the report of the pilot project - International Labour Organization

the report of the pilot project - International Labour Organization









Report of the Pilot Research Project on

Children Working in

Cultural and Artistic Activities









Report of the Pilot Research Project on

Children Working in

Cultural and Artistic Activities

Copyright © International Labour Organization 2011

First published 2011

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DİKEN, İbrahim, GÜRE ŞENALP, Serap

Report of the Pilot Research project on Children Working in Artistic and Cultural Activities / International Labour


978-92-2-025854-5 (print)

978-92-2-025855-2 (web pdf)

child labour / child worker / working conditions / career development / artist / fi lm industry / labour legislation /

comment / Turkey


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1. INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................................1

1.1 Relevant National and International Legislation ...............................................................3

1.1.1. Arrangements in EU member countries ...................................................................5

2. OBJECTIVE .............................................................................................................................7

3. METHODOLOGY ...................................................................................................................8

4. FINDINGS ...............................................................................................................................9

4.1. Findings Related to Working Conditions and Development .............................................9

4.1.1. Stages in the Career of Child Actors ....................................................................9

4.1.2. Findings from Visits to Film Sets ......................................................................11

4.1.3. Findings from Interviews with Adult Actors .....................................................12

4.1.4. Findings from Interviews with Former Child Actors .........................................18

4.1.5. Findings from Interviews with Assistant Producers and Directors,

Producers, Directors and Script Writers .............................................................20

4.1.6. Findings from Interviews with Acting Coaches .................................................24

4.1.7. Findings from Interviews with Casting Agency Representatives ......................26

4.1.8. Findings from Interviews with Trade and Professional Union Representatives .......29

4.1.9. Findings from Interviews with Offi cial Authorities ...........................................33

4.1.10. Findings from Interviews with Child Actors .....................................................35

4.1.11. Findings from Interviews with the Mothers of Child Actors .............................37

4.1.12. Findings from Interviews with Child Development Specialist ..........................40

5. CONCLUSION ......................................................................................................................44

6. SUGGESTIONS.....................................................................................................................45

7. BIBLIOGRAPHY ..................................................................................................................48

8. ANNEXES .............................................................................................................................52


For over a decade, child labour has been recognized as a key issue of human rights at work, together

with freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining, the abolition of forced labour, and

non-discrimination in occupation and employment. Article 32 of the UN Convention on the Rights

of the Child calls on states to take measures, including legal sanctions, to protect children from

economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous, to interfere

with the child’s education or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral

or social development. However, despite the large social reform movement that has been generated

around this issue, more than 200 million children worldwide are still in child labour and a staggering

115 million at least are subject to its worst forms.

The ILO International Programme on Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) started to be implemented

in Turkey in 1992. Throughout this programme, three household labour force surveys were conducted,

which showed a decline in the ratio of children working in economic activities aged between 6-17

from 15.2% (2 million 269 thousand children) in 1994 to 5.9% (958 thousand children) in 2006. No

other nation-wide surveys have been conducted and the evidence on child labour has been scarce

since 2006.

Perhaps the most visible form of child labour is children working as actors who appear on our

televisions and movie screens. Yet there is no legislative regulation for the work they perform. In

their observation on the application of ILO Convention No. 138 on Minimum Age in Turkey, the

2011 ILO Report of Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations

appreciates attempts by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to prepare necessary regulations

for working conditions of children under 15 years of age in cultural and artistic activities, but requests

further information with regards to the progress made in this issue and a copy of the national legislation

when adopted.

According to the consultations made with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, ILO Offi ce

for Turkey was informed that a research study on child labour in cultural and artistic activities was

conducted in 2007 by the Ministry. The research report provides the necessary information on how

artistic activities may infl uence the development of a child and point out the lack of legislation in

Turkey in this regard. The report calls for further action to analyze the current situation and design

policies accordingly, as the volume and character of child labour in cultural and artistic activities are

still unknown.

Moreover, the National Programme of Turkey for the Adoption of the EU Acquis (published in the

Offi cial Gazette of the Republic of Turkey on 31 December 2008) underlines the need for regulations

on the working conditions of the persons under 18 in cultural and artistic activities. These regulations

would conform with EU Council Directive 94/33 published on 22 June 1994, which calls upon the

member states to lay down working conditions and details of prior authorization procedure for the

employment of children for the purposes of performance in cultural, artistic, sports or advertising


Identifying the need for action on this issue, the ILO Offi ce for Turkey initiated a research project

which aimed to better understand the sector, identify the problems and bring all parties of the sector

together to discuss possible solutions to prevent abusive and unregulated child labour in cultural and

artistic activities. ILO was pleased to invite UNICEF to collaborate on this project, in order to ensure

the inclusion of a child rights perspective. Throughout the project, ILO and UNICEF consultants

conducted fi eld studies on the working conditions of the children and how these conditions affect the

development of children. The results of the fi eld work were shared with all stakeholders in a technical

workshop held on 1 November 2011 to receive stakeholders’ opinions and further learn from their

experiences. In light of the oral and written feedback received from the stakeholders, this fi nal report

presents the fi ndings of the fi eld studies and proposes some recommendations by the authors.

All of the research and consultation was carried out in a short time frame and with a limited number

of participants. Undoubtedly, further research is desirable in order to shed light on all aspects of

the need for child protection in media, entertainment and similar industries. Nevertheless, the study

contains important fi ndings, and we hope that it will contribute to the preparation process of a by-law

which will regulate the working conditions of the children working in cultural and artistic activities.

We also hope that this project would be a fi rst step in improving the working conditions in the sector

as a whole.

We would like to thank the authors of the study, Serap Güre Şenalp and İbrahim Diken who conducted

the research and delivered the report under a rather tight deadline, as well as Iraz Öykü Soyalp from

the ILO Offi ce for Turkey, who skillfully coordinated the project from the start to the end.


Director of ILO Offi ce in Turkey Representative of UNICEF Turkey Offi ce


“Child labour” is an issue that deserves close attention, worldwide and in Turkey, in the context of

child development and raising healthy generations in societies. The concept “child labour” covers a

wide spectrum. Here, we also see children engaged in cultural and artistic activities by taking part

in movies, television series and commercials. Employment of children in visual media as “child

actors” is also defi ned as “child labour” in international law. As to working conditions of child actors,

there are some legislative arrangements adopted by many countries. In Turkey, on the other hand, we

observe serious gaps as far as relevant legislation is concerned. This study conducted at pilot scale

seeks to take steps further in fi lling or eliminating these gaps. Hence, the objective of the present study

is to come up with a situation analysis on the working conditions of child actors engaged in cultural

and artistic activities and the impact of these conditions on child development. For this purpose,

the state of child actors taking part in movies, TV series and commercials was investigated through

visits to sets and interviews conducted with relevant stakeholders (i.e. child actors, families of child

actors, adult actors working with children, directors, producers, casting agencies, offi cial authorities

and child development specialists). Besides fi eld visits and interviews, the literature on the issue

and relevant legislative arrangements at country level were studied. Findings suggest that legislative

arrangements in Turkey relating to the working conditions of child actors fall short of needs and they

remain below international standards. It is also observed that working conditions in this sector are

arranged without due consideration of children’s special needs and developmental characteristics. In

the light of fi ndings, the study ends with suggestions relating to working conditions and legislative

actions to come.


Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities




In all phases of human history there have been children working and each phase has its different

characteristics in regard to child employment. In the early phases of history children were present in

working life to help their parents. Together with transition to “settled life” and adoption of forms of

subsistence based on agriculture, we observe children employed in family enterprises or workplaces

of some relatives. The Industrial Revolution of the 19th century fastened the emergence of the concept

“child labour” (Ministry of Labour and Social Security, 2005a; Duyar & Özener, 2003). The emergence

of the concept was the result of the need for cheap labour force and the fact that children constituted

the most vulnerable and docile population group least able to defend their rights (Ministry of Labour

and Social Security, 2007; Duyar & Özener, 2003). After that, the problem of child employment

or “child labour” became a universal phenomenon experienced in all countries (Ministry of Labour

and Social Security, 2005b; Confederation of Turkish Employers’ Unions -TİSK and Trade Unions

Confederation of Turkey -TÜRK-İŞ Support Centre for Working Children, 2007).

The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that worldwide there are 215 million working

children in the age group 5-17 (ILO, 2010). Child labour covers a wide range from helping adults

in household work to supporting family in crop fi elds or, depending on the level of poverty, to

employment in industry, services or in streets (Altıntaş, 2003; Bulutay, 1995; Ministry of Labour

and Social Security, 2005a; 2005b; 2007; Duyar & Özener, 2003). In this rather wide spectrum, the

use of children in movies, TV series and commercials as artistic activities or, in other words their

employment as “child actors” in visual media is also considered as “child labour” in international law

(Kırlar-Barokas, 2011).

1 This report presents the fi ndings of the International Labour Organization’s project in collaboration with United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF)

entitled Pilot Research Project on the Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities. All views and possible errors belong solely to authors and do

not necessarily refl ect neither ILO’s nor UNICEF’s.

2 Women’s Solidarity Foundation, KEİG Initiative for Women’s Labour and Employment, İstanbul, 2011. I would like to

thank Ferhunde Özbay, Gülnur Elçik, Hülya Uğur Tanrıöver, Şebnem Sönmez, Tuba Erdem, Iraz Öykü Soyalp, colleagues from ILO Ankara Offi ce and

other women working in this fi eld for their advice and support.

3 Anadolu University, Eskişehir, 2011. I would like to thank my master’s and doctorate students Seçil Çelik, Avşar Ardıç,

Gözde Tomris ve Mehmet Cem Akköse for their contbutions to data gathering and reporting.

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

Following the emergence of visual media encompassing cinema, television and the advertisement

sector, children became one of the essential elements of this world. In the history of cinema “child

actors turning as stars” have their important place apart from others who immediately vanished after

having one appearance (Karakaya, 2011, p. 363). One of the best known child actors who turned as

star is Shirley Temple of the 1930s (O’Connor, 2009). In the history of Turkish fi lm sector, the fi rst

child actor to appear on the screen was Ergun Köknar who featured in Aysel Bataklı Damın Kızı in

1934 (Karakaya, 2011, p. 364). The case in the sector of series and commercials is not much different.

Those managing the latter prefer child actors thinking that messages given by children would be more

effective if the target audience is children. Hence, children as audience identify themselves with those

appearing on the screen and the product promoted is sold more (Deveci, 2009; Gönen and Erden,

2010; Kırlar-Barokas, 2011, Meral, 2011). However, the use of child actors is not limited to the

promotion goods targeting children; they also appear in commercials targeting adults (Öcel, 2002).

Today, many children are employed in TV series, commercials or movies both in Turkey and abroad

as a part of cultural and artistic activities.

The fact that there are children, not adults engaging in artistic and cultural activities give rise to

debates revolving around the defi nition of childhood and concepts of “innocence” and “disturbances to

purity.” While in the early 20th century the concept of childhood varied with respect to cultures, today

a specifi c and gradually developing understanding of childhood is prevalent and it is recognized that

the child is substantially different from the adult in emotional and sexual terms and also employment

(Akyüz, 2000). Children considered as “normal” do not take place in business world for not being

fully aware of themselves and their sexual egos and qualifi ed as “innocent.” Children who are present

in artistic and cultural activities and regarded as “talented”, on the other hand, are initially welcomed

as “beloved-worshipped ones” in the world of media only to be refl ected later “tragic” cases suffering

psychological damage. Feelings of either admiration or mocking towards these children always make

news when they are at the highest point in their fame. This situation created by the media has a

shadow effect on junior “stars” and cause them to be both loved and stigmatized as persons whose

“innocence has been disturbed.” (Rahman, 2008).

Child actors should be able to live in line with the fundamental principles of democracy and human

rights in all spheres of life. Experts are convinced that persons who were deprived of these opportunities

during their childhood may face damaged development. In fact, Koman (2011) stresses the importance

of evaluating all kinds of violations faced in childhood in the context of a cause and effect relationship

that covers adulthood as well. Further, according to Koman, “For the full realization of the right of

the child to participate, adults need to regard children as individuals distinct from adults, have faith

in their potential and see childhood as a mode of existence” (2011, p. 306). The question we face at

this point in the context of our study is whether acting provides a space for children to exercise their

rights and whether the mode of existence in these spaces provided is sustainable.

While the use of children as “child actors” in cultural and artistic activities or their employment as

“child labourers” is provided for by international law, relevant legislative arrangements in Turkey are

somewhat limited.

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

1.1. National and International Legislation

Interest and awareness in issues related child labour grew in Turkey starting from the 1990s also

contributed by the effective work of international organizations. Turkey participated to ILO’s

International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) upon a Protocol of Understanding

signed in 1992 and consequently the work in this area gained pace. A child labour unit was set up

under the General Directorate of Labour of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and labour

inspectors received training countrywide particularly in issues related to child labour. International

Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) are the two leading

international organizations contributing signifi cantly to the elimination of child labour in Turkey.

The Labour Code no. 4857 was amended in 2003 where article 71 includes provisions related to

minimum age in employment and prohibited form of child labour. By law related to this article

on the Employment of Children and Youth is published in the offi cial gazette in 2004. However,

neither the code nor the by law provides any regulation on the children employed in artistic and

cultural activities. In addition, article 59 in the Law on Primary Education prohibits the employment

of children at primary schooling ages even in case they do not attend school.

The Law no 3984 on Radio, Television and Broadcasting was updated in 2002 and relevant regulations

were issued. The provision “children can act only for goods that they consume” was annulled by the

State Council in 2006. Upon this decision, there was a gap in the legal status of children playing in

commercials, which paved the way for children to be used in all kinds of commercials regardless of

goods promoted.

Apart from the regulation of Higher Board for Radio and Television (RTÜK) mentioned above, the

Commercials Board of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce also introduced some rules related to

child actors in commercials with its “Regulation on Principles and Guidelines Related to Commercials

and Advertisements” 4 . Article 18 in this Regulation sets rules that should be observed by commercials

targeting children under the age of seniority as audience

Arrangements relating to the age of employment, working hours, working conditions, social security

and trade union membership of children can be found in various legal texts originating from the

Constitution and Labour Code, including the Law on Obligations, Law on the Duties and Authorities

of Police, Law on General Hygiene, Law on Apprenticeship and Vocational Training, Law on Social

Security and General Health Insurance and Trade Union Law although there is still need for some

new arrangements.

Looking at legislative arrangements in other countries relating to the working conditions of children

in general and those employed in artistic and cultural activities, we see that the ILO’s “Minimum

Age Convention” No. 138 (1973) ratifi ed by 147 countries envisages the effective elimination of

child labour. This convention establishes that countries need to set minimum age for admission to

employment and adopt measures to prevent the employment of children under this age. Article 8

4 For further information see: (

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

in this Convention reads as follows: “After consultation with the organisations of employers and

workers concerned, where such exist, the competent authority may, by permits granted in individual

cases, allow exceptions to the prohibition of employment or work provided for in Article 2 of this

Convention, for such purposes as participation in artistic performances.” In other words, it is stated

that the use of children in artistic activities like acting in TV series, movies and commercials and

as models in fashion shows will be provided for by domestic legislation in a manner to observe the

safety and best interest of children concerned.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 20

November 1989. Article 32 of the Convention recognizes the right of the child to be protected from

economic exploitation, and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere

with child’s education or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or

social development. The second paragraph of the same article commits States to take legislative,

administrative, social and educational measures to ensure the implementation of the article, to

introduce measures for minimum age, working hours and conditions and to provide for penalties and

sanctions to ensure effective implementation.

The 1989 Directive numbered 89/391/EEC on Work Safety and Health provides for measures to be

taken in relation to special risks that vulnerable groups at workplaces may face. “Vulnerable groups”

cover children as well.

