Parent’s Guide to Film & TV for Child Actors

by Kirsten Clarkson on May 24, 2011

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Alien Abductions and Hockey Dads in Crisis

Does it seem as though an alien life force has abducted your daughter? Is the former introvert (who hid behind the curtains when company came to call) suddenly declaring loudly for all the world to hear that she is going to be an actress on TV?

Has your outgoing athletic son found himself the star of a school play and decided this is his destiny? You’re a Hockey Dad. You’ve always been a Hockey Dad. What the hell does a Drama Dad do?

You want to support your child in his or her dreams. You want them to have every opportunity to live their lives to their fullest but you don’t know this world. Film and television is a foreign land to you. You can’t even imagine the first step.

Don’t worry! Help is on the way. I’ll take you through the steps as I know them.

First things first: child actors are professionals. They do everything that adult actors do – audition, book series and TV, travel for work, do interviews, get paid and pay taxes and agents fees. They work fewer hours on set but are expected to be professionals. Like all professionals the right kind of education offers all the advantages. For example if you go to Harvard Law School the connections you make there would be far more valuable and the education you receive would be far superior to the experience you would have at an online university. Make sure you pick a good school. Bigger isn’t always better. It’s results that you should be looking at.

One way to find a good school is to call agents and ask them who they recommend. Agents see the results of the training. They see if their actors are booking or not after taking classes and they hear from the students about the quality of instruction.

You can ask the school to provide you with references from actors, their parents or agents or get a list of actors they have trained and look them up on (a resource for professionals that is often used by the public). For information specific to Vancouver you can have a look at Vancouver Actor’s Guide and see what parents and kids are saying there.

Once you’ve decided on the school see if they have resources for parents as well as actors. Agents are not going to be able to train you to be a good “stage mom” but you do need some guidance in this area as there are many choices you will have to make.

Next time I’ll cover how to find the right agent for your child and you.


Kirsten Clarkson is the Founder and Senior Education Advisor at Young Screen Actors Academy. For over 20 years, she has been coaching Vancouver’s top young actors who have book everything from actor to leading roles on films and TV shows. Kirsten has experience as an actor, writer, director, development executive, casting director and talent agent.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Julie June 4, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Great post KC! looking forward to the next!

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