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?

No two actors will have exactly the same experience in the pursuit of a show business career. But regardless, there are many issues that need to be considered when making a decision about a career in the entertainment industry.

Of course, many child actors do not continue their show business careers as adults. They often go off to college and become teachers, lawyers, accountants or other professionals and live productive and happy lives. Maybe they continue performing in local theatres and other venues whenever they can while they work at other jobs to bring in a good income.

But in some cases they do decide to continue with their entertainment industry careers, either as actors or as other entertainment industry professionals — writers, producers, directors, editors, photographers, cinematographers, or some combination of those.

In spite of all the bad press on child actors, most child actors don’t grow up with serious drug and alcohol problems or suffering from depression. There are many benefits to being a child actor. For discussion of some of these benefits see “What Benefits Do You Get When You Become a Child Actor?

But the fact remains that while there are many successful actors, many also struggle for some or all of their show business careers.

Lana Veenker’s article is really a sequence of questions presented as a quiz to help you decide if becoming an actor is really right for you or, in her words, if “you’re ready to pursue acting.”

Anyway, go take a look at this quiz right now: 12 Questions to Determine Whether You’re Ready to Become an Actor?

Read the questions carefully, thinking about what they mean to you (and your child) now and what they might mean in the future. Questions such as these give you many things to think about as you make decisions about a career in show business for your child.

Is this the kind of life you want for your child?  Is this the kind of life your child will choose for himself or herself later in life?

After taking the quiz, please come back and comment here on Your Young Actor about what you think about the questions and how you/your child did on it.

To your success,

Debbie Sikkema


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  1. Hayden Davis

    Hi I just read the first section of your mini course about the agents. And I don’t know a lot about this stuff, so where do you get one. And how much do you usually have to pay one?
    Also I have wanted to be an actor on Disney Channel for a long time. And I am taking acting classes at school. I also play the violin for two and a half years now. I have been looking online for Disney Channel auditions to come to my area. But I can never find anything. How do the agents find it so easy. Do you know any where I can look?

    Thank You so much for all of your help

  2. Debbie Sikkema

    Hi Hayden,
    Be sure to read all the information in my mini-course and also on my blog. I talk a lot of talent agents and what they do. You do not pay anything to a talent agent unless you audition for and book a paying job while they represent you. Then you pay them a percentage of your earnings. In California, this is regulated to be 10%. In other states, it may be more than this. It is 20% for print jobs typically.

    If you don’t live near a big city, you may have to travel to find an opportunity to audition for Disney Channel or to be part of a workshop being done by a Disney casting director or other good acting teacher. You can submit tapes for auditions, and that is your best bet if you are not near a big city. If you find a good talent agent (do what I suggest to find one — go through the searches I mention in my posts as well as in the mini-course that I send out. You can search for talent agents online even: “talent agent [city]” where city is the city you live in or the nearest larger city. Try it for all the areas near you. Then do more research and avoid scams where they charge you to audition and want you to pay a monthly fee, etc.) they can submit you for auditions that the general public is not aware of.
    Good luck to you.
    Warm regards,

  3. Jada

    I am on 13 years old YES! I understand sometimes I may be interrogated I understand people WILL or WILL NOT. like me. I don’t want this to make more friends or to be very popular and rich like some children. I want this to act , to show my gift to take all my uniqueness and put them to work YES! I can just stay small in my little local town Chambersburg that nobody knows about and be a small cheerleader, a ballet dancer , or a grate gifted piano /gutair player , or a singer (which I love ,I could just stay in my little plays with amitures who don’t take things seriously , I could be that kid who try’s new fun things who NEVER gives up that has this supernatural dream to be famous , or maybe just that girl who wanted to go to Julieard sooooo bad she would bring it up since she was 6 , I could be the girl who loved to be the center of attention on and off camera , or I could be another 1 in a million GREAT! Actor who is hilarious and loving ,and so kind with the sweetest heart! OR! I could take ALLLL of these talents and put them to professional work! I could put them all in action and prove I’m not this other girl who wanted this since I was 5. I even tryed making songs at the age of 7 . I have my limites but strong ones, I know that with acting I have NO limites I ALSO know you will NEVER! Find such a gifted unique person like me I AM a 1 of a KIND! I am ready to be frustrated with juggling work , and being home , and missing the EXTRA sleep or needed sleep, or hanging out with friends and having a normal childhood life fully. I understand EVERYTHING I AM ready I AM GREAT quality for this life time of a journey!!

