Imagine that you are planning a family trip to an exotic and mysterious land called ”The Entertainment World” aka “Showbiz.” Unlike other family trips, you have no idea of what to pack. And, everything you have read or seen only gives packing tips for a Summer trip. But, your trip will span the Summer, Fall and Winter months, and you have not the foggiest idea of what to pack. This is a big deal for your family. If you pack either the wrong or not enough items, your trip could be ruined and your family scarred.
Here is a suggested list of things that you should consider before beginning your trip to this mysterious yet intriguing destination:
1. Define and measure success in terms that do not include the words “fame,” “fortune” or “money.”
Do not chase money, fame or fortune. If you are pursuing your passion, these things will come.
If you are desperate for money or fame, then this is not the business for you. Money and fame are blinders, and with them on, you couldl place your children in a potentially dangerous situation and not think twice about it. Also, you and your child should understand that money and fame are temporary and will only provide temporary happiness and comfort.
Here is a very short list of potential definitions for the word ”success:”
- Success = your child develops an interest in a cause and will have a platform from which he can work to motivate, inspire and encourage others.
- Success = your child meets people who impact his life in immeasurable and positive ways and vice versa.
- Success = your child experiences people, places and things that will enhance her development as a productive member of your family and society, making her the BEST person she can be.
These are the type successes that will leave you satisfied, fulfilled and provide long-term happiness.
2. Make short- and long-range plans and secure buy-in from all parents/guardians.
Pursuing an entertainment career requires ultimate support from both parents/guardians and all caretakers. One of the most important considerations is the financial impact that this pursuit will have on the family. Contrary to what many believe, your young artist may not earn much money, if any, for quite a while. This means that for a majority of the first few years, nearly 100% of the expenses associated with your pursuit will need to be underwritten by the family. So, to avoid being blindsided, you’ll have to make some hard choices in this regard.
Your choices are dependent on a number of factors that are peculiar to your family. Its not an easy decision, as it will certainly require the family to endure sacrifices and adjustments. This is probably one of the more important and sensitive decisions that must be made before beginning your journey.
3. Make certain that siblings understand and agree to the plan.
One parent will become the designated chauffeur and personal assistant for the young artist. This will consume the parent and increase the chances that the other children (and the family) will be short-changed. This unintentional situation could generate animosity and resentment among the children (and possibly from the spouse), which could permeate the family and have severe consequences. To keep peace in the home, make sure that all siblings support the journey. Solicit the support of grandparents and other relatives and close family friends to ensure that each child continues to participate in his/her respective extracurricular activities. While pursing an entertainment career is a huge sacrifice for the entire family, as parents, we must minimize the burden on siblings.
4. Seek the company of families or individuals whose values mirror yours.
Contrary to popular belief, there are principled people in the entertainment industry. You want to find them and hold on to them because it is so important for you to align yourself with another individual or family that values the same things that you value for yourself and for your children. If the family is in the entertainment industry, make sure their views are in harmony with yours as it relates to your childrens’ involvement in the entertainment industry. In this manner, you can support each other and reinforce the good things that you seek. If having a church or faith-based family is important to you, then you should seek out a church or other faith-based group that meets your spiritual requirements.
5. Anchor yourself in your spirituality.
The entertainment industry is a roller coaster ride. There are no guarantees, except that you will experience fewer ups than downs. So, make sure that your faith is strong enough to keep you encouraged and at peace during those down times. You must have the faith to keep walking in dark and unfamiliar territory, knowing that the path will become clearer and more familiar as you move forward.
Being spiritually grounded is crucial for your own sanity and stability. This state of calm in the midst of chaos and uncertainty will flow directly to your family, especially your young artist, and keep them emotionally and spiritually stable. Others will wonder why/how your kid seems to be so grounded.
6. Prepare to run a marathon.
It may take months, even years, before your young artist lands his/her first real job. Indeed, your child will attend nearly 100 auditions before you land her first job. This is no science to this process, so just be flexible and do not expect anything to happen immediately. The key is to avoid becoming discouraged during the down times. If you maintain your pace and stay in the race, you are guaranteed to reach your goal. Believe me.
7. Ignore the competition; it’s a distraction.
You will encounter many children and parents who are on the same journey. Because the industry, indeed this society, is built on the notion that there is a limited supply of riches and great things for us all, people try to suppress the dreams and desires of others in an effort to “win.” These people are not aware of the fact that the Universe is plentiful, having enough for us all to enjoy. Be vigilante and avoid those people who are caught up in the overly competitive and petty aspects of the entertainment industry. You will be able to identify who these people are. These people and their twisted schemes will consume you and distract you and your child from your goal, leaving you wayward and discouraged.
8. Maintain your normal child-rearing routine.
Do not deviate from your established child-rearing strategy. If tantrums and disrespect were not tolerated before beginning this journey, then they should not be accepted now. It is OK to appreciate the fact that your child is amazingly talented and has touched the hearts of many. But, it is crucial that the child understands that the next time she leaves her bedroom without making the bed, she will lose privileges. Encourage activities that will permit your child to be as normal as possible. Continue to expect that they do chores as they would do normally and display good manners.
The goal here is to ensure that your young artist develops naturally and normally and does not become a spoiled brat.
9. Allow your young artist to live his/her own dream.
Entertainment industry professionals can tell if a child genuinely loves entertaining or is being forced by a parent. Pay attention to your child. Listen to your child. He/she will tell you if he/she wants to do this and when it is no longer fun for them. Many parents have unrealized dreams of becoming an entertainer (singer, dancer or actor). Do not try to live vicariously through your child in a last-ditch effort to become an entertainer. Allow her to define the type of artist she wants to be (if she wants to pursue this at all). If you try to become an entertainer through your child, you will become frustrated, and your child will definitely rebel (in time).
10. Know the relevant laws within your State.
Nearly every state has laws that regulate many aspects of the entertainment industry from training and developing talent to actually hiring talent. Some states laws are more strict than others. The purpose of the laws is to protect your young artist. Therefore, as a parent, it is your paramount duty to know and understand these laws.