All parents want to do everything they can to help their child have the success they desire.
It is so important that when a parent is offering to help their child in the acting and modeling industry, they must first ask this question and answer it honestly. “Is my child really interested in pursuing acting and or modeling, or am I really interested in acting or modeling, and simply trying to live vicariously through my child?”
If your child says that he or she is no longer interested in the acting and or modeling business, and would rather be doing other types of activities, then talk with them. Figure out if they truly lost their passion, or if there is something else going on that should be discussed.
Maybe your child really no longer wants to do this work and that is great. Now it is time to find something else that interests them. It could also mean that there is something else going on that they are having problems dealing with. Are they beginning to have a difficult time with auditions, rejections, memorization or pressure? If so, then you should talk with and guide them. See if you can offer some suggestions that will allow them to deal with their issues in a positive way instead of just giving up because things are difficult. And if you find that it is simply the loss of interest, then it is time to find a new path for your child.
If your child is in the process of meeting with agents or managers, or beginning to work in the industry, here are some really helpful tips that I have learned and gotten from the industry professionals themselves.
1. Don’t Talk Unless Spoken To:
When your child is meeting with an industry professional, make sure you are quiet and only answer questions when they are directed at you. Don’t try and answer for your child. The agent or manager is interested in interviewing your child. He or she needs to see if your child can easily communicate with an adult. Without asking you any questions, the industry professional is also interviewing you. They need to know if you are a parent they can work with. I have been told many times that managers and agents have loved a child, but the parent was too much work. So, they decided not to work with the child.
2. Don’t Coach Your Child
Don’t work too hard preparing your child for an audition. Unless you are an acting coach,
you should simply help read lines with your child. Don’t try and give him/her much in the way of direction. Quite often I have seen kids read a commercial, and instead of them sounding and acting in a natural way, their arms are flying, they will gesture to their heart when the line
in the commercial says how much they love something, and in general give a very staged and calculated read.
3. Don’t Make Excuses
Don’t make excuses for your child’s poor audition. Sometimes a parent will tell the casting director that their child did not give a good audition because they were not feeling well, they were up late doing homework and could not focus, you hit traffic and everyone in the car was stressed, etc… Casting directors have already heard every excuse imaginable. If your child is not feeling well, don’t bring them to the audition. It is much better to cancel the audition due to an illness, than to audition, not do well, and leave a negative impression with the casting director.
4. Don’t Work If Sick
If you child is sick, leave him or her at home. I once had a modeling job, where there were 4 children in the shot. When I walked onto the set the photographer told me that my pants should be dry before the end of the shoot. I had no idea what he was talking about. He told me that one of the child models had the stomach flu and threw up all over the pants I wore to the studio. Earlier, I had changed out of my “personal” clothes and had put on the wardrobe that was purchased for me to wear during the shoot. Fortunately, the photographer had a washer and drier in the studio, and he had my pants washed and dried during the shoot. I know it is hard to call at the last minute to cancel, but, if your child is sick, leave him/her at home.
5. Let Your Child’s Representation Make the Business Decisions
It is one thing for a parent to turn down a job for their child based on the content of the project. But, in most cases, when it comes to making business decisions, let your child’s representative make the final call. Even for photos, sometimes parents like to have final say as too which head shot or commercial photos they think are best. However, the representative is not looking for what looks best, but which photo will help sell your child best. If you don’t trust your child’s agent or manager in making these types of decisions, then perhaps it is time to find new representation. They are always looking to get your child as much work as possible. Since they are only paid when your child works, they really want them booked a lot.