  4. Reagan

    HI, MY name is Reagan. I am 12 and I would love to be on Disney channel. I would like to be on it to earn some money for my grandmother. She had breast cancer and she survived, but now because of the breast cancer she has lung cancer. My mom and dad split. I live with my 3 brothers, 1 sister, mom, grandpa, grandma, and 11 year uncle. I would really appreciate it if I could be on Disney channel. My mom always says I will do good things when I grow up but I wish I could do good things now. I only see my dad on the weekends. I really hope you get this. Please comment on my message.

    Thanks for reading,
    Reagan Brown

  5. Debbie Sikkema

    Hi Reagan,
    I’m sorry for the difficulties you have had and are having in life. You sound like a very brave person. Getting on Disney Channel is not an easy thing. They typically hire experienced kids, so the best thing you can do to start is to get involved in acting and performing every way you can. Look for a talent agent to represent you and go to auditions as that is the way it is typically done. Best of luck to you in the future. I hope you can achieve your dreams.
    To your success,

  6. Nathalie

    Hi i am nathalie, i am 12 and want to be on disney channel two. I wish an opotonity will come up

  7. Angelina dang

    i always want to be a actor on disney channel i remind my self that i always will be on tv. Well i am 12. i bet a actor have to be a good reminder i like to meet new poeple if i was a actor. 🙂 i could be on disney or nick. My parents are Asain.

  8. Alice

    Hello Debbie,
    I watch movies a lot
    and i have always wanted to be on a movie or a tv show,
    I have trouble at school because I get bullied because of having asthma
    but it’s really not a serious thing because i barely lose my breath anytime
    I am 10 now and I am really good at singing
    please please please
    can I be on a tv show?
    from Alice

  9. Summer Bowen

    Hello Debbie,
    I would feel that I’m a very good when it comes to acting,
    I am also very good in school, I’m a A – B average student,
    I love act, but is there any acting jobs around Buckeye Lake,
    I’m 13 now and about to turn 14, could you please help me find some acting jobs
    around Buckeye Lake.
    It would be a dream come true to become an actor on Disney Channel.
    If you may find an acting job for 13-14 year olds please email me.
    Please and Thank you.
    Just give me an email
    ~ Summer Bowen

  10. Bob Cane

    I need help?

  11. Jeremiah Stanley

    I really want to be an actor to day

  12. Jeremiah Stanley

    I really love math

  13. Kayla McPherson

    Hi Debby,
    I am Kayla and I am 12 years old. I have always wanted to be a child actor. Of course I am a female. I seriously do love Disney Channel and I watch whenever I possibly can. SERIOUSLY! I am very good and memorizing lines. Please email me whenever there are any acting jobs or auditions in Illinois. My hobbies are acting of course, bowling, competitive swimming, horse riding, watching Disney Channel, hanging out with my friends, running, and being on my computer(I am very good with computers). I do have acting experience, even though it is not professional. it is a little place in Lebanon Illinois, that teaches you some acting tips for playing in plays. My best subjects in school are History/Social Studies, Math, and Band. I play the alto saxophone, and I believe that I am pretty good at playing the alto saxophone. I am NOT a singer I am sorry but I am not that great at singing but I am better than my parents. I can be taught to dance so ya. I LOVE animals I have 3 dogs and 2 cats. I just wanted to give you some insight about me so thank you for your time reading this. Sincerely Kayl

  14. Kayla McPherson

    I just forgot to add some other things sorry. I have blonde hair that is shoulder length. I have hazel eyes (just blue and green).

