The Series of Interviews with Moms of Actors

Great Personal Tips and Advice from – 3 Moms of Young Successful Actresses – An Interview – Part 1 of a New Series

mom1 mom and son keeping the dream alive mom and daughter momchild

Below is an exclusive interview that was conducted  by me with 3 moms of working young actors. These moms are on sets constantly and their children are successful professionals. They have also been at this for many years, so they have a lot of knowledge and experience to share with other parents of child actors.

NOTE: This is Part 1 in a Blog Series where we interview moms of happy, successful, balanced actors. There will be a Part 2 very soon.

We cannot release who the moms are, as their daughters and son are on Well-Known Television Shows. However, we are grateful that they have taken the time to share their thoughts with us, especially since their lives are filled with running from set to set. They are 3 of the busiest moms I know. Just like me, their goal is to share in order to empower and support other parents in this acting journey. They hope their tips will save other parents time.


ABOUT THE MOMS we INTERVIEWED: (what we can tell you)

Moms #1 and #2:  Both of these 2 moms have daughters that are young actresses on major Television networks and are working regularly. Their shows are very popular. Their daughters are very happy, successful and balanced. Their daughters started their careers early (before age 10), and they are continuing to soar in their acting roles in their teens. Mom #2 additionally has a son that is a working young actor. Learn more from Moms #1 and #2 as you read the interview, below.

Mom #3: This mom has a daughter who has been acting training for the past 2 years, but singing since a young age. Her daughter was in three films and a commercial last year and sings all around the local area.. Mom #3 is fairly new to the industry compared to Moms #1 and #2. However, Mom #3 constantly educates herself and reads, attends workshops, attends classes with acting professionals and talks to fellow moms and dads to continually learn. Learn more from Moms #3 as you read the interview, below.

TY again to the moms that took the time to answer these to help other parents of actors.


PART 1 – START OF INTERVIEW- 2015

1)
How/why did you decide to move to LA? How did you know the timing was right? How did you come to your decision? Or, if you are not in LA are you considering moving there and why?

Mom of Young Actress #1:
I decided to move to LA after a full year of my daughter’s daily requests, and with her mentors’ repeated nudging. Her acting coach, singing coach, and even the LA-affiliated casting director we worked with all said she really needed to be in LA for her to fulfill on her gifts.

The timing was right because she was mature, she wanted it for the right reasons (loves to act, not motivated by fame etc.) and our family situation had just simplified—I was recently divorced and her older sibling was in college, so she was the only kid at home.

“It was a scary decision, but I knew if I didn’t give her a chance, we would never know if it could have happened. And I couldn’t live with that.”

Mom of Young Actress #2:
I decided to move to LA because we were traveling an extensive amount for auditions, callbacks and producer sessions. These trips usually meant we needed to be in LA for 1-4 days at a time while absorbing the out of pocket costs to be in LA while living in Las Vegas. When my daughter booked a web series for a network, we were living out of a hotel. This became very expensive and I found I was spending more than I was able to afford.

“At the end of her filming the series, I made a decision to trust this process and intuitively felt the timing was right to make a move.”

Mom of Young Actress #3:
We are not in LA, but would consider moving there when the time is right. The time is not right now, as it’s not necessary for us to be there this second. At the moment, our daughter only goes on auditions about once a month, sometimes twice a month. We only live 5 hours by car from LA, so we have been doing the drive there, which has been working for us right now. If our daughter landed a series regular role or was auditioning a lot more, we would consider the move. However, in that consideration is cost of living in LA, as it’s more costly to live there then where we live now. We also have a business and family where we are now, so those things would also have to play into any decision to move.

“But, I do know, we would do whatever it takes to help her follow her dream. So, if that someday means LA is best for her, we would get our ducks in a row, and do what we need to. However, that would be planned out and strategic.”

We have great professional support and acting training where we are now, locally, so she feels very prepared when she goes to auditions in LA.

2)
Do you think all child actors and their families should move to LA when they hit a certain point?

Mom of Actress #1:
Absolutely not. Every family has a different set of considerations and competing commitments to manage. The financial angle alone is one that a number of families simply won’t be able to swing. This is an expensive town, and being a stage parent makes it almost impossible to make a living. This basically means you either need a significant stash of savings, or have one parent who can make enough money to support everyone. Not easy.

Mom of Actress #2:
No. However, they should be here during the heavy months of pilot season and episodic season if their agent believes that they are likely to get a lot of auditions.

