I just read one of the very best blog posts on acting longevity that I have ever come across. In his post, Steve focuses on Acting over a long period of years and the 1 HUGE thing to AVOID as an Actor if you plan to stay in the game.
In my post below, I address the #1 reason child actors burn out and how to avoid this through your actions as a parent.
So…The #1 reason child actors burn out, believe it or not, is due to them and their family always being all about “only” acting and focusing “too heavily” on the pursuit of their next audition.
“It’s like driving a car without filling that tank with gas.” Your child needs to fill their tank with “other kid stuff” and hobbies and sports that are outside the acting world.
“Life Outside of Acting actually Feeds into Acting Balance, Success and Longevity as an actor.”
If you want your child to “continue” to love what they are doing and follow their dreams over a longer amount of years, your child must have many other hobbies and focuses “outside of acting” to satisfy them creatively and personally. And as a parent, you need to work on making sure that is happening. There is no way it can always be all about the auditions and the audition results and pushing to get the next audition. If it’s that, then your child will just simply, eventually burn out of acting.
Those outside of acting things could be anything like playing sports or creating art or taking dance or gymnastics or creative writing or building robots or constructing with legos with friends or singing in a choir or even rollerskating lessons and nights out with their friends at the rollerskating rink. (it can be anything outside of acting that they love to do) They need to be doing lots of kid things, constantly. So, if the outside activities can include other kids, even better for them.
In addition, the parents of the most successful young adult actors that have been doing this since they were younger kids, that I have personally spoken to, say that their kids lead normal lives and they do not just focus on the acting. These parents love to also talk about their child’s outside activities and passions. You can tell that within that family there is also an investment in helping their children get to their other activities outside of acting. They are feeding their child’s other needs and they are proud of their child’s achievements outside of acting. So, they still take their child to acting classes several times a week, but on the other days, they do fun things as a family, or their child plays a sport, or their child goes to camp, or their child sings in a choir.
Another huge benefit of doing things outside of acting and not always talking about acting, is that those outside hobbies and activities that your child does will give them experiences to draw upon when they are at auditions. Those outside experiences will feed into your child’s improvisation skills and their creativity when it comes time to audition. For example, at commercial auditions, they may be asked to “Be at an exciting soccer game right now.” Or they may be asked to “Play Legos with your brother.” Or even, “What is your favorite board game?” In order to do these types of improvisation roles or answer these questions in a “real manner” they will need to have had these types of experiences. How can you expect your child to be able to do well with improvisation if they are not experiencing the world? It’s foolish to think acting or singing is just enough. That may get them some jobs, but eventually they will be left with no material in their minds in order to improv when they need to.
So, let your kids be kids and gain experiences that will fuel them and make them happy. Get them set up in activities outside of the acting world. Set up lots of play-dates, sleepovers with friends (if old enough), and go to musicals, fun events, plays, sports, do games and things that let them experience the world.
They need to be living a life outside of acting as much as they possibly can.
All of those activities outside acting will help them in their improvisation, but even more importantly, if you hope your child will continue with their passion 3, 5 and 10 plus years from now, it cannot be only about the pursuit of acting. If you want them to “not burn out” then make other things just as important as acting.
BTW, I’m not at all advocating to stop acting training. In fact, your child actor still needs to continue with their professional acting training for kids and consistently. They need to still be going to acting school. What I’m saying is, in addition to acting classes, they need to be involved in other activities that the family supports and helps them to pursue. I’m also saying that they need to be a kid.
Now that you’ve read this, are you committed to the longevity of your child’s acting career? If so, it’s time to look at yourself and ask yourself, am I supporting my child outside of their acting auditions? Is my child engaged in things outside of acting and how often? Are they having a lot of kid time? If not, then it’s time to find a way to make that happen for them.
I’ve read the original below article over and over again, as I think it’s one of the best written on how to last “happily” in the acting business. Grateful for that post.
Steve Braun, the original inspiration for my above blog post, nails it right here >
Please comment below by scrolling down to the comments section and typing any comments or questions you may have. Thanks!