Thursday, February 16, 2006

Thursday Thirteen - Stage Mom Edition

Thirteen Things about Being a Stage Mom

1. First let me say that I probably shouldn't be calling myself a stage mom. Big D is really handling all things related to show business in our family. He does all the heavy lifting, as they say. I do nothing except undeservedly bask in the glory of A Girl's success. So I guess I am just a typical stage mom.

2. A Girl and her dad have been in L.A. for two weeks and they're staying until early March. It's "pilot season" in Hollywood which means there's more casting than usual. When you go for pilot season, the hope is that you'll get cast on a show that actually makes it to the air. If you're lucky, your show will be a hit and you'll have a job for awhile.

3. A Girl had her first audition on Friday for a small role in an episode of an existing show and she booked it! They filmed the episode Tuesday. I would love to tell you all what show it is but out of a growing concern for her safety and privacy, I've decided not to give details. Some of my early readers have seen pictures of her and could probably figure out who she is if they watch this particular show. All I'll say is that it's a comedy and she has two lines.

4. After a week of nothing but that one audition (and booking!), she now has a few things on the schedule for this week. Since they're out there for her to audition, it's great that she's getting seen. She has voice over, print and movie auditions so she's seeing a wide variety of people.

5. I'm torn between wanting her to get something big and wanting her to come home to have a "normal" life. We never thought we'd be doing this - at least not this soon after she started. Even after she spent three months performing in Asia, we didn't anticipate her career taking off yet. But then she won a spot in the Chicago Childrens' Choir, got a role in this play and was asked by an L.A. agency to go to California to audition. Now she has a "name" TV show under her belt which is a huge resume boost - who knows where it could lead her.

6. Sometimes I underestimate her which, I think stems from my own fear of rejection. I think she's cute and she's a really nice kid. I want her to do well because she's so happy performing and has always wanted to be on TV. And because she's my kid. But when I look at her, I see a normal kid. I don't see a "star." So when I go to auditions with her and see a bunch of kids that are better dressed with perfect hair and perfect teeth, I worry that A Girl will get her heart broken. But at this point, she's had more rejections than bookings and she's fine with it. She actually likes auditioning. She loves getting a job but she's ok if she just gets an audition. She understands how it works. Clearly, her skin is thicker than mine.

7. I know I've said it before but seeing your baby on television is totally cool and slightly surreal. Especially when she's saying "I love you mommy!" to a Stepford Wives version of me.

8. I have to credit my husband for this idea, but he is very careful to remind A Girl that doing commercials etc. is just like any other extra-curricular activity. If her grades slip, if she starts getting a bad attitude, if it all starts to be too much for her to handle then she doesn't do it anymore until her priorities change. People (myself included) tend to call what she does a "career" but that's a big thing for any eight year old to carry. Big D once told her, "Remember, you're not an actress, you're a kid and that's ok." Before they went to California, Big D heard her saying just that to one of her friends. She doesn't want them to treat her differently. She just wants to be a kid.

9. Every once in awhile she needs a reminder that the world doesn't revolve around her but for the most part, she's a really nice, friendly person. That's what makes her success all the sweeter for the people who love her. She really deserves to have good things happen to her.

10. The other thing I worry about is her little sister. Given the exciting things that are going on with A Girl, it's way too easy to get caught up talking about her and not talking about M Girl. First of all, I talk about A Girl too much as it is. Then it doesn't feel right talking about M Girl because I've pretty much dominated the conversation at that point. I don't want to be one of those people who does nothing but talk about their own kids and never lets anyone get a word in edgewise. But sometimes I feel like I have to add something about M Girl so it doesn't seem like I've totally forgotten that I have another child. That's awful, isn't it?

11. M Girl and I are going to California on Saturday. Lucky for me, I get to be in Board meetings all week. M Girl gets to be schlepped around to A Girl's auditions. But I'm sure she'll just be happy to be with her dad and her sister. I think she's getting sick of beating me in Crazy 8's. She needs another willing victim.

12. There's a whole stage mom culture here that I'm sure is probably just as catty as the one in L.A. (but Big D will have to let me know about that one). Even though I talk up a storm about A Girl to people who know us, I don't sit at auditions questioning other mothers about what work their kid has done just so I can brag about A Girl. Seriously, there's one mother who sits by the door at auditions and questions EVERY person who walks through the door.

13. I worry about A Girl getting obnoxious and full of herself as she gets more success. But as I said in #8, Big D is really good about keeping her grounded. The reality is that I should worry more about ME getting obnoxious. Because the awful truth is that I can't wait to tell the other stage moms that A Girl got a tv show! The next time I say that I'm not a typical stage mom, feel free to give me a good smack down.

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Kimmy said...

Wow. A talented family. I'm glad everyone is so grounded. That's the key.

Yay on getting the part. I don't know who she is so I'll just pretend when I'm watching my favorite shows.

My 13 are up!

JK :) said...

Congrats to your daughter for getting the part. I hope you continue to keep her feet grounded so she wont have difficulty dealing with people.

Happy weekend.:)

Sandra said...

Very interesting inside scoop on the performing life! Congrats to your daughter on getting the part. She sounds happy and quite mature for her age. Every time you mention that she's 8, it surprises me.

Goofy Girl said...

Did you ever see showbiz moms and dads? I'm sure you could relate to some of thier experiences- of course I'm sure you aren't as obnoxious as some of those parents were.

Sounds like you've got a very talented daughter tho! I hope she continues to do well.

My thirteen are up!

Anonymous said...

Don't forget...You owe your children a childhood.

Jessica said...

Anonymous - It's too bad that you felt you needed to take a potshot at me without having the guts to give us your name. I thought about not responding because I don't want it to seem defensive but I do think you've raised a valid point that should be addressed.

I recognize that kids need to be allowed to be kids. She has plenty of time and opportunity to do that. If we felt that we were pushing her into this at all or that the stress was getting to be too much for her, we would stop it in a millisecond.

Performing makes her happy and we want to help her do that where we can. We are constantly trying to balance her life and the lives of everyone else in the family. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But we're always trying to do better.

Anonymous said...

I work for a new, nationally syndicated, daytime talk show and would love to talk to you about your daughter and her success! Please contact me at 888-372-2569 ext. 4388.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I'm just starting out with my son (he's 7) in the entertainment industry - he had his first commercial audition last week. He has two agents and one in L.A. who wants me to bring him out for episodic seson. We'll see.

I'm looking forward to reading more of your musings - maybe I'll learn something from you.

sblachly at gmail dot com