After 30 years as an acting coach, personal talent manager, and director, Backstage Expert Denise Simon is sharing her wisdom with the world. In her new book, “Parenting in the Spotlight: How to raise a child star without screwing them up,” Simon helps parents navigate everything from figuring out if the child is truly interested in acting, what steps to take for their budding career, and so much more. Below, please find an excerpt from the book that we here at Backstage are thrilled to be able to share.
If your child is passionate about acting, you know it. They’re regularly performing around the house, to real or imaginary audiences. They’re talking about movies and plays and asking how they can star in them. When there is a play at school or in the community, they’re the first to volunteer for a “big part.” They sparkle on stage or in front of a classroom, perhaps even getting into trouble for being the class clown. If there is a spotlight anywhere nearby, your child wants to be in it.
In my years of experience working with young actors, their passion for the craft of acting is unmistakable. Children with the dream choose acting because they have no other choice. It’s in their blood, in their DNA. They act because they must. Nothing else satisfies them and fills them up the way getting on stage or in front of a camera does.
If your child is in a local theater group, trying out for the school play, looking at actors on TV and saying, “I want to do that! How do I do that?” then you know that they are passionate about acting.
Is That Passion Consistent?
Most children tell their parents, “I want to be on TV,” or “I want to be an actor,” at least once in their childhood, because, after all, acting seems like a fun game of make-believe. What child doesn’t love that? However, acting is a challenging business that requires hard work and sacrifice. It’s important to evaluate the consistency of your child’s passion. Is it just a passing interest or something deeper?
When your child constantly talks about performing or wanting to be on a TV show or in movies, you can tell that they’re very interested in acting. If they mention it once or just in passing, their level of interest might not be sufficient to lead to success in the long term. As you’re evaluating your child’s level of interest in performing, don’t just listen to what they’re saying, but watch what they’re doing. If your child is doing some of the following things, it might indicate that acting is their dream:
- Auditioning for the school play
- Trying out for community theater
- Making up skits and performing for friends and family
- Asking for additional opportunities to act and audition
- Asking for an agent
- Getting excited at the prospect of taking an acting class
- Searching for opportunities to act and bringing them to you, especially as a teenager These indicate that your child’s interest in acting isn’t just a passing phase but a genuine interest and passion.
This article is reposted here with permission from Backstage.