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Interview – Lisa London

BookWe all think our kid should be a star and in that regard I spoke with author and Casting Director Lisa London about her new book, From Start to Stardom.

1: If your child expresses an interest in performing, what are a few things on any parent’s “must” list?

I would first recommend that the parents get their child involved in acting class or a performing class (could be a singing class, an improvisation class or a scene study class). This is a good way to see if their child really likes it and will follow through with the commitments of a class.

If they do like it, and continue to be enthusiastic about acting, they can check out their local community theater and see if there are opportunities for their child in that arena. Then they could look into agents for kids in their area. We do not encourage families to pack up and move to LA in the beginning of their journey, just because their child keeps saying he wants to be on TV.

2: Is there a way to make a child understand the difference between art and fame?

This is certainly a challenging concept to get across to a young child. But it is so important for them to understand you can’t study to be famous. I think it is important to work on your talent first and foremost. Fame comes in time if that is what is meant to happen. You can only work hard and become the best actor you can be.

3: Is it possible for Hollywood insiders to tell when it is the parents who actually want the fame and not their child?

We discuss this in the interview with an agent. We strongly encourage parents to be sure the desire to pursue a career is their child’s goal and not a lost one of their own. Because sooner or later the child will come to resent their parent for pushing them to do something they don’t like and it will not turn out well for anyone.

I have experienced auditions with kids who really don’t want to be doing this and you can tell by their performance and what they say because they aren’t giving it their all.  They would rather be doing sports or something else besides acting.

4: What advice would you give parents on how their children can/should deal with rejection?

Parents should discuss this with their kids upfront before they go on auditions. Don’t take it personally!! What is most important is that your child does the best audition they can, because, as Casting Directors, we always remember a good audition even if they don’t get the role.

A child should have the attitude that it is a fun adventure to meet someone new and have a chance to show their talent…And then after the audition, it’s off to do something else! The last thing a parent wants to do is grill their child on the audition and have them go over and over why they didn’t get the callback or the role.

5: Are there certain steps that parents should take to keep their kids grounded to avoid the pitfalls that many child stars find themselves in?

If they are so fortunate to have such a talented child, it would mean the child has been getting parts and building their career for a while. This is when the work needs to be done. As they are becoming successful, it’s important to stay in very good communication with your child and the rest of the family, so you don’t get caught up in all the hype!

Being on a set, child actors are given lots of attention and special privileges. They have candy and junk food available to them all day. If a parent doesn’t run good control over what the kid can have, or keep their head on their shoulders, it can be disastrous. Putting in this discipline early will create an atmosphere of care and attention from the parent that will ensure them to be the voice of reason to their child and help keep them from making disastrous choices later in life.

About Lisa London:

Lisa London Blue shirt for WebDaughter of one of Hollywood’s most successful TV directors, Jerry London, Lisa London grew up on her father’s sets, experiencing the demands of directing and acting first-hand. She has worked with major studios and networks, including Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Happy Madison Productions, Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, VH1 and many more.

Story Corps

storycorps_logo_10_yearsI always enjoy listening to Story Corps and today I heard one about a pretty cool dad. Here.


Hell No I Won’t Go

distraction-quoteBB has taken to the belief that the sixties still exist and the time to protest is now. He isn’t trying to stop a war or get the vote. He simply does not want to go in his car seat. He has taken a page out of the Gandhi playbook of using non-violent forms of protest. His signature move is to go rigid as a board requiring the use of not an insignificant amount of force to bend him. Another tactic is to grab on to the side and employ a jaws of life style grip on the arm of the car seat. Finally, he uses his sonic scream to try and drive off anyone who tries to simply take him anywhere via automobile. However, all of these methods eventually fail when any one of a 1000 simple counter measures are used. That’s right folks, I’m talking about distraction, the scourge of the toddle protest. I now never go near the car without a toy in my pocket or frankly anything in my pocket. The only draw back is that the same idea loses its power and can only be used a few times before it is taken out of rotation. I have the best luck with Matchbox cars but have used a bottle of sunscreen, house keys, empty iced tea bottle, receipt and a shoe. He puts up a good fight but in the end nothing can compete with something new, no matter how valueless to a grown up it is. Unfortunately, I still lose to his stubbornness one time out of 20 when I simply have nothing to distract him with having exhausted my usual rogues gallery of items. In those cases it is time to walk.  