Mom of Actress #3:
I’ve read a lot of articles and posts on this by other actors and professionals in the acting industry and they all say to consider these things before you just up and move to LA:
-First, try to have your child tap out all resources in your own city or town first. In other words, have them take acting classes, do workshops, get acting coaching, and do as much as they can locally. Have them gain confidence and knowledge locally first. It’s better that they become a “big fish in a small pond” first in your own town or city. They will need this experience and confidence “before” you consider the move to LA.
-Second, before you drop all and move, make sure you can financially handle it. If you have to give up your job, make sure you have a plan lined up for your move to LA, because, as you probably know, LA tends to be a lot more expensive then other areas of the country and world.
-Third, if your child is at an age where they know this is their true dream (they’ve been telling you for over 5 years), they’ve also been training in acting for many years, and you can financially do this as a family, then moving to LA may be a good move. They can always audition for agents and managers when you get to LA. But, you do need to make sure this is really their dream, first. So, it should be many years that they have been wanting to be an actor, and for their own reasons.

In summation, don’t move blindly to LA without doing the above or you will have a really hard time once you get there. Instead, wait until it is a need versus just something you think might be good.

3)

A)

What have you liked about living in LA (in regards to acting)? How does it compare to where you lived previously?

Mom of Actress #1:
LA is the only place to be if you are serious about making a career in TV and/or film. The VAST majority of major roles are cast here. Most other markets are just too small to build a career. On top of that, the quality of the projects can be incredible. Where we lived before, the only real opportunities were in occasional commercials (which wasn’t really what my daughter aspired to do).

Mom of Actress #2:
Didn’t ask her this question. NA.

Mom of Actress #3:
We don’t live in LA, however, from what I’ve heard these are the things parents love:
-The weather is amazing most of the year, great temperatures and the nice ocean air
-Flexibility to get to auditions quickly. Even if traffic, can still get to auditions daily if needed.
-A lot more connections to others you meet at various places, great place to network with others in the industry.

B)

What have you not liked or not enjoyed about living in LA (in regards to acting)?

Mom of Actress #1:
It is as competitive as they say it is. Your child will be competing for roles sometimes with very famous, accomplished young actors. This can be intimidating, and potentially discouraging, which is why it’s important to get a good amount of experience under your belt before coming out here. It isn’t enough to just be cute!

Mom of Actress #2:
Didn’t ask her this question. NA.

Mom of Actress #3:
As mentioned above, don’t live in LA, however, I’ve heard that it can get competitive and it once your child gets to a certain level professionally, they may compete against the same kids at auditions over and over.  This potentially could be the same kids they go to school with, if they are attending public or private school. There is a lot of potential “talk” that you may need to block out, as to not let any kind of intimidation get to you or your child. The traffic can be tough some days, but you can avoid that by leaving for auditions, early.

4)
What are you thoughts on homeschooling versus keeping your kids in public or private school? Are there private schools that will continue to work with actors once they are series regular or working regularly on other productions?

Mom of Actress 1:
Lots of thoughts here! Homeschooling is ideal if you can make it work. Personally we couldn’t. I know some working kids who have been successful with both private and public schools, and some who were not.

“The most successful ones seem to do a hybrid where they are “homeschooling” through a public district, and have a real classroom to go to once a week, and a teacher who manages their work. They are set up well for professional kids who are either auditioning a lot, or have a set teacher.”

My daughter had already skipped a grade before we came to LA, so when she was 15 she was able to take the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE) and get the equivalent of her high school diploma. This solved a host of issues for us. If you are not educated yet on the CHSPE, here is a link for you to read up on what it is and why your child actor should take it.

Mom of Actress 2:
Homeschooling is a wonderful option however, day to day interaction is obsolete with other school age children. Homeschooling should be held off until a child books something significant which calls for their time on set daily.

“Ultimately, keep your child in public or private school until it’s necessary to do otherwise.” 

Mom of Actress 3:
Our actress is in private school. We plan to keep our actress in private school as long as we possibly can. Our private school currently works with us to help provide work for us when our daughter is on set. We do know that not all public or private schools do this. However, some private schools will work with you if they believe in what your child is doing (The Arts). So, when you enroll your child in a private school, you should ask the administrators about that. If your child is already in school, and then they start acting, you can always ask if they will help support your child while he or she is on set or at auditions.

If they are not willing to budge, it’s time to consider other options. I would highly suggest you first try to find another private school that may work with you, that way your child can still get the type of socialization that comes with school. That type of school socialization actually helps them in auditions and on sets. If that is not possible, then public distance school might be available, where your child can work from his or her computer.

Home-Schooling is also a strong option, but I feel it should be only for those child actors that are working regularly and are away from their schools a significant amount of time.

“Despite what people think, home-schooled children are some of the smartest out there and often are grade levels ahead of their same age peers. So, don’t rule this out if your child is working a lot on sets.”

5)
What are the very best acting classes your actress has taken? The ones you feel she got the most from. Which classes should parents make sure their child actors are taking?

Mom of Actress 1:
To be honest—even though I truly believe in acting classes—my kid learns best by doing. Back home (in the Midwest), she never really took “classes” per se, but did a TON of community theatre. She had about 3 classes shortly after we landed in LA at what seemed like a good school (The Playground) but gave that up when it interfered with her show choir schedule. And that was it.

