It’s safe to say that my kiddos take center stage in my life and since they were little they’ve never shied away from a camera. Following my mama intuition, I decided a long time ago to embrace the radiance that was pouring out of my boys and manage their biz in the industry. I’ve been asked by so many of you for tips & tricks for getting your kiddos in the industry, so here’s my attempt! Please, please remember that this is my advice and my experience in LOS ANGELES. You can take it and leave a lot of it too, depending on which city you live in and depending on the needs of you and your family.
As I say over and over again, listen to your gut and your intuition. It knows what’s best when it comes to your kid’s health and wellbeing. My kids THRIVE in front of the camera and they have fun with it. However, if they’re tired or burnt out then we won’t go to the audition and I will never force them to do something they don’t want to do. When I go with them I give them my full attention + play with them instead of using it as time to get my own work done. I REFUSE to become a typical stage mom and work hard to not let them get sucked into the industry.
That said, it brings me so much joy to see the screenshots I’m sent of Kai or Leo on TV or on a billboard. And they’re SO proud too when they see themselves on the screen. Currently, my little lion and I are in JAPAN for one of his gigs. Seriously the trip of a lifetime and he is loving every second of it.
Image via Anine Bing Kids
How my boys got started
Kai and Leo both started to work in the industry in the first 6 months of life. We’ve lived in LA since before they were born and I, myself, have been acting and modeling since I was 18 so for us, it was an easy transition. It’s something I was familiar with and felt comfortable navigating. If it’s something you’re trying to get your little ones into, the newborn stage is actually the best way to “make it” without compromising too much of your routine with your babe since they can only be on set, legally, for 20 minutes.
What are the benefits of putting your kids into “the industry” and taking them to auditions?
What are the downsides?
These are the questions I’m constantly asked! While this is more personal, I will happily share my own experiences with my kids. For my kiddos - who both attend a Waldorf school and went to a Montessori preschool - it may seem, in many respects, an industry job in entertainment (specifically modeling for huge brands and acting on big-budget TV commercials) seems counterintuitive.
However, I chose to focus on how I can make each experience as fulfilling + creative as possible for them. At auditions and on set, they have limited access to screens and instead draw, do activity books, puzzles, etc. There’s also a teacher on set to help with school work. For both my children, the CONFIDENCE it has provided them is immeasurable. They can go anywhere and talk to ANYONE from any walk of life. They are comfortable in their skin, they can take direction and they have a sense of work ethic.
At a young age, they’re blossoming into their gifts and showing off their natural talents to the world. Finding the balance of embracing the spotlight and staying humble allows them to step into their own being + beautiful light.
Image via Junk Food Clothing Co
My tips of the trade
Acting classes are super important for everyone at every stage and age. In the beginning they will just teach them how to slate (which you could do at home) and to be around other kiddos going through the same thing. I try and do one class a year or every 18 months to keep them fresh and learning.
Make sure you get amazing headshots, and get new ones every time there’s a big change.
BE SURE TO KEEP ALL YOUR ACCOUNTS UPDATED for stats. This is HUGE! Your agent will submit you based on these stats and if they are off by even an inch you could be losing an opportunity.
Best acting classes in LA:
The Young Actor's Studio in North Hollywood
Lisa Picotte's Young Actors Workspace in Pico Roberston
Keep It Real Acting Studios in North Hollywood
These are the best in LA and from my friend Katie Taylor (who has a casting company in Santa Monica). In no particular order:
Abrams Artists Agency
CESD Talent Agency
Mavrick Artists Agency
Coast to Coast Talent Group
LA Models/LA Talent
Paloma Model and Talent (this is our agency, feel free to put my name down to try and get your kid in!)
Zuri Model and Talent
Brand Model and Talent
Daniel Hoff Agency
I use a Coogan Savings Account
Strongly advice to get a Work Permit (Make sure you renew before it expires so you can renew ONLINE instead of going into the hellhole that is their Van Nuys office: trust me.)
TIPS FOR SANITY and balance:
You can definitely self submit on these online sites until you get an agent: Actors Access, Casting Frontier, Casting Networks (aka L.A. Casting), Catz, etc.
Bring TONS of snacks and activities/books to auctions to fill the time