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KIDS' ACTING for Brain Surgeons®
Author:  Angela Bertolino
Rating:  Excellent!
Publisher:  Hollywood OS; 2nd edition
Web Page:
Reviewed by:  John Lehman

This exhaustively comprehensive book is intelligent, full of valuable advice and, best of all, has attitude. Isn’t that what someone really needs to make it in show biz. As father of an aspiring child actress who eventually made it in New York theater and later on TV commercials, I wish I had had this trade paperback years ago. It sure would have made everything much clearer.

The editors start with underlying issues, such as, “Remember when your mom or dad asked you to take out the trash? And while show business, acting and modeling may seem more exciting or glamorous than paper routes or dirty dishes, the fact is that it is still work.” But here is the nitty gritty if your child and you do go ahead: Where to get a work permit, child labor laws, the difference between SAG, AFTRA and AEA, plus some danger signs to look out for and, to keep it interesting, a little gossip about past child stars. I love the list of DO’s and DON’Ts ( “DO arrive on set 15-20 minutes earl. If you are on time, you are late.” “You should never have to pay anyone to do anything to get your child into the business.” and “If it stops being fun for your child, let them stop. It’s their life, not yours.”)

I’m not directly sure quoting 30 plus pages of the California Child Labor Law and various appeal procedures, is necessary, and some of the introductory hype, differentiating the Hollywood OS® Directory from everyone else in the business seems misplaced. In fact, I would have liked a more matter of fact tutorial throughout the first half (and the legal material stuck at the end of the book for reference when needed). But better too much information than not enough. There were some other very thoughtful features, for example, interviews with former child stars and their parents, as well as with agents and casting directors. These put a human perspective on what is involved. And the list of names and addresses for agents, union locations and charts of pay scales and amount of time per day a child of a certain age can work are invaluable.

There are also acting tips, games, telephone numbers, web sites, a glossary of terms, advice on photos (as well as questions to use in screening photographers), sample cover letters, practice commercial snippets and scenes, explanation of the roles of managers and casting directors and even maps of studios. The book details common scams and fearlessly identifies these businesses by name and why they should be avoided. Wow! If your child is considering the possibilities of acting or modeling, this is the one reference book you must have. Use it like you would an encyclopedia. Everything is here that you will need from start to finish of your child’s career.

Break a leg!

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