SAG-AFTRA leadership, panelists and young performers at the Nov. 16 workshop.

The New York Local Young Performers Committee, with funding provided by the SAG-AFTRA-Producers Industry Advancement and Cooperative Fund, hosted a successful mentoring workshop at the SAG-AFTRA New York office on Nov. 16. The event, titled Minor Adjustments; Managing Career and Educational Transitions, focused on the many unique shifts experienced by young performers.

Minors who work as professional performers need to move between on-set education and school instruction, navigate professional challenges that come with reaching adulthood and, when they do, must chose to either continue in their current profession or travel a new road. The mentoring workshop presented young performers with techniques for managing these transitions.
The day kicked off with an icebreaker and welcoming remarks from N.Y. YPC Co-Chairs Lee Bryant, Holter Graham and Alan Simon and EVP and New York Local President Rebecca Damon. The morning featured a panel discussion with two members who started their careers as young performers: former Screen Actors Guild President Melissa Gilbert (Little House on the Prairie) and Josh Saviano (The Wonder Years). Gilbert and Saviano shared their experiences with managing on-set education, growing up on sets with other child performers while being surrounded by adults, and the career choices they made to end up where they are today. 
The afternoon consisted of three breakout sessions for young performers, which included small group discussions with Gilbert and Saviano, an improv class taught by Graham and a conversation with social worker Alyson Cohen about managing the stresses that come with transitioning between school, auditions, and film and TV sets.

Parents attended a panel discussion with practical information about helping young performers shift between school and on-set education. The conversation was led by Simon and featured Karin Farrell, vice-president and COO of On Location Education; Shari Honig, director of admissions at Professional Children’s School; Keith Ryan, principal at Professional Performing Arts School; Julissa Martinez, formerly the time policy director for the NYC Department of Education and currently a sixth grade English teacher at West End Secondary School; and Kady Krieger, manager of entertainment contracts at SAG-AFTRA. In addition, Judy Rosch of The Actors Fund’s Looking Ahead Program gave a presentation about the organization’s services.

Photo: SAG-AFTRA leadership, panelists and young performers at the Nov. 16 workshop. 


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