On the condition that some special circumstances exist and that each case is assessed in its own

right, the EU Council Directive dated 1994 No. 94/33 provides that States can consider children

working in cultural, artistic, sportive or advertising activities out of the scope of proposition on

employment given that their physical and emotional development is closely scrutinized upon

the permission of relevant authorities . To protect these children, ensuring articles arranges for

working hours, night shift, daily work rest, annual leave as well as overall obligations of employers

employing child and adolescent workers in works to be identifi ed by domestic legislation.

According to the Directive the employment of children for the purposes of performance in cultural,

artistic, sports or advertising activities shall be subject to prior authorisation to be given by the

competent authority in individual cases. Member States shall by legislative or regulatory provision lay

down the working conditions for children on condition that the activities are not likely to be harmful

to the safety, health or development of children, and are not such as to be harmful to their attendance

at school (Council Directive 94/33/EC). Thus, a general framework specifying the requirements is

provided before the child starts working. It is observed that EU member countries (including Belgium,

Denmark, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Ireland and Great Britain) have aligned with these

rules by adapting them to their domestic legislation (Ministry of Labour and Social Security, 2007, p.

23). Details on these regulations are provided in the following subsection.

In relation to Turkey and the Minimum Age Convention No. 138, the 2011 report of the ILO Committee

of Experts points out that “children under age 15 can take part in cultural and artistic activities upon

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

the permission of their parents or legal guardians”. It is requested from the government that Turkey

makes necessary amendments with regards to these permissions in domestic law in line with the EU

Council Directive No. 94/33 and the mentioned convention and inform the ILO headquarters on that


The ILO Convention No. 182 concerning the “Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination

of the Worst Forms of Child Labour” was adopted by 163 States in 1999 and the Commission

Recommendation No. 2000/581/EC was published on 15 September 2000. Turkey ratifi ed the former

in 2001 and accepted to adopt urgent and effective measures to prohibit and eliminate the worst forms

of child labour.

The European Convention on Trans-boundary Television has been particularly infl uential in

arrangements relating to commercials in general and to those targeting child audiences in particular.

Regulations of Higher Board for Radio and Television, Advertisement Board of the Ministry of

Industry and Trade, Advertisement Self-Monitoring Board are prepared in line with the European

Convention on Trans-boundary Television and national and international standards. It is targeted that

members of Association of Advertisers will comply with these standards.

1.1.1. Arrangements in EU member states

A report prepared by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security elaborates legislative arrangements

introduced by Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Italy and Ireland in line with the

EU Council Directive No. 94/33 in which the following strike attention (Sarıkaya, Akın, Eke, 2007).

This work is important in terms of developing and implementing a legislation refl ecting all relevant

details that circumstances in Turkey embody.

• Light works: defi ned as works that do not interfere with child’s health, safety and development,

attendance to education, his or her eligibility under authorized testing and selection systems for

occupation and career.

There is the condition of receiving prior permission from authorities before engagement in such


It is stated that permission to employment may exceptionally be granted in certain requirements

are met.

There is the provision that employment of the child should never preclude his attendance to school.

It is necessary that the applying person should guarantee and undertake the responsibility that

activities that the child is going to be engaged in will have no negative effect on his pedagogical,

mental and social development, pose no risk to his emotional and physical integrity and to his

overall well being.

It is compulsory to address each case in its specifi c circumstances.

Points to consider here include the following: child’s age, health status, environments, educational

status, type and frequency of the project he is going to engage with, time necessary for preparing

for the project, rehearsals, place or site of the project and duration of engagement.

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

6 -

It is provided that there is no requirement to solicit offi cial permission given that the child is over

age 13, the work is light and requires no longer than 2 hours of engagement a day and that the

parents r legal guardian of the child approves such engagement.

It is provided that children from age 3 to 6 can be engaged in visual and/or audio recordings for

maximum 2 hours a day between 08:00 and 17:00. This period includes rehearsals for acting and

music. If the child concerned is over age 6, engagements of this type can be up to 3 hours a day

and between 08:00 and 22:00.

There is ban on night work; “night” being defi ned as from 22:00 to 06:00.

It is provided that after having worked, the child should be let free to do anything he likes for 14


Children under age 2 cannot be used in such activities whatsoever.

It is provided that a child can work only for a specifi ed time period in a year. In 12 months,

children under age 14 can wok no longer than 40 days and others over age 14 no longer than 80


It is provided that this type of work is to be observed and supervised by labour inspectors.

It is provided that the child conducts his work under the supervision of a responsive and protective



Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

As the number of child actors in the media gradually grew, the concept of “childhood” and the impact

of the media on the development of children became a major theme for academic studies (Taşdemir,

2009). It is observed that in Turkey studies on the impact of working in the media and in artisticcultural

activities on the psychological development state of children is extremely limited. One of

these few studies is the study “Content analysis of child programmes and commercials attached

to these programmes” conducted by the Prime Ministry, General Directorate of Family and Social

Studies in 2008. As suggested by the title, this study investigated child programmes, content of

commercials accompanying these programmes and how children are affected by these programmes

and commercials. Programmes and commercials were analyzed with respect to their pedagogical

impact and working conditions of children involved were not examined. Looking at responses

given by participants to the question about points to be observed while producing programmes and

commercials we observe that top priority is given to the need to mobilize pedagogue/psychologist

support particularly when producing child-related programmes.

The limited nature of relevant legislative arrangements as well as insuffi ciency of bases to build on

these arrangements constitutes the ground and rationale of the present study. Hence, the present study

seeks to provide an overall situation analysis at pilot level regarding children used in cultural and

artistic activities in Turkey. In this context, the study examines the working conditions of children

used in such activities in Turkey and the impact of this form of work on the development of child

actors through relevant literature review, fi eldwork and opinions of stakeholders. This report presents

preliminary fi ndings of the pilot research study; however, further studies and research in the area will

uncover other problems in the sector related to child labour and child protection.

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

8 -


This study with its objectives stated above was based on different methods of data collection from

different data sources. In this process, consultants from the local offi ces of ILO and UNICEF took part

independently but collaboratively. The present report emerged as the outcome of this independent but

collaborative work. In the process, a literature review was conducted before fi eldwork and interviews.

On the basis of literature review data were collected from relevant actors and stakeholders (i.e.

authorities from relevant government organizations, adult and child actors, families of child actors,

producers, assistant producers, directors, assistant directors, representatives of related trade unions,

child development specialists, academics). While fi eld visits (i.e. visits to sets) and semi-structured

face-to-face interviews were the basic methods of data collection in the process, there were also cases

where opinions were solicited in writing or through communication via telephone, e-mail and Internet.

Questions forwarded in semi-structural interviews are given in the annex. Data were collected from

September to October 2011. Together with consultants from ILO and UNICEF, data collection was

performed by post- graduate students in the fi elds of psychology, child development and pre-school/

special education. During data collection, objectives of the study were explained to participants and

the permission from participants was asked to record some interviews. Participants were assured

that their personal information would be kept confi dential and necessary sensitivity will be shown

to ethics (in this context, fi ndings are presented in the relevant section with participants as coded).

Having necessary permissions and approvals, questions were posed to participants face-to-face or

via telephone conversations and responses were recorded. Each interview lasted approximately 45

minutes on average (30 to 60 minutes). Recorded interviews were analyzed through the method of

descriptive analysis and common points emphasized by different participants were included among

fi ndings.


Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities



4.1.1. Stages in the Career of Child Actors

This part summarizes career stages in acting on the basis of information obtained in interviews. It will

be more rewarding to discuss various problems specifi c to a given stage.

During interviews patterns of behaviour expected from child actors were stated as follows: active,

cute, stubborn, smart, warm, energetic, smiling face, initiative taking, talkative, curious, joyful, calm,

sympathetic, good looking, imitative, socialized, talented, intelligent...

Process until the Agency: Children at ages 0-2, 3-4 or 5-6 are “discovered” by their parents, relatives,

family friends, crèche/preschool teachers or by casting agencies on the street. Contacts are established

with casting agencies through newspaper ads, TV entertainment programmes, information obtained

from close circles, etc. For casting newborns, families are contacted and convinced at maternity


Engagement with the Agency and Process Afterwards: Although child’s own wish is important in

deciding about whether he will be an actor or model, there are cases where it derives only from the

preference of the family. There may be families applying to casting agencies not to disappoint their

child who wants it much.

While in interview, the agency representative tries to depict the intent of the families as well as

assessing the characteristics of the child. Well informed and adaptive families are preferred. Some

agency representatives inform the family about working conditions in the sector as an advance warning

about future problems. The child is photographed and his video is taken. He is included in the list of

candidates kept by the agency together with his personal characteristics. While initial information is

kept in archive fi les, information about new candidates is kept in digital environment. There are some

agencies charging fees for photography and video and avoid entering into candidateship contracts

with families.

Upon demands for child actors coming from producers, the casting agency that made the fi rst selection

informs other agencies too about characteristics looked for (reddish look, curly hair, slant eyes, 6

years old girl, etc.). Agencies send information about candidates selected from lists to a pool. The

number of candidates in that pool varies from 20 to 400 depending on content. These candidates are

called in for interviewing within a specifi c time period (1 day or 1 week). Interviewing and video

recording take place in the studio of the casting agency that is to make selection. These agencies are

located mostly at the entrance of buildings with their yards and large waiting rooms. In most cases

there is no appointment system. The family and the child wait for their turn long hours or even days.

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

The child’s illness, exhaustion or missed school hours do not matter; if they do not wait, they will lose

their chance. There are some families prefer to wait long hours even when their children resent this.

After having interviewed all candidates, casting director conveys the list of candidates selected to the

producer-director-script writer. The production team conducts another interview with these candidates

for the second stage of election. The third interview is conducted with the fi nal 3 accompanied

by a trial video recording as to adaption, appearance, voice, talent, etc, to form the basis of fi nal

assessment. Some producers refer these candidates to acting coaches, drama workshop, arts centre

and pedagogue-trainer. Finally after a training period of 2 weeks, the actor is selected upon the fi nal

performance of candidates, also taking into account the opinion of the trainer.

It is the casting agency or producer that enters into contract with the selected child player. In some

cases, producers directly contact families without any intermediary. Contracts contain provisions

about working terms and conditions. A child player may receive training in drama depending upon

the nature of the work (commercial, TV series, movie) and his role (lead, side, extra).

Shooting process and circumstances: Though few, there are some sets where chid actors are provided

sleeping, resting and playing spaces; children are accompanied by a nurse, pedagogue and acting

coach and there is an ambulance waiting for any emergency. There are tents and trailers in outdoor

shootings. In sets used for shooting commercials, these are usually not available. It all depends of the

budget of the production concerned.

Commercials are completed in 1 to 3 days. There is no limit to working time in terms of hours. It is

a rule that a child actor cannot take part in commercials promoting other similar goods and brands.

After having appeared in three or four commercials, child actors are not preferred any more for their

faces “being too familiar.”

Full-length fi lms may take 1 to 3 or, in some cases 6 to 12 months. Scenes where school attending

child actors have their parts are shot when schools are closed. If this is not possible, ways of solution

include taking permission from school management or getting an illness report. Experienced child

actors are preferred in full-length fi lms.

TV series are shot 2 to 6 days a week and for 6 to 12 hours a day. There may be longer work in a given

day. Weekends or after-school hours are preferred if child actors are going to school. Voices may be

real or dubbed. The number of episodes in a series is decided on the basis of rating. A pattern is 13-26-

100 episodes and there are even series lasting for 5 years. Children either grow up as series proceed

or start waiting for other jobs after having appeared in 2-3 episodes.

Adolescent child actors are not preferred in cases of swift changes (voice, height, weight, facial

characteristics) and problems of adaptation and behaviour. Among adolescent actors there are some

who want to quit realizing changes they are undergoing and other who do so under the guidance of

their parents. But there are also some other adolescents not refusing parts assigned not to sadden

their producers, directors or managers. Adolescents’ insistence in acting may affect their education

negatively. Any failure at school exerts an extra pressure on adolescents.

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

Some child actors adopt acting as a profession and continue their training in conservatories after

fi nishing secondary education. They attend drama and acting courses in arts centres and workshops.

Trade union ties of child actors are almost non-existent. But it is observed that they have some

information about unions.

There are few child actors covered by any social security scheme. There are producers insuring their

child actors for accidents and health problems.

Set 1

4.1.2. Findings from Visits to Film Sets

In order to observe the working conditions of children right at the site and to conduct some of the

planned interviews (with a child actor, a mother and a mother and an adult player and assistant

director) a visit was made to the locating of fi lming also considering that the TV series concerned was

on the screen for 5 years and thus there were child actors starting as child and reaching adolescence

now. Shootings were also observed while conducting interviews with the assistant director, adult

player, child actors (3) and the mother of a child actor.

The set was the headquarters of the producing company since it was an indoor shooting. In indoor

shootings there may be some special spaces while spaces like cafeteria, canteen, basement etc may also

be used for this purpose. There are no special spaces allocated to children while they wait shooting to

start. Children pass time by chatting in the waiting room at the entrance of the building or with adult

players and crew in a space used as dining room. They use the same restrooms within the building

with adults. The shooting we observed took place in a room at the basement fl oor. Editing, dubbing,

dressing and make-up rooms are all at the same fl oor.

While giving information about working conditions, the assistant director said that child players

worked 2 days in total in a week distributed to after-school hours. He said, “Child players come here

when there is shooting with their part. If there is no any specifi c problem, we complete shootings with

children in 2 days after school hours. When they come here they make their timing and also take part

in dubbing.” As the player expected did not appear, the planned outdoor shooting could not be made

and fi gurants were waited for indoor shooting. The mother of the child actor said “they went in for

dubbing not to lose any more time while waiting.” It has also been stated that children wait in vehicles

when shooting is outdoors.

It was observed that some child actors waited for their turn from 14:00 to 19:00. While such a long

delay was regarded as “normal”, children and adolescent discussed among how this delay could be

remedied. It was observed that three child actors in the set were quite bored while waiting; there were

no facilities for them to pass time nor there is any person specially taking care of them. The mother

of the girl, an actress, just was beside her daughter during these long waiting hours and then during


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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

When everything was ready for shooting, the team took child actors down to the basement. Child

actors waited their turn in the corridor just outside the room where shooting was being made. The

corridor was without windows and not ventilated. There was only a sitting bench and a tea machine.

Child actors waited their turn together with adult players and drank tea. There were also people

smoking in the corridor. Since there were too many people in the corridor, some child players waited

standing, chatting with their peers or adults around before their turn to be taken in for shooting. This

room was also without windows and any ventilation. The platform with camera, lighting and other

technical equipment was too narrow. There was also heavy cigarette smoke in the room. At the end

of the work, the technical crew and child actors wait for each other since they have to use the same

vehicle for transportation back.

Set 2

There are two child actors in a “family series” with more than 100 episodes. One of these child actors

is in it since age two. While the crew was preparing, the child actor was observed to be playing with

his toy car in the yard of the house. . During the shooting in the street, the 3.5 years-old child actor

started crying and said he wanted to go in (to the house). The team tried to calm the child down for

45 minutes. All efforts to convince him proved futile and the shooting had to be postponed. It was

observed that there was neither an acting coach nor a pedagogue at the spot and it was the director and

his assistant who were managing the child. Saying that the child was sleepless and tired, the director

warned the mother for being tidier in such cases.

The locating was a worn out wooden house with a yard. Some rooms and the yard were used for

fi lming and others for technical works and processing. There is no special resting place within the

building and people try to get an empty chair for some rest. It is hardly possible to take a free step

inside since there is technical equipment scattered around, so child actors prefer to be outside. The

coffee house in the neighbourhood is used for having meals. Stressing that their working conditions

were not decent and they had no social rights, players mentioned about a pregnant woman who had to

keep acting since there were no such things a maternity leave. As a major part of the sector, shootings

of TV series take place under primitive circumstances. The child actor and his mother are transported

to and back from fi lming locations with private vehicles which takes an hour in each case; child actors

work 2 days a week from 16:00 to 20:00 and there is no special playing and resting place for them. It

is also observed that the child considers the set as his home and crew as his family members.

