What’s a Parent of a Actor To Do?

By January 3, 2012 Seminars No Comments

We’re going to be having another seminar on Saturday January 21.  This one is Child/Teen Acting: A Director’s POV.  To register, you can go to the store.  When I’ve taught this seminar before, I’ve gotten some very interesting questions.

“The Director wanted to take my child into a different building, pretty far away from me and wouldn’t allow me to come.” 

Although on the face of it, this seems a simple “hell no.”  But there are a lot of conflicting thoughts that run through the head at this moment.  You want you and your child to be a team player.  You want the director to like your child actor so that they won’t get cut.  Or their part lessened.  Or maybe the thought flitters through your head that maybe in this industry, it’s just the way it’s done… that it’s perfectly normal.

Well, from this film director, let me tell you my perspective.  While it is extremely true that for many child actors, the presence of the parent within sight can mess up the performance, there are other work arounds.  So as a director, I don’t want the parent in the child actor’s sight lines.  But I also want the parent within earshot, with the ability to watch what’s going on if they.  The trick here is that some parents think their presence actually helps the child actor.  That’s really, really rare.  So have a chair by the crafty table, or in video village, and stay as hidden as possible.

Now for the actual question I fielded that day from the above concerned parent.  No, this is not normal or acceptable.  I would raise a red flag if they wanted to take your child to a different location without you.  At this point, don’t worry about trying to be a team player or fit in– these people are not reasonable.  Think about it from the director’s side– if something were to happen to the child, he’d be in a world of trouble.  So what he’s doing is stupid.  And we don’t have to be team players with stupid.

So my rule of thumb– be within shouting distance, but invisible if possible (behind a curtain, monitors, or a big burly grip snacking on some cheese crackers).