.

We always called after auditions to tell her talent manager how they went. My daughter was so upset that we did not call this time. The manager called the next day about it, and when I told her it went badly, she said she’d call to get feedback.

A little while later, I got an email from my daughter’s manager saying that the casting director said she did a great job and her tape was one of the few that she sent on to the director for review.

Well, that was a relief.  But it made me wonder about why my daughter’s perceptions had been so wrong and why she had gotten so upset.

So I told my daughter what her manager told me. And we discussed the behavior of the casting director and what happened in more detail. I pointed out a few things to my daughter.

Perhaps the casting director was having a bad day and it had nothing to do with her or her audition. And perhaps her “okay” was really more of an “o-KAY” which could mean “good” or “got it.” I also pointed out that she was running behind and probably in a big hurry.

In any case, if you are ever wondering:

What Happens When Your Child Actor Auditions?

— there are some things you and your child should keep in mind.

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May 18

How Do You Help Your Child Actor Deal with Rejection?

Help Your Child Actor Deal with Rejection

One of the hardest things a child actor has to deal with in the entertainment industry is rejection. No matter how talented a teen or child actor is, nor how successful he or she is, that teen or child will still have to deal with rejection and disappointment.

Sure, we all face rejection and disappointment in our lives, but actors face so much of it on a regular basis.

As I previously discussed in  “What Benefits Do You Get When You Become a Child Actor?,” one potential benefit of becoming a child actor is that you often learn how to deal with rejection in a positive way.

Take a look at what occurs when an actor is submitted for an acting role:

For any given role, thousands of actors may be submitted, but only a fraction of those submitted actually even get called in to audition.  (These submissions often come from you on Casting Networks/LA Casting or from Actors Access or some other casting service, or from talent agents and talent managers through Breakdown Services.)

Actors audition for many more projects than they book, often competing with hundreds and sometimes even thousands of other actors for a single role in a movie or tv show or play or commercial. And only one person is hired for a role.

So that means the rest of the hundreds (or thousands) are not getting the job.  And most of these will be disappointed and feel at least a little rejected.

Frequent rejection is a big part of an actor’s life, especially for an actor who is just getting started. And no matter how old you are, dealing with that rejection can affect your confidence and feelings about yourself. But for a child actor, dealing with rejection can be especially difficult.

When my daughter was very young, she thought auditions were great fun. Mostly, she was disappointed  when an audition was not long enough for her to get to chat with the casting director or when she did not get to perform as much as she wanted for the casting director. That made taking her to auditions a fun experience for me.

It was not until she moved into her tween years that she started to focus too much on the outcome of  auditions.

I recall so many times that my daughter had her heart set on a particular role.

Sometimes she wanted to audition for a certain role but never got called in to audition for it. Other times she auditioned but did not get a callback, or she got one callback but not a second one. Sometimes she was one of the last two or three or four being considered or even was told the job was hers, but then the job went to another girl.

I remember her asking me on several occasions, “Why don’t they want ME?

It is very upsetting to hear your child say something like that and see them dealing with the rejection and disappointment. And it is really hard to know exactly what to say or do, especially when you are feeling disappointed, too.

You think your child will be able to handle it. You think you’ll be able to handle it.

But the truth is, it is harder than you think.

There are so many ups and downs — what a roller-coaster ride! When things go well, it is thrilling and exciting, but when things go badly, it can be depressing and almost devastating to your child actor.

You hate to see your child or teen trying to deal with rejection.

So, what do you do?

“How do you help your child actor deal with rejection?”

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