I have heard this question a thousand times. “Can I be my child’s manager?” Well, technically, sure you could manage the career of your son or daughter’s acting career. But a better question would be, can you be a better manager and be more helpful to your child than an established manager who works with children.
I completely understand why a parent would want to take over their child’s career. Most people would think who would be better, work harder and understand your child more than a parent. And, I agree with this for the most part.
Although, there have been many situations in the past where a parent took over their child’s career, and for a variety of reasons, spent everything the child had earned. This has happened to a number of well known child actors. Parents began to pay themselves, used their child’s income to cover a variety of expenses, and when the actor became an adult he or she learned that all of the money they had worked so hard for was gone. For this reason, there is something called The Coogan Law.
It is named for the child actor Jackie Coogan. You might have known him as Uncle Fester on the TV show The Addams Family. He was a child star in the 1920’s. When he reached his 21st birthday, he found out that all of his money was spent by his parents. Because of the Coogan Law, 15% of a child’s gross income must be placed in a blocked trust account that can’t be touched. This assures the child will have some money saved for him.
Let’s say that you are not the type of parent who would take money from their child, still, you might not want to take over his or her career. It is the manager of a child actor who knows what new projects are happening. The manager also has close connections with agents of children (they are the ones who are supposed to submit the actor for the audition). It is the manager who knows the industry well enough to know if working on a project is a good choice, and will really help their career in the long run. It is the manager who only gets paid (a 15% commission fee) if the child works, so for many reasons, like the parent, the manager really wants the actor working.
Sometimes we do hear about actors who are managed by a parent. Quite often, the parent decided to take over managing after their child already had success. And, the parent had learned a tremendous amount about the industry, made great contacts, and understood the inner workings of industry for many years by closely following their child’s career.
So, if you are still considering managing your child’s career, just make sure you have all of the information, contacts and a true understand of how the industry works. Having the right information and connections will insure that you are giving your child their greatest chance for success.