The Listen in Bed Contest

solrelEnter Beyond the Car Seat’s Listen in Bed Contest. Winner will receive Sol Republic Relays. If you watch as much Netflix in bed as I do, than these will be perfect.

Sure you missed Father’s Day, but now is the perfect time to make it up to the dad in your life. He can drown out the children’s yells with nice headphones. The lightweight in ear buds are also sweat and water resistant (and yes that covers baby drool). Perhaps the best feature is that they don’t fall out like most of my gym headphones (which are really TV watching headphones, but the stupid movement of the cross trainer keeps pulling mine out while I’m watching the screen). However, if you are anything like me, the primary use will not be at the gym or jogging, but watching The Blacklist on my iphone in bed while the whole family sleeps (and snores).

Sol Republic can be found here, Facebook and @solrepublic.

The Fine Print

How to Enter:
Enter your information using the contact form. Please fill out all the information and don’t forget your email address. Winner will be chosen at random. Sol Republic graciously provided the prize. Any opinions I might have about the headphones remain my own and have not been influenced by Sol Republic.

Contestants must be at least 18 years of age at the time of entry and legal residents of the 50 United States and District of Columbia. Void in Puerto Rico, and where prohibited by law or regulation. All entries become the property of beyondthecarseat.com.

The Contest begins on June 19th, 2014 and ends on July 6th, 2014. Contestwinner will be announced on July 8th, 2014.

By entering into the Contest, each contestant agrees to grant beyondthecarseat.com and its owners/operators permission to copy and publish to beyondthecarseat.com any and all writings submitted by the contestant. NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.

Product Review – LuminAID Light

LuminAID_Folded-1024x527Since LTD and BB share a room one of the challenges has been dealing with their different bedtimes. One way we have dealt with the situation is by letting LTD use a flashlight. But as long time BTCS readers know LTD loves anything that is even remotely close to being robotic. I blew it up and gave the little guy the LuminAID solar-powered, inflatable light. Sure the lightweight and waterproof light is designed for camping and disaster relief, but hell it also works awesome in a home-made sheet and pillow fort. The company has also sponsored and lit charitiy project all over the world so I don’t feel so bad using their light under a blanket instead of in Haiti. In short, any light that I inflate in front of LTD is worth the price of admission. 


LTD was asking for something the other day, which led to a discussion of how he could buy it with his own money, which led to a brief discussion of chores and allowance. He hasn’t brought it up again, but in case your kids do, Gregg Murset has some advice.

Gregg MursetLittle ones are liked crazed little monsters when it comes to toys, it seems that in just five short minutes they come crashing in and turn a living room into a mass destructed mini town. So when is the time that you get stop cleaning up and your two year old finally chills the heck out? How do you even tell a three year old to pick up? My Job Chart creator has created a list of tips that will help parents of young kids valuable tools about when it is time to teach these beasts a little housekeeping.


1. You Can Feel It … Most parents get “the feeling” when their children are capable of learning something new or taking on a task. It’s no different with picking up responsibilities around the house. Don’t ignore your gut and begin recognizing that your kids can be a get help to you.

2. Start Them Young … The basic rule is – if your children are old enough to take toys out to play, then they are old enough to put them away. The same goes with most other things around the house, even clothes, dishes, video games or items used out at the pool.

3, It’s Your Call … Don’t let so-called experts put an age range on particular jobs your kids could be doing. While it might not make sense to someone living in big city why a 10-year old would ever run lawnmower, in America’s heartland, it’s not uncommon for a 10-year old handling equipment on the farm. If you know they can complete harder chores safely, maybe you should let them try. It’s your call.


