Part One of an Interview with Steven C. Beer, Author of “Your Child's Career in Music and Entertainment”
Attorney Steven C. Beer has spent more than 20 years in the entertainment industry representing top writers, directors, producers, and film production companies and guiding popular acts in music, including artists such as Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, and Lady Gaga. When his own son expressed interest in pursuing a career in acting, Steven drew on his extensive professional experience for very personal reasons, helping set his young actor on the right path to success and learning a lot along the way.
In the first part of our interview with Steven, he discusses his transition from entertainment attorney to stage parent, knowing when to follow your child’s lead, and how being a parent who means well doesn’t always end well for young performers.
OLE: What motivated you to write your book?
SCB: Although I have an extensive background as an entertainment attorney and artist manager, I was largely unprepared for the role of a stage parent. Specifically, I had to learn a lot about child labor laws, education, and finances. Also, when your child is involved, it's difficult to be objective about everything. I started writing down notes so other stage parents could benefit from my experience.
OLE: How is your book different from others on the market that deal with the subject of children in show business?
SCB: Like Chicken Soup for the Stage Parent, the goal is to provide information from the perspective of another stage parent in a non-judgmental and collaborative manner. Being a stage parent gives me the credibility to speak to other similarly situated parents about the joys and challenges.
OLE: Do you welcome the many different points of view of child performers and their perspectives on the world of entertainment, or do you feel that other authors do not "get" the basic tenets of the industry?
SCB: I certainly welcome them. After all, it is the artist who gets to define success on their own terms, rather than through the eyes of the industry or their parents. For some child performers, it's not about getting the part, but about the experience of preparing for and attending auditions. In my view, there is so much to be gained from the experience outside of whether or not the child gets a major role or becomes famous.
OLE: How should parents define "success" for their children? Is it booking the job? Is it getting a "call back"? Is it the intermingling with adult celebrities?
SCB: Great question. I feel strongly that parents should not attempt to define their children's success, but should follow their children's lead and support their journey, regardless of the destination. Mingling with celebrities or booking a job or getting a callback are beside the point.
OLE: What's one thing about the entertainment industry that you'd change as it concerns the kids, if you could?
SCB: If I could change anything, I would require parents to take a basic industry information class before subjecting their children to the challenges of the entertainment business. I have seen many instances where the parents mean well, but place their child in harm's way because they did not have the proper information about responsibilities and commitments.
In part two of our interview with Steven, he’ll discuss the risks of child actors turning pro before they can walk, the stigma attached to stage parents, and the importance of the child/parent partnership, especially when it comes to finances. In them meantime, learn more about Steven’s book on Amazon or visit his website at http://www.stevenbeer.com.