12 -

4.1.3. Findings from Interviews with Adult Actors

The focus under this heading is the diffi culties that adult actors experience while working with child

actors. In their responses, majority of adult actors state that they do not face much diffi culty in working

with them, they can go down to their level by playing together and they regard them not as mere

actors but individuals with whom communication should be careful, respectful and protective. A

Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

comment by an adult actor 1 (AA 1) on this issue is as follows: “As an actor I think that the soundest

way in communicating with children is playing with them. I can communicate with them by playing.

Besides this information, the majority of adult actors stress that there are too many people in fi lming

environments and it is diffi cult to ensure that all these people have quality communication with child

actors present there. AA 3 says: “Not all people in the set can behave with taking due account of the

presence of child actors. They smoke, drink and use swearwords. There are at least 50 persons in a set

in any given time and you cannot expect all o them to behave as desired.” In addition to these, another

adult actor says child actors too may have diffi culty in understanding and communicating with adult

actors since they lack the terminology that is adopted and used by grownups.

Adult actors stated their opinions about the impact of acting by children in TV series, movies

and commercials on their development. Without exception, all adult actors state that because of

unfavourable circumstances prevailing in sets child actors would be affected negatively in all areas of

development. Negative environments and conditions that adult players observe in sets:

too lengthy periods of shooting,

long periods of waiting in-between sequences,

night-time work,

no accommodation or arrangement for the basic needs of the child (facilities for play, rest, eat

or sleep),

physical environments not fi t for children (excessive heat or cold),

inadequate information on the part of crew about child development,

not taking communication with the child sensitively or carefully (i.e. using swearwords,

scolding etc.).

Here is AA 1’s opinion on this issue: “I have come across too many adverse situations in fi lming

environments. Firstly, nutrition, rest and sleeping needs and times of infants are never taken into

consideration. This affects their physical development negatively. Let me give you an example: It

is around 3-4 o’clock after midnight and the child is sleeping in the set. The environment you are

working in is not that you fi nd as ‘sweet home’ on the screen. It is cold, they force the child to wake

up and give him to us. He starts crying as can be expected and given to his mother several times

to sooth him. Sleeping needs and times, feeding, health status and indoor or outdoor temperature

are not things that are considered: that scene has to be shot at that very moment and nothing else

matters. What matters for the director is to shoot in up and fi nish. On the same issue, AA 2 says: “I

know how diffi cult it is in sets. Since TV series must be completed as soon as possible, you may have

to work for 16-20 hours a day no matter how weather or other conditions are. The set must go on,

it can never stop. After all, the TV and movie sector is a big one, millions of TL are circulating. It

is extremely diffi cult to defend the rights of child actors given the fact that even adult actors cannot

manage this. Child actors may lag behind their normal course of development in many respects and

their development can be affected in many different ways. For example, it may be the playing time for

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

them, but they must stop playing and act...”

In addition to these, all adult actors draw attention to the fact that the wide popularity of child actors

in society may negatively affect the development of children especially during their transition to

adolescence. According to their opinion, these children may build excessive self-confi dence as a

result of their wide popularity and thus face diffi culties in maintaining their psychological balance. In

this regard, AA 1 says: “Ages 15 to 21 represent a quite critical period. It may be destabilizing to be

too popular at these ages. I am 33 years old and I still face diffi culties in maintaining my emotional

balance. Once you enjoy excessive popularity and affection and then, when you work no more, that

popularity completely vanishes without leaving a trace behind... While I am at pains to keep my

balance, I am sure that these children are far from managing this. If the TV series is on, all people

will like you, show affection and interest; I am sure no child can cope up with a situation like this.”

Some adult players state that the personality development of child actors would be affected negatively

particularly in the period of transition to adolescence. AA 4 says: “Being a celebrity as a result of

TV series and movies may give an undue self-confi dence to child actors. Furthermore, various states

of feeling children have to refl ect according to the script causes extremely fast alterations in their

psychology. For this reason, I think they get mature too early and this state of affairs will have its

imprint on their lives to the end.” As to development of personality, some adult actors maintain

that children are affected by undesirable talking, attitudes and behaviour of persons of other persons

in their working environments and it is possible that they consider and adopt these as role models

for themselves. One adult player says given that children receive no professional training in acting,

they cannot cope with criticisms coming from other actors, directors and public, which may cause

psychological trauma. AA 6 says: “The profession of acting may create serious diffi culties even for

us as adult actors. We may turn highly fragile and develop higher ego… In fact, an actor is a person

who can balance this ego. I mean, an ordinary person may react too sensitively to a criticism coming

from outside, we, professional players do not do this. Facing director’s criticisms such as “don’t mess

it up, you cannot even speak straight” we take it easy and try it once more. But we have been trained

in this. For a child not having such background it may turn out to be nothing less than psychological

trauma.” One of the adult actors pointed out that excessive care and interest shown to a child actor

just before and during shooting vane after everybody turns to other works and this may affect the

child negatively. He supported his opinion with cases where a child insisted not to play his part and

refused to do what he was told to after having experienced these peaks and dips of care and attention.

When adult actors are asked why families go for the employment of their children in this sector

given its hardships and risks, the majority of them say it is mainly for economic reasons. Other

explanations include the following: Many families admire their children and they think they are so

special, so they want to see them on the screen as well; families tend to see their children as a source

of pride; popularity of being an actor in our society and families desire to see their children involved

in a highly remunerative and guaranteed occupation. AA 1 says: “This is the core of the matter. If you

ask me, there is this perception in Turkey: You should either be football player (topçu) or pop star

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

(popçu). By the latter, I mean being a TV icon. While people watch magazine programmes on TV

they imagine and identify themselves with celebrities they see there. As they get older and come to

realize it is impossible for them, they start thinking that their children could be so a rush to those who

are somewhat promising in this regard. The second dimension is related to money. Families are in

need of 50 TL that their children earn daily. Even when the child keeps crying and they continuously

complain about unfavourable environments they see them in the set again the next day! So I think

the motivation of parents is mainly money if their child is too young and to see their children on the

screen if they are beyond infancy.” AA 6: “I can say the following about families encouraging their

children to the sector of TV series and movies: They think their children are admirable and they think

everybody else should see and approve this. They probably think that their admirable and outstanding

children should be seen as such by all. Secondly, the child may be oriented to such activities and so

families decide to take their children out and have them tested in this profession. Thirdly, they may

think that those who take parts in these TV series earn quite well and see this engagement as a golden

opportunity. Apart from these, some children may be talented indeed and they may insist in acting,

which families eventually accede to. Though it is a meagre chance, a director may have come across

a child and see the potential in him as a future actor.”

Putting themselves in place of parents, all adult actors, having directly observed unfavourable

circumstances in fi lming locations and environments, stand against the idea of having their own

children take parts in TV series, movies or commercials. Still, they make a reservation, Given that

there is a legislative arrangements improving conditions of working, they may tolerate their children

to take part in this sector. AA 1 says: “as a father, I’d never want to see my child as an actor. Being

in this job for years, I can tell what problems may arise. My idea may change in case there is an

environment in which all these problems can be eliminated.”

Examining the opinions of adult players in regard to desired working conditions for children in TV

series, movies and commercials, we see that the majority have pointed out to the following:

keeping the working hours of child actors as short as possible,

no night-time work,

providing rest, eating and sleeping periods,

arranging physical conditions with due account of children’s vulnerability (avoiding too hot

and too cold environments),

shorter waiting periods,

providing the child facilities that he can use during waiting periods (playing room, room for

resting, etc.),

paying attention to spells of concentration for a child,

making all who are present aware about issues relating to child development and ways of

communication with them (not talking too loudly to children, adults avoiding to use swearwords

in the presence of children, etc.),

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

16 -

making the following present in sets to protect the rights of the child:

o a manager,

o a child development specialist (psychologist, etc.),

o a creative drama leader to make sure that child’s acting is perceived not as a job but as

a means to play and have fun, and

o an acting coach.

making sure that parts assigned to children to play are compatible with child psychology and

their level of development (i.e. to avoid making the child cry as a part of his role),

family being present during shooting.

AA 1 says the following in this regard: “Firstly it must be ensured that the child perceives working

time as a time for playing. The child must be told that he is engaged in this activity just for having

pleasant time. Working periods must be arranged systematically according to the concentration spell

of the child. Since there is excessively long and tiring work in sets, the working time of the child actor

must absolutely be kept short. Directors must be keen and sensitive in their communication with child

actors. This is necessary since there are such directors shouting like ‘What the hell have you done!

You were supposed to hug him in that scene’. These must be arranged for. Also a team composed of

specialists (child development specialist, creative drama professional, psychologist, pedagogue etc.)

must be present in the set and the members of this team must be well informed about child development

issues. When the child is expected to be scared and crying according to the script, it must be hard to

have him perceive this as a ‘play’. If we assign this task to a creative drama professional, the question

is how well he or she is informed about child development? It is therefore quite important to have a

team composed of child development specialists in sets. AA 2: “You know there were children working

in mines at the end of the 19th century. I think child actors in their working environments are no

different than their peers once worked in mines. Frankly I have no information about standards to be

observed when employing children. One should ask this to pedagogues and psychologists. But if you

ask my opinion, I think we can start by reducing working hours. In working environments there may

be various facilities and activities for children like crèches for example. Also, waiting periods can

be shortened. For example, I recall one occasion where I waited for 15 hours for a shot that would

take only half an hour. If we agree that no child can endure even one-tenth of this, then there must be

serious arrangements.”

Adult actors were asked what kind of provisions a legislative arrangement on this issue should contain.

All adult actors agree on the following:

Firstly there should be a legislation to guarantee social security, copyrights and fi nancial

interests of the child,

This legislation must include sanctions for producers as employers and the employer must

take over responsibility for all issues related to the child,

Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

There must be a commission to follow up the implementation of this legislation. This

commission must closely and systematically scrutinize the working conditions of child actors.

The commission must include experts and professionals competent in child development

issues and in arranging working conditions and arrangements according to the needs of the

child (i.e. psychologist, acting coach, child development expert, creative drama leader, etc.),

psychologist, acting coach, child development specialist, creative drama leader etc.),

A team of experts should also be present in sets,

Working hours of child actors must be shortened and there must be no night time work for

child actors,

Child actors’ families must be present in fi lming locations, sets, etc.

There must be facilities like crèches, resting spaces, playing rooms etc. in sets,

Children should not be employed in adverse and extremely diffi cult environments (i.e. extreme

hot and cold environments),

Child actors’ families must be extended psychological support,

Acts in shooting environments must be child-centred (providing special meals for the child,

stopping work when the child gets in stress etc.),

Scripts should observe child’s developmental needs.

The opinion of AA 1 on this issue is as follows: “The legislation should provide for a psychologist and

pedagogue accompanying a child actor. Employment should be subject to the will and approval of the

child. Otherwise it should be banned and parents should be held accountable for forcing children to

act against their will. Legislative arrangement should also provide for social security. There should

be more serious sanctions applicable to producers and TV channels as employers. There is need for

an approach that def ends the rights of working persons before the employer and place the matter

on to more humane grounds. In case there is no legislative arrangement, then use of children in such

activities must be banned.”

Apart from all these, all adult actors state that stage plays as an artistic and cultural activity should

be distinguished from the sector of TV series, movies and commercials and that early engagement

in drama in this sense has its positive effects on all areas of child development. Here is what AA

3 says: “It is quite diffi cult for children to work in the TV series sector, but I don’t think the same

for stage plays. Theatre is different from other activities in the sector. Last year I was in the State

Theatre with my 6 years old child and faced no problem. I think drama acting is useful for my child’s

socialization. On the same issue AA 5 says: “When you say theatre, it includes the drama part as

well. It is an important branch for the development and socialization of the child. Yes, children must

be involved in drama and stage play, but it is too diffi cult in TV series, movies and commercials.” AA

4: “Firstly, stage play and drama are both courses in schools and from my point of view they

are highly valuable when it comes to child’s personal development, socialization and self-expression.

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

Theatre is a world different from the TV series and commercials sector.”

Stressing the importance of legally arranging working conditions, an experienced stage player said

the following about facilities provided to children in sets: “We have created a home-like environment

in the set. I coach him for his parts to play. As a stage artist it was not so diffi cult for me to do this.

We have been working together for 5 years now. In sets, I protect the rights of children and make sure

that they are treated well.”

The lead player we interviewed in the set explained his ideas as follows: “Working conditions as a

whole entail many problems. Insurance, security, leaves, rights etc are all problematic. Children

spend long time in unhealthy environments. There is no spaces or facilities for resting, sleeping etc

and neither is there health workers or ambulance in case of any accident. I’d never want my child to

act. Sets are not places conducive to child health and development. The problems of the sector must

be addressed in a holistic manner. Parents of child actors must be well educated to protect the rights

of their children.”

18 -

4.1.4. Findings from Interviews with Former Child Actors

A former “child star” who is still acting says family decisions about children are quite important and

pointed out to what families must be aware of in particular. According to this player, uninformed

status of parents is abused by producers and directors; families should be keen in such matters as

working conditions and the rights of child actors to education and health. This former child actor

(FCA 1) gave the following important information regarding working conditions:

- “When acting is selected as a profession for the child, business wise concerns of families may

be understood from time to time; but in all circumstances, it is essential to provide for time and

conditions that the child can continue his or her education.”

- “Usually children stop acting for a while in their transition to adolescence. In this period, the

reasons for break should be well explained in order not to give way to any perception of failure.”

- “Series require continuous working. The child should not be allowed to enter into contracts

envisaging irregular and intensive working hours. Before deciding to let their children act,

families must be well informed about working conditions and possible negative effects on child


- “Children easily adapt to and learn quickly. All needs of the child should be met without

exaggerating the case. Acting couch and pedagogue must be selected from about those specialized

in this fi eld.”

- “Food coming to sets is not good and there is no special food for children. Children remain in sets

for long time and there is no care about their sleeping times and needs. There is no proper toilet.

A trailer with a bed, table, toilet and kitchen utensils must be available in the set.”

- “The child remains in the set waiting for others even when his part is fi nished.”

Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

While stressing the need to ensure the personal development of child actors by consolidating their

talents with education and training and the fact that being a “child star” has its natural time limits,

the same player gave examples from her personal career: “My earlier training in ballet and music

was infl uential in my success as a player. A smart child learns how to use his or her talent through

education and training and conducts fi ne observations. Acting is creating a unique or original

character. In a movie the director helps the player, but in TV series time is too limited, there is a lot

of work to be done, so an acting coach is of great help for child actors. To enable the actor to create

a unique character, the coach should show the method of unfolding what exists inside and give hints

about the profession; he should not try to teach ‘how to act’. There should be an expert pedagogue

in the set. It is diffi cult to be well-known. Living in front of the eyes of others must be an attractive

thing. I didn’t work when I was in school. Child actors must be able to attend their schools regularly.

They must feel the need to build themselves and develop other talents as well. They must know well

that their present status is not forever. There will be years during which they will not be able to act. If

they fi ll emerging gaps with other skills and talents, they can turn out as strong individuals.”

In the interview the FCA stressed the following: Absence of legislative arrangements regulating the

working conditions of child actors and ensuing violations of rights; acceptance of heavy contracts

prepared unilaterally just for avoiding unemployment; fact that even legislative arrangements may

fall short when it comes to child actors and thus there is need to introduce a system regulating and

supervising the sector as a whole: “Contracts are like one-edged sword. Your time is blocked: you

have to be present any time let it be weekends or night time. If you fail to be present, you may

never get a job again. I am registered with the SSK (Social Security Agency) since 1968, but social

security contributions cover only 792 working days. The copyright legislation must be rearranged.

