If you have questions, we have answers! Here you'll find our most commonly asked questions, regarding the program itself, joining our events, and other useful information. If your question is not answered here, feel free to contact us.
GENERAL PROGRAM QUESTIONS
Q: What population is served by the Entertainment Community Fund?
A: The Fund serves all professionals in film, television, radio, music, opera, dance and theatre, assisting performers as well as those behind the scenes including creative professionals, technical and crafts professionals and support staff. The broad spectrum of programs offered by the Entertainment Community Fund are designed to address the needs of the entertainment community, including comprehensive social services, health care services, employment and training programs and supportive housing. The Entertainment Community Fund has offices in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York and serves industry professionals that live in any of the 50 states.
Q: What is Looking Ahead?
A: Looking Ahead is a program of the Entertainment Community Fund serving professional young performers in Southern California and New York. Underwritten in part by generous grants from the Screen Actors Guild-Producers Industry Advancement Cooperative Fund and AFTRA Industry Cooperative Fund, Looking Ahead is a comprehensive program designed to help young performers and their families gain support, get informed, develop skills and build community. The program supports young performers between the ages of 9 and 18 in developing the values, skills and confidence they need to make successful transitions to fulfilling adult lives.
Q: What services does Looking Ahead provide to address the needs of young performers and their families?
A: Looking Ahead supports this unique population through career and education counseling; individual, family, and group counseling to address issues like communication, relationships, peer pressure and anxiety and depression; community service opportunities; financial wellness workshops and a leadership development program. All services will be provided by career counselors and social workers at the Entertainment Community Fund.
Q: Does Looking Ahead have services for young performers who are not yet 9?
A: Yes, although Looking Ahead is specifically designed for children and youth at age 9 to 18 and members need to meet this age criteria to participate in Looking Ahead events and workshops, if you or your child is in need of educational or mental health support, please feel free to reach out at email@example.com. Please check the ECF website for other services that might be relevant to your family’s current needs. www.entertainmentcommunity.org
Q: Does Looking Ahead only help young performers who live in Southern California?
A: No. Looking Ahead programs are also offered in New York, some members live in other states. The Entertainment Community Fund assists entertainment industry professionals nationwide and some services might be relevant to your family’s situation. For more information on the closest office to you and available services, check The ECF website at www.entertainmentcommunity.org.
Q: Is Looking Ahead a program of SAG- AFTRA ?
A: No, Looking Ahead is a program of the Entertainment Community Fund, which is a not for profit organization separate from unions and guilds. SAG-AFTRA is a strong partner of Looking Ahead, however. The SAG and AFTRA industry cooperative funds provide significant funding for the program each year, the union partners on many events as a sponsor, and there are SAG-AFTRA representatives who sits on both the Looking Ahead Advisory Committee and the Western Council of the Entertainment Community Fund.
Q: Is Unclaimed Coogan part of the Looking Ahead program?
A: No, the Entertainment Community Fund is the appointed trustee for Unclaimed Coogan monies earned through employment by a California employer. For more information go to www.unclaimedcoogan.org or visit the tab on this site.
Q: I don’t have an agent/manager can Looking Ahead assist me with finding one?
A: No, Looking Ahead is a program that is dedicated to helping young performers and their families manage the unique life issues associated with working in the entertainment industry. There are other professional not for profits and agencies that support Young Performers in their professional development. Please see those resources on our resource page on this site.
Q: My children are not union members, but they have done professional work. Are they eligible for Looking Ahead services?
A: Looking Ahead’s mandate is to serve young performers between the ages of 9-18 who have done professional work. There are TWO ways to be eligible for the program. 1) You can document union membership and representation (an agent or manager); OR 2) You can document thru pay stubs and contracts earned entertainment industry income of $3,000 annually in the last two years. If you have questions about eligibility please contact the Looking Ahead Administrative Coordinator at 323-330-4425.
Q: What kind of entertainment industry work qualifies a young performer for Looking Ahead?
A: Professional work as a singer, dancer, actor, comedian, musician or voice over artist. Please see the eligibility page of this website for specific criteria.
Q: Are siblings who are non-young performers able to enroll as participants?
A: No, Looking Ahead is only for the professional young performer. However there may be movie screenings or other events where the entire family can be invited and participate.
Q: I am a professional performer, but my child is not. Can my child participate in Looking Ahead events?
