The #1 Question I Get Asked

How Can You Find Auditions
Without an Agent?

Read Blog Post…

Photo by Robert Bellospirito.

7 Tips for Staying Sane While Helping Your Child Actor

Cool news!! I am excited to share that I am now an official Backstage Expert! Woohoo! I’ll be contributing a column every month, aimed at educating and inspiring parents of young actors. Here is my first piece, originally published last week on Backstage.

Link to original article: 7 Tips for Staying Sane While Helping Your Child Pursue an Acting Career

Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash


A recurring theme among parents of child actors is feeling stressed.


We can worry more than our kids do about nearly everything involved in the process, and our stress can transfer to our kids.

We worry about whether they can deal with the inevitable rejection of the audition process. We worry about their safety. We worry about whether they will ever achieve their dream of being a professional actor. We worry about finances, and how the pursuit of a career for our young actor will impact the rest of the family.


Here are some basic tips and strategies to help parents enjoy the ride more—so their kids can too.


1. Recognize that some things are in your control, and some things are not.

Yes, do all you can to increase your kid’s odds of success, but let the rest go. Things you can control include:

  • Signing them up for quality classes
  • Getting good headshots every year
  • Opening a Coogan/blocked trust account if your state, or the states your child is auditioning in requires it (CA, NY, NM, LA)
  • Securing a work permit if your state requires it (Not sure? Check HERE)
  • Looking for opportunities to audition, even before your kid has an agent. Join an online casting site like Backstage and submit when you see an appropriate role. Like everything else in life, your kid will get better with every audition they do. This alone will make a huge difference to their odds of eventual success.

2. Make peace with everything outside your control:

  • Your kid’s height, weight, coloring, and basic “look”
  • Whether those things are what casting wants for a particular role or not
  • Whether producers want an established name or a fresh face for a given role
  • Luck and timing

3. Take steps to protect your child while they pursue their dream:

  • Never put your home address on their resume or any online casting boards
  • Monitor their social media (run it if they are under 13)
  • Use the law: make sure any professionals they engage with (acting, voice, and dance teachers, headshot photographers, managers, etc.) have a Child Performer Services Permit if you are in California (studio teachers and agents are exempt as they have already passed background checks) Search the database HERE
  • Always be within sight and sound of your child while on sets (a union rule, but not always enforced, and not in effect for nonunion shoots)

4. Be realistic about your finances.

Never jeopardize your family’s well being in the pursuit of your child’s dream. Set a threshold for the maximum amount you will spend, or a minimum of savings to maintain, and if you hit that number, be prepared to take a break until things stabilize.

5. Make sure everyone in the family is on board.

Check in regularly with your partner, if you have one. Similarly, check in with any siblings, to be sure the rest of your family feels honored and equally loved. Make sure your young actor contributes to the household regardless of how successful they may become. This will go a long way toward keeping your family healthy and happy.

6. Practice being a strong emotional base for your child.

Supporting a child actor can be an emotional roller coaster. Don’t get overly upset when they don’t get a hoped-for role. Similarly, don’t get overly invested when they DO succeed. This will help them develop an internal emotional compass, so they aren’t dependent on external success for their self-worth. Also it will help you keep a sense of perspective!

7. Look for opportunities for self-care.

Above all, you need to be able to maintain the resources and sanity necessary for this adventure. Both short-term and long-term self-care are important: you need a future of your own when your kids become young adult actors!

It takes courage, imagination, and faith to believe your kid could be a successful professional actor. Remember: if you knew the outcome, it wouldn’t be an adventure! Look for ways to enjoy the journey and your child will enjoy it too.

ALSO SEE: Zen and the Art of Professional Acting

I know how challenging it can be to simultaneously parent and navigate an industry that is often opaque. Sometimes it’s incredibly helpful to get a reality check with someone who’s been there. A session with me can make a huge difference for your approach AND your peace of mind! Schedule a consultation with me on Skype, phone, or in person in LA HERE. I look forward to speaking with you!

More Blog Posts…

Solving the School Puzzle for Young Actors

There are probably about as many ways to manage the question of school as there are families trying to manage it. Parents whose kids are professional actors generally have to be a bit more flexible than those who are simply having a more normal childhood. Luckily there are options....

