What happens if you have a young genius who happens to be more gifted behind the camera? Chances are, you’ll just have to wait until your baby turns 18 before he or she can get work in those fields.

A poll of the Los Angeles area chapters of the producers, writers and directors guilds and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, which comprises several hundred entertainment industry union locals around the country, found no members under the age of 18.

The reason? A combination of the economy coupled with the time and maturity needed to make the professional connections and handle the work.

A spokesman for the DGA said the youngest members of that union were in their early 20s, primarily because most graduate from college before pursuing careers in directing. Someone at the WGA thought he recalled a 19-year-old member sometime last year. And IATSE requires a minimum age of 18 for membership.

“You might find 18-year-olds in the Properties Union, but one or two at best, ” says Walter Blanchard, the international representative for IATSE.

Blanchard adds that the entertainment industry’s high unemployment levels make it difficult for newcomers to compete with those boasting years of experience. The most likely way for 18-year-olds to get into IATSE is if they landed work on a nonunion project that becomes a signatory.

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