A: No, all of the participants in Looking Ahead must be professional young performers themselves. However, if it is relevant to your situation, Entertainment Community Fund social workers can assist you in finding supportive, mental health or other community services that might help. Please contact our intake department at 323-330-4555.
PROGRAM PARTICIPATION QUESTIONS
Q: How much does your program cost?
A: All supportive and educational counseling is free. Generally, all community service, education, social and leadership events are free. From time to time, we may need to charge a nominal fee depending on the event ($5-$20). Usually, we can provide scholarships if these fees are prohibitive to participate.
Q: Do I have to be involved within the program year-round?
A: No, you can participate at will depending on your schedule and interest level. But the best way to meet other young performers and get to know them better is by participating in our events. Events are offered to three age groups: 9-11 year-olds, 12-14 year-olds and 15-18 year-olds.
Q: Can I pick and choose what events my young performer may attend?
A: Yes, all of our events are listed on our events registration section and you can register your child for any events that are within their age group. You can choose what works for you and your child.
Q: May I attend events with my child?
A: In the majority of our events, children and youth participate solely with kids in their own age bracket, as well as staff and trained chaperones. (There are three age groups: 9-11 year-olds, 12-14 year-olds and 15-18 year-olds.) Our goal is to support our member's social development by helping them connect with their peers to develop lasting friendships. There are some events when parents and other family members are invited and can participate. All events posts specify who can participate.
Q: How can I volunteer with the program?
A: We appreciate and use volunteers in all different capacitates. We hope you check out our Volunteer Spot under “Support Looking Ahead” on our site, join us and get involved.
Q: How long does the application process take?
A: You can fill out the online application in about 10 minutes. Once you have submitted your application you will receive a confirmation email. It will take 1-3 business days for us to review your eligibility status. Once that is complete, you will get a welcome email letting you know you can begin registering for events.
Q: Why do you need all of my personal information?
A: Most of the information we gather is complied into large global reports, without any personal identifying information, that help us describe the population we serve to funding sources. This information is crucial to our ability to continue funding the program, but also to better understand the needs and challenges of the families we serve. On a case by case basis, this information can be helpful to staff, when in consultation with parents, we need to design specific educational, counseling or other services for your child.
Q: Why do I have to fill out all of these surveys?
A: The surveys are the only way we can measure the value and the effectiveness of the services we provide and compare those results year after year in a consistent manner. This is important in helping us constantly reassess our services and make adjustments so we can serve our kids and families as well as we can. This information also impacts our ability to fund the program, since there is a growing demand from funders to demonstrate the impact of the programs they fund.
Q: What is the annual update process?
A: Every year Looking Ahead members will receive an email asking them to update their current information on the website. This helps us keep our data base relevant and current. It will be mandatory for everyone to annually update their information. You will also be asked to fill out a brief survey, which is how we will capture longitudinal data as described in the prior question.
Q: If there is an emergency how do I get a hold of my child at an event?
A: Looking Ahead has an ER event phone line (323) 813-LKAH ( 5523). This line is to be used ONLY to let the Looking Ahead staff know of immediate issues that apply during the current event your child is attending.
Q: Does Looking Ahead provide volunteer opportunities / hours for kids?
A: Yes, each age bracket of our Looking Ahead program offers community service activities to foster the importance of giving back to our community. Our staff can document volunteer hours to support school requirements, applications for colleges and employment opportunities.
Q: What is the 3 strikes policy?
A: If you fail to cancel your reservation and are a “no- show” for a Looking Ahead event you will receive a STRIKE. There are 3 ways to alert the team that your attendance situation has changed. You must do one of these three things to Not receive a strike:
1. Cancel your registration through your online account before the event;
2. Call and leave a message at our extension 323.933.9244 ext. 430; or
3. Email Looking Ahead at firstname.lastname@example.org before the event or prior to the start time of the event to notify us of your absence, then we will mark you down as absent.
Once you reach 3 “no- shows" you will be suspended from attending Looking Ahead events for the following 2 months. For example, if you are a “no- show” for two events in January and one in February, you will not be able to attend any Looking Ahead events until May.
We understand that as a young performer your schedule is unpredictable and on the go, so we want you to know that we completely understand if you have an audition or are filming and have to miss an event. However, it is important that we are notified in advance or as soon as possible. This is so we don’t delay events waiting for no-shows and we can include other Looking Ahead members who might be on a waiting list for the event. With your help, Looking Ahead will be able to run more efficient and cost- effective events for you!