“At this point, she has learned the most from the amazing directors and actors she has worked with. And from just doing it-!”

Mom of Actress 2:
Everything they have done has built them to where they are now. It’s not one acting class or acting coach. It’s everything they have learned and continue to learn which becomes an opportunity for them to pull from at a later time. I like to refer to it as the actors tool box. However, not every acting coach is perfect for every child wanting to be an actor. It has to feel right for the child and coach.

“Ask yourself, are they enjoying themselves, are they learning, and are they making progress? If they are, then keep doing what you are doing.”

Mom of Actress 3:
Nothing compares to the education our child has gotten on the sets she has been on, as she has watched other more advanced actors and absorbed that. I also feel that all of the singing our daughter has done on local stages and at local festivals has helped boost her confidence over the years.

But I can tell you which classes I feel so far have helped her the most. Improvisation is a class I feel has helped her to not fear going outside of the box on things and has also helped her be ready for anything. She has also really enjoyed classes pertaining to Script Analysis (for theatrical auditions) on how to analyze a script and prepare her character/role in a way that makes sense to her. There are lots of other classes, frankly, they are all important as they address different aspects of acting. Also, from what I’ve been told, acting training never ends and that makes sense to me. Even Denzel Washington and other actors you see getting Oscar Awards still train weekly with professional coaches and in classes.

6)
Any general suggestions for parents of actors? Just your top 5 tips (right off the top of your head) to keep your kids from happy, balanced and successful as actors.

Mom of Actress 1:
1) Make sure they have a life outside of acting. Otherwise they will not have much to draw from as actors! Encourage interests OUTSIDE of acting so they don’t burn out. This world can get very narrow.
2) Make sure they have friends who are not in the business. This helps them keep perspective. If they have friends in the business, encourage them to cheer for each other, rather than compete.
3) Looks for ways to keep it light and have fun. No audition, no matter how big the project, is the beginning or the end of the world.
4) Continue to share things with them that will help them grow as ARTISTS, not just actors. Field trips, travel, exposure to other ways of being in the world are great for this. Take them to plays.
5) For girls especially, be super thoughtful about the messages you may be sending about body image. This culture is bad enough in terms of the awful self-loathing it inflicts on all girls, but the industry is even worse. Don’t talk about your own weight, never put yourself down physically in any way (“I hate my ___”), etc. Watch how you talk about food and calories. Emphasize health and healthy eating. I went so far as to not even have a scale in our house when my daughters were growing up. Love your body so your kid can love hers too, and build some armor for the judgment out there.

Mom of Actress 2:
1) Make sure your child LOVES being an actor and is having fun! If not, your child may not be in the right industry for them.
2) Keep them immersed in classes. Acting, dancing, singing, etc..
3) Parents should keep their emotions out of this process. It’s a journey and not for everyone.
4) Encourage your child to reach for the stars but also be realistic (refer to #5)
5) Talent is only part of being successful. Hard work, dedication and believing in something greater is the formula we operate from 😉

Mom of Actress 3:
1) This must be your child’s dream, not yours. If you are unsure, it’s probably your own dream. Here is an entire post on how to tell if this is your dream or your child’s dream.
2) Keep your child involved in activities outside of acting and make sure your family emphasizes those activities and hobbies as very important too. If they win a soccer game, reward them the same way as if they landed a new role in a movie.
3) It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Keep your mind from getting to overbearing, too over-eager or too worried about auditions happening this day, this month etc…If you really get that this is a marathon, you will know that when your child has really trained for many years, loves what they are doing, and has the right support team, the auditions will start to roll in. Keep your mind at peace. You have to relax through it all.
4) Make sure to point out all positives you can as your child grows in their acting career. It’s not always about landing an audition. Sometimes it’s just that they achieved something within an audition. Sometimes it’s just that they have become more confident. Take time to point out those positive changes in their acting.
5) Enjoy the ride with your child. Take them to auditions but also, when you can, make audition days some type of adventure day or the days before and after it. So, for example, after the audition, find a cool new restaurant, take a nature walk, or go to the nearest museum. Try to lighten up the process of the day. This takes away all of the post-audition thoughts and releases what you cannot control into the universe.

Here is Part 2 of this Blog Series >

2 comments on “Great Personal Tips and Advice from – 3 Moms of Young Successful Actresses – An Interview – Part 1 of a New Series

  1. I really appreciate the questions that were asked about public or private schooling for child actors. I remember watching some special features for some movie where they showed the little kids during one of their “school” hours. Part of their schedule during filming included having class together. Some of them were even in costume. I think what I have learned from this interview is that it is a good idea to talk to the agent or management company about different options for your child’s education. Homeschooling, as one of the moms mentioned, isn’t for everyone.

    • Thanks for your comments, Helen! I’m glad this post has helped you to consider the options for schooling for actors. Absolutely talk with management or an agent about options. We are living in a day in age with a lot of different ways to do schooling, that’s a blessing.

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