Ask any child if they’d like a chance to skip out on school and earn some money for toys or a new smartphone and you know what the answer will be. But as much as we hate to be spoilsports (and we really do hate upsetting kids), the fact is that skipping out on school is something you need to avoid whenever possible.
Having said that, we’re not complete party poopers, but more on that later.
Now, it’s true that most agencies will tell you from the off that you’ll have to take your child out of school quite often if you want them to make it as a child model or actor. In fact, they may even go so far as suggesting that you prioritize your child’s potential stardom over their education, a sacrifice that very few parents would be prepared to make.
Here at Bubblegum, we have a different take on things. You see, we firmly believe that your child should never miss out on their education or their dreams of fame and fortune (and that new smartphone or toy they’re saving up for). Yes, we’re saying that with a little effort and some careful planning, your child can have the best of both worlds – a solid education and a chance at stardom. We told you we weren’t party poopers.
But before we go any further we have to get one thing straight – when it comes to your child, you are the boss. No agent, photographer, casting director, or agency (even nice ones like Bubblegum) can tell you what is best for your child; only you know what that is.
So with that in mind, if you find that any auditions, shoots, or appointments clash with an important school event, you can just say no. It’s as simple as that. Although we must warn you that if this important event turns out to be a bunch of exams, then we’re not so sure your little angel will thank you for it!
Now that’s out of the way let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of making sure that your promising child actor or model doesn’t miss out on their education.
Most castings will happen during school hours although some casting directors and agents can be accommodating if you ask nicely. However, once the real work starts, it’s all during business hours so it’s virtually guaranteed that you’ll have to take some time off.
When this happens, the most important thing you need to remember is something that you have probably drilled into your child since they took their first unapproved cookie and got caught with chocolate on their face – Honesty is the best policy.
Whenever you need to take your child out of school for an audition or shoot, you should always inform the school beforehand and tell them the exact reason for the absence. You’d be surprised at how accommodating schools can be when they find out that your child has a chance to become a model or even make it onto TV or the big screen. And besides, if you keep pulling sickies, the teachers might start to wonder what you’re feeding your child!
Being honest and upfront with your child’s teachers gives them the opportunity to give you a helping hand when it comes to schoolwork. They might prepare additional homework to cover the time lost or simply tell you what your child will miss in class so you can try to cover it at home.
If you and your child make it past auditions (fingers crossed) and need to attend a shoot, the agency will have to apply for a permit so your child can work and the school will have to sign off on it. Once this happens, they’ll have good reason to help you further and may even go so far as to let your child sit exams at another rescheduled time. Again we’ll just remind you that your child probably won’t thank you for this for at least ten to fifteen years but you already know that, don’t you?
Kids who make it onto major TV shows or land a role in a film can also request that they have a tutor on set. A benefit that we’re sure you’ll agree is worth its weight in gold stars, and one that we here at Bubblegum can help you negotiate in your child’s contract. And that brings us along nicely to our final tip.
The last and most important thing you can do to ensure that your child doesn’t miss out on their education is to find a good casting agency. One that values your child’s wellbeing over their fame. And yes, you guessed right, this is the part where we toot our own horn, but if we’re completely honest, we think we deserve to do so.
Since we opened in 1981, we’ve seen a lot of child models and actors walk through our doors. And in the decades we have been in the business we’ve found that those children in the industry who have a healthy balance of regular school life and time in front of the camera are often the happiest and most successful.
So if you and your child are considering taking your first steps into the world of child modelling or child acting, then drop us a line here at Bubblegum. We’ll be delighted to have a chat with you about your hopes for the future. And we promise we won’t say a word to your child about rescheduled exams!