So, Your Child Wants to Be an Actor
Has your child recently expressed an interest in show business? Perhaps he’s been involved in musical theater at her school for a while, or has a knack for storytelling and doing voices, or maybe he’s walked right up to you and said, “I want to be an actor.” Whatever the circumstances, acting, like any creative field, comes with its own challenges and rewards. As parents and guardians, it’s important to be able to weigh the pros and cons of your children’s aspirations to better help them achieve their dreams.
If you aren’t an actor yourself, it is very likely that you will have questions regarding your child’s options, or how to start. There are some important details to clarify before you begin to ensure that you and your child have all the bases covered before jumping into any commitments.
Career vs. Hobby
After your child expresses an interest in acting, the first step is to spend some time discussing the feasibility of this pursuit. One of the most important questions to ask is this: Does she want to make a career out of acting, or would she be satisfied with acting as a hobby? Your child’s answer to this question will affect the trajectory of this pursuit. If she chooses to make it a hobby, she can simply incorporate acting classes, auditions, and participation in productions into her existing schedule. But if she plans to seriously pursue acting as a profession, you must consider how it will affect the other aspects of her life, and if this is something she realistically can handle.
When considering acting as a career for your child, it’s wise to consult a professional. Agents and managers can offer invaluable feedback, and you can benefit from seeking out their advice. Here is a good article on the differences between managers and agents and the roles they each play.
Before seeking advice it’s important to understand that this industry has its share of unscrupulous people who are only out to make a fast buck. You should know that agents will never ask for payment up front, and those who insist you doing so should be avoided at all costs. Read these tips on how to spot a scam to help you navigate this complicated initial phase.
Passion and Commitment
Like any creative pursuit, acting requires consistent effort. Your child will be entering an industry with a tremendous amount of competition. It’s vital to solidify your vision from the get-go. Ask your child why he wants to be an actor, and make sure it’s a good reason. Chasing fame for its own sake will get you nowhere—passion is the key to achieving to flourishing in the arts. If your child is committed to her goal and willing to shift priorities to accommodate her acting aspirations, then her chances of success will be much greater.
Commitment on the part of your child is one essential ingredient, but it’s also important for your child to have a solid support system as he starts to build his career in acting. Budding actors face many challenges, including rejection, lifestyle changes, and potentially, stardom. Those with family support and a strong foundation are better able to handle the pressures and challenges of the entertainment industry.