AB 1660

Have you heard of AB 1660 - Child Protection Act? Read more about this important new bill that will help protect ALL child actors.

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Do You Teach Your Child Happy Actor Habits?

It’s never too early (or late)  to teach your child happy actor habits. I have a seven year old who is in the industry and from the first day we decided to let her try this, both my husband and I decided that we would instill an attitude of gratitude in her because it’s too easy to fall victim to the negative side of anything. Being an actress myself, I've seen my fair share and in the beginning I have personally experienced small bouts of bitter actor syndrome because at that time, I didn't know any better.

You know those days when actors bathe in the woes of their self-limiting beliefs and say things like:

. . .  this industry is hard

. . .  I'm auditioning, but no one is casting me

. . .  they are not filming in my area

. . .  I don’t have an agent, so I can't book work

. . . I can't book the job because I'm too fat, to skinny, too new, too old and whatever other adjective you want to fill in there.

You get the picture. There are millions of reasons people talk themselves out of something they really want; or make up excuses so they don’t have to face the imagined fear they impose on themselves.  There is no other industry like this one. It’s the only industry where you’ll notice that the most successful actors are those willing to be the most vulnerable in front of the camera and choose to not get in their own way. They are the ones who allow themselves to organically and authentically let the character breathe through them and become a part of who they already are. They make bold choices because it feels right, not because they think that’s what the character should do or say. Many parents will flock to Hollywood to help their child become a star and they will spend thousands of dollars on classes and unfortunately not all children will ever truly "get it". 

One of the best things I've taught my daughter is to simply throw it away. I don’t want her to grow up feeling anxiety over what she has no control over. I watch actors practically drown in their own perspiration as they wait in the audition room. Then they walk out feeling angry that they blew the audition because they couldn't get out of their own way. Why do actors in general  do that to themselves? What purpose does it serve?   

Right now my daughter is at that free age where she can care less what others think of her. When she gets an audition, we help her break down the script, help her understand the intentions and encourage her to come up with her own interpretation of what’s going on in the scene. She comes up with a few different choices as to how she see's her character and while she auditions, she has FUN, lets her authentic self-shine through and when it’s all over she just throws it away and feels proud of herself.  On most occasions when she comes out of her auditions I hear her say, “I nailed it”. When she first said that I was thinking to myself, “Really, did they tell you something I should know”?  After a while I realized that it was her way of saying that she did the best she can do. For those few moments in the casting office she owned that character and she went in to show them how SHE would portray the character, not a possible interpretation of how she  thinks they would like her to portray it.  Regardless if she really nailed it or not isn't the point. Her intentions and that of any other young actor shouldn't be to book the job. It’s to go into each audition being so on point, so prepared, open and free that you create fans out of the industry professional your auditioning for. If the job is meant for your child, they will book it. If not, another job is always just around the corner. If they do well, you can also count on the casting director to remember your child for something else and they will call them. It happened to my daughter this past year when she booked a commercial that she auditioned for a year prior.  We also teach her to genuinely be happy and excited for her fellow actor friends, even those who book the job she also auditioned for.  The energy you put out there is what you always get back in return.

As parents to young actors we have to understand and accept that they will go out on 50+ auditions before they book one. They will reach avail status and then will be told the producers chose someone else. They will get told no, a lot and you will have get use to driving two hours in traffic for a two minute audition. This is an industry where you will constantly help your child to fine tune or reinvent their brand. You will constantly help them look for their next job when the one they book finishes and you'll have to teach your child to do it all with a smile. Just know that this industry has a lot of quirks, a lot of near misses, a lot of sit and wait and then hurry up moments, but there are good ones too and you will just have to embrace it all.  There is lot of room for an actor to become bitter and think the odds are always stacked up against them.  So to prevent this from happening you have to teach your child early on to not let this business get the best of them. To not dwell on the things they have no control over. To be excited, happy and always remain in a state of gratitude. Your child may or may not ever reach the level of success they hope for, but its the pursuit in general that has to remain gratifying for THEM, or none of the struggle will ever be worth it. 


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