Acting can be more than a hobby; it can be a career, and that’s why you are probably here. Your child wants to be part of the show business. Starting his/her acting career at a young age could set your child up for immense success in acting. Look at the Jonas Brothers and the Sprouse twins who started out acting on Disney they are still notable names in the show business.
Ninety percent of how you learn is watching great people. When you are surrounded by good actors it lifts your performance.Natalie Portman
So, you want to give your child a shot at becoming successful in acting. To answer the question, how to become a child actor, your child needs headshots, bookings, acting classes, and an agent to name a few of what’s required. So, whether you are a child who aspires to be on the big screens, or you’re a parent, and you think your child has a career in acting, we are here to take you through the requirements of how to become a child actor.
- Get professional headshots
To become a child actor, you need to have headshots taken by a professional who specializes in kids and teenagers. Ensure you have both theatrical and commercial headshots. Headshots are the first impressions casting directors get of your child, and therefore, they have to be good. Remember, first impressions matter and more so in the show business industry.
- Evaluate and commit
Building an acting career for your child is not a walk in the park. Although child actors become profitable once they start getting jobs, starting their journey can be a bit risky. An example is that you might have to move to Los Angeles if you are living in the States to have a better shot at acting.
It is a hard task to get child agents and acting roles outside LA since Los Angeles is the capital of the show business. Apart from moving to LA, a family also needs to invest their time and money in starting a child’s acting career. Parents also need to be available to transport their children to auditions. Auditions are held in different locations of the city and are held at different times. Therefore, as a parent, you have to be prepared to do a lot of driving all over the city and at odd hours of the day.
You now understand why it’s important for you as a child or parents to evaluate how much you want to act and how committed you are to achieve your acting dreams.
- Take classes
Once you are fully committed to acting, you need to enrol your child in acting classes and improv and scene study. Your child needs to be ready when it comes time to audition. Practice makes perfect, and acting and improv classes are meant to prepare your child for acting roles. Acting classes also improve your child’s confidence.
You can also do school plays and participate in the local theatre. Theatre and school play roles give you experience that can be added in your child’s resume.
- Start booking
With your child fully committed to acting and taking classes, it’s now time to start attending auditions. Make sure you show up to as many auditions as possible. The first jobs might not be big roles, and they will most likely be a modelling or commercial gig. These early jobs, although not major roles are key for a few reasons.
First, these roles expose a young actor to the world of show business and teach them how to interact with the crew and their equipment. Second, these roles give you an opportunity to build networks with key people in show business.
Networking is very crucial in the entertainment industry. The industry operates on a ‘who knows who’ basis. If your child comes out as talented and well-behaved on a commercial set, a director may remember him/her and call them for auditions for a movie or TV role. It is vital that you make a good impression everywhere you go in the early stages of child acting.
- Get an agent
How to become a child actor is made possible through agents. As a parent, you can scout for acting opportunities on your own. However, it’s a good idea to get an agent to the scouting for you. Hollywood is full of agents who have all the insights, connections, and insider tips of the entertainment industry. It is their job to get audition opportunities for your child.
You must note that every time a child gets a new agent, the agent will require a fresh set of headshots. It doesn’t matter if you already have headshots you were using in previous auditions new headshots are a-must have. Since getting new headshots can be pricey, families get an agent immediately they arrive in LA. With an agent, purchasing more than one set of headshots isn’t necessary.
While we are still on agents, you should not pay an agent upfront to represent you. Agents make money by getting a commission from the child’s earnings. Paying an agent through commissions motivates the agent to get the child as many jobs as possible. It also keeps you from getting scammed of your money.
- Create a brand
The aim of creating a brand is to ensure that your child gets noticed as soon as they walk into an audition and they are later remembered by the casting directors. You need to be creative on how you want your child presenting themselves. Your agent may have good ideas on how to brand your kid, but you know your child best.
What is it that makes your child special and unique? What characteristic or trait does your child have that you can accentuate? Put yourself in the casting director’s shoes and find out the first thing you would notice about your kid. Would the first thing the casting directors notice be memorable? Would they desire to work with your child? Therefore, before sending your child to an audition, find a way for making them leave a great first impression on the casting directors.
- Create a resume
Acting is like any other job as it requires a list of past works a child has participated. A resume is usually written on the backside of a headshot. It’s okay if your child’s acting credits are few. Besides, he/she is just a kid and wasn’t born with experience. The most important thing to include in a child’s resume is honesty in stating what makes the child unique.
Include school plays or community theatre productions that a child has participated in. Also include the classes that a child has/is taking. If your child has any special skills like being fluent in French or they are good at playing an instrument like piano, add these skills on the resume. You never know when a role requires a child with a unique ability. If your kid is god at playing an instrument, they can land a role in a musical.
- Create a demo reel
A demo reel is not a priority for child actors who are starting their careers. A demo reel is a compilation of the works an actor has taken part in, in film. A demo reel is usually two minutes long. It shows an actor in different scenes with the first clip being the most professional work.
A demo reel comes in handy as your child grows and acquires more experience in front of the cameras. A demo reel gives the casting directors more insights into a child’s acting skills. Clips that should be in a demo reel include commercial shootings and independently produced films.
- Remain grounded
In show business, the line between being proactive and being extreme is very fine. Although acting maybe your child’s calling, it’s vital to remember that acting it’s not their entire life. It’s crucial you remember that school, the child’s wellbeing and interpersonal relationships are important as well.
As you and your kid gain more success, creating time to do ‘normal’ things becomes harder. However, it’s crucial you take time to go on playdates and visit relatives. The ‘normal’ activities will play a vital role in your child’s mental health. You don’t want you or your child to lose touch with reality. The moment a child loses touch with reality is the time they risk following in the footsteps of child actors who ruined their careers by letting fame get in their head.
How to Become a Child Actor
In conclusion, becoming a child actor is both risky and rewarding. Both the parent and the child have to work together to make an acting dream become a reality. As a parent, you’ll be faced with the decision of moving to LA and starting a new life. It will also be your responsibility to ensure that your rising star remains grounded and emotionally healthy.
Although it may be tough at the beginning, giving your child the opportunity to become an actor from a young age could set them up for a very rewarding career. They could be the next Natalie Portman.
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