Are You A Star?: You may think your child is a star and that is a great place to start. Now you need to find out what others think. How can you tell if your child has "it"? To start, look to the professionals who have nothing to gain. An acting coach, for example, may tell you your child has "it," but she needs to sell you on joining her class. The process of seeking representation, on the other hand, may be the most telling experience in terms of your child's talent because an agent or a manager is only going to represent your child if he or she actually sees potential. The lesson: find someone who believes in your child.
Do You Have Star Skills?: Actors, especially young ones, are actually very intelligent individuals. Your child should be a good student, be able to read at or above his or her current grade level, and be able to communicate easily with adults he or she has just met. If the interest is still there, but the skills are not, the best thing you can do as a parent is help your child work on these skills before stressing about acting classes, finding representation or ever attending an audition. A solid foundation must exist before a star can be built.
Where Do You Live?: Luckily for this generation of young actors, Hollywood has ever expanding boarders. Films are being shot in cities across the country. However, don't assume that because productions are happening in your home town, that the casting for the lead roles is also taking place there. Likely it is still taking place in Hollywood. Why? Because that's where the production companies are based and where a lot of the pre-production, including casting, takes place. It's also where the major agencies and management companies are located - the ones that rep the star talent. Sometimes there will be a nationwide search for new talent, and today we're seeing an increase in virtual auditions. Use your hometown as a starting point. Become an extra in a local film, get involved in student films and make as many connections as possible, and while this is going on, focus, focus, focus Mom and Dad (we can't stress this enough) on securing solid representation. If you get local representation, make sure he or she has a direct line to Hollywood.
Are you Getting in Front of the Right People?: Many families struggle with breaking in to the industry because they are not making the right decisions. With the assumption that they understand the business, they spin their wheels to get their child in front of what end up being the wrong professionals, and frequently miss out on the good opportunities. Yes, scams occur, but they usually happen to the ill-informed parent who doesn't understand the way the industry works. The good news? You can easily make sure that this is not you by coming to the table prepared.
To start, assess your family commitment. A beautiful, talented child must have a support system that is physically and financially able to 'drop and run' the minute the phone rings.
Next, do your research on the basics. Learn the ins and outs of the business as if you, the parent, are seeking a second career. Your knowledge and preparedness will help you to guide your child's career.
Then surround yourself with the right team. Ultimately you will have to seek out the best resources available to you in order to get your child in front of the right people. For some, this means attending local area workshops. Just make sure you research who is attending before you go. For others, it means attending a larger event or convention. Again, do your research and know what to expect. We've seen it first hand - the prepared child and knowledgable parent succeed a these events. A poor headshot and/or resume, and a lack of appropriate training by the right professionals, however, will not provide you with the foundation needed to ace these events.
For some families, the best route to getting in front of the professionals is by making the trip out to LA themselves. If this what you choose to do, again, do your research first and plan ahead of time. Do you know the right time of year to come to LA? The answer is not necessarily Pilot Season if you don't have representation. Have you set up many meetings ahead of time? Have you joined a class or two for the time that you are in LA?
Finally, remember that ChildrenInFilm.com is filled with articles about all of these subjects and we walk you through the entire process in our KidStart Program.