So, the reason I started this blog was to be completely honest and open about my experiences in the child entertainment field. Another topic most of us do not want to speak of openly is the painful process of casting, or more specifically not getting cast. So, I thought it might be a good time to tell my perspective with three kids pursuing “jobs”.
The other day, a friend texted me lamenting about the fact that her son just auditioned for several shows and was not “picked” for any of them. I have been there too many times to count, but I have also been on the other side when one of my kids was picked. So, here’s the thing. Size does matter when it comes to casting, and hair color, and ethnicity, and face shape, and teeth quality, and “energy” and that je ne c’est quoi? Whatever they are looking for, whether they know it beforehand or when the kids are in the room, is what they want, period. ( Most auditions involve literally measuring kids with a tape measure for exact height.) Does it mean my kid wasn’t good? No. Does it mean she couldn’t effectively do the role? No. It just means that is not what they wanted at that day, hour, minute, or second. I’m sure kids flub auditions, but that has never been a reason my kids weren’t cast. I will never know the real reasons, but I know it’s not that. It is what it is. I know this.
Having this knowledge doesn’t make it any easier on moms and dads who know their kids love performing. We want them to get to shine on that stage. We invest time and money on their training for those roles. Sometimes kids get songs the night before a big audition and they have to learn them overnight. It’s really difficult to watch our child be rejected. We are not supposed to take it personally, because after all, it’s show business, not show friendship. Well, that all sounds good theoretically.
I have been lucky that over time, my oldest son has developed quite a thick skin when it comes to not being cast. He is not phased, and he gets excited for the kids who were cast, especially if they are friends or acquaintances. I wish I were so gracious, but I’m not always. I often think things like, gee my kid sings better, or wow, that kid is taller than mine. I’m certainly not proud of it, but I do think this way sometimes. In the end I am not mean spirited or spiteful, I just want my kid to have opportunities. And, unfortunately, that makes for competitiveness. It’s not really the best way to feel. Honestly, I know intellectually that it’s typically not a “contest” per se between kids. It’s a preference by the time you get to a final callback. All of those kids have the talent and ability, but the director/producer will choose who they prefer. I’m working hard to remind myself of this every time my children have auditions.
What is the lesson I have learned in all of this? It’s okay to hurt for my child when he or she is sad that they didn’t win a role, but there is no reason to feel hurt when my child is not and is easily able to take it in stride and move on to the next “chance” for a role.