You never thought it would happen, but it has; your child has piped up and told you in all seriousness that they want to be an actor. Perhaps they’ve shown promise in school performances, or maybe they have a friend or family member who is in the industry, whatever the reason, they’ve got the acting bug and now it’s your job to help make that dream come true.
But where do you start?
Well before we get to that, there’s one big question you have to ask your child.
Do they want to act or be famous?
Because there is a big difference.
It’s all too easy for a child to feel dazzled by the prospect of missing school and having enough money to buy all the toys in the world. As adults, we can laugh, but these are genuine feelings that kids may have about stardom.
You need to sit down with your child and talk to them about why they want to do this. Encourage them to be honest about their feelings because there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make good money, walk the red carpet, or see their face on a TV.
Now, the chances are, you won’t get a straight answer. Your child may not even know themselves exactly why they’re so interested in acting, but it’s important that you help them figure out why they want to be a child actor.
If they are truly interested in the craft of acting, then happy days, because this makes your life as a parent a hell of a lot easier. Especially when you both need to practice lines for the umpteenth time.
If, however, they’re more interested in fame and the toys they can buy with their earnings, then it’s time for you to drop the truth bomb. Acting is difficult and takes a LOT of effort.
They need to understand that acting is a skill and requires discipline and quite a bit of practice. They’ll attend countless auditions, spend hours learning lines, and perhaps even miss out on some school events. Okay, so they’ll probably enjoy missing those school events, but you see what we’re getting at. Acting is not an easy ride.
Having said all that, if you’re sure that your child is okay with all this, and we mean really sure, then acting can be a wonderful adventure.
So what next?
Do your research
As with any activity your child wants to take part in, it’s your job as a parent to do your research. Find reputable blogs from trusted industry names (just like this one!) and read up as much as you can on how to become a child actor.
It’s important that parents also understand just how much effort they need to put into their child’s career. If you can, try to talk to some parents who have been there and done that as this will give you a good idea of what’s in store for you.
The most important research you can do however involves representation.
Find professional representation
Now, we know we’re an agency, so this may come across as a little biased, but there really is no substitute for professional representation.
Going it alone and managing your child’s career by yourself is perfectly okay but it will be extremely time-consuming. Joining an agency, on the other hand, allows you to focus more on supporting your child while your agent finds the work.
The problem many parents have is finding an agency they can trust.
Make sure it’s a reputable agency
Of course, we’d love to recommend that you sign up with us here at Bubblegum but the truth is that we get so many applications, it’s not always possible for us to represent everyone.
So if for some reason you can’t join the Bubblegum family (boo!) try to find an agency with a good reputation. The agency must have a solid list of well-known brands and production companies that they have worked with in the past. Not only that, but they should be able to show you a few success stories for kids on their books.
For example, here at Bubblegum we just had a little boy Noah shoot a Toyota car commercial, and two boys, Marley and Cash shoot a television commercial for a major toy brand. At the end of last year we also had a little boy shoot a film with Russell Crowe; the True History Of the Kelly Gang. A reputable agency should have some similar success stories to share with you.
You also need to bear in mind that while you will need to pay membership fees to join the books of any agency, you should never have to pay to attend an audition. This simply doesn’t happen and if an agent even so much as suggests anything like it, hang up the phone.
You should also be wary of an agency that wants to sign up your child over the phone. A reputable agency will want to meet with both you and your child first so they can see if you’re a good fit for the agency and suited to the industry.
Book some lessons
You might think that this would be the first thing to do, but it’s probably best to leave this until after you’ve found an agency.
You see, acting lessons can be extremely expensive, and it’s best to be 100% sure that both you and your child are fully committed before investing in classes.
Besides, your agency may have some good recommendation for acting coaches or lessons. Better yet, they may even hold in-house workshops where your child can pick up some tips from industry experts. This is something that we do from time to time here at Bubblegum, and we’ve found that it helps kids build confidence and perform better in auditions.
As we mentioned before in our post on challenges parents need to prepare for, rejection can be hard to take. That’s why it’s super important for you as a parent to be supportive and positive every step of the way.
Whether it’s a bad audition or your child just wasn’t the right fit for the role, you need to remind them that other opportunities will come along. There are no missed opportunities in child acting, just chances to learn and develop.
So if you’re ready to take the next step on your adventure, why not apply now to join the Bubblegum family. We can’t guarantee your child work (no agency can promise that) but we can guarantee you professional representation by an agency that truly cares about their talent.