1. Understand Why It’s Important To Have Kids Do Chores & Receive Rewards … Using chores & rewards to teach our kids about responsibility, accountability and money has been around for decades. It’s easy, effective and can change as your child grows. Kids need structure and providing them with a daily routine or responsibilities, only help them later in life.

2. Be Consistent … When it comes to kids doing chores around the house, often there is only one thing stopping the kids – parents. Whether it’s because we get busy and forgot, get tried of nagging or just find it quicker to do it ourselves, parents are often the reason kids stop doing chores. Parents need to be consistent, demanding and set proper expectations when it comes to chores.

3. Be Fair … Kids understand right and wrong or fair and unfair. Separate the chores evenly or rotate them so the worst chores aren’t always with one child. If you are rewarding your children for jobs well done, don’t be afraid to compensate one child more than another if the chores they handle are more difficult or are less attractive.

4. Don’t Let Other Things Get In The Way … Dance practice, music lessons, football games, baseball practice and homework are just a few things your child has on their plate each day. As a parent, teach your child from an early age how to manage time and set priorities, by doing all these things plus the daily chores. There are life lessons in everything, don’t drop off things around the house because outside activities make life busy. We certainly can’t do that as adults, can we?

5. Stress Saving & Sharing … If you provide a reward for your kids, make sure to stress saving and sharing. Everyone knows how to spend … it’s like breathing … you just do it. Saving and sharing takes practice, a plan and often some research. In the long run, however, your kids will see the benefits and continue to do these things as adults. It’s like riding a bike – learn it early in life and you can always do it again later. Learn it later in life and it’s more difficult.

Gregg Murset, CFP® Founder and CEO

As the Chief Executive Officer of My Job Chart, Murset has committed the last four years to building the largest online community and fastest growing website teaching kids about work ethic and making smart money decisions.

MJC was born from real life experience. Murset is a father of six children (ages 6 to 16) and needed a way to teach them about earning, saving and spending money. With no system available for a family with a large range in ages, Murset came up with the idea to combine modern technology with the traditional allowance system to teach responsibility, accountability and the fundamentals of financial literacy.

Now with over 556,000 members, 19.3 millions chores completed by kids and an economic impact over $3 million, My Job Chart is leading the battle to reverse the culture of entitlement and credit addiction that plagues American families today.

My Job Chart (myjobchart.com) brings together the latest technology and basic personal finance principles to help parents teach their children responsibility, accountability and how to manage money wisely. Over the past two years, more than 560,000 kids have completed over 19.5 million jobs and earned nearly $3 million. Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, My Job Chart is a free, easy to use, online and mobile job chart and reward system designed to teach, organize and motivate kids to earn, save, share and spend responsibly. From washing the car to making a bed, and from doing the dishes to picking up clothes, kids can now earn an allowance and learn how to make financial decisions. My Job Chart can also be used through its Apple and Android mobile apps, allowing parents and kids the opportunity to save, share and spend from anywhere.  For more information, visit www.myjobchart.com.



ask-logoThe Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence – in collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics – announced today that the first day of summer, June 21, is National ASK Day (Asking Saves Kids) to remind parents and caregivers the importance of asking if there are unlocked or loaded guns in the homes where children play.

Nine children and teens are shot each day in gun accidents.  Nationwide, one out of three homes with children has a gun, many kept unlocked or loaded. Approximately 1.7 million children in the U.S. live with unsecured guns.

To help encourage more parents to ask this potentially lifesaving question, the Brady Campaign is launching a social media campaign that includes online advertisements.  Parents and caregivers will be urged to sign a pledge to spread the ASK message in their community.  The pledge can be found at www.askingsaveskids.org.  In addition, the Brady Campaign is encouraging parents to host ASK-themed play dates throughout the country on June 21st.

Dan Gross, President of the Brady Campaign, said “Parents worry a lot about mass shootings that are outside their control; however, parents do have the ability to prevent unintentional shootings by asking about guns in the homes where their children visit and play. We routinely ask other questions related to our children’s safety. Every parent should simply add this one to the list.

