A Post-Pilot Season Survival Guide: No Part. Now What?

Whether your child is a veteran in the entertainment industry or she’s just dipping her toe in the water for the first time, you’ve heard of that bustling time of year known as “Pilot Season.” In a span of time that traditionally runs from January to April, there’s a flurry of casting, production, and screening activity as networks make decisions about which programs will hit their airwaves in the fall. 

As an actor, pilot season is ripe with potential. All those roles, on all those shows. “Surely some young performers will find their break-out role through one of them. Why not me?” your child thinks. It’s easy to get your hopes up as casting calls begin to line up on your son’s January calendar. Then you reach May and those auditions may not have resulted in a role on a pilot (or his pilot wasn’t picked up by a network). So, how do help your young performer cope with the disappointment? These tips should help.

It’s not you, it’s them
Creating content for television (or any other medium) is a business. The casting director’s job is to find the right fit for this particular role. When that decision is “not your child,” it may have little, if anything, to do with his or her talent, personality, or audition. Trying out for the role of the youngest daughter of the series lead? Perhaps another child actor more resembles that leading actor than yours does. The decision may be based on something out of your child’s control, such as her hair color or how young/old she appears on screen. Don’t take the rejection personally.

Learn from it
Even a bad audition is a good one if your child can learn from it. When he’s ready to look back objectively on his casting calls, consider what worked and what didn’t. Encourage him to work with his acting coach and agent to identify ways to improve before the next call. 

Remember, it’s a process
The reality of being an actor is this: Your child will hear “No” more than she hears “Yes.” Even today’s biggest stars heard a lot of ‘no’ before they became household names. George Clooney, for example, was five years old when he appeared on the local television talk show his father hosted. He played sketch characters. His first IMBD listing is an uncredited extra in a TV mini-series in 1978. He’d hold a series of guest roles and relatively small supporting roles before his breakout role on “ER” in 1994. Your career may not take a similar path, but it bears repeating: if your child is enjoying the journey, have fun with it. Focus on the journey itself, not a perceived destination. Decide how long of a haul she’s prepared to endure. Watch her body language. When it stops being fun, it’s time to move on. 

Spread your “eggs” around
You know the saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” When it comes to child actors, that means, don’t let acting be your only focus. Encourage your child to follow simultaneous passions, not just show business. Stay active in sports, religious training, and clubs, to name a few. When your entire identity feels tied to the entertainment industry, rejection can be harder to handle. 

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