Casting directors Shana Landsburg and Teri Fiddleman will spend the next four weeks searching for stage moms and dads to be featured in a reality series pilot produced by Skybridge Productions for VH-1. Said to resemble the Bravo reality series The It Factor, which follows the lives of actors as they pursue auditions and jobs, Stage Moms will follow six families of child actors.
"It really is about what stage mothers go through in their lives, professionally—as well as how this professional life influences their personal lives," said Renee Simon, who is executive producing along with Gary Ponticello. "The It Factor concentrates more on the actors getting roles, but with this one we want people to be engaged in the stories of these parents' lives."
Simon explained that they are looking for a wide range of ethnicities and personalities. The child actors should be old enough to be articulate—not toddlers, she said—and can have any range of acting experience.
Asked what they are looking for in the parents, Simon replied, "There are some very traditional stereotypes of stage mothers and we don't want to play to those stereotypes. We wouldn't want any of the people we cast to just be caricatures. We want them to be real people. We want them to have rich stories and rich personalities and to be able to cover a broad emotional spectrum. We don't want everybody to be like Gypsy Rose Lee. That wouldn't make for very interesting television."
For the purposes of the pilot presentation, families should live near the L.A. area or be on the West Coast, though Simon mentioned they might consider families in New York. For the series, families can be located anywhere in the U.S.
How much will participants have to open up their lives? "We really are the proverbial flies on the wall," said Simon. "We want to be there as people are going through it. We're not going to be so intrusive that we are going to want to be in their bedroom and their bathroom, but they have to be willing to be very open with us. That's one of the things we're looking for with casting—people who are not afraid to open their lives to us."
The pilot would require two weeks of on-and-off shooting. For the series, it would require several months of shooting time. Participants will also be given video cameras to keep their own video diaries.
Submissions can be sent to: Shana Landsburg and Teri Fiddleman, 13455 Ventura Blvd., Ste. 217, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423.