Remuneration of actors and other workers in the sector can be guaranteed only with such legislation.

The legislation has to be drafted with due consideration of the working conditions of players. I have

had no movie engagement for the last three years, and thus I have no income; but if there were this

copyright arrangement, I would be still earning from old movies now being shown in TV channels.

The child actor had his breakfast and went to the set; it is 15:00 hours and still working since priority

is given to the theatre artist who has to be in his work.”

Another former child actor (FCA 2) whose talent was discovered by his mother while at age three

and appeared in television programmes afterwards summarized the process as follows: “After having

been noticed by the media, we were invited to some news features. My mother was my manager and I

appeared on the screen as my casting agency found me jobs in commercials and TV fi lms. My parents

supported and encouraged me saying ‘your talent must be known by all; you have to force yourself

into the market, it will bring you a lot of money.’”

FCA 2 took acting lessons when he was selected to take part in a movie: “I learn quickly. I read

the script several times and imagine how I should act. I make my plans in advance and then easily

perform when my turn comes. An actor must know continuity in acting; I mean he must remember the

previous sequence. I learned this during my fi rst movie experience and took drama lessons. Talent is

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

not enough by itself; you have to receive training as well.” Acting may have its negative infl uence on

one’s normal course of education: “I was not so successful at school. Courses were boring for me. But

I did promote my school. My teachers were happy that I was there, one of their students. I took active

part in school’s drama activities. It was not so diffi cult for me to work at sitcoms out of school hours

since everything was well planned and spaces were all in order.”

While talking about contracts with casting agencies and related problems, FCA 2 says: “My agency

managed my affairs and defended my rights. I have always worked on contracts. As a part of my

contract I paid commission to my casting agency for every episode I appeared in TV series. There

were cases I faced problems with some casting agencies; there were some paying to low and we

switched to another. Casting agencies do not interfere during shootings. The producer did not get me

insured but they said they would compensate for any mishap (accident, illness, etc.). After all they

have to take care that no delay or stop takes place.” For working conditions in full-length fi lms FCA

2 says: “It took one and a half month and there were cases that we stayed in the set for 24 hours.

Conditions were hard, but it didn’t take too long. We got permission from the school for work that

coincided with school hours. Conditions in TV series are worse. For the initial episodes I was in the

set for 6 days a week. Then it was 1-2 days in a week. It takes longer in sets if the technical crew is

not so skilful. Directors get tough if things do not go well. The child in the set is just scared and silent.

Working environments are not healthy. People smoke while children are around and they have no

special place reserved for them while waiting. They may easily get ill as a result of exhaustive work,

cold, irregular and insuffi cient food intake. And there must be fi rst aid kits in sets.”

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4.1.5. Findings from Interviews with Assistant Producers and Directors, Producers,

Directors and Script Writers

Interviews covered one assistant director and one assistant producer. Both said they communicated

fi nely with child actors in sets. In relation to the working hours of children, assistant director said

children worked 3-4 hours a day for 1-2 days in a week. Assistant producer, on the other hand, said,

“working hours may change depending upon shootings, adding that he witnessed a child falling

asleep after hard work till 12:00 midnight and then woken up at 3:00 a.m. to start working again...”

As to the education status of child actors, while assistant director says that s/he tried to take the

school hours into consideration, the assistant producer states that they may be non-attending either by

permission granted or by illness reports. He added: “I don’t remember any case where children are

taken away while shooting scenes of violence or when swearwords are used, but they are removed to

other places when there are such scenes as assault or raping.”

Both respondents say “there is no separate changing or resting places for children and they use

same facilities with adults.” Assistant producer says: “Like all others; a child actors sleeps in any

place he can fi nd just like others. This may be a couch or a chair. It also depends on where you are

working. If you are at home, his parents are present anyway. Child actors never come along to fi lming

locations; if there is nobody else, his or her mother is present in all circumstances. However, if

Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

environments are not so favourable all kinds of adversities may still happen.”

When asked if scripts are adapted in some way for children, both responded “yes, if necessary...”

Assistant director said scenes where the child is supposed to be sleeping are shot when he or she is

actually sleeping. As for how child actors are prepared for their parts, assistant director says acting

coach plays with the child before shooting starts, in cases where there is acting coach.

Assistant producer says: “Many people in the set speak rudely and use swearwords; children hear this

and may be affected negatively.”

A scrip writer says the following about the preference for child actor: “Both for fi lmmakers and

audience, a child is an instrument that you can make to speak and do anything; that is the reason why

there is high demand for children in TV series and commercials.” The director says the following

about contracts and how working environments are arranged for children: “I don’t know about

any contract that contains some special provisions for children. Any contract is acted between the

producer and casting agency. We work with them at weekends or after school. They come with their

mothers. Everybody working in the set is careful about children. We tell them what to do and how,

and this is the way it goes.”

Producers of commercials requesting child actors from casting agencies determine working conditions

through standard contracts. A director says the following about this issue: “What the player will get

depends on the casting agency. If a producer fi nds the offer of a casting agency too costly, he can fi nd

other players through informally operating agencies. Casting agencies may have contracts, but these

contracts are not legally binding. We learn from families that casting agencies do not pay the child

what they get from producers.”

In relation to the presence of such support staff as pedagogue and acting coach in sets, the director

stressed the importance of this presence by saying “such people make our work easier. I have worked

with a pedagogue trained in drama; he used to assist the child by making him memorize his part

and informing about the plan.” An assistant director in commercials says: “Acting may affect the

imagination of the child in positive or negative ways. So we should be careful. Expert support is

necessary, but the commercials sector is not so rich in fi nancial terms. It is directors who do coaching

to avoid social security, pedagogue, coaching costs.” Similarly, the script writer thinks “acting

coaches are helpful by facilitating the acting of the child.”

Film and commercials directors were asked their opinion about the working conditions of infants.

The fi lm director says: “… in the early parts of the fi lm there was a scene about a delivery. We could

make only one shot in order not to harm the newborn. We used a dummy baby in other scenes. If

possible we try to shoot in two parts. It is helpful since this way both costs are reduced and children

have to appear less frequently in sets.” The other director (commercials) stresses that infants are

affected negatively under all circumstances: “We have a separate room for infants; we take them in

only when we are fully ready to shoot, but still they are affected and it is not so good.” One director

said they have night-time sleeping room for children when there are scenes that children should not

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

watch: “They had to stay in the set for long hours and we tried to make them sleep. At midnight, when

it was the time for shooting my assistant woke them up. We woke them up by rubbing their faces with

a wet cloth. You try to do your best, but eventually you can do no more than what conditions and

facilities allow for…” Another director says: “In daytime shootings we fi x the programme according

to the child. But we don’t have this chance night-time. Still, we try not to change the regular sleeping

periods of the child.”

One of the directors made the following explanation about the role of families in children’s turning

out as actors: “The appearance of the child on the screen is more important for them than money. My

relatives and friends ask me to have their child appear at least once. Many families think that we are

working in neat, well-ordered and sometimes magnifi cent environments that they watch on the screen.

But in fact our working environments are far from this image and even inhumane.” Another director

says: “TV series are just mass production; families should be careful and sensitive about protecting

the rights of their children.”

A director (commercials) says the number of children used in commercials is higher and fi lming

environments are tense and tiresome: “When preparations took long there was a stressful atmosphere

and so we told the father to take his child back and come later. But he preferred to stay by saying ‘no

problem, he is playing around anyway...’ Parents force their children to be in this business. Children

are used for debts that parents have to pay. Any talented child can appear in at most fi ve commercials.

The child himself should want to be an actor. Child actors have no vacation, they spend vacation

times in sets.”

One director says limited availability of spaces affects working conditions negatively in the sector

and there is need for special fi lming sets: “Conditions in the sector are shaped by external factors.

It is the greatest obstacle that we don’t have studios like there are in Hollywood. So you can’t do

effi cient timing and planning. There is no chance of implementing maximum 10 hours a day including

transportation as an international norm in the sector. For a shooting to take place in Şile, we agreed

with the producers to comply with this norm. But having a wrong costume in the set instead of the one

that should have been brought did not make it possible. The producer said ‘It is not my fault, so you

have to keep working’. Producers must be encouraged to invest in spaces where indoor and outdoor

locations can be adapted to script; furniture and other materials are produced and stored; rooms for

actors to rest and prepare for their parts; and where eating, toilet, bathing etc. needs are provided in

accordance with the rules of hygiene. Another director making full-length fi lms says fi lming locations

may restrict services that should be provided: “One of my sets was a house. We reserved one room in

this house for playing and the other for sleeping. It is easy to arrange for these indoors. But outdoors

you have no space except vehicles used for costumes.”

One director draws attention to the force of legislative arrangements: “Only 3% of producers are

big companies. Resources are limited. Of course we cannot say there should be no arrangement in

children’s spaces for limited availability of resources. Pertinent legislative arrangements with serious

sanctions will ensure much more favourable conditions and prevent the exploitation of children.”

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

Directors stress that working hours are still irregular and all players have to work too long since

channels require episodes much longer than what is envisaged by international standards. One director

explains this situation as follows: “I was one of the union leaders when the Sine-Sen was fi rst founded.

I thought a lot about arranging working hours but I couldn’t fi nd a way out. At present each episode

in a TV series is 90 minutes long and it can be as long as 100 minutes. There is the summary of the

earlier episode for 45 minutes. The international norm on this is 27 to 45 minutes; it cannot be even

a minute longer than 45.” The same director says authorities can introduce rules to shorten the length

of episodes and improve the working conditions of all including children: “The RTÜK can easily

solve this problem. For example, it can say 60 minutes as maximum length including four breaks

for commercials. But it cannot, because the RTÜK has 10% share in commercials. There should be

planned work and shorter working hours for children. However, what exists now forces children in a

practice just the opposite. There is no respect to the rule that shootings with children should be out

of school hours. So children cannot attend their schools regularly. They have to spend long hours

in unhealthy environments.” Placing emphasis on child rights and the right to work, the director

points out to the need for a legislation saying “in a sector where there is an army of unemployed,

violation on the right to work can be prevented only by legislation. A good legislation will both entail

a disciplined work and ensure respect to the right of the child to education.” He noted that the union

has no practical infl uence: “Working conditions are left to the selection of priorities by the producer.

If means of fi nance are limited, there is compromise on working conditions. The Ministry should keep

an eye on this and supervise producers. Catering is for stars only; yet all working people in the set

should benefi t from this facility.”

Another director says all working people suffer cases where their rights are not implemented since

copyright arrangements are poor. The problem is stated as follows: “TV channels buy all rights related

to the production. Players, directors, producers, script writers do not have any copyright. This is a

serious problem. People can earn as long as they are able to work. That is, there is nothing you can

rely on if ill or too old.”

The script writer stressed that children work under the same unfavourable conditions as adult players:

“TV channels are infl uential in all spheres of the industry including copyrights, length of each episode,

selection of actors and the content of scripts. For a 90 minutes long episode, the script is drafted as in

the case of a full-length fi lm. All persons who have their names appearing in titles have to be formal

workers; that is they must be covered by social security. But in Turkey, main titles do not give the

names of full crew. The copyright law does not include necessary arrangements for those working in

the fi lm sector. We cannot claim our rights.” He added that with the exception of those who have lead

roles, names of child actors rarely appear in titles.

Larger budgets and resource availability in the commercials sub-sector made it possible to provide

for special fi lming locations. A director saying that playing in commercials is risky too comments:

“In shooting photos there are 15-20 persons working in the set and it is a static work. But there are

about 80 persons working in a fi lm set and the set is quite a lively place. It is also dangerous for large

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

amount of electricity used and related equipment. It is not possible to speak about safety measures. It

is quite risky for a child to be present in such environments.”

Saying there are no resting and sleeping places nor ambulance or health workers for health problems,

an assistant director goes on to describe working conditions as follows: “Working conditions in

newly starting TV series are even heavier. People have to work 10-12 hours a day on 6 days a week.

Technical teams are covered by the security scheme as paid by the producing company, but there is

no such clarity when it comes to actors.”

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4.1.6. Findings from Interviews with Acting Coaches

An actor having expertise in acting and pedagogy has developed expertise in child drama training

as well and is now running a drama workshop for children. In relation to his profession he says: “Of

25 children in my fi rst workshop, fi ve chose acting as their career. Creative drama is a means that

develop personality. Anybody can attend this workshop.”

An acting couch says child actors work in same environments and under the same conditions as

experienced adult actors: “Episodes are too long and shooting, editing and dubbing takes 5-6 days

for a team composed of about 70 persons. In such a race with time, nobody seems to be tolerant to

the child. The same hardship applies both to a child actor and another player 70 years old.” Saying

contracts are unilateral, he has not entered into any contract for four years, but fi nally accepted the

conditions after seeing no change, he adds: “The casting agency acts a contract for fi ve years. These

contracts have some threatening articles. So families submit their children as if slaves under these

contracts. When they see a good looking child on the street they convince his or her parents and

engage the child with the agency. They make families pay for photos and videos of the child. They

work on the child until they “sell” him to a producer and then they do not follow them up. Contracts

have to be tripartite. I mean, the agency, producer and the actor should be parties to the same

contract. All parties should start working by knowing well under which conditions they would work.”

An acting coach later became the manager of child actors whom he once coached after they started

taking part in full-length fi lms: “I managed for their working conditions; there are sleeping and

playing spaces, an ambulance and a separate place for their families. I decided on daily working

hours. I closely watched the performance of children. I never allowed for any work that is beyond

their working capacity. All are registered with social security.”

The acting coach also stressed that well endowed productions treated child actors better and properly,

that they select children from among those who have received drama training that shootings are

watched by a pedagogue and that child actors are protected from any possible adversity.

The coach says one should be careful selecting child actors: “It is necessary for families to allow their

children to act by having adequate information about working conditions in the sector, qualifi cations

for being an actor, rights of the child and legislative arrangements in effect. A well informed family

Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

can have its say in contractual terms, protects the rights of their child and prevents any abuse.”

The response to the question when the work of the actor starts is as follows: “An advance payment

is deposited to the account of the candidate actor abroad when he starts reading the script. He must

spare his time, conduct observations, experiments and investigation, think about the character and

utilize his experience. All these have their cost which must be paid even when he is not selected as a


The coach says union membership is of use in protecting the rights of workers and underlines the

importance of being “visible” by having names appear in titles. He says families and potential child

actors must be informed about working conditions: “The union must organize workshop for both

informing families and training child actors and professional unions must cover the cost. Children

and families applying to casting agencies must have certifi cates from trainings organized by the

union. Producers should not enter into contracts with child actors without such certifi cate.”

The coach underlined the following points:

Potential child actors must be given drama training by competent and authorized persons

under the supervision of the trade union and their talents must be reinforced through training.

The cost of such trainings must be covered by producers.

Families of potential child actors must be informed about working conditions and the rights

of their children and they must be responsible for preventing any violation of these rights.

Casting agencies and producers must ask for documents regarding the trainings and information

sessions mentioned above when they have interviews with potential child actors.

Casting agencies and producers must immediately report to authorities information concerning

applying potential child actors and a sound databank must be established.

Talents of child actors must be reinforced by training and their personal development must be


In settings where children act, there must be facilities for them and their families; there must

be meals responding to the needs of young children as well as nurses and ambulances ready

for any emergency. Health and hygiene conditions must be observed strictly.

Scenes in which the child has his role must be checked by a pedagogue and any psychological

or physical harm to the child originating from his part must be avoided.

The child must be prepared for his part by a competent coach.

Age-specifi c cultural and physical characteristics of children must be considered and the

development of those working in cultural and artistic activities for a long time must be

followed and supported.

