My son's Hollywood career started completely by accident. My friend's friend was looking for some celeb kid look-alikes for an Access Hollywood segment. It turns out that my little guy looks a lot like one of the Gwen Stefani/Gavin Rossdale progeny. We were available and a star (well, kind of) was born.
Let me start with this: I am the anti-stage mom. I grew up in LA. I see what Hollywood does to its peeps. Even though I'm still raising my kids in this crazy city, I want to keep them as far away from the madness as possible. But let me say this, the flashiness gets enticing.
Dude was completely hooked in by the Access Hollywood green room. M & M's and licorice were right there for the taking. Kids were playing on iPhones and iPads to pass the time, and no one was doing much of anything. It was a 5-year-old's dream. And then the moms all sat around comparing stories and it all sounded so…EASY. So, I got my son an agent and waited for the magic to happen.
Well, let's just say that my kid started getting a little cocky. I guess being on television has that affect on people. He'd walk around all cool, but then he started getting boastful on the playground.
"You can't have my ball."
"Oh yes I can, I'm on TV."
It was stupid. We started going on casting calls, and I would size up the competition. Mind you, these are little kids, but I'd be thinking in my head "OK that girl is SO not cute, there is no way she's getting a callback." I was turning into the devil.
You have to come back and do the waiting thing all over again if you're lucky enough to even get called back. The whole thing is bullshit. Kids wait in these long ass lines while their moms and dads fix their hair and ensure that they have "the look."
The kids are taken into another room for the audition so that they don't get intimidated by their parents. Um, there are a ton of sickos in this world. How do I know that one of them isn't a casting director in disguise? That is completely fucked up. Yet, if you want your kid to get cast, you've got to play the game.
And then the checks started rolling in. And I showed them to my son because I was so proud. Well, and surprised. After all that time driving back and forth to calls, and then showing up to the shoot, and then the agent's cut on top of that, the money was laughable. But to a 5-year-old, it was golden.
And then this started the next time we were at Target:
"Oh, I can buy that. I have so much money. I have so many checks."
Um, you're still five and you still can't have a new DLSR. Sorry about it. You're a kid.
And then the dude booked a dream…a national commercial. Except, not. He was supposed to be principal but the entire commercial was scrapped, including my kid's residuals. Bullshit, all of it.
The cockiness continued, though. He did a shoot that involved licking ice-cream and assistants would run in and REPLACE THE CONE every time it started dripping. He went through like five cones and it was only nine am and he was missing school.
The next time we had ice cream, the kid looked at me when it started dripping.
"Don't even think about it" I muttered back.
I want my kid to be a kid. The real world kinda sucks, and there is no point in visiting it earlier than you should. It's not all candy and ice cream. It's not a 24-year-old assistant running around giving spoiled children new cones for the "perfect shot." Lick your damn cone, kid.
So, we backed away from the whole scene. Kid is still begging to buy the latest gadget with his funds. But we stopped going to those casting calls. The skatepark beckons, after all. Plus, the ice cream truck swings by every afternoon, if we're lucky.