Tips for Being a Good Industry Parent:
I have been thinking about this topic for awhile now, and while I am currently on Maternity Leave, I thought while the little one naps, I could throw some light on this topic.
First off, I used the term Industry "Parent" because dads, now more than ever, are getting involved in their kids' careers and that is such an AWESOME thing! My husband loves taking our kids to set, and being a part of what they love so much...PLUS it makes him feel like he is a part of this whole crazy experience. He is so much help, and even though this is my area of expertise, we always sit down together to discuss our kids' careers, we are a TEAM. Not my husband and my daughters manager chat like a bunch of school girls on the phone, so I let him be the phone contact for LA.
Being a good industry parent is HARD. Like getting a newborn on a sleep schedule hard. There are no rules or directions, sometimes we just jump and pray there's something to catch our fall. In my line of work, I have encountered all types of parents. Laid back, high strung, catty, helpful...you name it... So I've come up with some helpful tips, read them below, and yes there's a ton of them... ENJOY
Keep your kids sizes, photos, info, and education CURRENT: When I was an agent, it really stressed me out that parents didn't keep these things current. If you are making the commitment to have your child in this industry, then you have to do your part. Kids should be shot at least ONCE a year, with a professional head shot photographer. Also update your agent monthly with sizes, height, weight, and any changes that may take place (teeth, hair, etc). They cannot book your kids without CURRENT information!
Also, if you are serious about having your kids in the business and are 7+ years of age, they need to be actively training. It's a very competitive business, do your kids a favor and keep them constantly learning and growing.
Don't Be Sloppy: I use the word sloppy, because quite frankly, any other word will come off too harsh. This one can also be summed up to: BE KIND, and keep your mouth from running too much. Don't brag about your kids and everything they've done, it's rude. If it's a private conversation, and someone ASKS, that's different, but if not, be humble. You are no better than anyone else there. Your child's resume speaks for itself, you don't have to broadcast it.
Also, be VERY careful who and what you talk about onset, or at auditions. This summer when my daughter was shooting a film, one of the extras moms was talking very badly about her and was sitting right next to my husband, who promptly shut it down, and had he wanted to, could have gotten the mom and her child kicked off set. FYI, after my hubby chatted with the producer the extra was not asked to return again. How sad for her child. Sadly, I have witnessed and heard so many instances of industry parents bullying other parents, and even the kids. Super uncool, and it just makes you look envious and ugly. What you talk about to your friends in private is one thing, but you have to be very careful. It's a really small world and word gets around fast.
Make Sure Your Child is Driving the Car: OK, so not literally, but figuratively, yes. Too often in my line of work I see that it's the parents who want this and not the child. Your child must be passionate about this, or it will not work. These are long days, with infinite takes, in the heat or cold, with major sacrifice. Kids sacrifice social lives, sports, birthday parties, field trips and so much more. Make sure they want it. You will know, and unfortunately, or fortunately, so will everyone else involved.
Keep Your Kids Humble and Grounded: So I've already asked you to be all these things, make sure it extends to your child also. Teach them to be kind to everyone onset. Use manners, say please and thank you. These things count. The only thing worse than hearing a parent being nasty or bragging, is having the child do it. Make sure you tell your children to speak kindly, and to be courteous. Remind them that they are blessed with an opportunity, and that every single person there is working hard to make this happen, and everyone should be treated with respect.
Learn Everything You Can: Ask questions of other parents, read books, talk to your agent, ask your child's coach or teacher any questions you may have. Never stop learning. THERE IS POWER IN KNOWLEDGE. If you don't know, ask!
Be Patient: Opportunities will come and go. Be patient. I know how hard it is, TRUST ME, I struggle with this myself, but the right opportunities will come. DON'T GIVE UP!
It's also super important to be loyal. If your agent, manager, and/or acting coach is working hard for you, don't jump ship. Form a great team/partnership, this is so pertinent to getting through this crazy ride! Build a good team, and stay with it!
SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER: There is enough work to go around. Be happy and support each other. Cheer each other on and share advice! Having as many advocates as you can is so important. I have met some amazing moms, who remain my friends to this day. These ladies understand my frustrations, we celebrate our kids bookings, we lament over tough breaks, and just bring sanity to an otherwise insane industry! These are great allies to have as they completely understand things most other people cannot.
I hope these tips helped! Feel free to leave any questions or comments below.