Dear Parents of Actors,
The below allows your child’s acting longevity to unfold naturally. Without doing the below, your child may burn out, you yourself may burn out, you may overstep your responsibilities and then, you will likely not be happy along the way.
“Focus on WHAT you can CONTROL. Not what you cannot control. Don’t waste time and energy on that which you cannot change. Life’s too short to be trying to meddle in things you should not be meddling in.”
By the way, being more relaxed, going with the flow more, actually has been shown in research to add more years to your life. And, it will certainly add more years to your child’s acting career.
So…what should you control in your child’s acting career? Here is The List: (top 1o)
- First, get your child into professional acting classes with acting coaches that are trained, positive, experienced and energetic. Read more on how to tell the “legit” professionals from the “scams” > And, your child should continue to train in acting classes and workshops no matter where your child actor is in his or her career. The training does not end.
- Drive or transport (if by train or plane, or boat etc…) your child to classes on time, even 5-10 minutes early, is best. You must control getting them to class on time.
- Get your child to auditions 15 minutes early. You should technically be in your car, outside the audition, at least 30-45 minutes ahead. That way you leave time for traffic and other possible reasons that you could be late. It is your responsibility to leave your home early to get there. Getting there late is a red flag and will hurt your child’s audition chances. Oh, and traffic is not an excuse. So don’t use it as one. Leave early.
- Control your desire to coach/direct your child on their sides or copy. Do not coach your child. If they are being trained by an acting coach, let them work with the coach. If there is no time for that, then don’t tell them how to do their lines. You may remind them kindly to speak up, or let them know that what you are hearing is “not believable or natural”, but do not tell them how to feel, move, or act. You are not a professional in this. By the way, if they are not doing it how you would be doing it, that’s okay. They may just not be there yet. Do not tell them what gestures to make or how to move their body, that will only hurt them in the long run. They need to come up with that based on what is natural to them.
- Get your child involved in experiences to have fun and practice their craft. If you are not in a city like LA, NY, New Orleans, Atlanta, and various other cities that are starting to have a lot more projects, then get your child involved in things like community theater, school plays or any kind of acting classes that are available. Help your child to become a big fish in a small pond before even considering a move to LA or NY.
- Control your own worries. Control your own temper. Control your desire to call casting directors directly, that is a huge no no. Control your emotions over audition results – let it go every single time. You do not control the decisions of professionals in the industry, so you must completely control your own anger, your own sadness, your worry or your despair that you may have about any auditions. You need to control your want to call anyone other than your agent or manager. And even if calling your child’s agent and manager, you should only call them if it’s really important. They are extremely busy and you don’t want to become annoying at all to them. Instead, if it’s a question, just drop them an email and wait patiently for a response.
- Control the type of food you provide, as much as you can. Make it healthy choices in your home. Model healthy eating for your young children. They will absorb what they see. An actor’s body is their tool. They need to be have consistent energy, which comes not just from mindset, but also from body health. By the way, I’m totally for an ice cream night out or pizza once a week or popcorn with M&Ms at the movies once a month…That is all good too and great for moderation. But, overall, we need to teach our children that their bodies are best served by healthy foods. I’ve seen this personally make a difference in auditions, too.
- Control yourself to not take anything personally. It’s not about you. In fact, it’s nothing about you. It may be about your child, but it also may not be about them, really, as it may be about their eye color, which of course you cannot control. And 9 times out of 10, even if your child does well in an audition, they will still not get the role because they may not be the exact right look for the part. So, don’t take that personally. Your child also needs to learn not to take anything personally. It’s just best if you realize it’s about the success of the film or tv show. It’s not about you or your child. Unless, and there one unless, unless you overstepped your bounds as a parent and went outside what you should be doing on an audition or set. If you do that, then, well, it may be about you being overbearing or your child being out of line.
- Yes, you should help with the clothing selection for auditions. As your child gets older, he or she can pick his or her own outfit, but, they should still be within the guidelines of what is appropriate and effective for an audition.
- And last, but certainly not least…You must control your own choice to be happy. If you go to an audition and the lobby greeter is not smiling and maybe even raising his or her voice at everyone, you can still choose to be in a good mood and be happy. Don’t let others change your choice to be happy. You can control your own mood. Just think to yourself, No Worries at all and let it all just roll away, cause, well, you’ve chosen to be happy and good. Smile and think how nice it is to be happy even if someone else is choosing to not be. If you are smiling and are happy still, your child will likely be too. They feed off of your energy.Also, do not complain about the amount of time it takes to support your child.I’ve heard this too. If you are supporting them, be happy about it. Enjoy it too. Find a way to always keep it positive. Do not complain to them or anyone else about how much time it takes. That is so completely unfair to your child. If you are going to help them, then help them without strings attached and control your words.
What should not try to control? The List: (top 5)
- Don’t try to ever control Audition Results. Let it go, Let it go, Let it go…Yes, that song has gotten old now LOL…But, it’s true…You have to just talk about 1-2 things they learned, make note of anything, and release, move onward.
- Don’t try to control Where your child is in his or her acting career. They are where they are. Just be okay with wherever they may be. Embrace who they are now. Do not try to control how advanced they are. That will come in time and with experience.
- Don’t try to control Exactly what their branding is going to be. Eventually, when they become more advanced and are starting to land some roles, talk to their agent or managers about this. This is not for you to do. You need experts “eventually” to advise you and your child actor on this. Do not try to do this yourself. And again, this is not to be done when they are starting out. I’ve seen some parents doing this literally in the 1st 6 months, when their child is just starting out. That’s silly, as their child has not even figured out who she or he is as an actor. They have not grown enough in the art of acting. Wait until they are seasoned and talk then with their agent or manager.
- Don’t try to control How often they practice. Before you disagree, as this one is a toughie, hear me out….As much as you want to force them to practice, they should be controlling this themselves. It’s still absolutely okay to remind them that tomorrow is “XYZ”, and print sides for them if they are young, but they need to learn to be committed to practicing. Find your way at home to get them to do this. It may be as simple as a wall calendar or something hung up in their room. But after a year or so has passed, you should not be fighting or begging them to practice. If they don’t understand the importance of practice by then, or they hugely dislike practicing, then in my opinion, at that point, the question is, do they really love acting? As acting, is even in the practicing.
- Don’t try to control their dreams. This is either their dream, or not. I’ve mentioned this many times throughout this blog. If you are unsure, ask them, they will probably tell you the truth. If you don’t feel you get a real response, then ask again a few weeks later. Personally, I do a check in about once a month to see how everything is going and how she’s loving acting, singing and other things.
If you are on the control freak side of things, well, you should be happy, as I just gave you 10 things you can control and only 5 things that you should not try to control.
In summation, remember, going with flow, being more relaxed, adds time to your life.
Quit trying to Change that which you cannot, it wastes time.
Control that which you should, as listed above.
Let all else happen as in time and unfold, naturally.
On this Journey Together…