Parents: Breathe Deep and Share the Dream

Dear parents of a Hollywood dreamer:

Have no fear, your aspiring-artist student will survive in the real world.

Quite often parents of aspiring artists face daunting questions: How is my kid going to make a living being an artist? Will I have to pay off these college loans and help sustain them when they’re out of work? Answer: Your student of the arts is going to be just fine.

As a child born to parents with minimal education and meager means, I always knew if I wanted to attend college and become a television writer, I was on my own. With no prior experience in searching for the right college, preparing for SATs or even setting aside funds, my parents had no idea how to prepare me for this enormous endeavor. Little did they know, they already had. My parents constantly encouraged me to dream big and go for it despite any odds. “Be fearless” is what they instilled. Their love and moral support were the greatest gifts they gave me, and today I’ve paid off my student loans, and I’m living my dreams as a Hollywood writer and producer.

Now don’t get me wrong: Success didn’t come easy. I had to work three jobs through college and figure out how I was going to journey to Hollywood upon graduation. I had no pedigree, no connections. But I attributed my success to three main keys: PASSION, EDUCATION and SUPPORT.

For an artist, passion is everything. That inner yearning to create is undeniable and has to be fulfilled.

Unlike any other professional career, there are no ordered steps for artists, and that’s where the education experience is paramount. For a decent or a good living, it takes planning, smart decisions, knowing one’s strengths and leaderships skills. An artist might be awesome but have poor survival skills, which is not a good look in today’s society, nor will it help with that mortgage-size student loan.

Which leads me to the third key: support. I urge parents, to be executive advisers to their artists instead of enforcing their own wills. I’ve seen parents push their kids through med, law and business schools only to find their kid had a passion for music, news reporting, writing or dance.

If you have a kid who has a passion for the arts, try not to worry too much about them. Just in this last decade, a plethora of new jobs and careers have been added to the marketplace, creating leaders of industry and entrepreneurship.

Take it from a determined little girl from Brooklyn with big dreams, my parents’ love and support was, and still is, the wind beneath my wings.

Writer/Producer/Director, Doreen Spicer is best known for Disney Channel’s animated series, "The Proud Family." Spicer also developed and wrote the film, "Jump In!"  And she created the international tween sitcom, "The Wannabes Starring Savvy,” available on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon. She also speaks on "Dear Hollywood Dreamer."

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13 Aug 2017

By Doreen Spicer