The campaign also includes testimonials from moms who wish they’d asked this question.

“We never had guns in our home, and we still don’t, but we are the ones without a child in our house,” said Ann Marie Crowell, of Massachusetts, who lost her son in an unintentional shooting.  “One question asked is one child’s life saved.  It could have been my son’s.”

Ashlyn Melton, of Louisiana, said she taught her son how to handle a gun and always locked up her guns.  “I never thought to ask other parents about their guns because I assumed they were as responsible as I am.  I wish I had. My son died on a playdate when his friend playfully fired a gun at my son’s head because the friend didn’t think the gun was loaded.  That gun should have been locked up and away from kids,” she said.

To help parents broach the subject, Jennie Lintz, the Brady Campaign’s Director of Public Health and Safety, suggested parents ASK by saying, “In the wake of all the terrible violence in the news, I’m worried about guns—I’m sure you are, too.  Please don’t take it personally, but can I ask you to reassure me that you don’t have unlocked guns in the house that might unintentionally hurt our kids?”

For more than a decade, the ASK Campaign has partnered with over 400 grassroots organizations to spread its message in neighborhoods nationwide.  More information is available at www.askingsaveskids.org.

The ASK Campaign is a collaboration between the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the American Academy of Pediatrics, which has promoted the ASK message to its 62,000 members across the country.  The ASK Campaign has successfully inspired 19 million households to ASK if there are guns where their children play. Parents and individuals are encouraged to visit askingsaveskids.org and Pledge to ASK.

Product Review – Shower Wands

RickieLargeA confession of sorts, we have never been the best about making the kids take as many baths as they probably should. However, now that BB is getting a lot of food (a lot) in his hair the bath has become more and more of a “have to” instead of a “we should.” Rubber Duckie & Friends showerhead and wand distracts BB long enough for us to get the rice or pasta that usually embeds itself into his mane. The showerhead has a kid-friendly flow that doesn’t blow them out of the water, which is good as LTD always wants to use it as a squirt gun. The showerhead comes in a choice of animal designs including duck, frog and hippo. Our goal of course is not only to rinse the boys quickly which is hard because as difficult as it is to get the boys in the bath, of course, once in they never want to get out, but to transition LTD in to taking showers. 


Book Review – World’s Best Father

960122_669795843040710_841942562_nLTD calls Mother’s Day Happy Mother’s Day as in I made you a card for Happy Mother’s Day, but Father’s Day is just Father’s Day, but he did ask me, but he had to check with his teachers first, what I wanted. Dave Engledow’s Confessions Of The World’s Best Father features in both words and photos his greatest (worst) parenting nightmares. Told through Day headlines like Day 1 and Day 580, he explores his daughter Alice Bee and his adventures on the bad parenting express. Day 490 shows a small kitchen fire while Day 393 depicts how many household items can fit in a normal bathroom toilet. Every picture contains his World’s Best Father mug like the Playboy bunny. My only regret is showing the book to LTD who perhaps took away the wrong lesson and asked to re-enact many of the photos. Who am I too argue, Day 1 begins.

The Hose

FireHoseStreamsLTD never did it, but BB wanted to make up for lost time. After 5 years of children without projectile vomiting last week, BB took the crown for best converting food into a riot stopping weapon. I picked him up from school and everything was fine, the teachers had nothing to report about how he was feeling, but when I opened the door of the car to put down their lunches and bags all hell broke loose. The only warning was a slight hiccup/burp and before I could react the spray was free. He shot it out like he was trying to qualify for some gross new Olympic sport. He covered himself, me and the front seat of the car. The worst part is that this was only my first trip as I was just dropping things off before going back in to get LTD. I used the boy as a human shield covering my soaked shirt and quickly got LTD outside without anyone asking me what happened. Once at home I was able to calmly address the situation. BB’s behavior was fine and he ate a little dinner but no one ever found out the cause of the eruption. In the end, I simply chalked it up to another parenting milestone and one more thing that I get to check off my bucket list.