By: David Wooddell, Barbizon USA
Mommy & Daddy Managers: They are everywhere in this industry. As the parent of an aspiring actor or model, you need to be 100% committed to your child’s dream. It’s important to remember that this dream could very possibly turn into their career. You may not know this, but if an agent or manager is looking to work with a child, they are evaluating the parents as much as the child. You are a team member (until your child is at least 18) if they decide to work in the industry. The entertainment industry is very small and even the slightest bad behavior can go a very long way. Following are some tips on how to be the “ideal parent” in the eyes of the industry.
One of the biggest pitfalls in the entertainment industry is gossip. Parents are biased toward their children. While this is understandable, when they start talking to other industry parents in a boasting manner about upcoming auditions, it can instill doubt toward another child’s representation. I always tell the parents I work with to keep discretion among their peers and to talk about the important items with the family & team only. Your child is different than other kids – you have to keep that in mind. There is no need to chitchat with other stage parents about business. There is no cookie cutter situation in entertainment and every child has a different journey.
Your child may not be old enough to be online and send emails. If this is the case, you will need to be solely in charge of the account dedicated to your child. Remember to respond to emails quickly and professionally. One-word answers should not be sent. Check out more information about ideal communication within the industry here.
Skip Crazy Demands
Remember that the agent & management team your child signed with has their best interest at heart. While it’s great to let your representation know you are interested in smaller roles (short films, student films, etc…), refrain from demanding jobs and higher pay rates. If you didn’t receive a casting notice from your agent, often times the role may not be right for the child or the path your representation is forging for your child. They may have received notice that the casting could be seeking a specific look, gender, ethnicity or any other attribute of the character. As far as pay goes, there is little negotiation on many projects when starting out in the industry. Your agent has negotiated the highest rate possible, as they only get paid a small percentage when the talent gets paid.
Also, remember – casting directors & assistants DO speak! If you cause a scene in the audition lobby, you better believe that the message will get back to casting and your child’s representation. Remember, the grass is only greener where you water it! Stop looking for something better to come around if your child does not go out on every single audition. Your team believes in your child or else you wouldn’t be working together.
Social Media Presence
You always want to consider what you are posting on your social media. Studios (Fox, Disney, Nickelodeon, etc…) will often check the social media presence of your child & yourself to protect their brand and overall image. Be mindful when typing political, racial, or derogative slurs. Anything negative can break any deal for your child – future or present.
Being the Casting Director
Let’s just start off by saying: You are not the casting director. Most of you reading this article do not work in the entertainment industry. Casting is an art form & can be very challenging. The casting director is hired by the studio, network or director to fill roles that create a successful product. Let’s say you’re a cardiovascular surgeon. You wouldn’t expect a casting director to be able to do open heart surgery and a casting director wouldn’t expect you to be able to cast a multi-million dollar project. Please read your breakdown & sides to make sure that you’re following the role to the letter. If casting is asking for the cute, quirky girl, you want to make sure your child is being that cute, quirky girl. This goes for the acting as well as the overall appearance. For more information on breakdown & sides, read my blog article here.
As a supportive parent, you’re showing your child that you are committed to helping make their dreams come true. It is critical for a young person to have this stability in their lives. If you are constantly causing problems and casting room drama, this will set a negative example for your child & could potentially harm their career. Remember, this is a business. Professionalism will go the farthest distance not only for the child, but also their support system. Follow your child’s lead! If they are disinterested, you will know it. You can only push your child so far. At the end of the day, this should be your child’s dream. They should be the catalyst.
Interested in meeting with a Talent Director to learn more about what it takes to start working in the industry? Request your audition today!