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How to Become an On-Set Studio Teacher in Hollywood
Hollywood studio teachers are charged with the education and welfare of the young actors who work in television and film. While these child stars may have a regular school that they attend when not performing, by California law, they must have a teacher on the studio set as well. If you are a committed educator with an affinity for the entertainment industry, a job as a studio teacher may be for you.
The California law that stipulates that a minor's education must not be "neglected or hampered" by performing led to the requirement of the on-set studio teacher. One studio teacher is required for every 10 minor actors on weekdays, and if production is scheduled on a Saturday, one studio teacher can be in charge of as many as 20 children. The ages of students can range from infants as young as 15 days old to high school seniors.
Education and Certification
Studio teachers must have dual California certifications in multiple subject K-12 and single subject 9-12. The 9-12 certification must be in an academic subject such as science or math, rather than an elective subject like fine arts or dance. Contact the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to obtain a teacher certification application. Certification specific to studio teaching is required as well, and you can obtain this by passing an exam on child labor laws and completing a 12-hour studio teacher workshop. Contact the State of California Department of Industrial Relations for the studio teacher application.
On-Set vs. Classroom Teaching
The official title for an on-set studio teacher is "studio teacher/welfare worker." Studio teachers are required by law to look after the health, safety and even "morals" of their students. While classroom teachers also care for their students, the role of caretaker is more central to a studio teacher's job. Studio teaching varies from classroom teaching in many other respects. There is more on-on-one instruction and more interruptions on a Hollywood set, and students may be of different ages.
Finding The Job
The surest route to landing an on-set teaching job is through the union, the Studio Teachers Welfare Workers IATSE Local 884. The union represents experienced, certified teachers and provides contact information to producers. Other organized groups of studio teachers promote their members online and in Hollywood production directories. You may join forces with one of these organizations, choose to market your services individually or apply directly to studio teaching listings on employment websites that specialize in the entertainment industry.
Tina Richey Swanson earned a Bachelor of Arts in communications and began her career as an advertising copywriter. She has worked as a journalist, screenwriter and public relations writer. Her current writing focuses on careers, education, the entertainment industry and health and wellness topics.
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