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

26 -

4.1.7. Findings from Interviews with Casting Agency Representatives

To the question about the number of child actors they engage, representatives of casting agencies

(they are coded as CA 1, CA 2 and CA 3) gave indefi nite responses. One representative, CA 1 said:

“70% of actors get in touch with the sector through agencies affi liated with the association. There

is no information about the agencies of the remaining 30%.” CA 2: “We have the registry of those

making contracts with producers. Since candidates are changing continuously, no defi nitive record is

kept. There are agencies working exclusively with child actors and fi gurants. I heard that the number

of candidate actor varies from 500 to 5000.”

As to criteria for selecting candidate child actors, CA 1 said “All easy, good looking and talented

children are eligible. In casting, there are multiple factors such as gazing, mimics, texture, heir

and sharing common characteristics with other family members. CA 2 says “they look only for the

appearance; the sector has to deal with a mass of children.”

Managers of casting agencies say families are not informed about heavy working conditions in artistic

and cultural activities and families are merely attracted by the charm of having their children appear

on the screen, adding that poverty is another factor driving parents to promote their children for

acting. CA 3 says: “Families encourage their children to enter this sector thinking that it is good

for their socialization. As to better educated families, they accept their children’s presence in this

sector as a ‘memory’. For some families, poverty is the primary factor that makes these families insist

having their children as players. These families see their children as a means for subsistence. But

these children are paid low; 500 TL is the average pay. CA 1 stressed the will of the child concerned:

“There is preliminary interview with the child to check whether the child and his family are fi t for work

in this sector. The child’s will is a factor of preference.” CA 2 says persons other than the child himself

are infl uential in this choice: “It is actually families that drive the process. I don’t think children have

much to say in adopting this as a profession. We decide that a child may be a potential actor on the

basis of his behaviour, talking, the way he communicates with others and physical characteristics and

we include him in our list. Since the contract is binding we make it only with those who are serious

and determined enough. We don’t focus on those who appear to be merely testing his chance.”

Stating that the work conducted for selecting actors is quite tiresome and producers usually overlook

efforts spent to make appropriate selection, CA 2 said: “For example last week there was casting for

commercials. It was supposed to be a family shooting, but they wanted us to make a call fi ne-tuned to

mother’s character. For four days children came in line with the red series and similar criteria and we

worked with them for selecting. Then the advertising company informed us that no agreement could

be reached with the actress to play the mother. So we stopped right away. Work by children, families

and we were just in vain. This is a routine event that we come across so frequently. We had worked for

a month in this project. We are working with children in a wild market environment. Our clients are

too boastful and have no respect for hard work.”

Here is CA 3’s example how insensitive families may behave in the selection of child actors: “The

Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

environment is too crowded with potential actors and they wait long hours for their turn to come. The

child has a fever, crying and wants to leave. I said ‘there can be no shooting in this case, please come

again tomorrow.’ After saying how long they have been waiting, the mother slapped her child and

scolded him: ‘you have to take part in this shooting and do whatever you are told to.’ All parents think

their children are cute and talented. If the family is too insistent, we still take the child in and have a

shooting even when we are sure that he cannot be selected just for keeping them calm.”

To the question about the working hours of children CA 2 says they work from 16:00 to 20:00 on 4-5

days of the week, adding that daily working hours may extend to 24:00 and 2:00 after midnight. His

response to the question, “given the rights of the child, how should the working hours of the child be

arranged?” is as follows: “Child actors should work only on Saturdays and Sundays. They must start

working afternoon. Producers may violate the rights of children and act without any care concerning

the child.” Underlining the need to keep daily working hours limited, CA 1 says, “Even infants realize

that their environments are different than what they are accustomed to and they immediately react in

an environment crowded with people, technical equipment and bright lights. He says directors only

make momentary use of human resources disregarding prevailing conditions: “They rehearsed 14

hours for a commercial with dancing in, but had to wait 17 hours more since there was some delay

in shooting. When it came to shooting, the director was mad at children for their unsatisfactory

performance.” In his response to another question CA 1 says this type of employment is akin to

slavery and went on as follows: “Actors are different from other workers in the set. To concentrate on

their parts, they must wait their turn in a quiet and reasonable place. In fact, physical conditions in

places where commercials are shot are reasonable; the problem is with relations and communication

during actual work; the behaviour and speech of directors are problematic too. CA 3 drew attention

to differences in the commercials sub-sector: “Conditions in the commercials sub-sector is better

since it is better resourced. There are nurses and ambulances in sets. However, since payments are

made on daily basis, the producer wants to fi nish is as soon as possible and this brings along a rather

stressful environment.

CA 2 summarized the working conditions of infants and made some suggestions for actors at this

age: “Some special conditions must be in place when working with infants: hygienic rooms, nurse,

shooting plans observing feeding and sleeping times, etc. In trials and repeated shootings model

babies must be used. However, in practice children are kept in sets for twelve hours and consequently

desired performance cannot be obtained. And if the director says ‘no shooting could be made’ then

no payment is made...”

Parties that are in some kind of business relationship with child actors say it is their priority to pervert

child exploitation. CA 3 summarizes the case as follows: “The working conditions of the child actor

selected are followed through information received from our colleagues in the set. Depending on the

script, it is us who ask for pedagogue. Social security and acting coach depends on the priorities

of the producer. Once there was daily insurance. While the social security law was being amended,

families asked casting agencies for retirement benefi ts, but vagueness in the text of the law prevented

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

any implementation. It is now up to the SGK (Social Security Agency) to give clear information about

the possibilities for child actors to benefi t from the provisions of the law in effect.”

Representatives of agencies affi liated with the Association of Casting Agencies say they are providing

better terms of employment with their model contracts and actor request forms. However, they

immediately add that in the absence of any binding legal basis, implementation of these contracts is

rather diffi cult or even impossible. CA 3 explains the situation as follows: “The actor gets his cache

as long as the process of fi lming is going on. His contract is terminated when the fi lm is completed.

In case he leaves before the completion of the fi lm, he has to pay high amounts under the contract. In

case circumstances change due to the education status of the child actors, things get problematic and

we ask for a solution in such cases. There are some actors who cannot claim their rights under the

contract since they are not given a copy of signed contract.”

Casting agencies state that contracts arranged for child actors are similar in content to those for

adult actors and include articles related to copyrights, working time and remuneration. CA 3 said:

“Cache payment is made in return for appearance on the TV screen. The amount of this payment

varies from 500 to 750 TL in commercials and it is in the range 250 to1000 TL for each episode in

TV series. Additions to these include 20% as agency commission, 25% as withholding tax and 18%

as VAT. Copyright is applicable in commercials. Contracts include the provision that the copyright

for actors is applicable when there is an increase in channels. There are cache fees such as cinema

+50% and billboard +50%. But actors inform us that some casting agencies do not pay these pluses.

In contracts for TV series copyright agreement is made for a single work.” CA 2, an agency manager

working with the commercials sector says: “Children are used more in commercials since it is more

effective when a product is promoted by children. In contracts for commercials the rights of the child

is protected better; for example, in case the time period specifi c in the contract is exceeded, we ask

for a second day payment if we ever get any information about that. As agency, we have to follow how

many times a specifi c commercial is in air in the TV. CA 1 adds: “No TV channel would say ‘we start

it again and you have extra rights...”

The owner of a casting agency, CA 3 says: “In contracts for TV series you have to accept the condition

that the copyright is given to the broadcasting channel including repeat shows. Since payments are

made on episode basis in TV series you may have to work 24 hours and 7 days a week. In case the

series is removed from broadcasting there may be one or two episodes for which no payment is made.

Work in the set is organized according to the lead actor, not to the child. Shootings are made on

specifi c days and hours at locations for which permission is granted. If the timing coincides with the

school hours of the child, families solve this problem by taking leave reports.”

Common responses given by the managers of casting agencies to the question “what should families

consider primarily?” can be summarized as follows:

28 -

- The family must accompany the child for meals, dressing and other needs of the child until

age 13.

Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

- This kind of employment should not interfere with the education of the child; producers are

usually not sensitive about the education of the child.

- Whenever it gets too intensive, the child must be allowed to drop work and take rest.

- Child actors experiencing rapid changes in adolescence are not preferred; the family must

explain this well to the child and help him to remedy for vanishing interest in his acting.

- It must be considered that selection of child actors depends upon many factors and there are

frequent last minute changes to avoid any disillusionment on the part of the child.

- Contract terms should not be determined unilaterally and these terms must have respect to

child rights as well.

4.1.8. Findings from Interviews with Trade and Professional Union Representatives

Since its establishment, the Union of Film Workers (Sine-Sen) has been engaged in intensive and

systematic efforts on the rights of workers and working conditions. One of the former leaders of the

union says, “There were intensive efforts in the 1990s to get organized and many meetings to discuss

the problems of the sector.”

A trade union representative stated that while violations of rights in working life are brought to the

judiciary by trade unions, their membership is negatively affected by forms of informal employment.

A trade union representative pointed out to the importance of having names appear in titles: “Titles

are critical in identifying workers and pursuing their rights; so all people working in this sector

should appear in titles.” The same person went on and said the following about the perception of

“being an artist” versus being a worker: “Actors do not consider themselves as workers and stay away

from unions. But since they are the face of the sector looking out it is important that they are mobilized

for unionization efforts.” Trade union representatives added that they are following violations of the

rights of child actors, but cannot take cases to the judiciary since there is no application to unions in

these matters.

Representatives of the Performers’ Union say their target is to systematically address and solve the

problems of actors deriving from working conditions. They say they adopt the principle of strong

union action by stressing the advantages associated with union membership. They are convinced that

defending the rights of actors through the union would facilitate improvements in working conditions

in line with the principle of “decent work.”

Unionists say child actors too can be union members: “Child actors can have membership upon

the permission of their parents. We want to increase the number of our child members by talking to

informed and sensitive parents.” As to sources of information and detailed data concerning child

actors they say, “The number of child actors is uncertain. The union must start a work on this. At

present, you can give no number except the number of children whose names appear in titles.”

The role of casting agencies as an intermediary between child actors and producers is stated as

follows: “Among all casting agencies those who have their ‘names’ heard do good business. These

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

agencies engage actors in for 3-5 years thorough contracts they make. Then actors have to go to

any shooting they assign. Contracts include some heavy and strict provisions. Then there are these

informal, ‘under-stairs’ or ‘scull hunting’ agencies, they have to be found and identifi ed.” While

commenting on the working conditions of child actors, casting agencies point out to the need for

families to be aware and well informed to protect the rights of their children: “The child comes to

the set with his parents or close relatives. My experiences so far have never proved me wrong. I have

seen no family complaining about the situation of their child. Families must be trained and informed

fi rst. Families just keep silent since their children are making money, and believe me, in some cases

more than what parents earn.” According to what they say, fi gurants are employed very badly and

some are not paid at all. But they still go for the job since they keep hoping for better opportunities in

future: “I worked with the child actor in the team in nine different TV series. Families close their eyes

to apparent problems and fi gurants act without getting paid: Just appearing on the screen once is

enough for them. It is mostly those poor families investing hope in their children’s prospective fame.”

It is stated that conditions are more favourable in the commercials sub-sector: “You work only for 2-3

days in commercials. Its budget is larger and working conditions are not so demanding. Employers

are more sensitive about working conditions in order not to let performance go down.” Nevertheless,

since commercials are based on the idea of giving the most impressive message within the shortest

time period, there are still violations even in the case of child actors: “If there is too much repetition

of the same scene, actors get exhausted both physically and emotionally. There are cases where they

have ice-cream 82 times and bite a chocolate bar many times over and over, which make them vomit

after.” Another case: “My friend, an actor came from work. He was upset. There were tens of boxes of

“xxx” in the refrigerator and about 30 children around. He did not show up again in that commercial

after this.”

As can be inferred from the statement “the real problem is in sets of TV series, I worked in one of those

sets for 36 hours with a 7 years old child” it is this sub-sector which pose most challenging situations

to child actors since there is no special arrangement for children used. Furthermore, children’s feeling

of trust can be abused: “The child actor is fond of his director. He does anything he says in order to

keep him happy. He fears refusal. He works for hours until early morning thinking that this is the way

it goes in this business. When it is fi nished, the child and the director are both happy but in their own

ways. Each party is keen about his own stake. If there were some rules at least, it could have been

much better than now.”

“I was the fi rst acting coach in Turkey. Children were taken from their homes to sets and brought

back. I was responsible for anything related to them: Encouraging them to study, sleeping and resting

times, etc. There were occasions where we worked for 25 hours. They were children from age 7 to

11. Children under age 7 are kept in sets shorter since their acting capacity is limited, but older ones

have to work under harsh conditions. So they become somewhat aggressive. In time, they started

hating this thing. A girl told me, ‘You like me and I like you very much, but I like sleeping more than

anything else. I won’t be coming tomorrow.’ She gave us a good lesson...” This statement by an

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

acting coach suggests that there is also need for having educationists and pedagogues to accompany

child actors in order to keep them in good mood and prevent any abuse or exploitation. This need is

confi rmed by other respondents too as said by another: “even when child actors are treated well, there

is still need for extra support. When the fi lm is over, they feel themselves in a vacuum and think they

are not successful anymore.”

Respondents stress that it is an urgency to offi cially arrange the working conditions of child actors

in reference to norms specifi ed in international conventions and as trade unions they are ready to

give support to any such process. One trade union representative said: “In other countries there are

arrangements regarding working hours, breaks, resting and sleeping times and leaves. Children’s

rights are protected by a range of organizations and institutions. They have two children for the same

role, if needed, to rotate under the principle 3 hours x 2 children.” Another union representative says

the following about tensions brought along by contracts: “When TV channels and programmes create

a habit among audience this is considered as success since returns from commercials is what really

matter. Contracts that TV channels act with producers are unilateral. Since there is no guarantee that

each and every production is aired, any actor is paid for the moment he appears on the screen.”

It is stated that hardships child actors encounter can only be prevented temporarily by individuals

actions based on good faith and there must be efforts to remind families, who seem to be charmed by

their children’s appearance on the screen, their responsibilities. It is also stated that there are some

families leaning on what their children earn in the sector: “There are families subsisting only on their

children’s earnings. They do nothing else but taking the child to and back from sets. There are even

families buying a house and a car by having their two children work in sets. The problem cannot be

solved by blaming solely on producers or others in the set. Working hours are too long anyway.

Representatives from professional unions also stressed the relationship between working conditions

in general and working conditions of child actors. It is considered that laws are binding and fast

enactment of legislation would help eliminate or mitigate many problems. It is stated that model

contracts and working norms drafted by professional unions or associations can be effective if

supported by corresponding legislative arrangements. As stated by one respondent: “Working

hours in the sector is too demanding. This is more so for children. So solutions are only on specifi c

case basis and depend on mutual good faith. If arrangements pertain exclusively to children, they

cannot be implemented. The sector must be taken as a whole and common solutions applicable to all

should be introduced. There are many problems including working hours, copyrights, social security

coverage, availability of trailers in outdoor shootings, toilets, etc. Producers are mainly responsible

for these; they take advantage of legal vacuums.” Another respondent says: “The Ministry has the

force of applying sanctions. If it works full-heartedly for regulating the sector and drafts appropriate

legislation and regulations, then working conditions can be improved to be much more decent.”

It is also stated that a large group of unemployed people has emerged since the number of workers

in the sector is much above available jobs and individual objections to heavy working conditions

imposed by producers and TV channels do not have much effect in practice. There are few companies

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

with capital large enough and works in the sector are carried out mostly through sub-contractors.

As stated by one respondent: “The manager in the TV channel and producer reserve a budget share

for themselves and the producer disposes the rest of the budget for costs. Given this, the solution

of problems faced by workers in the sector remains in a vacuum. There is no certainty as to who is

responsible for what. The TV channel, on its part, says ‘I ordered for the fi lm and the producer is

responsible for everything’, the producer says ‘I am the sub-contractor and it is up to the channel to

determine other conditions.”

