My child wants to apply to drama school. Uh.............
When my mom gets asked...
"When Anthony was applying to drama schools, what was your perspective on that career path?" she always answers so authentically.
So I had her WRITE it down for you. Here it is...
I remember this like it was yesterday...
Anthony burst into the front door unexpectedly from H.S. during lunch – he wanted to know if he had gotten a letter from Juilliard – everybody else that auditioned got their rejection letters that day – he had not.
After he left, I remember sitting at the kitchen table praying that if it was meant to be to please let Anthony go to --- and BAM!
Anthony busts back in the house and yells – I got it! Kathy Hood just called and welcomed me to Juilliard! I’m in! Mom! I’m going to Juilliard!
We were literally jumping up and down and I was crying and screaming and we were both just laughing and dancing around!
Seriously, it was like the scene from the movie “That Thing You Do” when nothing is going on in that electronic store and the band members rush in and start screaming and jumping around the store because they hear their song playing on the radio for the first time!
We were laughing, hugging. Jumping up and down and just so excited and happy and anxious to tell our Big Italian Family all at once!
How could any parent want to take that type of sheer joy away from their son or daughter?
So was I surprised Anthony wanted to go to acting school?
Anthony was an athlete turned actor. He was always so funny and easily transferred his discipline from hockey, soccer, baseball and basketball to the stage.
He loved acting and was super focused and intentional about learning every aspect of the craft.
He had a strong work ethic, studied with various acting coaches and was uncompromising in approaching the work professionally.
He was always working on pieces for his speech competitions and won often.
He was eventually awarded the Duo Championship title at Nationals and received the key to the city from the Mayor of San Antonio for the acting honors.
Anthony was very humble and when he was interviewed for the paper after he found out he got accepted into Juilliard with a scholarship – he simply said, He was very thankful and couldn’t wait to get there, get going, and get better!
Our story was a little different than most of the families in our circle. Many of the parents would not allow their students to audition at great acting schools around the country.
They questioned our openness to having Anthony go to an Acting School.
They would ask – Don’t you want him to be an accountant or something more stable than acting?
We knew that if they were happy they would have a better chance at succeeding than pursuing something they didn’t have heart for in the long run.
My husband Michael and I made a decision when Anthony was in Jr. High that we would not require him to go to college in Texas.
The 529 Texas College Saving Plan came out during that time and many of the parents were talking about making their kids stay close to home.
If you committed your student to going to a Texas school you could lock into the current tuition rates and not have to pay the higher rates when your student graduated from high school.
Anthony wanted to earn a BFA at a great school. Texas only had 1 BFA program at the time and that school wasn’t even on his audition list.
Juilliard was his first choice. Although he was only 17 years old, Anthony was ready to go and he was clearly following his talents, passion, and sense of purpose at the time.
Was it heartbreaking when he left – absolutely! I still miss him every day but I’m happy because he’s happy pursuing the career of his dreams.
We wanted our sons to be happy and that was more important than trying to control their future with something that might be more stable or what we wanted.
As parents I think we have a responsibility to allow our children to test their untried capacity.
When our kids become young adults and we encourage them to make that first big decision about their choice of where to go for college - it reinforces the trust we have in them and ultimately gives them more confidence to make decisions in their life overall.
As a family we talked a lot about what earning a BFA would be like and what that would mean to our sons after they graduated from college.
I’m glad we did that because I’m not sure their prestigious acting schools did that great of a job preparing them for the business side of the industry.
Anthony’s younger brother Andrew earned his BFA in Acting at the California School of the Arts.
We wanted our guys to know that if they became actors – they would be entrepreneurs. It was important for them to understand the business side of the industry.
Both of our guys started their own theatre companies and/or production companies before the age of 18. They were doing what they loved and learning about business first hand.
They asked us for guidance but they made all their own decisions including what plays to produce, budget breakdowns, negotiating space, hiring Directors, recruiting actors, and making sure everyone was on the marketing team to fill the theatres and make a profit so they could do it all again and have Fun in the process!
We know being in the industry can be considered the long game by some but we’re not attached to when our sons get their big break – we celebrate every win big or small and the learning along the way.
We’re just happy they get to explore the industry and continue to learn and trust where their talents will take them.
We’re so very proud of who they are from the inside out that what they do doesn’t really matter as long as they’re happy, challenged to keep growing, achieving their goals, and making a positive contribution in the world.
By Corine Wofford
Corine Wofford is a mother of 2 actors and makes herself available to parents of auditioning students for any and all questions. To contact her, please make a request through Anthony at email@example.com.