BizParentz Foundation

Supporting families of children working in the entertainment industry

Just Getting Started ?

If you are just considering getting your child started in the entertainment industry, much of the information on this site may seem a bit overwhelming. This page is just for you! Rather than tell you the ONE TRUE PATH TO STARDOM (it doesn't exist), we have chosen to provide links to some of our very favorite FREE web resources for those starting out (see below). Lesson number one: even if your child is planning to do this as a hobby, you are opening a business, and you would be wise to handle it like a business. You will now have the dual role of parent and of CEO.

 

  How the Entertainment Industry is DIFFERENT than other businesses:

Success in the entertainment industry does not follow the normal career ladder of other occupations. Many will try to sell you a “path to success” or “secrets to fame”. Many will tell you that their acting school, their system, their agent, manager, photographer, competition, theatre group, etc. is THE connection you are looking for that will take you to the next step on that ladder. They might even tell you that “Getting Discovered” will shoot you to the top of the ladder. Here is the truth: There is no ladder. Rather, there are many zigzag paths to success in this industry. It’s different for everyone. That’s why you will often hear conflicting advice on how to get started and how to be successful.


  Visualize the showbiz career path

Imagine that you and your child are rock-climbers. The mountain (the industry) is tall and treacherous. But getting to the top is thrilling and even an attempt is worthy of pride. You can handle “the rock” if you are well-trained and if you have the right equipment and partners (agencies, advisors, business sense, etc), so you choose them carefully. You don’t want to get hurt.


A good climber plans his ascent carefully BEFORE he sets out. He looks at all the possible paths to the top and chooses one that fits him. A good climber knows that the rock always changes, so what worked for others three years ago might not work today—the footholds and connections might have eroded away. You must be flexible and creative. A good climber listens to the advice of those who have gone before and then charts his own course according to his own abilities, talents, and appetite for risk. In the industry, this might mean a path that begins with local theatre work, extra work, print or commercials. Suiting up for the climb—getting the equipment (resumes, photos, training) and communicating with your partners (your agents and managers) is just the BEGINNING of the hard work.


From that point, everyone’s journey will be different. You may take some footholds that are before you, and you may pass on others. You may get a lucky break, or your ascent may include several steps backward. You may get all the way to the top of the mountain quickly, and you may not. It’s about a combination of luck and determination! BUT if you plan well, and stay focused, you will have had a good life experience regardless of whether you “make it” to the top by anyone else’s standards.

  H
ow the Entertainment Industry is the SAME as other businesses:

You will see that while many of our links suggest different places to begin, they all have a few things in common from a business point of view.
These things are common to starting any business:

  • Don’t spend any money you don’t have to. Choose your expenses carefully—that is just good business!
  • Make sure you have enough capital (start-up costs from parents) to finance the business, knowing that you might never get it back.
  • Make sure it is something your child loves and is committed to.
  • Have realistic expectations and allow enough time for this business to grow.
  • Do your research to avoid getting scammed and spending too much money. Make sure to do “due diligence” on anyone you consider working with.
  • Check references!

 

 

THE LINKS:
From BizKids Talent, great realistic advice on how to get started from successful Moms and Managers:
www.bizkidstg.com
From Manager David Matis about Keeping a Good Perspective:
www.risingstars.net/newsltr.htm

From Manager RJ Ward...a great overview of how to get started:
“Showbiz Kids Info”
http://www.startips.com/index.html
From the Talent Managers Association...read what a manager is, and then go to Website Index icon at the top. From there, go to Code of Ethics to get an idea of what a manager should and shouldn’t do:
www.talentmanagers.org
Professional Actors Resource Forum, a free forum for Showbiz Parents. The advice here is constantly changing as new parents contribute, but check out the boxes on the right marked Looking for an Agent, Modeling Start, Why You Need a Manager, and Protect Yourself to find some good threads for newbies. This forum is mostly based out of LA, but has members from around the USA and Canada.
http://people.delphiforums.com/showtalk/index.html
A great thread about getting started on the message boards of Backstage.  The thread has been going for several years, and parents add to it regularly.
http://bbs.backstage.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/9611031/m/9461061/p/1
If you are considering starting your path as a background performer (extra work), Cathy has some great advice and a LOAD of practical info and great links:
http://groups.msn.com/ScreenChildrensMoms/homepage1.msnw
Check out some of the recent modeling and talent scams at:
http://www.easybackgroundcheck.com/
The new California Advance Fee Talent Service Law that took effect in January 2005, will likely limit those businesses who sell “packages” of pictures, classes, etc. as well as the managers and schools who charge upfront fees and do multiple services. Even if you aren’t in CA, it is important to note that the legit entertainment industry frowns on these practices.

http://www.modelingscams.org/afts.html

From Canadian Actor On-line—this also includes some advice about starting babies:
“Start Your Kids in the Biz Here”
http://canadianactor.com/actors/kids-start.html

 


READ UP! Samuel French theatre bookstore www.samuelfrench.com has locations in NY and LA , but you can order most books on line. You can also get “the trades” such as Daily Variety, Hollywood Reporter (daily) and Backstage/Backstage West (weekly), although only the latter will really benefit a beginner.

 

We have researched and selected specific books available from Amazon.com.  If you plan on purchasing books from Amazon we would greatly appreciate you using our Amazon Bookstore.  This does not increase the price of your book, but Amazon will provide a small donation to BizParentz Foundation. Our specially designed store is organized by level and interest.

BE ORGANIZED! Holdon Log offers several products customized to the child actor needs. From tracking audition success' - to preparing taxes - to being a responsible Trustee of your child's money, recording all of the business activities is crucial!! www.holdonlog.com

 

GOOD LUCK and Please Continue to Visit Us Here at Bizparentz as Your Journey Progresses!


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