  15. Hannah Foley

    Hi my name is Hannah. Recently I have discovered I want to be an actress. I realize the trouble and difficulties, I am inspired by many people around me and the actors all around. My family has never had anything big, but I really want to take a chance or just give acting a try. I live in a town where everyone knows everyone. My family has faith in me and I have faith in myself, I want to show people who I am and what I can do. I am 12 years old and believe I can do anything I put my mind to, with a little help from my family.

  16. Jessica Paternoster

    Hiya. I’m Jessica and I am 13 years old, 14 in April 2015. I have always loved Drama and Acting since quite a young age, and my Drama teacher always gives me very good and positive reports. I have a nice personality, chatty, excitable, but I also am very caring and I listen to what people have to say. I have brown medium-long hair and brown eyes. I love acting, and I think I’m pretty good at it. Some people would say that 13-14 year olds trying to get a part on the Disney Channel are childish. I disagree, Disney Channel is great! I can be quite childish sometimes, and I love to have fun and have a laugh. My friends say that I am very good at drama/acting. My dream is to become a professional actress one day, maybe even starring in films. I love Disney and I always have. Drama has always been my favourite lesson and I really love it. It is extraordinary and is lots of fun. I will admit, I am not very good at singing, depending on the song, but I can act. Acting is my hobby. None of my family have ever been Actors or Actresses but I hope to be the first, it would mean the world to me. I live in a small town in Norwich, Norfolk, England. I have a normal British accent and speak English. I love watching Disney and I love animals. I can be very girly-girl sometimes, but sometimes I can also be very tom-boyish. I love wearing beautiful clothes and looking fabulous, but I also don’t mind playing a bit of football, and getting a bit muddy, if you see what I mean. I’m very good at memorising lines and speaking loudly and fluently. I wouldn’t just want to go on to be an actress just for the money, but for the love of acting. I don’t get stage fright and I am very confident on stage. Anyway, I wont gabble on much longer, I just would really love to become an actress and star on the Disney Channel. Please consider me! It would mean the world for me to get recognised and offered an acting job. Please email me if you find an acting job for 13 years and over, it would be such a big help. Thank you so much 🙂
    P.S. I really hope there is an acting job suitable for me around my area, Norfolk area? 😀 Please Email me! Thanks again.
    ~Jessica Paternoster~

  17. Ahsan Alam

    Hi my name is Ahsan alam and I’m 23 years old. I really want to become an actor so please give me a call 732-688-0059 thanks

  18. karina

    And where does it in the mini -newsletter

  19. Anastasia Vazakas

    hi i am Anastasia and it is my dream to be on disney channel since i was little and i think i am really talented so i hope i see you soon

  20. Samreen kaur

    Hi it’s my dream to become a child actress but my parents won’t allow me to become an actress .give me a solution to it and if yes contact on 9988327121

  21. Sophie

    Hi my name is Sophie and I am 12 years old and ever since I was young I have wanted to act but I don’t live near a city and there are no auditions in town and I have taken part in Annie Jr at my School but my mum and split up with my dad.I dont know whether to try and reach my acting deal or just give up.please replay to my comment.thanks

  22. Aaliyah

    Hi! My name is Aaliyah and im 13. Every since I was a little girl I wanted to be an actress. I want to become an actress, because I want to help my mom out. I want to help my mom , because we ( my mom, 2 sisters, and I) been through alot. I lost my gma who i never got to met by an car wreak, lost my gpa by old age, and I lost my big brother who got shot in the head at 21 years old. I was going to give up on my career, but I remembered when my brother said “Never give up your career, just follow your dreams and make every one proud” so imma follow my dreams. But any why can you please help me get my career I always wanted and plz text back.

  23. Varun Mishra

    Very True!! Becoming an actor is quite difficult, its a long and hecitc process. Between long audition there are so many issues to think about as you contemplate whether this is something you should do or not. Auditionfox.com is an online portal, where you can get latest casting calls.

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