The following is stated in relation to the selection of child actors, working conditions in sets and

contracts: “Selection of a child as an actor is a matter of chance for both sides. The family promotes

a child who is somewhat talented and who gives a good photograph. To put it more correctly the

family convinces or deludes the child. In trial shooting the child gets what he is expected to do and

acts accordingly. If his weariness and shyness continue in normal shootings, we make his part shorter.

Working conditions and contracts of child actors are the same with others.” It is also stated that

substance abuse is relatively more common among those engaged in cultural and artistic activities

and children need special protection in this regard.

It is stressed that scripts should be scrutinized by pedagogues and abuse of children can be avoided by

adopting the principle “Cinema is an art of pretending” in parts where children appear. Interviewed

authorities stressed the following in general:

32 -

Families of potential child actors must be informed about working conditions and the rights

of their children and they must be responsible for preventing any violation of these rights.

Talents of child actors must be reinforced by training and their personal development must be


Working hours should be defi ned on daily, weekly and annual basis and children attending

school should be employed out of school days.

In cases where night work by children is absolutely necessary, its justifi cation must be

documented well and this work should start and fi nish as early as possible.

Sequences in which child actors have their parts must be designed carefully to keep re-shooting

at minimum.

There must be special work with directors to ensure that they do not behave pressing and

insistent in their dialogues with child actors.

In the sequence of work, priority must be given to those parts where child actors have their

roles and all arrangements in sets must be made with a view to the existence of child actors.

Transportation to sets of child actors and their families must be provided by special vehicles

and their time in sets must be kept as short as possible.

In settings where children act, there must be facilities for them and their families; there must

be meals responding to the needs of young children as well as nurses and ambulances ready

for any emergency. Health and hygiene conditions must be observed strictly.

Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

Scenes in which the child has his role must be checked by a pedagogue and any psychological

or physical harm to the child originating from his part must be avoided.

The child must be prepared for his part by a competent coach.

It must be checked that cultural and artistic activities in which children take part have no

discriminatory elements.

4.1.9. Findings from Interviews with Offi cial Authorities

Ministry of Labour and Social Security

Authorities from the Ministry say the working conditions of children engaged in cultural and artistic

activities are in their agenda by making necessary arrangements in the Labour Code: “We are going

to consider the opinions and suggestions of specialists and ILO and a commission under the General

Directorate will urgently draft this legislative arrangement. Pressure by the public may be helpful in

expediting the process of drafting and adoption by the Grand National Assembly.”

Ministry of Culture and Tourism

An offi cial from the Ministry says children must be allowed to work only upon the condition that

this employment is not detrimental to their education and social development: “Filming sets must

absolutely be inspected. This can be done by the RTÜK since our ministry has no such authority...”

The same offi cial also says that sub-contracting is an important problem in the sector, whose solution

rests with the Ministry of Finance: “There are arrangements relating to copyrights, the problem is in

implementation. This issue can be brought to the agenda with the organized action o factors. Working

conditions are quite bad; if sets are scrutinised closely and rigidly no fi lm can be possibly made.

At Present there is a fl exible approach to this sector and specifi c legislation is urgent to eliminate

existing problems.”

Social Security Agency

The Agency developed booklet for the union giving information about the social security rights of

actors and they extend information to workers in the sector through the union. It is said there is no

barrier to formal employment in the sector: “If there is a service contract, than the party to this

contract has to be reported to the agency since social security coverage is compulsory in such cases.

Children too can be covered when their contracts are signed by parents.”


One offi cial from the RTÜK said: “The RTÜK has recently started a preliminary work to arrange

for the working conditions of child actors within the framework of child rights. We are going to

submit our opinion in a report.” Stressing that they do not want to give the public impression that

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

they are a “board of censorship” he added: “Children’s working conditions will be subject to offi cial

regulations; this will prevent child exploitation and force producers to act responsibly.”

TRT – Television Department

The person interviewed said the working conditions of child actors need to be arranged for by

legislation in line with the rights of the child. He added that the corporation has its ethic norms:

“The TRT works in the light of universal principles governing the media. We reject programmes and

commercials running counter to these principles.

TRT Broadcasting Supervision and Coordination Board

An offi cial from the corporation pointed that messages conveyed in child language are effective in

the media: “Legally, the TRT supervises programmes in terms of their fi tness for children; it does not

supervise working conditions. The TRT rejects those commercials with children if they run counter

to the principles of the corporation.” The offi cial conveyed the following as an example of how

they worked with children in the Radio Child Club: “8-9 years old children became club members

for dubbing and they were paid small fees. We also targeted education in this engagement. Children

distinguished with their talents at this stage would then transfer to the Youth Club. Others who were

not so talented were given less frequent dubbing tasks without letting them feel any notion of failure.

Children in the club had their responsibilities. They worked after 17:00 hours on Wednesdays and

Fridays. They remained in the club until their voices start changing.”

TRT Children’s Channel

A manager from the children’s channel says they are working in the light of universally accepted

child rights while arranging the working conditions of children. Reminding that TRT is a member

of the European Broadcasting Union, he continues so say that their programmes are prepared in

line with the principles of the Union: “In the 2000s we took part in workshops in Europe related to

children’s media and we collected information about the working conditions of child actors. At that

time this issue was problematic in Europe. Working conditions of children were not in compliance

with recognized child rights. We observed that best practices in this regard were in Scandinavian

countries. There was an upper limit in payments to child actors in order to keep them away from a

purely business environment. And also there were measures taken against the possibility for families

to make planks for earning over their children.”

Since there is no legislative arrangement there are neither written rules and so they conduct their work

on ethic norms. He stressed the importance they assigned to the cultural development of children: “We

examine the script together with the producer. We want them to work with children when schools are

closed. Otherwise they work with children at weekends at the expense of their 2 days rest and leisure.

Contracts have no provision about working hours. We prefer outdoor shootings and this precludes

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

shooting at night. We also press for some conditions like providing health insurance in contests

participated by children; good boarding facilities for children coming in from other places, safe

transportation and even having a day free to take children to historical and cultural points.”

He said the following about the need for families to be keen on the rights of their children: “There are

many requests from families. They come here together with their children and want to speak to us,

but we turn them down. It is better that children experience and learn acting in their schools or child

theatres. Families should not see their children’s engagement in this sector as a source of income.”

The authority concerned emphasized the following in particular:

The rights of child actors should be the primary consideration in cultural and artistic activities

and the best interest of the child should be observed as the guiding principle in these activities.

Child actors should be preferred in cultural and artistic activities organized specifi cally for


Involvement of child actors in cultural and artistic activities should be arranged in a way to

prevent children from perceiving these activities as a kind of business.

Age-specifi c cultural and physical characteristics of children must be considered and the

development of those working in cultural and artistic activities for a long time must be

followed and supported.

Public opinion is convinced that involvement in cultural and artistic activities has positive

effect on children’s personal development. However, in order for this convincement to be

confi rmed and to avoid any commercial linkage between children and arts, schools, local

governments and private institution should encourage such activities.

4.1.10. Findings from Interviews with Child Actors

Analyzing interviews, we fi nd that children are generally happy as actors. Child 2 (11 years old) states

“once being close friends when I appear on the screen, some of my peers keep a distance away when

the series is over” as the negative side of his engagement and “being liked and appreciated by others”

as positive. All three child actors say they receive positive responses from their environments. Child

2 says: “Yes, responses are positive, but even in a small quarrel my friends keep telling me ‘you have

a big nose and this is why it happened!’”. Child 3 (16 years old) says, “I am in this series for the last

5 years and I am happy to be well known in my school for this.”

Child actors were asked whether they would like to continue acting in their future life. In responding

to this question, Child 1 (10 years old) stated his wish to remain as such while Child 2 said he

was “undecided between acting and being a medical doctor.” Child 3 says he wants to attend the

conservatory after fi nishing high school, fi nding acting as a delightful experience and engagement.

As to the time consuming character of this engagement, child actors responded as follows: Child 1: “I

can spare time for my family and friends”; Child 2 “I may not be seeing my brother for a long time,

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

but I am with my mother almost all the time; when I am not in the set, I have to study, so I cannot be

with my friends; and Child 3: “there is no time left for social activities.”

In relation to the question whether they can regularly attend their school in this process, only Child 1

said “there is no problem and I have accustomed to it.” On the other hand, Child 2 says: “I am behind

my classmates for working too late or going to sets during school hours.” Child 3: “I ask for leave but

there is a teacher making it diffi cult for me”. Child 2 adds: “I am not under the spell of characters I

play; I know well this is just a game...”

Child 1: “Working until late at night is diffi cult for me and I don’t want it to go on like this.” Child 2:

“It is diffi cult for me to act alone after everybody has gone; it is not easy to rush for sets after school

and this situation affects me badly.” Child 2 thinks “working hours should be adjusted so as not to

interfere with school hours. Working conditions protect the rights of adults more, disregarding many

rights of the child. We are not looking for perfect conditions, but they have to be more reasonable as

my mother says...”

Children say they take adult players they see in sets as their models. Child 1 says “he follows their

looks, movements and talking” while child 2 puts it as follows: “the player I take as model is very

warm to other actors and unlike some others he avoids being rude to those who want to have their

photos taken with.”

Child 2 formulates the diffi culty he faces in preparing as follows: “In some cases they didn’t give us

the script a night before and we had to work on it the next day just before shooting the scene.”

Child 1: “I want to take training in acting in future. I want to go to the conservatory and a celebrated,

genuine stage player. Child 2: “I think I need training from the acting couch to be better in this

branch. Child 3 is “planning to go to the conservatory”

While Child 1 says “it is not hard for me to act since I am used to it” Child 2 cites the following as a

case of failure: “Others were master actors; they could keep themselves calm and do as they should

when a bottle is knocked down or a lighting spot fell, etc. But I couldn’t control myself and cracked

laughter. So they criticized me for laughing while I should have not. I felt bad or ashamed in such


On the communication of directors with them, Child 1 says: “It is smooth and there is no problem.

They are never mat at or sour with us.” Child 2 and Child 3 share the similar view about directors, but

Child 2 adds: “I feel bad when crew gets mad at me after some mistake.”

Child 3: “When there is break, I read books or get some sleep if I have to work too long after. I can

also play, cruise around and go out to take fresh air during breaks.” Child 2: “I do my homework in

breaks or read the script since it is given to me later than others.”

Children’s complaints can be summarized as follows:

36 -

working hours are too long and irregular,

it coincides with school hours,

Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

not to be able to attend school regularly,

absence of opportunities and facilities for them to study or do homework.

4.1.11. Findings from Interviews with the Mothers of Child Actors

In interviews, mothers of child actors in general said they were not much happy with the working

conditions of their children. One of the mothers said the following about this issue: “They do not keep

promises they made before starting. So, I took my child away to show my reaction and they introduced

some improvements only after this.” Here are the words of another mother: “We are worried about

cold weather in particular and my child getting caught in air currents. Still, I tolerate this since there is

not much to do about it and fi lming locations cannot be changed just for children. Nevertheless, there

should at least be some spaces where children can study and do their homework.” Another mother:

“I wish conditions were better. These conditions vary from one company to another. The company

we are presently working with is sensitive about some issues, but conditions for children working as

fi gurants are worse.” All mothers say “working conditions are too demanding for children”. One of

the mothers said: “It is too tiring for us especially when it is necessary to move to another city and

we have to stay in a hotel in such cases. What is worse, we are not informed in advance about such

travels.” There is another mother saying: “It takes too long until midnight. There are even cases when

priority is given to adult actors and children have to play their parts late and alone after many have

gone. My child is attending a private course too besides his school and this is too exhausting for him.”

While pointing out to hard working conditions and too long working hours and ever worse situation

of child fi gurants, one of the mothers tells how she protected the rights of her child as follows:

“Having a supportive role, my daughter is lucky and she doesn’t have to spend too much time in sets.

In her fi rst engagement there was an acting coach, now the director and other actors show her how

to do it. Terms of the contract we made with the casting agency were unfavourable and so I broke

that contract. Terms of the contract we made directly with the producer without any intermediary are

better. We are better paid and we are transported to and back from sets.”

Parents (mother and father) interviewed by they can protect their children better from unfavourable

working conditions as they get more experienced in this business: “Working conditions in the sector

are no good and we try to protect our children with our own efforts and means. It is problematic to

work with casting agencies; they cut double commission from your payment. So we are working with

a well-known and reliable agency. Casting agencies may ask actors to take over any work no matter

what its conditions are. Contracts are unilateral and there is encroachment upon your rights. After

having a contract with the producing company, the fi lm was not shown and consequently my son’s

entitlements disappeared. This was a violation. I want to sue the company. Casting agencies act

randomly in selecting child actors and many children keep waiting long time on benches. We accept

commercials only when there is an appointment at specifi ed time; otherwise we reject waiting for

hours in studios. My son’s time is precious...”

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

As to the question about the impact of working on their children’s education, mothers say this heavy

work affects the educational of their children negatively. One mother says her child is sleepless after

long hours of shooting and sometimes falls asleep there, but he still does not complain since he likes

it too much. Another mother remarked that occasionally she takes her child early from his school

and there is no space in sets for children to study. While she was attending primary school, she had

to exercise her line drawing assignments on chairs in the set and she had to move to another place

with her materials when she was told to move out by the crew: I wish there were a table at least son

you can do your homework; I wish there was a stove. But there was none. Moreover, having seen my

school uniform and school kit, nobody ever asked me where I studied or did homework in the set.”

Her mother says she calls other parents to learn about what is going on in lessons while her daughter is

out of school in sets and it is quite diffi cult for her. She adds that while there is a clause in the contract

about respect to school hours, it is never observed. One of the mothers said her child occasionally

misses school and she attends a private course to remedy. It is stated that there are some lead players

who miss school for 2-3 months and others who are still illiterate after fi nishing the 1st grade.

One of the mothers say her two daughters have been acting in side roles for three years in various

TV series and this is because they like acting rather than pecuniary matters. She adds that school

attendance, tests and engagement in acting do not leave children any time for rest and leisure: “In

a week, my daughter attends her school half a day, goes to her private course on the other half and

devotes one day to her role. She has no time to rest. We can only use Sundays to cruise around or go

to cinema with her and her peers.” The mother stated that she would like her child to continue his/her

education and picks another profession, but she also underlined that she does not understand why the

teacher refuses the child to be employed.

Mothers state that they accompany their children in their work and never leave them alone. On this

matter, we observed that mothers are together with their children while waiting for their turn, but not

around when shooting starts. While some mothers say “working conditions prevent us to be with our

children” others add “the child can neither spend time with his friends”. Still they are content about

one point: “It is nice that your child is popular and admired. It pleases me to see people who want to

hug and kiss my child and to have a photo with him.”

The mother of a boy who is appearing in a fi lm says his son’s cuteness and easily adapting character

was effective in fi nding this job. She says before acting in this fi lm her son used to be with his father

in his workplace and now he devotes his time fully to acting. “We were in the set while he was 2

and we have been here for 1.5 years now. It has become a part of our life. They are careful and

responsive here. May son too is easy to get along and a social character. He communicates well with

his environments and he’s got used to it. He was about to start speaking when he fi rst came to the set.”

One of the fathers interviewed says he plans his time according to his children’s work and is interested

in their career as actors: “I take children to the set with my own car. As a disabled person, I work three

days a week, so I can spare time to be with my children. My youngest son is taking drama training for

seven years. He stages plays and acts in his school. His teachers are very happy about it. My elder

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

son is acting since age 12. He is now a university student, but has a part in a newly starting TV series.

He chose banking as a career just like me.”

