Oct
25

What Does AB1660 Mean for Your Child Actor?

AB1660 for Your Child Actor -

If you live in California and have a child actor (or if you are a teen actor), you have probably heard about AB1660. You may wonder exactly what AB1660 is and what it means for your child actor.

AB1660 (Assembly Bill 1660) has been in the news and discussed online in forums and on various entertainment industry sites and blogs.  I previously had a reference to AB1660 here on my blog and sent email about it to those subscribed to my email list to try to help gain support for this bill.

With all the news related to the inappropriate treatment of minors in our society in general, it is not surprising that it has also been a major concern in the entertainment industry. Minors pursuing careers in the entertainment industry are often put into situations where they may not be totally safe.

I can tell you there were times when I felt strange allowing someone I barely knew to take my young child alone into a room with no windows.  But since everyone else was doing it, it was easy to assume it was okay. And fortunately for us it was okay since nothing bad happened to her. But should I have been more cautious?

Learning about what has happened to other young people in the entertainment industry as well as in other activities such as sports, and even in churches, is enough to make any parent feel sick.

Minors in the entertainment industry are often taken out of the sight of parents and guardians and behind closed doors with adults for a variety of reasons: photography, rehearsing, acting classes, auditions, interviews, coaching, and much more. It is important that parents and kids be able to trust the adults working with them, but it is not always the case that the adults are deserving of our trust.

It is for this reason that some parents began working to bring about legislation to help protect our child actors.  This legislation was initiated by Anne Henry and Paula Dorn (Bizparentz).

They have been working hard over the last number of years to do everything they can to help ensure that children here in California who are working or attempting to work in the entertainment industry are kept safe.

So exactly “What Does AB1660 Mean for Your Child Actor?

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Oct
08

Do You Want (Your Child) to Become an Actor?

Do You Want to Become an Actor ?

Have you every really thought about what it is like to become an actor? Whether you are an adult or a child or teen (or the parents of a child or teen), there are so many issues to think about as you contemplate whether this is something you should do or not.

I’ve discussed topics such as the responsibilities of parents and children as they pursue a career in the entertainment industry and how their lives are affected by this choice in many posts here on Your Young Actor. (For some examples, see “What Are Your Responsiblities as the Parent of a Child Actor?“, “What Does a Child Give Up to Become a Child Actor?“, and  “How Can You Become a Child Actor When You Have So Much Homework?“)

It is these and many other issues that our family struggled with as we considered coming here to L.A. so that our daughter could become an actor. We continue to struggle with the decisions we made and whether they were the right ones or not as we continue our lives here in the Los Angeles area. We’ve been here for over eight years now.

Don’t get me wrong. There have been many rewards, and we’ve never doubted that our daughter was meant to be an actor and a performer.

But at the same time, issues such as being so far from family, the ups and downs of the acting world, the conflicts between an acting career and succeeding in school, and the cost of living here in L.A. challenge us on a regular basis.

I recently read an interesting article on Backstage.com by Lana Veenker, casting director for ‘Twightlight.’ It was written more for adults in the entertainment industry, but it highlights some  issues for children and adults alike related to being an actor. These are many of the same issues that I often discuss here.

So, “Do You Want (Your Child) to Become an Actor?

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Oct
03

If Your Child Wants to Be On Disney Channel, What Should You Do?

Your Child Wants to Be On Disney Channel -

Having a child who wants to be on Disney Channel is not unusual — many children want to be on Disney Channel.  And the thought of your child being on Disney Channel is probably pleasurable to you. However, it is important to determine how serious your child really is about it.

Most children want to be on Disney Channel because of how much they enjoy the Disney television shows and movies. Many young children grow up with Disney being a big part of their lives. They may even feel like they know the characters on the shows personally. So of course they dream of being on Disney Channel and meeting the characters they know and love.

Other children enjoy the shows as well, but are also willing to do whatever it takes to actually be on Disney Channel.  These children love to act, sing, and dance and enjoy performing for other people. They are willing to work hard in order to achieve their dream — to be on Disney Channel.

