Child Performers and Parents
Making the Decision
Deciding to become a performer is a big decision - and it's an even bigger decision for children. Performing demands focus, self-confidence and hard work. Working on-set involves long hours and, sometimes, difficult working conditions. Because of these things it is important that children and their parents pursue this career path for the right reasons and know exactly what's expected of them.
Many children become performers because, from an early age, they are outgoing, confident and want to perform. Under the watchful eye of a responsible, caring parent, these children can have a rewarding experience in film, television or commercials.
A small number of parents push their children into performing for the wrong reasons. Do these statements sound familiar?
"If the kids got a commercial, we could pay off some bills."
"My daughter has always wanted to be an actor! She's only two years old, but..."
"I hear that children can make a lot of money as actors - how can I get my kids into that?"
Important to Know
If you're a parent and/or guardian of a child performer in Ontario, here's some information you need to know.
CHILDREN HAVE PROPERTY RIGHTS IN ONTARIO.
As a parent and/or guardian who receives money or property on behalf of a minor in Ontario, you may have specific obligations under the law. It's up to you to know and understand those obligations and to act in accordance with the law.
ACTRA Toronto cannot provide you with legal advice but here are some starting points for learning about your obligations:
Guardianship of Property of Minor Children Brochure http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/family/ocl/propguard.asp
Please note the disclaimer: This brochure is not intended as a substitute for legal advice from your lawyer. It has been prepared to assist parents, caregivers of children and members of the legal profession. This brochure describes guardianship of property of minor children in Ontario only; each province of Canada has its own laws about children's property.
If you have further questions after reviewing the brochure, you may wish to contact: The Office of the Children's Lawyer: http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/family/ocl/.
The Office of the Children's Lawyer is a law office in the Ministry of the Attorney General which delivers programs in the administration of justice on behalf of children under the age of 18 with respect to their personal and property rights. The current Children's Lawyer is Lucy McSweeney.
If Performing is Right for Your Child
Where to Start
If you're a parent of a child who wants to become a performer, look for local classes and clubs at schools or community centres that will give your child a taste of the profession. Also consider enrolling your child in a performance summer camp. By doing this, you can ensure your child enjoys and is serious about performing.
Young performer and parent at an ACTRA Toronto Members'
Think about why you want your children to perform. Good parents support their child's natural abilities and help keep them safe while they explore working as a performer.
Carefully review the sections on protecting yourself when considering an agent or training program for your child. It is very easy for enthusiastic parents to be taken in by people who claim to recognize their child's talent. Be very careful about requests that you "invest" money in your child's career.
Review our tips and advice for parents of working child performers to help you get an idea of the roles and responsibilities of parents and children in a professional production environment.