Becoming a performer in any capacity is a big undertaking at any age. It is even more so as a child.
Entering your child into the film industry is new and unexplored territory for most parents. It is a full time commitment, and the possibilities are limitless. To help navigate your way through the beginning processes, we have a few pieces of advice!
* Do your research! Most agencies have all of their policies and expectations readily available on their websites. Are you and your child ready for the expectations that come along?
* Enroll your child in a class or workshop, have a coaching session with an acting teacher BEFORE you contact an agent. The Coach has industry experience and could help point you in the right direction, whether it be to continue with classes first, or to jump right in and get an Agent.
*Just like any activity, is this a passing phase? Are you and your child ready to make this career decision?
* Look into workshops for parents of child actors, these information sessions are worth their weight in gold! An industry professional guiding you with insider information and teaching you etiquette on how to hone your child’s craft as well as teaching you how not to get too involved (Stage Moms…’nuff said!)
* Understand that this is not like registering your child in a sport. You cannot opt out when you don’t feel like attending auditions. Agents are not coaches; we are not paid to represent your child. If you sign a contract with an Agent you are agreeing to be committed and do your part to ensure your child’s success. Children can’t decide they don’t feel like preparing for their audition, they don’t feel like studying their lines etc. You must explain to your child that they cannot decide not to put in the effort on a given day. It is a job, it is a commitment and getting auditions are like winning the lottery so to speak. They must be prepared and they must be eager to succeed.
* The amazing thing about this industry for Children is that it can aid a parent with secondary school funds, it is the only activity that you child can do that has the potential of making money not just costing money. If you register your child in hockey, figure skating, dance etc. the chances that they will make an income from their sport is very slight. The chances they can make an income for your efforts in this industry is great! Children that stick with this, parents that do their part by getting their child training, following their Agent’s guidance etc reap the rewards and they can really help with savings for College and University.
At the end of the day, becoming an actor is a full time job. It has both benefits and drawbacks and can set your child up with amazing life experience. Interview skills, self-confidence, and public speaking are all transferrable. Learning to control the room at a young age can set them up for huge success in the future in any industry as well. It can also mean rushed/missed dinners, late nights of learning lines and time off of school.
Know the facts before jumping in….read online, speak to actors, speak to coaches! Send a question or two to an Agency….collect information to make an educated informed decision.