Even though it may be quite fun, being on Disney Channel (or in any show, movie, or play) is also hard work!

It is not easy to get into most Disney Channel auditions — or auditions for any TV or film acting role, for that matter. For more information on how to get Disney Channel auditions, check out “How Do You Get Disney Acting Auditions (so You Can Be On Disney Channel)?

We have a good friend who recently landed a series-regular role in a Disney Channel show. He is thrilled to have this role, but he spends many hours nearly every day on the set working. He does not have much time to do the things that kids often do — hang out with friends, watch TV, go to the mall… He stays very busy, but he also loves it!

So a child really has to be totally dedicated to be on Disney Channel!

So, if you’ve determined that your child really loves to act, sing, and dance and is good at one or all of these things and is willing to work hard, what can you do to help your child achieve this dream?

If Your Child Wants to Be on Disney Channel What Should You Do?

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Sep
21

Should Your Child Actor Take the CHSPE ?

Should Your Child Actor Take the CHSPE ?

CHSPE

Barron's CHSPE Guide

When a child actor becomes a teen, it is not uncommon to be excluded from auditions for characters who are meant to be exactly your age. These roles are often specified as “18TPY” (18 To Play Younger) or perhaps as “Legal 18.”  It is precisely at this time that the CHSPE may be of interest to you if you are a child actor (or the parent of one).

My daughter was small when she was young and looked a little younger than she was. This was very convenient for auditioning.

When she turned 11, she matured. She grew taller and started to look and act older than she actually was. By the time she turned 13, people often thought she was 15.  This trend of looking and seeming older than she was continued. We saw a sharp decline in the number of auditions for her.

She did background work for a movie once just for fun, and when the kids all gathered around the Christmas tree for singing and games, she was “kicked out” to be in the scene with the adults because she was “too old.” She was actually over a year younger than the girl who had the lead role in the film and several of the other children! This was very upsetting to my daughter who was only 11 at the time.

When my daughter did get into auditions, we frequently saw other teens who were older but were shorter and looked much younger than my daughter. We even saw girls who were 18 and looked younger than she did.

Have you noticed how many teen roles on TV and movies are played by young adults?

There are many reasons why this is so: mature content, maturity of the actor, the number of hours an actor can work, schooling requirements, other “on set” requirements for minors, and ability to drive, just to name a few…

Seeing so many projects with roles posted for “18TPY” or “Legal 18” is enough to make any child actor who is not yet 18, particularly if that teen is also in SAG-AFTRA, feel frustrated and perhaps want to throw in the towel. It caused my daughter to focus on other performance opportunities and just about everything else except acting for TV and film, especially while she had braces on her teeth.

In the last year or so, as our daughter got closer to the age of 16, she, my husband, and I started discussing her taking the CHSPE. I began reading about the test and trying to decide if this might be a good option for her.

What if you could take care of a couple of the items that interfere with your teen’s ability to audition for and book roles meant for a teenager? That is what taking and passing the CHSPE can do for you. (See “What Is the CHSPE?” for more details about the CHSPE, including when it can be taken.)

So, “Should Your Child Actor Take the CHSPE?Read the rest of this entry »

Sep
10

What Is the CHSPE (Showbiz Term of the Day)?

What Is the CHSPE ?

CHSPE

Barron's CHSPE Guide

Don’t you hate it when everyone uses acronyms, like CHSPE, and you don’t know what they mean?  I know I do. In this particular case, the term CHSPE is not uniquely a showbiz term (view showbiz terms in myShowbiz Term of the Day” posts).

 

In fact, the CHSPE really has nothing to do with acting or showbiz.

So why talk about the CHSPE here on my acting blog?

Well, it just so happens that as my daughter, who is a child actor, gets closer to the age of 16, the CHSPE is something of great interest to us. For those of you who have teen children who are trying to work in the entertainment industry in California, you may know how frustrating it is that so many roles for 12- to 17-year-olds are being filled by 18-year-olds and older, also known as 18TPY.

The CHSPE can also be important for reasons that have nothing to do with the entertainment industry.

So,

“What Is the CHSPE ?”

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