- 12 Dec 2021
I got a call from a friend the other day. He told me that his 7-year-old daughter was inquiring about becoming an actor. I gave him the same advice I give to every parent of a young child who expresses an interest in getting into the business: "Get him involved in school plays, and keep him waiting and coming back next year." Say it and explain why she wants to be an actor."
In his book "The Hollywood Parents' Guide," Boney J. Wallace—writer, manager, and mother of Dove Cameron—writes: "If I have one piece of advice, I'd say it to make sure that the adventure is led by children and that the idea of being famous is genuinely childlike. Instead of acting, he loves acting."
How fun the craft of acting looks from outside. Praise, attention, praise and special treatment all sound great. That said, as a parent, have you ever wondered what it takes to be a successful actor and what will be your responsibilities throughout this endeavour?
These come from grazing your child through training, plus basic day-to-day costs and the costs associated with actually booking the job.
Classes, Training and Coaching:
Yes, some children are born with talents; But as time goes on, a foundation will be needed to build them. The most successful adult actors I know still take classes to keep their equipment sharp, just as professional athletes train daily. Unless you are an actor yourself, you should not be coaching your child. Coaching fees typically run between $75 and $200 per hour. Do you have that much budget, given that your child can give two to three auditions per week?
Because your baby's "look" will change every six to eight months or so as he gets older, you'll need to get a new set of headshots regularly. Professional Children's Photo Shoot U.S. Can run anywhere from $350-$750.
Our industry has pioneered the use of self-tape as the first step in the audition process. They help casting directors cover multiple locations while conducting live auditions. Since the pandemic began, we are no longer seeing actors in person, so self-taping has become even more important. At a minimum, you will need a video camera or a high-quality smartphone; a tripod, lighting, and a backdrop; And a dedicated quiet space and a gifted readership for your child to play in front of. The days of parents playing this role are getting shorter, as unless the parents are a skilled actor, they usually give poor auditions.
Unless your child has a driver's license and a car, you'll prepare them for every audition, meeting, wardrobe fitting and rehearsal, as well as scheduling a job to book. How does this work with your schedule? When they book a job, they will need a parent, guardian or legal guardian on set. Will you be able to go on set with your child, or will you have to hire someone?
Sometimes the cost of a custodian compared to your child's day rate just doesn't make sense. You will probably be the one to help your child learn their lines. Since we're now self-taping from home, do you have time to invest when you're trying to handle family, work, and everything else you do on a daily basis?
Last and certainly not least, are you ready for what can be daily frustration and how it will affect your child? For many of the parents I talk to, they've managed to keep things in balance (for a certain amount of time) to make it an adventure that, in some cases, can lead to self-immolation in the child. Can create a sense of respect. Unfortunately, the cliché of stage mom is still alive and well in our industry and can wreak havoc on your child's psychological development.