Preparing Your Young
Actress for Industry Success
(by: Mike Nelson)
Helping your young
acting hopeful prepare for a
acting career can be an incredibly rewarding experience for
the parent. All parents like seeing their children being creative,
expressing themselves, and, most importantly, having fun.
It should be
stated, however, that forcing a
child to participate in any
pursuit they don't like is not
just counterproductive but harmful
to the child. Your role, as the acting hopeful's parent, is to
caringly nurture your children's
expressed interests and not force
them into a pursuit in order to
live vicariously through them.
One would have to be born under a rock to have missed
some of the more public examples of what can happen when children are
forced into an acting career they never wanted.
That being said, there are some very simple pointers
you can follow that will have a powerful impact in the immediate sense
and create long-term opportunities for the professional
of your son or daughter.
Start Early: Human beings, it would seem, are
all natural born actors. Early in their lives, they often spend entire
afternoons play-acting imaginary scenarios. Sadly, as many of us get
older, we forget how much fun
acting can be. By exposing your
youngsters, at an early age, to the
concept of acting, you are, in
effect, introducing them to something at which they are already.
Regardless of whether it's soccer, football, chess, or acting, childhood
pursuits should always be fun. By giving your children an early glimpse
acting while they are young and predisposed to the concept, you
dramatically increase the odds of their long-term success.
provide the perfect vehicle for your children to immerse themselves in
the creative fun
acting can provide. What they gain from the camp
experience has as much to do with you, the parent, as it does the camp
itself. With the internet woven into the fabric of our lives, there is
simply no excuse for parents not doing due-diligence research on any
acting camp they are considering. A little research time, up front, can
save you a lot of money, effort, and disappointment later.
After your children have started their first camp,
make sure that they are having fun. If not, first try finding a
better-suited program and see if that resolves the issue. If not, you
may need to consider the fact that
acting may not be of interest to them
at that point in their lives. If that is the case, and the situation is
handled carefully, it may well become one as they get older. Forcing the
issue now will virtually guarantee that your child will never enjoy the
art. If there isn't a fit, back off and give them some time. Find out
what it was about the camp experience they didn't like. More
importantly, find out what things (even if only a few) they actually did
like about the camp. Pay attention to these answers. There is a good
chance that, armed with this information, you can research other camps
that may be better suited to your child's tastes and artistic needs.
Find a different camp, try again next year, and until then don't push or
make a big deal out of it.
Acting is a passion and, like
flame, it needs fuel in order to burn. A parent's support and
involvement has no equal as that fuel. Acting Camp is about far more
than just what happens during the time your child attends. What happens
before and after camp is as important as the camp itself. Furthermore,
if you have an uninterested attitude towards your children's pursuits
then their attitude will soon follow your own. Help them prepare for the
camp experience beforehand. If you have done your research, then you are
well-versed in what your children will be learning and doing. Help them
feel prepared for it and they will have the kind of fun that only
self-confidence brings. After Camp is over, spend a lot of time
revisiting what they experienced and learned. Often, there are exercises
and drama games that can be fun for the whole family to recreate. children look to their parents for validation. Be that validation for
your young actor or actress and you have armed them well for success.
Acting Camps are as varied as the children who attend them. Take the time to research, research, research.
If your children are new to the art, look for fun-filled camps that
focus more on the enjoyment of the experience than the knowledge gained.
As your children progress, they will want, as well as need, more
challenges for their minds. Complacency destroys drive, and an
unchallenged mind can hardly avoid becoming complacent.
should always be fun, but as your children grow they will develop a
sense of pride in their craft and will be eager to take the challenge to
the next level. Do your homework and be prepared to provide that
challenge in their next camp.
Preparing For the Next Step: Eventually your children
(and I use that term loosely here) will be ready to move on to
acting school. As you have watched and participated with your children
acting youth, you'll no doubt have picked up on where their
artistic talents and drive really lie. Research schools that have
well-respected programs, and degrees, in those areas. This next step is
an expensive one, so doing your research here actually does pay. Just as
acting camps have helped form your children's creative foundations, so
acting schools will take it to that next, and this time, professional
|About The Author
Mike Nelson is a contributing writer for
an Acting Camps and Acting school resource site for current and
aspiring acting industry professionals.