The entertainment industry is littered with child actors whose careers came to heartbreaking and sometimes tragic endings. From Gary Coleman to Danny Bonaduce, there are lots of horror stories of child actors who were not prepared for the ups and downs of show-business. Before you get your child involved in acting, here are a few guidelines you should first consider:
1. Does your child really want to be an actor? Make sure the dream of being an actor is their dream and not a dream of yours being lived vicariously through them. If you are merely forcing them to live your dream for you, it can do serious damage to the child. The stress and demands of acting will take a toll if a young actor doesn’t enjoy what they do; if they are simply doing it because you are forcing them to do it.
2. Beware of scams. There are many, many acting scams out there. Unscrupulous people prey on others who don’t really understand the industry by charging huge sums of money for photos and selling unnecessary products. Learn about the industry before you involve your child so that you (and your child) are not victimized by scammers.
3. Find a reputable agent. A talent agency helps actors find acting work in the area. But sometimes talent agencies can be scammers, requiring you to pay money upfront before they provide your child with representation. Before signing on with an agency or paying any money, ask the talent agency for references so you can see if others have had a good experience with the agency. You may be surprised what you find out.
4. Forget the money. There is much money to be made for child actors. But, you have to make sure that you don’t focus on the money. Your focus, as a parent, must always be on your child. Focusing on money may cloud your ability to do what is in the best interest of the child. Forget the money and concentrate on the well-being of your child.
5. Have fun. Acting should always be a fun experience for any actor, but especially, for a child actor. The minute it stops being a fun and rewarding experience is the minute you should halt your child’s involvement in the entertainment industry.