Acting Advice

Ask Me: Getting your child set up to be an actor?


Anonymous asked

Dear Angela,

First of all, your blog is great! And very encouraging, so please keep up the good work.

I’m a woman who lived my life in reverse. Circumstances led to my having a family first, then pursuing my dream of acting. We’re just beginning our life in New York and I’m auditioning every chance I can. I’m learning from the experience and having a great time. The challenge comes with having a seven year old daughter.

She, too, has expressed a desire to act, and has been WITH me now in two community theater productions. I’m thinking more and more about opportunities for us to do acting together, but drawing a blank. I intend to pursue my own career more fully when she is busy with school this fall, but I’m wondering if I can balance her desire to act as well? Should I take her to an agent with her little experience? Should I try to get an agent first? Someone said we should do extra work for one of the major productions to see if she likes it, but I’ve never seen an option for mothers AND daughters as extras. Suggestions?

Yours Truly,

Jen

Hey Jen. Thanks so much for writing. And thanks for your lovely words!

First of all I’d make sure you are absolutely comfortable with your daughter being an actor at this early age. If the answer is a clear yes, then you need to weigh out the realities of what this means. You’re right in saying “balance her desire to act with yours” because you will, in essence, be managing two careers. And that means maintaing a concise calendar so that you are both always available when you say you are and that your schedules stay copacetic. Agents/casting directors hate cancellations.

Hey Jen. Thanks so much for writing. And thanks for your lovely words!

First of all I’d make sure you are absolutely comfortable with your daughter being an actor at this early age. If the answer is a clear yes, then you need to weigh out the realities of what this means. You’re right in saying “balance her desire to act with yours” because you will, in essence, be managing two careers. And that means maintaing a concise calendar so that you are both always available when you say you are and that your schedules stay copacetic. Agents/casting directors hate cancellations.

If you would only like your daugter to work on projects that you are cast in then you will have to be patient. They do exist but those jobs are infrequent. All of the primary casting offices use Casting Networks to post opportunities to do extra work on big movies and TV shows every day and they are always looking for children. Actors Access also occasionally posts extra work. I have seen castings for mothers and children in both places.

As an alternate idea, if you are game for it then I would encourage you to relax the “working together” part of your plan. As a 7 year-old she is legally required to have a guardian with her at all times so you will be with her no matter what – even on a big movie. I agree with your friend that she should absolutely have a crack at this first to see if she even likes it. Nothing will clarify the realities of being an actor than working as an extra on a big movie set – and this is something you can get her doing very quickly if you remove yourself from the casting equation.

As for taking her to an agent you really shouldn’t worry about credits. I’m pretty sure an agent doesn’t expect much of a resume from a 7 year-old! If she is excited about being an actor and you are ready to help her then set her up with a meeting. You will be required to be there with her, of course, and if it feels appropriate you can take a moment to alert the agent that as an actor yourself you will be able to do those rare jobs where they look for real relatives to play family.

Hope this answered your question!

Thanks.

Need acting advice? Ask The NYC Actor

About The NYC Actor

Angela Dee is a professional actress working in Film, Theatre, TV, Commercials and Voiceovers. She currently lives in New York. www.angeladee.com

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