As a weekly contributing expert to Backstage.com, I give advice to parents, children, teens and young adults from my many years in the business as an acting teacher, coach and talent manager. This month I decided to ask my clients, both young actors and their parents, what advice they have for working and aspiring actors and their parents on the set or on the road. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Be flexible, as a working actor’s schedule can be demanding.
2. The experience is the child’s, not the parent’s.
3. Have an open mind about schooling; don’t expect the experience to be the same. It may actually prove to be more rewarding.
4. If you are on the road touring, sign up for airline and hotel reward points.
5. Keep open communication with company management and the education provider.
6. Take advantage of all the wonderful sites and experiences in each city you travel to.
7. Respect the adult actors’ time and privacy.
8. Be professional; remember, it’s a business.
9. Learn from all of the professionals you are working with.
10. Get your rest and drink plenty of water.
11. Be respectful to everyone from the production assistant to the director.
12. Do what you are asked to do to make the child wrangler’s job easy.
13. Always have your child’s social security card and work permit as well as any other required documentation.
14. Parents- you are your child’s best advocate.
15. Use your down time to keep up with schoolwork.
16. Remember to say please and thank you.
17. Know the rules and regulations regarding the employment of minors. You are responsible for your child’s safety and welfare.
18. Try not to let your child’s performing successes define him.
19. Be grateful for the wonderful opportunity you have been given.
20. Laugh, laugh, laugh.
Thank you for these wonderful reminders. Respect, gratitude, humility, open mindedness, responsibility and fun are all wonderful tenets to live by. And if you don’t remember to laugh while you work, you may want to question why you are doing this in the first place. If you are a parent of a working child actor or a young actor with experiences to share on the set or on the road, I’d love to hear from you. Just leave me a comment below.
Master your craft, empower yourself, and enjoy the journey.
Denise Simon is a New York-based acting coach and career consultant who has been involved in the entertainment industry for more than 25 years as an actor, teacher, director, and personal talent manager. For 10 years, she was an associate with Fox Albert Management, one of the leading talent management companies in New York, where she managed such clients as Scarlett Johansson, Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino, Lacey Chabert (“Party of Five”), and Judy Reyes (NBC’s “Scrubs”). Denise has coached hundreds of children and young adults appearing regularly on Broadway and in television and film, as well as educating parents on the business of show business.