Parents of talented kids often times want to see their children on the big or small screen. They search online looking for information about getting kids into acting and search for child acting jobs online.
They all ask the question “How do I get my child into acting”?. There are tons of TV shows, feature films, and commercials geared towards children and most proud parents want to see their child in those projects.
With so many child and teen related entertainment projects such as the Disney Network and Nickelodeon, one would think that there is a lot of opportunity. Yes, a large child entertainment industry means lots of child acting jobs, but it also means a lot of competition for the child actors and their parents.
The key to getting your child into acting is not signing up online with every company that claims to make your child rich and famous for a fee, but rather a lot of leg work and research on your own.
The first thing all aspiring child actors need to realize is that it is a business. A billion dollar business at that and casting directors are very picky about who they cast. Casting directors also have a limited amount of time to cast new shows and normally spend that time only auditioning kids that are qualified. What that means is that you will not see too many open casting calls and auditions for kids. Most kids auditions are closed and by appointment only. The casting directors do not want to waste their time on kids that are not trained and have no experience.
The way that casting directors weed out the good from the not so good is with the help of a child’s acting agent. A good agent is a requirement. Only an agent can get your child seen by the people who can hire him. Unfortunately, most people do not know how to distinguish a good agent from a bad one. Because of that many kids and their parents fall prey to fake casting directors and snake oil salesmen who promise the world, for a fee, yet never deliver.
Here is what every child actor and their parents need to know:
- An agents sole job is getting their clients auditions! It is not getting them expensive lessons, portfolios or other stuff salespeople try to sell.
- An agent cannot promise anything because the decision of the casting lies with the casting directors. They simply setup an audition for the chance to get that job.
- Agents are picky about who they represent. An agent only makes money when someone gets a role and for that reason only spend their time getting auditions for kids they think have a good shot.
- An agent does not ask for upfront fees. They collect a percentage of YOUR pay, when you get paid.
- An agent must be licensed.
- You must convince an agent to represent you. Not the other way around.
So before you land that acting job, you need to find an agent and make sure the agent adheres to the above.
Since agents are picky, you will need to develop a resume before you begin applying with the agencies. Experience, experience, experience! That is what will give you a shot at landing a good agent. You must convince an agent you have the experience to actually land jobs.
Gaining experience is not difficult. You can gain experience from multiple sources like school plays, community theater, student films and many other small projects in your community. These projects will not pay anything but they are needed to fill a resume. Acting is a career and like most careers those new to the industry must start at the bottom and work their way up.
Many kids believe that they will get discovered from nowhere and become rich and famous overnight. That is simply unrealistic and both kids and their parents must understand that reaching the top will take some work, some unpaid work.
How to find an agent
There are many reputable agents for children and those agents will find acting jobs for kids. To get a reputable agent you will need to put together a resume and have a headshot. Whether you need professional headshots depends on your child’s age. Babies and toddlers can use snapshots since children grow so fast. Older kids and teens will need headshots made. Once you have those, you must call around to your local agents and request interviews. If the agent likes what he sees, he will accept you as a client and send you out on auditions as they come up. You should never have to pay an agent to accept you. As your child’s lands acting jobs the agent will take his percentage from the pay.
If you do not know where to start to find an agent, you can check the websites of the actors unions. The Screen Actors Guild keeps a list of licensed agents. That list also includes information on which ones accept child actors.
Auditions for kids
Once you get an agent, the agent will book your kids auditions and the parents will be responsible for getting the child to the audition. At the audition, be prepared to act. Most auditions usually require the child actor to perform a monologue or read from a script. Your agent will inform you about what will be required at the kids audition.
It’s best to not wait until last minute to memorize and practice a monologue. Every professional actor should have at least a few monologues (dramatic and comedic) memorized at all times. Practicing the monologues before even having an audition will ensure that the child is well rehearsed and prepared when an audition actually comes up.
You can see more acting monologues and monologues for children here.
Here is a video of a little girl practicing a monologue:
Here is another monologue video that explains a few important steps:
Always remember that parental support and encouragement are very important to your child getting that highly sought after Disney audition and landing the kids first acting job.