While some mothers say “they are not psychologically affected by their children’s acting”, one

mother says the following: “there is violence in some scenes and the child witnesses it; but before

that I tell him this is just a role to be played and he knows well it is.” Here is another example what a

mother tells to her acting child before shooting: “This is just a game; your mother and father does not

change! It is just a game that you have different parents in that fi lm. It will be all over when we leave

this place and take you home with our car...” Another mother says “There is an acting coach, but he

coaches all actors, not a special one for children.”

Parents were asked about the advantages and disadvantages of having an acting child. This question

also had a part relating to pros and cons for the child himself/herself. It is stated that “its material

returns are not so much” while a mother said “she is proud of her child’s success” and another

pointed out the “child likes it and having fun.” As to whether they would like to have their children

continue in this career, responses are as follows: “he wants it very much”... “I want my child to be an

actor maybe for satisfying my own ego, since I wanted it too much but could not”... “acting is a quite

elusive profession and so I want my child to have a more stable career.” Majority of mother say their

children have not taken any training in acting.

While bottle-feeding her baby after a shooting a mother said she didn’t like the meal served: “My

son was a cute baby. We put his photograph on the website of the casting agency. We contacted with

a friend who was then working in the set and the agency had our contract. We play 2-4 days a week.

They treat us fi ne. My son gets disturbed when he is not here. He became the mascot of the crew. They

give us transport. I save what is paid for the future of my baby.” Another mother who is annoyed on

his son’s disorder during a shooting said this was a rare case. She enrolled her son to infant school, but

he could not adapt to the facility. She said she is sensitive about her son’s development. While talking

about working conditions in commercials, she said it is better than in other parts of the sector: “My

son had a separate room with a bed, special meals and a nurse to take care of...”

In response to the question whether children have had any adversity in sets, one of the mothers said:

“Once my daughter had to run in a muddy environment. She fell and came to me crying. At that

moment, a woman in charge of costumes started yelling ‘what a mess is this, what have you done?

What are we going to do with your dresses all in mud? Couldn’t you be more careful!’ and I reacted


When asked how many days and hours in a week their children spend for shootings, mothers responded

there is no defi nite period or time”. One of the mothers said: “he can be kept waiting whole day in

the set just for speaking a sentence. We leave home at 6:00 in the morning and return at the dawn of

the next day.” Another mother: “there are cases when we went out for a shooting of just 45 minutes

and others when we had to wait for eleven hours. Once we waited three hours for a shooting and then

learned later that scene was cut out.” There is a mother responding “3-4 hours a day and 1-2 days

in a week.”

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

When asked what any legislation or regulation should contain in relation to child actors, majority of

mothers suggested “putting a limit to daily working hours” and “making it compulsory to work only

out of school hours.” They say, “In Europe the law says they can work at most 4 hours a day; again

in Europe, there is the practices of employing two children for the same part, which can be adopted,

and it must be compulsory to have a pedagogue present in sets.”

In general, mothers complain about the following:

40 -

children work long hours and in irregular intervals,

things may change depending on the company employing child actors,

work during school hours may be detrimental to the education of children,

it is unfair that all rights of children are held by agencies in case children work as attached to an


4.1.12. Findings from Interviews with Child Development Specialists

In interviews, all child development specialists agreed on the following: At present, cultural and

artistic activities (TV series, fi lms, commercials, etc) in Turkey take place under unfavourable and

unsatisfactory conditions and involvement of children in these activities under present conditions

cannot be taken positively. However, they add that this involvement may have positive returns in case

environments and conditions are improved. Here are the words of Specialist 5 on this issue: “I think

this business is not conducted very professionally in Turkey. Hence, given the present environment

and conditions I don’t approve children’s employment as actors. If I am convinced about the existence

of a professional approach and have some convincing facts about this, my outlook can be positive.”

Specialist 1: “As far as I know shootings continuing until very late hours, night work, sequences

that are repeatedly shot over and over all suggest that it is very hard for children. So, things must be

regulated and controlled by established rules and norms and relevant measures must be adopted to

pay due attention to child rights and children’s developmental needs.”

As to specialists’ ideas about what they have observed and disapproved during the shooting of fi lms,

TV series or commercials, the following can be said:

all specialists agree that children are abused,

parts assigned to children, course of events and scripts are not compatible with the level of

development of children concerned,

in some TV series or fi lms there are too many children used independently of script at hand,

shootings take too long and there is night work as well,

long and intensive work may interfere with the schooling of the child.

Specialist 5 says the following about the issue: “I am working in the child arts commission of the

State Opera and Ballet. Here we examine opera and ballet works selected for children from the point

Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

of their relevance and appropriateness for children with respect to age and development level. This

work is related exclusively to stage arts. As to movies and TV series, besides their time consuming and

intensive character, there is also a dimension related to texts and roles. I know there is no commission

or any other body examining these. Yet, the content of these has to be examined with reference to child

development and linguistic quality. Also, it should be absolutely considered what kind of roles can be

undertaken by children and what by adults.”

All specialists draw attention to negative developmental consequences of engagement in cultural

and artistic activities for preschool, primary education and adolescent children, but also mention

some positive effects. For the latter, specialists remark that taking part in TV series, movies and

commercials may positively affect their linguistic and social development, self-care and selfconfi

dence. As Specialist 5 says, “Looking at the positive side of the picture, you assign a role and

responsibility to the child. The child fulfi ls this responsibility and becomes successful. Then he is

placed on the focus of interest and everybody appreciates his achievement. They say ‘how masterly he

played in that scene.’ I can say that the child develops his self-respect to a certain extent in this case.

Again looking at the positive side, one can say that memorizing his part and using some words that

he has never used before while following the script mal affect his linguistic development positively as

well. Another positive effect may be related to child’s self-care skills before primary school. After all,

these children change many dresses while acting their roles.”

Besides this, a large majority of specialists stress that negative developmental consequences may

increase younger the age of the child is. Taking preschool ages for example, all experts underline that

this is the period when the child acquires basic skills, habits and trust and when the stepping stones

of future years are built. Hence, adversities that may be faced in this period will inevitably affect the

future life of the child. Specialist 1 says the following in relation to this issue: “Preschool is a period

when the child acquires basic skills and when the development is quite fast. Thus, for the future life

of children to be shaped correctly, daily routines must be observed and practised regularly in this

period. These routines include feeding, sleeping and resting at specifi c times of the dray. How can an

acting child do this?”

Specialist 1: “Families must accompany their children in sets especially if they are at preschool

ages. It is the period when the child is in need going to, hugging, speaking and getting in interaction

with his parents. If these needs of the child are not responded to, his feeling of basic trust may be

shattered. Resting, sleeping times and feeding are also very important points to consider.” Specialist

4: “Especially children in the age group 0-6 are in their playing period. So there must be playing

rooms in sets children can play when get bored. Otherwise, you restrict the living environment of

the child. For example, when on a long bus trip can you provide a space supporting your child’s

development? Of course not...”

Specialist 5: “As for preschool ages we don’t suggest fables, because they are too distant from reality.

So are TV series and many movies. Consequently, in order to help children bridge fi ction with the

real word there must be a professional who is competent in issues related to child psychology and

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

tendencies. And it is absolutely not the acting coach who should provide for that. It should be a child

development specialist, child psychologists or psychiatrists.” Specialist 6: “Children may have to

remain long time in sets; in summer, in winter, at daytime or night...So things must be arranged by

placing the child at the centre.”

Many specialists maintain that children’s engagement in artistic and cultural activities as actors may

have negative implications on their social-emotional development. In the same context, all specialists

agree that popularity gained by acting may bring along exaggerated self-confi dence and upon the

vane of this popularity some time in near future may lead to wearing off of self-confi dence and trust

in people around. Here is what Specialist 2 says: “Children shift their playing time to sets and thus

their playing time is actually ‘stolen.’ A child not playing cannot satisfy himself psychologically and

his emotional development is hampered.” One specialist expressed his disturbance to see children in

roles having dresses on not appropriate for their age. The opinion of Specialist 5 is as follows: “On

the screen, these children lose their natural essence with dresses and makeup they put on. They are

excessively forced into their roles and this gives me the impression that we are making them grow up

unnecessarily fast.”

A large majority of experts draw attention to the fact that preschool children are yet not at the stage

of abstract operations; it is not easy for them to bridge actual life and fi ction while constantly moving

to one from the other.

All specialists say that the engagement of primary school children in artistic and cultural activities

as actors will negatively affect their school life, performance and academic skills. The opinion of

Specialist 1 is: “Engagement of primary school children in TV series, movies and commercials as

child actors will absolutely affect their school performance and life negatively. It will entail nonattendance

and breaking apart from lessons and homework. I think engagement in long TV series in

this period will harm child’s acquirement of basic skills and knowledge taught at school. If a child

spends most of his time out of school in fi lming sets, he will be kept away from sportive and other

artistic activities that are essential for his development.” Specialist 5: “Working hours in sets are too

long and working conditions are arranged as adult centred. Consequently, if we consider that these

are school age children and it is their school performance that counts most, circumstances mentioned

above will defi nitely affect their basic and primary education performance negatively.” In addition

to all these, specialists also say that just like preschool children, children at primary school ages too

may fi nd it diffi cult to bridge real life and fi ction.

All specialists point out that adolescent period, characterized by emotional and spiritual turmoil, is

quite diffi cult and challenging for child actors. Stressing that friendship relations and engagement

in a group is utterly important in this period, specialists say admittance to a group or environment

just on the basis of present popularity may negatively affect adolescent’s development. As Specialist

7 says, “Friends are vitally important for children at these ages. An adolescent keep thinking what

their adolescent peers think of him, whether they like him or want to see him in their group. It seems

hurting to me that group membership of a child is only through his popularity. In other words, you are

42 -

Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

‘in’ as long as you are popular; but what will happen when that TV series ends? One should think well

about this.” In addition to this, many specialists think that present popularity may trigger excessive

self-confi dence and ego. In relation to this point, one of the specialists remarked that popularity in

adolescence may also bring along some positive consequences in social terms. These include better

self-expression, ease while addressing to others, taking decisions about future life and self-trust in

shaping his present life. Another specialist remarked that adolescent actors in particular are forced to

a standard physical appearance to draw attention and be admired. Here is the opinion of expert 5: “I

think child actors in their adolescence are selected according to a specifi c standard. For example,

they are all well cared, fi ne and attractive children. Anyway, they have to appear so on the screen.

Then they dye their hair, wear makeup and display behaviour like adults in their very young ages.

This makes them constantly fi xed on their physical appearance. In relation to this specifi c period,

all specialists underline that adolescence is a very critical period in child development during which

children take persons around as their role models and want to be like them. In this regard, expert 1

said the following: “In this period, adolescent adopt some role models and associated characteristics

to draw themselves a role map. For acting adolescents, it may be quite attractive to be in sets together

with celebrated actors and actresses and they may select some of them as their role models. But one

cannot expect them to make the right choice all the time. An adolescent can select a negative role

model and his family may come across a case where their child has developed unwanted behaviour

or bad habits.

Apart from all these, all specialists addressed the fact that families let their children work as child

actors from two respects. The fi rst is enjoying economic returns over children and the second is

related to the visual media and public which exalt acting as a highly popular engagement. In addition

to this, specialists stress that family decisions to have their children appear on the screen are decisive.

It is stated that children at ages not able to decide about their life are channelled to acting by their

families and a child not wanting to engage in such activity in his future life may be stigmatized by the

society. It is therefore concluded that these children are abused by their families emotionally as well.

A large majority of specialists state that the use of children for economic returns should be addressed

in the context of “child exploitation.” Some specialists draw attention to the possibility that siblings

and close relatives of child actors may be charmed by their popularity, which may cause a negative

psychological effect (jealousy, envy, etc.) They conclude siblings and other peers close to child actors

should also receive psychological counselling and support services.

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

44 -


The present study aims at exposing at pilot level working conditions of children engaged in artistic

and cultural activities in Turkey and the impact of these conditions on children’s development.

Fieldwork/observations conducted as well as interviews with stakeholders suggest that working

conditions of children in this sector as well as their pre and post-acting status are below relevant

international standards. It is observed that relevant legislative arrangements are insuffi cient; and as

stated by interviewees, in many cases there is no contract at all, and even when there is it is not

heeded and working times and conditions are arranged without any consideration of children’s level

of development and needs.

In the light of existing literature on the subject and information obtained from interviews it can be said

that acting may have both positive and negative implications for the psycho-social and academic life

of children concerned. Positive effects may emerge in case child actors are provided conditions and

environments where the rights of children and families are respected and where developmental needs

and characteristics of children are observed (i.e. in physical, temporal, spatial, social and educative

terms). On the other hand, any disregard or omission of these requirements will have quite negative

effects on the psycho-social and academic development of children.


Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

The study allows for the formulation of the following suggestions:

Valorising the labour of children engaged in cultural and artistic activities by considering

them as independent individuals,

Public opinion is convinced that engagement in cultural and artistic activities has positive

impact on child development. However in order for this convincement to be confi rmed and

avoiding any commercial tie between children and these activities, there is need to promote

these activities at schools, local governments and special child institutions,

Creating a databank by identifying children in cultural and artistic activities and ensuring this

by the cooperation of relevant institutions and agencies,

While legislative arrangements are in process, drafting an action plan for creating a databank,

organizing information building sessions for children and their families and building child

rights awareness in casting agencies as parties having fi rst contact with families and children

and allocating a budget for these activities,

Informing consumers to as to ensure that less child labour is used in cultural and artistic


In addition to these, the following must be ensured in specifi c for children engaged in cultural and

artistic activities:

With regards to contracts;

Having casting agencies act contracts with child actors containing specifi c clauses,

Drafting a regulation to govern contracts to be acted with the parents and legal representatives

of child actors,

Registering child actors with social security and health insurance,

With regards to working hours;

Prohibiting the employment of child actors at night and when it is absolutely necessary having

it completed as early as possible and in shortest time

Arranging working conditions of child actors with respect to age intervals 3-4, 5-6, 7-12, and


Putting daily, weekly and yearly working hours of child actors under a regulation,

Working hours of the children should specifi ed. Children between the ages 0-2 should not

be employed and those above two should be employed in condition that thier working hous

should not exceed 2-3 hours per day.

With regards to physical conditions;

Providing child actor special rooms or trailers for changing, feeding and playing,

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

46 -

Arranging physical environments so as not to have any negative impact on children (hygiene

and safety, not too hot and not too cold, etc.),

Allowing no compromise on the basic needs of the child (nutrition, sleep, rest, play etc.),

With regards to child development;

Ensuring that candidate child actors take training in acting with due attention to their personal


Acting in child-centred manner as long as child actors are employed,

Ensuring that all people in working environments behave sensitive in their communication

with child actors,

Organizing for casting agencies and producers a process of selection and preparation observing

child rights and avoiding any child exploitation/abuse,

Never letting children involved in scenes that can cause trauma,

Having scripts and programme content prepared as sensitive to child development,

Assigning roles and jobs appropriate to the age and development level of the child concerned,

Arranging set work in a manner not to interfere with child’s education and schooling,

Making sure that child actor’s family is always present in the set throughout shooting,

Apart from acting coach, ensuring the presence of a group of professionals in the same

environment (child psychologist, child psychiatrist, child development specialist, guide and

psychological counsellor, social worker),

With regards to implementation and monitoring of the above mentioned regulation;

Having working environments and conditions of child actors inspected by labour and social

security inspectors and social development specialists,

Checking the fulfi lment of responsibilities by families and legal representatives to protect

child actors within the framework of legislative arrangements,

Building inspection mechanisms with constructive and dissuading provisions,

Having the RTÜK examine the content of programmes and commercials as well as conditions

of children working in these in the light of universally accepted broadcasting principles,

Organizing child actors in trade unions to protect their working rights (parallel to amendments

in the labour code to regulate the working conditions of child actors, there is also need to

modify the trade union law to make union membership possible for children).

