I lived most of my life in a genuinely small town—an island, in fact. Moving to LA, I assumed that running repeatedly into the same people and having a sense of community was something I would lose. I could not have been more wrong.
Los Angeles covers a truly vast expanse of real estate, but somehow it is still a small town. I think that’s because in Hollywood, the law of Six Degrees of Separation works especially well. In my experience it’s more like one or two degrees of separation.
Everybody seems to know everybody, and the examples are endless. When I met the new costume designer for Season Two of Liv and Maddie, we realized we had already met at a backyard party the past summer in Burbank, at a mutual friend’s house. Our mutual friend is not in the industry, nor is her husband. But her daughter babysat the costumer’s daughter for years.
Even if someone is not in the industry here, they know a ton of people who are. And since all of these people work on different projects constantly, their networks are large and ever changing. If you step back and trace the links between all of us it is kind of breathtaking. We are all connected.
Why am I talking about this? Because that is what we do. We talk. Everybody talks. And talk is an equal opportunity medium—it can make or break reputations. Is someone great to work with? Are they hardworking and professional? Or are they a diva and difficult? What about the parents, if they are a child actor? We all have opinions on the people we’ve worked with. And it’s not even necessarily gossip—if there is someone who is a joy to work with, we want to work with them again, and we would definitely recommend them to our friends. Conversely, if they were a nightmare, we’d try hard to avoid a repeat of that experience, and we’d want our friends to escape that too. It’s natural.
Every project has a lot at stake in its success—often years of work and deferred rewards, as well as small or large fortunes on the line. So this information is relevant, maybe even vital to know. Why stack the deck against your livelihood when another choice could make things so much easier? Here you see the critical importance of keeping a sterling reputation.
I know that people outside of Hollywood love to tell stories about how outrageous certain actors can be—how difficult to work with, how demanding and diva-like they are. But in all honesty, my experience is that the vast majority of people at the top—whether actors, directors, tech people, wardrobe, hair, makeup, agents, managers, etc– are smart, thoughtful, hardworking people. I think it’s hard to get to the top without those qualities, because frankly, there are just too many other good people to choose from. No one wants to work with someone difficult if they have a choice—and there is nearly always a choice. Keeping your reputation, and that of your kid, sparkling is one of the easiest things you can do to make sure the choice goes toward your child (and you)—instead of toward someone else when the choice gets down to two actors. And it makes for a better life in general.
My book, The Hollywood Parents Guide, available on Amazon contains everything I wish I’d known when Dove and I started this journey, and will save you untold amounts of time, money, and stress. Full of information you MUST know, it also features stories from parents of other kids who’ve made it!
Or book an hour consulting with me to come up with an individualized plan that takes your own unique needs into account. For about the cost of an hour with a professional acting coach, you can get your questions answered and a road map to help you move forward toward your dream.
Invest a little in your kid’s future today.
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