I know it is a tempting thought for any parents out there who love their children. Does your kid want to be on the silver screen or TV? Does that baby boy or girl want to walk the red carpet among celebrity peers, smiling while waving to the cameras? You must have questions on what it truly takes to become an actor, the facts, and the secrets. Even for your child, it’s possible to pursue a career as an actor.
If you have such desires and questions, you’ve come to the right place. You will get an excellent hang of the process, including the information you need, the tools, and the go-to skills necessary to learn. However, having said that it wouldn’t happen without your support. If your child can truly devote himself/herself to the craft of acting, though, you’ll be ready for the challenges ahead.
What Are The Steps to Becoming a Child Actor?
It all depends on your child’s motivations for pursuing acting. Both parents and the child need to be honest, transparent, and precise. Ask yourself why you want your child to get into acting. Any other reason other than the child’s burning passion for acting is not sustainable. If you, or the child, are doing it for fame and money, failure is likely to plague the journey.
Cities like San Francisco, Boston, and New York will offer more job opportunities in theatre. Los Angele and Las Vegas offer more film and TV gigs. Therefore, choose the region that is best suited for the child’s abilities and interests. There are many forms of acting performances that the child can specialize in and overlaps between them. However, the three primary forms of acting are TV and film, theatre, and voiceover.
There are three essential skills that your kid needs to learn to go through auditions and casting calls successfully:
1) Memorization –
After successfully landing an acting role, your kid will be expected to perform professionally. The child will have to remember his or her lines correctly and master how to say them. The child can prepare by practicing memorization in everyday life.
You should take the lead in helping him or her to do everything possible to improve memorization. Keep asking child actors to recite poems, remember all the items in a grocery list, and even try performing lines from shows and movies that they like watching.
2) Articulation –
Find ways to eliminate stage fright in child actors. They need to practice on delivering clean, clear slates that include their age and representation. The casting agent sees a lot of aspiring kids for just one line in a show. Therefore, any display of a lack of confidence or a failure to deliver will be reason enough not to forward your child to the director.
The best way to sharpen a child’s articulation is to help him or her in imagining the intention behind words and actions. What could the character be feeling? Has your child ever felt like that? What does that emotion normally make people feel? Your child will be soon articulating lines just as precisely as the director would like.
3) Stage Presence –
Your child shouldn’t mind getting seen if he aspires to be an actor must be okay with being seen. He will have to walk into a room full of strangers and look them in the eyes. When he gets on the stage, everyone expects him to own and dominate it. Therefore, he doesn’t have much of an option but to build on his confidence.
You can help him to do it by practicing lines in the living room: in front of you. With your help of your, he can introduce himself to new people; perform to people that he may not be comfortable around but in your company. Get him out of his comfort zone if he desires to ascend into stardom.
All these skills can be learned and perfected at home. However, signing up for acting classes or hiring a professional coach to see your kid through this stage will be of great benefit. The casting agents will always be able to tell between trained and untrained children.
It should start with your child expressing interest to you. Just be approachable and friendly. If it is your idea, make sure the child is comfortable with it. Do not impose. Your kid will need your permission to work as an actor.
Apart from just permission, he will also need your moral and financial support. If he expresses interest, make him share his dreams and aspirations with you. He needs to explain to you that he is passionate about acting and are willing to work for it.
He should also reassure you that he won’t neglect his other responsibilities such as school and chores just because he is pursuing acting. Don’t allow him to give you shallow reasons like fame and money. He should have some good reasons ready.
Let him understand that acting should give him an outlet for expression and freedom. Make him understand it is the only way you’ll take him seriously, and that he won’t get you on board the rollercoaster unless you are convinced.
Pay for His Acting Classes
However, don’t break the bank trying to find the best acting coach out there. Take time to find one with whom your kid is comfortable. It may take time, but it will be worth it when he starts honing the craft, and you see him becoming a professional. Specialized classes and workshops in specific acting areas, such as commercial acting or acting for the camera, are more impressive to list on his resume.
If he doesn’t have time during the school year to take acting classes, a summer drama camp may be a good alternative. If you want personalized acting instruction for your kid, you should hire a coach who can work with him one-on-one to improve his skills.
Get Him Some Experience
While your child probably won’t be able to get a professional acting job right out of the gate, you want potential agents and casting directors to know that he has some experience performing.
Help him to apply online for all acting jobs available so that you can get casting notices sent back to you. Do not specialize; let him try playing a variety of roles. It will allow him to stretch his acting skills and showcase his impressive acting range to casting directors.
