Many parents have told me they have a child who wants to perform but don’t know if putting their child in the business is the right thing to do. They ask me, “How do I know if my child has what it takes?” It’s one of the most important questions you need to ask yourself if you are considering entering the entertainment industry. Your child needs both talent and the right personality.
It’s hard to be objective about your own child. Most parents, myself included, think their little darling is the best at everything. But to really asses your child’s abilities, enroll him in a reputable performing school in your area and listen to the opinions of the teachers. They will tell you if she has the talent to make it in the business or if a career in computers might be a better choice.
As far as personality, that is a very different matter. Many children want to act or sing or be a sports star but few have the drive and toughness it takes to make it. I have witnessed all kinds of children’s experiences in the business, both wonderful and horrific, and these are the questions I ask the parents. Is your child out-going and personable? You don’t want to see a child hiding under the table when it’s time to audition. Does your child have a healthy, positive opinion of himself? Healthy is the key word here. No one wants an egocentric problem child. Is she confident in unusual situations? You never know what might happen in an audition. She could be asked to dance a jig or hold a snake. Will the screams be heard in the waiting room? Can he take criticism without falling apart? Depending on the director, there can be a lot of that. Will he crumble in tears or absorb it and do better? What about rejection? Can she handle not being picked for a performance and seeing the experience go to someone else? You don’t want to find her in her room plotting another child’s demise. And does he have the persistence to keep working at his craft? Like the Energizer bunny, you have to keep going and going and going. All these qualities are necessary for a child to be able to cope in this very competitive world.
In addition to being extremely secure with who he is, your child needs to have the temperament to handle the day to day workings of performing. The ability to keep herself occupied while waiting is a big plus. So much of the time is spent waiting. Waiting for a turn at auditions, waiting for phone calls saying you have a job, waiting on the set for performances to start. It all takes extreme patience for your child and for you. Be sure your child has the serenity for this. Bouncing off the walls is not an option. The other quality you need to consider is intelligence. It takes a bright child to be able to keep up with the demands of the business. Can he memorize lines? Can she read music? Does he know and follow the rules of the game? Is she able to change directions and go with the flow? Things change so quickly in the entertainment world and you need to be sure your child has the focus to keep up. No coach or director wants to continually hear, “Wait, what?”
I have an adorable grandson who many agents have requested. Although he is bright and talented, both his mom and I know he is not ready for the demands of performing. He is super sensitive and melts with any kind of criticism. He would be in tears within minutes of being on a set. We have had to say no to the people who want him because we know who he is. Be sure you know your child is able to handle the world of entertaining before you put him there.
But, if you do believe you have a child with the makings of a star, by all means GO FOR IT!