Sometimes your child actor may be on what is considered a large roll of acting auditions, one after the next, more than one a week, sometimes days in a row. It may appear to be a fun snowball that your child is gradually pushing up a hill, gathering more and more snow as it goes. The snowball is turning out so very cool, they are loving it. You have no idea when it will stop growing and it’s bringing a lot of joy and fun to their lives and yours. Even though it’s hectic at times, you may feel it’s also them within their element, what they are meant to be doing, and so, you are all on a cloud. It seems like the acting life you were told might happen and you have been ready for it.
However, what about those other slow times? The times in between auditions. Those times when days and months seem to pass without any auditions? Frankly, sometimes the younger child actors may notice, but most times the youngest actors may not even notice nor care for that matter. Teenage actors tend to notice more and may question this downtime. If they do question it, they will ask you, the parent, what you think of it. They may also complain to you or cry to you.
Who notices even more than the child actors though? The parent(s). Parents start to wonder what is going on. They try to analyze the situation of the “whys” of things not coming in. They start to question things. Something seems off to them and so they dwell, think and sometimes feel uneasy. They have faith, but they start to question that.
This is exactly where parents need to stop and realize you are wasting your energy. You are trying to figure out something that is not anything you can control nor do you know any of the whys. In addition, you are creating a negative energy instead of just letting things happen as they should.
Instead of dwelling on the why no auditions are rolling in at the moment, how about just taking a breather. Relax and enjoy the ride. Let things unfold as they should. Let your kid just enjoy life outside of acting.
In addition, here are the absolute MUSTS your child actor should be doing during this audition downtime. Print this out, as, at some point you may need this. This list will help you all keep your heads up, keep your absolute faith, and let the process just continue as it should.
1) Your child should remain in consistent professional acting classes. They must always be training, especially during downtime. Auditions can come at anytime, so the acting training for your child does not stop. Success is when preparation and opportunity come together. To be prepared, keep driving them to their acting classes.
2) Let your child be a Kid and have a lot of fun. Enjoy various experiences. Go to parks. Go on some day trips. See some shows. Make some new dinners together. Bake cookies. See if their friends can sleepover a couple of times this month, next month and so forth. Organize some additional fun play-dates. Go to the circus. Pick Apples. Do a few new things if you can.
3) Pursue their other passions outside of acting. Rollerskating? Awesome. Go do it; Baking cakes is a hobby? Great, bake 10 new kinds of cakes and give them to the neighbors; Playing the trumpet their thing? Excellent, spend more time on the trumpet and find a group to write some songs with. In other words, just do all the other amazing things they are into and put their hearts into that.
4) Write. Maybe they want to consider writing a screenplay? For those of your kids that like to write, writing a short film or something longer then that can be really fun. Opening other doors for them within the acting world are fun and important for longevity in the field.
5) Get Stronger. Get better at acting via classes (#1) listed above. Run. Skateboard more. Dance. Skip. Hop. Eat Healthy. Get their Mind in the right place. Do Yoga. Walk the dogs. Move Move Move…
6) Meet new people. Knowing people and studying people is key to becoming a real actor. Are they getting out? Are you getting out with them? Similar to #2, take them to a music concert. Go to the library. They need to meet all different kinds of people.
7) Enjoy the little moments and create great ones that are memorable. Have an ice-cream while watching a sunset. Go to a darker field and bring the telescope and look at the stars. Read a book together, like start the Harry Potter series with them and eat popcorn while reading it.
All in all, you, as the parent, need to be fine with the downtime and just trust that everything is happening as it should. Some kids land roles their first year. Some their 5th year. Some their 10th year. Some land 8 jobs their first year and then none their 2nd and 3rd years. It’s totally different for every child actor out there.
If you are trying to insert yourself, you will be “targeted” as the over-bearing parent that no one will want to work with you. You may actually be the issue that stops your child’s career. The best types of parents in auditions and on sets are those that are totally relaxed and understand that their child’s time will come when it’s the right time. You literally can be red-flagged in Hollywood, so don’t do that to your child or yourself. Force yourself to just relax and let the process unravel naturally.
Lastly, some of you have asked me but what if your child hasn’t had an audition in a year? The answer to this question depends on if you have an agent and/or manager or not. If it’s been a year and you have no representation for your child, then you need to get them into a service for submissions like Backstage or ChildrenInFilm or ActorsAccess. I will be devoting another entire post to those services to compare and contrast them for you. But, essentially, you could set your child actor up there, so that you can find some jobs that you may want to submit them to now. If your child already has an agent or manager, if a year has gone by, it’s best to set up a meeting with them directly to discuss the options. It may be that your child needs new photos. It may be something else. Your child’s agent or manager will know best.
The downtime is good. It is the way the acting industry really is, even for experienced professionals. So, learning at a young age to fill the time in between is essential. It also gives you that extra time to enjoy life outside of acting, which is actually the key to even being a good actor at all.
Questions or comments? Please scroll down and let us know what you are thinking. Thanks!