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YOUR CHILD WANTS TO BE AN ACTOR?

5 Questions to consider before getting started


YOUR CHILD WANTS TO BE AN ACTOR?

5 Questions to consider before getting started

There's so much to learn about the entertainment industry. As a parent of a child actor, I wish I had considered these questions before diving into the business. Not that it would have changed my daughter's goals for pursuing a career in show business. Moreso for planning and budgeting.

Is it my child's dream or my dream to be an actor?

This question is a vital one parents should ponder before taking a step into the entertainment industry. Did your child come to you and bring up their desire to become an actor? If yes, I encourage you to probe more by asking why they want to become an actor. If they say because I want to be famous, STOP NOW, save your money, time, and effort. They need to have passion for the craft. This question calls for a parent to do some self-reflection. Was it your dream to become a famous actor/performer? And are you trying to live the dream through your child?

Am I willing to invest upfront to get this career started?

I learned about the costs associated with getting started as we were getting started. I was surprised to learn about all the financial commitments as we began this journey. Before contacting an agent, you must invest in quality actor headshots ($500 - $1200 - double this if your child gets a haircut), acting classes ($200-$300 per month), and casting websites. You can see that start-up costs quickly add up almost at the $2,000 mark. Other costs associated include self-tape equipment (lights, tripod, backdrop), 1:1 coaching for specific auditions, and website/domain.

How much flexibility do I have in my schedule?

When my daughter started, I was working in human resources full-time. Fortunately, my job was remote (pre-covid). When my daughter started, she was getting 4-5 auditions a week. Then she booked a recurring role on a TV series five months after signing with her agent. She filmed locally (in Atlanta) for about one month, and I worked onset from her trailer, behind the camera, and had to coordinate with the child labor rep on set when I had to take a conf call. Even with detailed schedules on a call sheet, the filming often veers from the plan. You need to be able to ebb and flow with the ever-changing set schedule.

Am I willing to invest time in learning the industry?

There's so much to learn in this industry; the challenge is that you don't know what you don't know. In addition to working a full-time job, I had to learn this industry through internet research, joining Facebook groups, and networking with other parents and industry folks. So be ready to put Google in search overdrive. I recall looking up how to read a call sheet, terminology, and acronyms frequently used in the industry.

Can my child (and I) handle rejection?

There are certainly more "no's" in the industry than "yes ." Often, rejection affects the parent more than the child. But parents must set an example for how kids respond to rejection. No's are not based solely on talent/skills. Producers have a specific look/type they're going for, and your child can have all the skills but needs the look for the part. My daughter started performing in local dance/theater at five years old. Theater taught her valuable lessons in accepting the ongoing rejection associated with this business.

Final Thoughts

Of course, this isn't an all-inclusive list of things to consider before breaking your child into the business. However, these are great starter questions before making the financial and time investment in this industry.

Are you a parent of an experienced child actor? What do you wish you had known when you started?

What else do you want to know as a new parent to the industry?

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