What do you do if your child comes to you and says, “I want to be an actor! Do you try and talk them out of it? Warn them of the risks and the pitfalls and how hard it is to make it? Dismiss the comment as something that will pass?
In my 20 years of teaching child actors, I have rarely encountered a student with the desire to act who did not also possess the talent to act. That does not mean that every talented student will end up on a Disney channel show, but through classes – and auditions and roles – these students are able to express their talent and explore their passion.
And how fortunate to have a passion when many children feel lost because they haven’t found their “special something”. Most young actors do not continue acting into adulthood, but there are so ways in which acting is beneficial in a child’s development – and continues to benefit them throughout their life – in building self esteem and confidence, public speaking, social interaction, risk-taking, listening, learning to take responsibility, enhanced reading and comprehension skills, and thinking on your feet, working collaboratively, learning how to take rejection, and building empathy.
So, if your child approaches you with a desire to act, encourage that desire – in small steps. Have them take an acting class and explore their creativity – to see if it is really something they want to pursue. Let the child guide the course of action to decide if this is something to pursue further – in getting an agent, going on auditions, perhaps even driving to LA.
Before you and your child embark on this exciting journey, I encourage you to do some research – this is an excellent website for parents with children in the business or looking to get into the business: http://bizparentz.org or please feel free to post any questions you have!