Does Your Child Have What it takes to be a Professional Actor?

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Bonnie Wallace is the author of  THE HOLLYWOOD PARENTS GUIDE, an accurate, experience-based tested information on every step needed to give your child the best possible opportunity to make it in Hollywood. Bonnie includes wisdom, inspiration, and resources to help you on your own journey and even help you decide if this dream is right for you and your family to pursue. Bonnie J. Wallace speaks, writes, and teaches workshops to help parents navigate Hollywood so they can effectively help their child become a professional actor. Mother of Dove Cameron, star of Liv and Maddie, Disney Descendants, Barely Lethal, and more, Bonnie is dedicated to inspiring others on this journey. Bonnie is a Hollywood mom, a small-business owner, and a former nonprofit theater board member. Her book,  The Hollywood Parents Guide, is available at Amazon.

 

Does Your Child Have What it takes to be a Professional Actor?

How do you know? I think in many cases, we “just do.” Nobody knows your child like you do. But that’s not a lot to go on when faced with the daunting odds of succeeding in the industry, or the doubts of friends and family—or the genuine sacrifices required for a child to actually pursue a career as a professional actor.

Obviously, your child needs to have a significant amount of natural talent. That’s a given. But just as important, they need the passion that will get them through the discouraging times, and that will make them stand out from the competition. Some kids were just born to perform. You can’t stop them. They do it like they breathe, and their passion shows. This is the spark that gets the attention of casting directors. It fuels the charisma that makes a character leap off the screen.

Still, talent and passion are only part of what’s needed. Discipline is at least as important. But what does discipline look like in a young child? Kids aren’t exactly known for their discipline!

Discipline in a kid might look like choosing to go to play rehearsal instead of a birthday party, because their cast is depending on them. It might look like spending time to fully memorize the monologue for an audition even if they don’t “have to.” It might look like asking to do the taped audition one more time so they can feel really good about it, even when they are tired and still have homework to do

Talent, passion, and discipline are critical keys to getting anywhere in Hollywood, for adults as well as child actors. They are the building blocks of a successful career. But even with all of these in place, it can be difficult for a parent to know if it really makes sense to put in the time and resources to help their child pursue professional work.

It helps to have some kind of mentor—perhaps an acting coach or dance teacher, or voice coach—who believes that your kid has what it takes. This can be a little tricky—you want to be sure that the mentor has no vested interest in your child pursuing a career—in other words, that their support is not just about signing your child up for more classes! Ideally, your child’s mentor has an objective faith in your child’s talent and ability to succeed. Many kids have talent and passion but little discipline, or passion and discipline but little talent. All three together are much harder to come by, and an experienced mentor can help identify the kids who possess that magic combination.

A true mentor may also be able to help you find an agent, or introduce you to other people who could help your child build a career. Someone who is willing to vouch for your kid is like gold, but not everyone who needs one will have one.

If you don’t have anyone in your child’s life that fits this description right now, then you may have to be that person, to the best of your ability. This means educating yourself to understand the industry as best you can, so you can guide your child in the right direction. Read, research, and separate the hype from the basics.

The biggest key to whether your child has what it takes to be a professional actor– assuming that talent, passion, and discipline are all in place—is really having a supportive parent. A young actor has little chance of success without the backing of their family. But if you genuinely commit to learning everything you can about this business, and supporting your child in their dream while keeping them grounded, they will have every advantage that matters.

 

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