Getting Started in the Industry

We cover all the topics essential to making it in entertainment in a specific order that gets
results.

Be Honest

Every parent can be biased towards their own child’s talents and looks, but it’s important to keep in mind that showbiz isn’t for everyone. In order to find out if your child has what it takes, you must honestly assess their talents and skills. Outside of you and your child, the showbiz industry takes a substantial commitment from everyone in the family. Therefore, it is important to address other family members as well as finances, schedules, and any other issues that may come up before deciding to dive in. By completing this assessment, you will be able to interpret the indication of your child’s marketability, whether or not they’re ready for the business, and lastly whether or not your family is ready.

For the following questions, score one point for each truthful answer. For even more accurate results, have a close family friend fill out the “child” portion of this assessment.

1. My child is:

  • Bright
  • Energetic
  • Confident
  • Outgoing
  • Patient
  • Creative

2. My child is able to:

  • Maintain focus
  • Memorize dialogue
  • Memorize movement
  • Sing
  • Dance

3. My child:

  • Shows a strong desire and commitment to work
  • Has a twin
  • Has a special talent or unique talent or trait

For the following questions, pick the answer that best applies to your child and add the points in ( ) to your total score from above.

4. When on a play date, my child is

  • a loner, taking time before befriending the other children (1 pt.)
  • a leader, suggesting games or toys for play (2 pts)
  • an agitator, struggling to share or play fairly (0 pts)

5. When encouraged to play alone, my child

  • is content, sometimes speaks to himself or herself, or makes up games (2 pts)
  • gets bored quickly and cries or complains that there isn’t anything to do (0 pts)
  • is quiet and calm, and doesn’t get too involved or passionate about whatever he or she is doing (1 pt.)

6. When encountering something new, my child

  • seems scared, upset, or angry, and often cries, hides, or runs away (0 pts)
  • is timid, but with a little encouragement becomes open and interested (1 pt.)
  • is excited and jumps right in (2 pts)

7. If another adult (teacher, relative, family friend) instructs or disciplines my child, he or she

  • does not respond well and feels better when I instruct them (0 pts)
  • generally listens well, but occasionally tries to push the boundaries (1 pt.)
  • is more inclined to listen to them than me (2 pts)

8. My child enjoys being the center of attention

  • and cries or yells if he or she doesn’t get his or her way (1 pts)
  • and laughs, giggles or clowns around to get reactions (2 pts)
  • only occasionally and generally would rather be entertained by someone/something else (0 pts)

Count 1 point for each yes, 0 for each no and add to the above scores.

  • Does your child/teen enjoy reading?
  • Does your child mimic other people in a fun way or play “copy-cat” or if your child is a teenager does s/he enjoy games like “charades” or “Cranium”?
  • Does your child/teen carry out conversations with adults well?
  • Does your child/teen have a good attention span?
  • Does your child/teen say hello when introduced to someone new?

The following section is designed to assess the remaining family members. Subtract one point for each of the following questions to which you answer yes.

  1. We have more than one minor at home
  2. We have more than two minors at home
  3. We have one or more children with interests outside of the entertainment industry (including the child interested in the industry). These interests include things like sports, horseback riding, educational clubs, etc.
  4. Both parents/guardians are employed outside of the home
  5. We do not currently, nor are we interested in homeschooling our children
  6. We do not have an expendable income that totals $500 or more per month
  7. We are not prepared to move to a major city, or travel regularly to NYC or LA

Take the total from the “child” section and subtract the total of “yes” responses to the “family” section in order to create your subtotal.

The following section is designed to assess the emotional/psychological preparedness of the family members. Answer True or False. It is important that you be extremely honest with yourself and go with your initial gut answer. Scores will be calculated at the end.

  1. I have a non-entertainment child who has a tendency towards jealousy.
  2. If my child is doing poorly in school, my initial reaction is to have a discussion with the teacher or principal rather than first attempting to handle it at home.
  3. If my child is turned down for something (ex. a role in the school play), my natural inclination is to have a conversation with the adult in charge to determine why.
  4. Both parents/guardians are on board with getting involved in entertainment.
  5. My child has present (local) and supportive extended family (grandparents, aunts/uncles, etc).
  6. I have a tendency towards gossip and/or am often curious about rumors amongst the parents in my group.
  7. If my child is criticized or reprimanded he/she has a tendency to be sensitive or get emotional.
  8. I do not mind it at all when other adults appropriately reprimanded my child. I generally trust that they will not go out of bounds.
  9. I have a tendency to monitor things my child is exposed to such as movies, television, books and/or the friends with whom they hang out.
  10. We have experienced being apart from one another for an extended period of time (this includes husband/wife situations, sibling/sibling situations, and/or parent/child situations lasting longer than 2-3 weeks).

Scoring: add 1 point to your subtotal if you answered True to the following questions: 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10

SCORES:


28-42 points
Your child or teen is a natural performer who communicates well with adults and other children. S/he generally enjoys attention and loves to be creative. Your child seems to be confident, inquisitive, and bright. These qualities along with her ability to read out loud, memorize lines, and repeat tasks are excellent signs that s/he has great star-potential. Additionally, it seems that your family is also prepared for the emotional, psychological, and financial commitments as well as the extensive time commitments the industry requires. The most important thing to consider, however, is your child’s willingness and desire to perform. While some children may show great potential, they must want it for themselves and casting directors can tell if they don’t. Make sure to explain to your child what it truly means to be an actor and find out if this is something s/he wants.

15-27 points
While children who are kind, well-mannered, and intelligent may do well in entertainment, it is also important that they are energetic, outgoing, and can communicate with and take direction from others. Your child shows some signs of potential, but may need some help in other areas. Contrastingly, your score could reflect a child that is ready for the industry, but a family unit that may not be completely prepared. Whether it is a lack of preparedness financially or emotionally, now is the time to address such issues with the family as a whole. It is also important to assess whether or not your child or teen truly wants this, for her/his willingness and desire are the most important things to consider. If s/he has a strong desire, but needs to improve on skills like memorization or communication with others, there are steps you can take to help them reach their goals. For example, something as simple as doing activities that require you to use your hands, such as playing an instrument, ping pong, pottery, etc., exercise the brain by challenging hand eye coordination, quick thinking and creativity.

0-15 points
Not all children are alike and not everyone is cut out for showbiz. Additionally, not every family is prepared for the rigorous expectations of the entertainment industry. A casting director’s first job is to eliminate children and families who aren’t right for the business or don’t show willingness and a desire to perform. Agents and managers are also less likely to take on children or teens who have what would be deemed “difficult” parents or parents who are not ready for the commitment. Perhaps your energetic child would rather participate in sports or your creative child would prefer developing an individual skill like art. If you still believe entertainment is the best route for your child’s talents, start by developing individual socialization and communication skills and then move on to tasks like memorization and creative thinking. There are tons of acting classes and camps available to decide if this industry is the right direction for your family.

Do the right thing!
Not all kids are cut out for show biz. Managing a child’s career in entertainment is serious business. Do your homework and be prepared to say “no.”

You’re not quite done yet…

Step two of “Being Honest,” involves sitting down with your family to determine your goals. Talk with your young performer and the rest of your family about goals that you think are reasonable. We see more success from performers who aspire to be working, paid performers rather than ones who aspire to be celebrities. Is this a craft your child is passionate about? Is s/he interested for the right reasons? All of this will determine your path towards success. Consider your goals, discuss your goals, and WRITE THEM DOWN!

Here’s to your success! Good Luck!

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