Watch: Where Do Babies Come from (When You're Casting a Movie)?
This video answers a common question among indie filmmakers: how do you cast a baby in a film?
So, you want to employ a baby, huh? Well, guess what, as long as it's for the purpose of acting in your movie you totally can! But you're probably not wondering whether you can or you can't, but how. How in the hell do you cast a baby? Where do they come from? Where do you look? What kinds of legal hoops do you have to jump through in order to keep these precious angels safe and happy and you out of jail? Vox answers all of these burning questions and more in the video below.
It turns out that there are a lot of hoops (i.e. child labor laws) you'll have to jump through in order to cast these adorable near-newborns in your film, but the requirements vary greatly depending on which state you're shooting in. Some states require babies to be at least 15-days-old and restrict the amount of time they can work or even be on set, ranging from the very restrictive (two consecutive on-set hours per day with actual work not exceeding 20 minutes) to the severely lax (6-hour, 6-day work week).
So, how do you pay a baby? Do you just write them a payroll check? Well, kind of, but not really. While most states don't have anything set in place to protect a minor's earnings, states like California, New York, Louisiana, and New Mexico require all minors to be set up with a Blocked Trust Account, or a Coogan Account, which requires 15% of the minor's gross wages be withheld and put into the trust until the child turns 18. Which is good because shitty parents.
And if all of the rules and regulations that go with hiring a baby prove to be too much for you, you could always opt for realistic or not-realistic-at-all baby dolls or weird CGI infants, but that's a circle of hell I wish to avoid having to delve into.
Have you ever hired a baby for a film? What was your experience like? Let us know down in the comments.