Encourage the Kid
Your kid will have to grow a thick skin and be ready to face rejections. He should understand that casting directors look for other qualities that cannot change, such as sex, height, and race.
Materials That the Kid Needs to Have
Your kid needs to be prepared with the following items to land an audition with for commercials or with a major network such as nickelodeon:
A headshot is a passport-sized photo that serves as a visual representation of your kid as an actor to the casting directors. It can be said to be the first “contact” the casting team has with the actor. Find a good photographer to take as many headshots as possible, each expressing different emotions. If you know the role they are looking for, submit one that looks like your kid is in that particular character.
A monologue is a short scene performed by one person. It demonstrates an actor’s acting talent and skill. Ideally, a monologue should be less than a minute long. It should reflect a mood. Always have many, each depicting different situations. Preferably, prepare a dramatic monologue and a comedic monologue.
When your kid’s headshots are ready, he needs a complementary resume. Help him to create it, and be transparent. Give accurate information about him and highlight what makes him unique. He may have few or no professional experiences to state, but something unique about him may catch the director’s eye.
Commercial casting favors children who take classes or professional coaching; don’t forget to mention them always. If your kid has any special skills, list them. There are details, of course, which should not be included on the résumé. These include home addresses, school addresses, and age. Giving information about your kid’s age may limit his audition chances.
Who Will Be Involved?
As a professional actor, your kid needs a small army of people. Every player in his team should be devoted to supporting and furthering his career. The team should vary depending on where the kid’s career is and the kind of gigs you prospect for him. However, they should all be skilled, experienced, and as hardworking as you. The five significant players should include:
- Acting coach:
If your kid is just starting, this is a great place to begin. Find an acting coach with whom he identifies and enjoys learning.
An agent oversees procuring and booking audition opportunities for an actor. Agents represent actors for all acting roles that they get. They look at the business side and help to negotiate costs. They do all the paperwork for actors and, in return, get a 10% commission on all the jobs they bring.
A manager plays more of an advisory role and helps you make decisions that shape your kid’s acting career. Managers should advise your kid on the TV characters to play and commercial roles to take. They should book press interviews and help your kid to deal with paparazzi.
As your kid’s career grows, he’ll get large-scale job contracts that require a lawyer on the team. The lawyer helps in interpreting contract details and negotiating the same all with the actor’s best interests in mind. He will catch minor but essential details in contracts that really affect the vector of your child’s acting carrier. Always have a lawyer looking into your kid’s contracts.
- The Parent:
You play more of a supportive role, but you make all the calls. It is your responsibility to shuttle your little star to and from auditions, offer encouragement and generally cater for his wellbeing.
What Can I Do to Get My Child Started into Acting?
If your child is interested in becoming an actor, here are some tips to help your child reach his dreams
- Consider the toll the hustle will have to your kid
Pursuing a carrier in acting is hard work for anyone. It is especially true for kids. Not only do children have school to worry about, but they must also sacrifice their free time with friends to practice lines or go to numerous auditions. Take time to explain to your child the work that goes into becoming a successful child actor, the sacrifices they will have to make and the friends they will leave behind.
- Consider your own motivations.
Ask yourself if you are doing it in the best interest of your child. Many parents selfishly get their kids into acting because they were aspiring actors themselves and failed. They drag their kids into a carrier in which they could not succeed by themselves. Others do it to enrich themselves off their children or to acquire fame through their children. Never push your child into acting if he is not passionate about it.
- What is your child’s age?
If you have a child who is below ten years of age, exposure is vital. Create a good profile of your child, including his headshot, and find an excellent agent to book him into auditions. If your child is over ten years of age, work on building up his skills. Every child is different, and you just need to understand what your kid needs.
If your kid wants to pursue a carrier in acting as a child, you must be involved and spend time helping him in planning. Determine the amount of time and resources you and the kid are willing to spend preparing him for show business. Commit.
Do child actors go to school?
School curriculums are rigid and do not want kids missing any school days. For this reason, most child actors are home-schooled. However, some schools do offer a specialized curriculum based on the child’s schedule. The bottom line is that education is of paramount importance. Find a way to make acting and schooling for your child work without one compromising the other.
What are the effects of being a child star?
The social and personal aspects of children actors’ lives are affected when they embark on an acting journey. These kids have little time to make friends and even less time to play. They will spend most of their time rehearsing and traveling that they will have limited time to socialize with schoolmates.
The child actors often spend their weekends looking for or attending auditions. They may experience mood swings, and it would be unfair to blame them for it.
For instance, a child may become entitled because of the attention that he gets on set. He’s likely to become frustrated and lonely later when he can’t get as much attention off-set as he is used to on-set.