Welcome to the Back to School Edition of Hometown to Hollywood!
Today my guest on this podcast is Cheryl Diamond. Cheryl is a certified Studio Teacher/Welfare Worker in the state of California and teaches young actors on set. She’s also the President of the Union Local 884, which represents studio teachers.
Educating young actors can be a challenge, because their commitments to work and auditions often compete with regular school hours. Certified Studio Teachers in California are in charge of not only educating young actors on set, but also ensuring their safety and wellbeing.
In this episode, Cheryl shares some of the benefits and challenges of learning on set, how studio teachers coordinate with a young actor’s school, the relationship of work permits and grades, some of the laws protecting minor actors, safeguards that are in place to keep kids safe on set, her thoughts on the CHSPE, and much more.
This conversation is a must-listen for parents of young actors as well as any actor under 18. And it’s an important listen for anyone who expects to work with young actors on set—which is almost anyone in the entertainment industry, as child actors work in nearly every TV show and movie!
Listen to the first 10 minutes here for free, or become a Friend of the Podcast for access to the full interview, as well as access to the entire collection of over 100 other inspiring and educational episodes designed to help you succeed in the entertainment industry.
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Some of my favorite quotes from our conversation:
- “Studio teachers have to be credentialed in both elementary and secondary.”
- “I’ve worked on a number of Disney shows and loved them all, but my heart goes to Jessie.”
- “My students become my kids.”
- “When they come to set and they’re prepared with their lines and their character, & they still have academic work… I’m always amazed at how they do that.”
- “We can focus on academics with one-to-one, personalized attention.”
- “The key is communication.”
- “I try to make learning as much fun as possible.”
- “I can’t think of one young actor I’ve worked with for a period of time who I didn’t adore.”
- “The CHSPE is a double-edged sword.”
- “It’s our job to educate, and also to advocate for their safety, health and welfare.”
- “There are a lot of child labor laws that we have to make sure production is following.”
- “Kids must maintain a C-average in order to get their work permit.”
- “Even if you’re on a nonunion project, you can request a union studio teacher.”
- “I love working with kids. And I love helping them succeed.”
- “Be sure that this is the life your child really wants.”
The Studio Teachers
Studio Teacher Certification Database
The Looking Ahead Program
Cheryl Diamond is a wealth of knowledge for parents of young actors. Her 30+ years as a studio teacher as well as her leadership as president of the union that covers studio teachers is an incomparable source of wisdom. I’m so grateful that she took the time to share with us on this podcast.
Talking with an expert can reveal many things that we didn’t know we didn’t know. Cheryl’s interview is a great reminder of this. If you suspect there may be things you still don’t know about building a safe, successful acting career—for yourself or for your child—reach out and schedule a consultation with me over Zoom. Investing in a single conversation can save you years of time, and many thousands of dollars. I look forward to speaking with you.