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Child Star Survival Guide: A Must-Read New Book!

Young Performers At Work: Child Star Survival Guide

Shirley Temple

Child Star Shirley Temple

This new book by entertainment lawyer Sally Gaglini is a must-read for any parent navigating—or considering navigating—the child performer workplace. The stage can be magical, but troll around backstage or off set and you are sure to find a number of cautionary tales. Gaglini has, both through her personal experience representing child stars and through research into some of the highest profile stories of stageparent failures, and she generously sprinkles them in to keep the pages turning as she educates parents on entertainment law.

Young Performers at Work

Gaglini’s first job was at the law firm that represented New Kids on the Block, the boy band that launched the boy band craze. She learned the in’s and out’s of the laws protecting or—more often—failing to protect young entertainers back then and has been following and advocating for change ever since.

In a business where parents and kids can easily be blinded by visions of stardom, it is crucial to go into it with eyes wide open. So often we stage parents just follow the advice or commands of managers, agents, clients, stage managers, or directors and hope for the best. Gaglini’s book arms us with the knowledge we need to be savvy and smart about how (and whether or not) to get our kids into the biz, the right questions to ask when signing contracts, keeping our kids safe at work, thinking carefully about educational alternatives, and ensuring money is allocated fairly and trust accounts are set up and managed as required by law (and she lays out these laws state by state).

Child Star Survival Guide

A sample of chapters in Child Star Survival Guide

While I’m in Florida with my son Jamie, as he rehearses for a regional equity production of Billy Elliot the Musical at the Jupiter Maltz Theatre, it has been great to have Sally’s book on hand. I’m not just acting on gut instincts as a parent to tell if his needs are being met and he’s happy and safe. I also don’t have to feel conflicted or confused about what will happen with his paychecks. I know how much needs to go into his trust and have a good sense of what is fair as far as covering expenses and fun money (for him, not me!). This is clearly knowledge and good sense that Shirley Temple’s mother did not have, nor Jackie Coogan’s (a child star later known for his role as Uncle Fester on the Munsters, and for whom the Coogan law, which requires a portion of a child performer’s money be put in a trust, was named). It’s worth buying Gaglini’s book for those stories alone!

Young Performers At Work: Child Star Survival Guide is available on Amazon. It’s a great holiday gift idea for any budding-star parents you know!