Child Actors and Unions: SAG, AFTRA, SAG-AFTRA, and Equity

Should your child join a union? Are they eligible? Which union? Until recently, a professional working actor in LA was likely to belong to either SAG (Screen Actors Guild) or AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) or both. Professional stage actors belong to...

Getting in Front of the Right Agent: Part 2 of 2

If after considerable time goes by, you are still not getting bites from your list, consider having someone in the industry that you trust give you some feedback on the headshot and resume, as well as your cover letter. Maybe something could be tweaked that would make a difference. Of...

Getting in Front of the Right Agent: Part 1 of 2

This is honestly one of the most difficult parts of the process. It certainly was for us. While it feels like there is an agent on every corner in Los Angeles—and there might be—“an” agent is not what you want for your child! You want THE agent. Who is the right agent? It depends on...

Avoiding Scams and Rip-Offs: Part 2

Use social media tools as well as Google to research potential acting coaches, agents, or managers. See if you can find accounts on Twitter, FaceBook, MySpace, etc, for the people and business you are investigating. Is what they are posting consistent with what they are saying? Be sure...

Avoiding Scams and Rip-offs: Part 1 of 2

Scams are one of the sad facts of this business. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard of parents approached in a mall by someone who says they can get their kid into the business, or even make them a “star.” The person may say they are a talent scout, or an agent or manager....

Training for the Child Actor

Most actors and directors would agree that training is an essential part of being a great actor. After that one point of agreement, there can be a lot of divergent opinions. How much training? What kind? And what even constitutes training? For many people the definition of a properly...

Basic Players Your Child Actor Will Meet, Part 2: Managers

Does your kid need a manager? It depends. Some people have agents but no manager; others have managers but no agent. Many have both. The basic difference: a manager generally has fewer clients than an agent, so your kid is likely to get more of their attention. However—and this is...

The Audition Itself: Part 3 of 3

Afterwards Leaving the audition, it’s the most natural thing in the world to ask your child how the audition went. But asking how it “went” is unfair—because it creates a sense of pressure, and because honestly, they have no idea how it went. The casting director could have been...

The Audition Itself: Part 2 of 3

Once you walk into the casting office, look for the sign-in sheet. Typically it will ask for your child’s name, the role they’re auditioning for (sometimes the project if the agents are casting more than one project that day) and the time they arrived, as well as the appointment time....

The Audition Itself: Part 1 of 3

At its most basic, an audition consists of getting an appointment with a casting agent looking to fill a role. Unlike auditioning for a play, where you have to come in with a prepared monologue of your own choosing (and maybe a song!), when you audition for film and TV you prepare a...

Does my Child Actor Need a Work Permit?

A work permit is a new issue for most parents. And while they can be a slight hassle, they are important and in place to protect your child. Here are the basics: All states regulate employment for children, whether they are actors or not. The State of California requires any child...

Resume DO’s and DON’T’s for Child Actors

A resume can be a little tricky for a kid just starting out, as you may have little to put on it! One ironclad rule: never invent or embellish to have your child appear more impressive or experienced than they actually are. Los Angeles is a town where everyone actually does know...

DO’s and DON’Ts for a Great Headshot

Headshots can be expensive, but they are important. A good headshot feels natural, and gives a sense of how your child REALLY looks. Ideally it captures a sense of their inner spirit. DO: For girls, keep makeup at a true minimum, if any. Kids are cast to look like KIDS! Hair color and...

How to Find Auditions: No Agent Required

What if your child is so new to the business that they don’t even have an agent yet? Or you’ve been at it for a while but still don’t have an agent? How can you get the auditions that might add enough to their resume to perhaps interest an agent, as well as add to their experience?...

Two Questions To Ask Before Taking Your Talented Kid To Hollywood

When I ask other parents of young actors if they had a background themselves in performing, I suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the answer is frequently “yes.” This makes a lot of sense—if we are made up of a combination of both nature and nurture, many of these kids got it...

Top Picks

No Results Found

The page you requested could not be found. Try refining your search, or use the navigation above to locate the post.