With regards to legislative arrangements concerning children working in cultural and artistic activities:

Establishing a commission that would regularly oversee the rights of children engaged in

cultural and artistic activities and their families, working conditions and environments, roles

assigned to child actors and content of scripts (this commission should include professionals

such as child development specialists, child psychologist and child psychiatrists),

Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

Having all people working in sets where child actors are present take periodic trainings,

seminars or counselling in issues related to child development (having these activities followed

by the commission mentioned above),

Taking account of legislative arrangements in other countries (establishing a preparative

commission for legislative arrangement to be made in line with the EC Directive no. 94/33

as well as suggestions made by ILO and UNICEF. This commission should comprise

representatives from all related ministries, workers’ and employers’ unions, associations

and professional unions, child development specialists, psychologists or psychiatrists and


Organizing, together with unions, civil society organizations and ministries, awareness

building meetings to crease a public pressure for the completion of legislative arrangement as

soon as possible and its entry into the agenda of the Grand National Assembly.

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

48 -


Alankuş, S. (2007). Çocuk odaklı habercilik. İstanbul: IPS İletişim Vakfı Publications.

Altan, Ö.Z. (2000). Sosyal politika. Eskişehir: Anadolu Üniversitesi, Açıköğretim Fakültesi


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önlenmesi, ulusal mevzuatın uluslararası sözleşmeler ve AB direktifl eri ile karşılaştırılarak

ihtiyaçların belirlenmesi, ulusal mevzuattaki mevcut eksikliklerin giderilmesine ilişkin taslak

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Türkiye’de Çocuk Emeği. Ankara: Ütopya Publications (313-329).

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Çocuk hakları ve medya el kitabı içinde (s. 49-85). İstanbul: Çocuk Vakfı Publications.

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(2011). Received from

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kitabı (s. 355-392). İstanbul: Çocuk Vakfı Publications.

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programları ve bu programlarda yayımlanan reklamların içerik analizi araştırması.

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Haziran 2011

50 -

Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

Güven, A.M. (2007). Sinema ve TV’de ‘çocuk oyuncu sömürüsü’ne son. Yeni Şafak. www.

Çocuk Oyuncu Seçmeleri. Ekol Drama Sanat Evi. 2010

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Aydın, İ. (2007). child actors. www.

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Bir, A.A. (2011) Reklam, Çocuk ve RTÜK. Bugün Gazetesi

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Reklam Özdenetim Kurulu.

Reklamcılar Derneği.

Yeşilçamın Çocuk Yıldızları


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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

52 -



1. Demographic information Please give information about your age, sex, educational status and

occupation (actor, producer, casting agency, your relationship to the actor)

2. To producers about actors (in the context of TV series and commercials)

- Are you making business contracts with actors?

- How do you assess the information and skill level of players when you are making


- What does it cost to engage an actor? (payment, social security, catering, costumes,

healthcare, training, leisure, leave, other),

- Are there different types of contract (written, oral)? Can you give an example?

- How do you provide for social security and health insurance? (SSK – Bağkur)

- How do you determine the duration of contracts? (Daily, monthly, yearly)

- If the fi lm fails to make rating how do you assess this situation and with whom?

- When it is decided to remove the fi lm from vision what are the legal rights of workers? Is it

provided for by the contract?

- If the actor wants to drop the work without completing it do you apply the sanctions in the


- If you demand work in terms other than that is specifi ed in the contract how do you discuss

the matter with the player?

- Are contracts with technical crew similar to those made with actors? What differences are


3. To producers about channels

- Are you making business contracts with TV channels?

- When acting contracts with TV channels how do you go about such issues as the selection of

actors and crew and their rights?

- In assessing production costs what do channels focus on? What does the cost of actors

consist of? (payment, social security, catering, costumes, healthcare, training, leisure, leave,


- Are there different types of contract (written, oral) with TV channels? Can you give an


- Do you ask channels for insurance in relation to production? Do channels ask you to employ

actors and other covered by social security?

- How do you determine the duration of contracts? (Daily, monthly, yearly)

- If the fi lm fails to make rating how do you assess this situation and with whom?

- When it is decided to remove the fi lm from vision what are your legal rights and those of

workers? Is it provided for by the contract?

- If there is demand for work in terms other than that is specifi ed in the contract how do you

discuss the matter with the player?

Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

4. To casting agencies about actors

- Are you making business contracts with actors?

- How do you assess the information and skill level of players when you are making


- What does it cost to engage an actor? (payment, social security, catering, costumes,

healthcare, training, leisure, leave, other),

- Are there different types of contract (written, oral)? Can you give an example?

- How is social security and health insurance are provided for actors? (SSK – Bağkur)

- How do you determine the duration of contracts? (Daily, monthly, yearly)

- If the fi lm fails to make rating how do you assess this situation and with whom?

- When it is decided to remove the fi lm from vision what are the legal rights of workers? Is it

provided for by the contract?

- If the actor wants to drop the work without completing it do you apply the sanctions in the


- If there is demand for work in terms other than that is specifi ed in the contract how do you

discuss the matter with the player?

5. To casting agencies about candidate actors

- Are you making business contracts with candidate actors?

- How do you assess the information and skill level of players when you are making


- What is the cost associated with candidate actors?

- How do you determine the duration of contracts? (Daily, monthly, yearly)

6. To casting agencies about producers

- Are you making business contracts with producers?

- While acting contracts with producers how do you settle such issues as selection of actors

and their rights?

- What do producers consider most in regard to the cost of actors? What does it cost to engage

an actor? (payment, social security, catering, costumes, healthcare, training, leisure, leave,


- Are there different types of contract (written, oral) with producers? Can you give an


- Dou you ask producers to have actors covered by social security?

- How do you determine the duration of contracts? (Daily, monthly, yearly)

- If the fi lm fails to make rating how do you assess this situation and with whom?

- When it is decided to remove the fi lm from vision what are your legal rights and those of

workers? Is it provided for by the contract?

- If there is demand for work in terms other than that is specifi ed in the contract how do you

discuss the matter?

7. To channels about producers

- Are you making business contracts with producers?

- While acting contracts with producers how do you settle such issues as selection of actors

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

54 -

and their rights?

- What do producers consider most in regard to the cost of actors? What does it cost to engage

an actor? (payment, social security, catering, costumes, healthcare, training, leisure, leave,


- Are there different types of contract (written, oral) with producers? Can you give an


- Dou you ask producers to have actors covered by social security?

- How do you determine the duration of contracts? (Daily, monthly, yearly)

- If the fi lm fails to make rating how do you assess this situation and with whom?

- When it is decided to remove the fi lm from vision what are the legal rights of producers? Is

it provided for by the contract? How are the rights of actors and crew are protected?

- In case RTÜK supervision ends up with censorship how and with whom do you evaluate

this decision? Does the contract provide for your mutual rights with the producer? When

actors lose their contracted rights as a result of censor how is this remedied?

- When advertising brands request certain things about content and production processes how

do you asses this?

- In case there is demand for work out of what is specifi ed in the contract how do you

mutually assess this?

8. To channels about advertising brands

- Are you making business contracts with commercial brands?

- How do you assess RTÜK supervision when acting business contracts with brands?

- What is the role of the advertising brand in monitoring and evaluation?

- How do you determine the duration of contracts? (Daily, monthly, yearly)

- If the fi lm fails to make rating how do you assess this situation and with whom?

- When it is decided to remove the fi lm from vision what sanction can the advertising fi rm

resort to?

- When advertising brands request certain things about content and production processes how

do you asses this?

- In case there is demand for work out of what is specifi ed in the contract how do you

mutually assess this?

9. To families (parents, grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts) about the close circles of actors/

candidate actors

- How did you decide about your affi nity’s acting z?

- Where did you learn that acting is a profession and it brings money?

- How and from whom did you learn where to apply after deciding about his acting?

- Why wasn’t your candidate selected? How was the assessment made?

- Why couldn’t other candidates selected for acting?

- How much time and money did you spend for applying and following the process? By using

which means could you afford this? Did your environment support you?

- Did you act a contract with the casting agency? Can you tell what was in that contract? From

whom did you receive support while examining the terms of the contract? (teacher, friends,

family of candidate actor, acting coach),

Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

- Have you got social security and health insurance for the actor?

- Did you personally make the contract with the producer? What were the advantages of

working with a casting agency? What does the contract cover? (payment, social security,

catering, costumes, healthcare, training, leisure, leave, other). Can you give us a copy of

your contract?

- Out of your written contract, are you expected to do some other thins in the set?

- Was the contract terminated before its ending date by the producer/casting agency? What

about your legal rights in this case?

10. Actors/families

- Do contracts vary in terms of form and content? (depending on producers, production and


- What should a good contract contain?

- Have you ever made a bad contract?

- Was there anything they orally asked you to do? Were there moments that you thought ‘I

should do this too’? Besides specifi ed things, are there also other things that must be done


- Do you face situations where working conditions change in the middle of the process? Dou

you consider such things normal? Does your contract contain any provision relating to such


- What kind of differences may be among contracts? (casting agency, producer) Which one

do you prefer to contract with? Why?

- Does the contract between the channel and producer and contract between producer and

casting agency have any effect on your working conditions?

- Dou you have any legal representative or fi nancial counsellor who helps you in managing

your fi nancial affairs? Do you have a psychologist that you take advice in order to cope up

with daily problems and consolidate your personal development?

- How do you associate your education life with acting life? (Conservatory, fi ne arts academy,

other education institutions)

- Does your acting affect your retention in education? What do you do to have your education

and training contribute to your acting skills?

- Is there an organization like trade union, association or union that you have membership and

engages in defending your rights and has solidarity with?

- Does being visible in the media have any effect on your success? What kind of contacts do

you establish to appear in the media? Dou you use social networking sites?

11. Actors/child actors

- Did you take training in acting?

- Can you act as natural?

- Can anybody be an actor?

- Have you worked with an acting coach?

- Until what age do actors work?

- How and for how long can child actors work?

- What did acting bring to your personal life and relations? (material, non-material)

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities


Adult Actor

- How long have you been in this acting profession?

- In your acting carrier have you ever worked with children (Age 0-21)?

- While working with child actors what kinds of diffi culties you faced in understanding and

communication with them?

- In your opinion, how does the involvement of children as actors in movies, TV series and

commercials affect their development?

- As far as we know your work in acting is quite burdensome and intensive; why do you think

families want their children engage in such work?

- Putting yourself in the place of a parent would you like your child to be an actor? Why?

- As an actor, what is your opinion about working conditions in fi lming environments and sets

where children take part in series, movies or commercials??

- In your opinion how should be the working conditions of children in fi lming sets?

- In case legislation is drafted to protect the rights of child actors, what provisions should it


56 -

Mothers of Child Actors

- Are you happy with the working conditions of your child?

- Do you think that working conditions are too tiresome for your child? If yes, what kind of

improvements would you like to see in this regard?

- Do you think your child’s working conditions interfere with his education? If yes, what kind

of arrangements do you think necessary in this area?

- Do working conditions of your child preclude you to spend time with him?

- What do you think about your child’ popularity in his environments (friends, relatives,

neighbours, others around)?

- Dou you think your child is psychologically affected by scripts he plays? If yes, what kind

of support do you take in this issue and from whom?

- What advantages and disadvantages do you think your child’s acting bring to you and to


- Dou you want your child to continue with this in future too? Why?

- Does your child take training in acting?

- Does your child go eagerly to shootings for movies, commercials or TV series?

- So far, has your child experienced any negative event in sets? If yes, can you tell us what?

- Do you accompany your child throughout shootings for TV series, movies or commercials?

Where do you stay in these processes?

- Before arriving the set, do you prepare with your child for the part he is going to play that

day? If yes, how long does it take?

- On average, how many days a week and hours a day does your child spend in sets?

- Are there safety measures in sets to prevent or avoid accidents or other hazardous situations?

If yes, what safety do these bring?

- In case legislation is drafted to protect the rights of child actors, what provisions should it


Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

Production assistants and directors

- Are you happy for working with child actors?

- While working with child actors do you face diffi culties in communicating? If yes, can you

talk about it?

- On which days of the week and on average for how many hours do your child actors remain

in sets? What characteristics and/or needs of children do you consider while fi xing working

hours for TV series or movies (i.e. their age and developmental stage, education status,


- What do you think about child’s presence in scenes where there is alcohol, smoking and

substance abuse; weapons and violence; frightening events and others which may lead to

emotional stress or pessimism? Where is the location of the child when such scenes are

being shot?

- Is there a separate changing room in sets for child actors?

- Is there a separate resting room in sets for child actor? After how long you give break? How

long are breaks for child actors?

- Where are child actors during breaks and how do they spend their times and with whom

during these breaks? (i.e. is there a playing room specially arranged for the child?)

- Do the parents of children are located in the set in a way to observe their child throughout

the process?

- Are the family and the child informed about hazards and points to be careful about in

working environments? If yes, who is giving this information?

- Is there a contract acted by the employer and family-child? What does this contract cover?

(i.e. does it cover health insurance?) What is its duration (6 months, 1 year, etc.)

- In case specifi c psychological, social or physical affairs which may bar performance, does

the child or family have the right to stop unilaterally?

- Wow are your child actors fed in the set? Do you think their nutrition is commensurate to

their age specifi c needs?

- During work, how do adults communicate with child actors? Is there swearing, improper,

debasing or exalting discourses take place while the child is around?

- Is there a physician available in the set to take care of child’s health problems?

- Is there a psychologist available in the set to take care of child’s psychological problems?

- Do you adapt scripts of TV series according to your child players? How do you do it? Can

you give an example?

- What do you think about the future of child actors playing in this series?

- How do you psychologically prepare the child for his part to play?

- How do you inform the child about the script or the part he is supposed to play? Who gives

this information? Do you have any special preparation for the role?

- Let’s suppose that the child actor you selected turned to be unsuccessful and you think you

can no longer work with him. How would you explain this to the child and his family?

Child Actors

- How does it feel to be a child actor? What negative or positive changes have taken place in

your life after appearing on the screen?

- What kind of responses you take from your environment as a child actor? Are you happy

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Report of the Pilot Research Project on Children Working in Cultural and Artistic Activities

58 -

about it?

- What are your plans for your future life? Do you want to go on with acting? If yes, why? If

no, why not?

- While working as actor, can you spare enough time for your family and friends?

- Can you continue your education while acting? Is education more diffi cult in this case?

- Are you too much impressed by the part you played? How does it affect your real life?

- What kind of events affects you negatively during shootings for series or movies?

- What advantages and disadvantages does being an actor bring?

- Are you content with your working conditions? What would you like to see changed?

- What do you think about child rights? As an actor which rights you think you should enjoy?

- In the world of actors who do you take as model? Why?

- For how long do you prepare for the part you are going to play before shooting starts? How

do you prepare?

- As an actor you are yet at the beginning of the road. What do you think you need to develop

yourself further in this fi eld? (For example, do you think about taking training)

- Are there cases where you fi nd it diffi cult and fi nd yourself unsuccessful? How do you feel

in such cases?

- How is your colleagues’ (director, other actors, etc.) communication with you?

- How do you spend your time and what do you do during breaks?

Child Development Specialists

- As a child development specialist what is your opinion about children used as actors in TV

series, movies and commercials?

- Considering the development of children at preschool ages (0-6), how does their presence in

series, movies and commercials as child actors affect their development areas?

- Considering the development of children at primary school ages (7-14), how does their

presence in series, movies and commercials as child actors affect their development areas?

- Considering the development of children in adolescence (15-22), how does their presence in

series, movies and commercials as child actors affect their development areas?

- Given that a child would appear in a series, movie or in commercials, what kind of

arrangements should be mare in fi lming environments to safeguard his development?

- In case legislation is drafted to protect the rights of child actors, what provisions should it


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