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Working With Minors

by | Oct 9, 2020

Working with Minors  (as of April 22, 2021)

Discovery is committed to the safety of all children on our production sets. The producer must ensure the safety of all children on production sets and ensure that all production personnel conduct themselves in an appropriate manner. When you begin your pre-production and budgeting process, make sure to identify the production personnel for whom you believe background checks will be required. Discovery can provide general guidance regarding the categories of individuals who would require background checks; it being understood that such guidance is not intended to relieve or absolve you of your responsibility to investigate (where appropriate) the background of individuals involved in the production.

Background Check Requirements:

  • Background checks on crew are required to be run on all crew members who will or could interact with minors prior to start of production with sufficient time to receive and review results.
  • The equivalent of a Level 1 background check by XG (Discovery’s preferred vendor) is required. If Producer wishes to use a different company or different level of check, please check with your designated Network BA designee for prior written approval before commencing any checks or incurring any costs in connection with a potential check.
  • Producer to flag any hits on background checks to the Network BA designee. The Network BA designee will then review the background check and that crew member must be approved prior to Producer engagement. If there are no hits on the background check, Producer may proceed without alerting the Network BA designee.
  • Subsequent background checks are required in the following scenarios:
  • Prior to the start of principal photography for any additional season (e.g. an approved crew member for Season 1 would need to be re-checked for Season 2); and
  • In the event a crew member returns to production following a hiatus of 30 days or greater for any reason.
  • In the event of any production-related exigencies that do not allow for checks to be run by crew, your designated Network BA designee must approve in writing in advance a different procedure than outlined above.

Crew Interactions with Minors:

  • Production crew may not engage with minors at any time outside the scope of production.
  • A guardian/parent must be present with minors at all times during production (when filming and otherwise) – crew may not be alone with minors at any time.

Insurance Requirements:

  • Producer shall disclose on insurance applications whenever minors will appear on-camera in a production for Discovery and shall provide any additional information requested and complete any other documents furnished by the insurance company in connection therewith.
  • Producer shall notify Discovery and insurance company of any material modifications or changes to any activity or to the set design following commencement of production.

Production Protocols:

  • Producer shall record all working hours of minors and furnish such records to Network immediately upon request.
  • Producer shall prepare a Safety Plan prior to commencement of production, which plan shall set forth all information necessary or advisable relating to the safety and security of the minors.
  • Producer shall conduct a safety briefing during which emergency procedures are explained and the Safety Plan is reviewed prior to commencement of production.
  • Producer shall immediately report to Network any incident or occurrence during production for which medical attention or other intervention by producer or emergency personnel (e.g., police, fire, EMT) is required including, without limitation, the injury or illness of any talent, any alleged criminal activity involving talent (whether as perpetrator or victim) or a material breach of security of the production set.
  • Producer shall conduct an activity briefing/rehearsal with respect to each material activity in which minors are engaged during production. If any material aspect of the activity changes, a new activity briefing/rehearsal shall be held.

Production Expertise Requirements:

  • Producer shall use the services of a show runner with expertise and proven track record working with minors.
  • Producer shall ensure that its legal   counsel has expertise working with minors in the entertainment industry.

Production Compliance:

  • Producer shall ensure that all minors providing on-camera services during production have appropriate releases or talent agreements executed by a parent or guardian having authority to contract on behalf of such minor. All talent agreements for minors shall comply with the requirements of the Talent Guidelines for Producers, provided that no background checks shall be performed on a minor unless requested by the Network BA designee. Such agreements shall be affirmed if requested by Network.
  • Producer shall ensure that all travel, lodging, and transportation arrangements provide for minor to be accompanied by one parent or guardian. Per diems (if applicable) shall contemplate the daily meal expenses of the minor and the parent/guardian.
  • Producer shall ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations regarding employment of minors, including without limitation, those relating to work permits, work hours and payments, education and supervision.