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How to Get a Child into Acting

Updated March 23, 2017

Your child has a big personality and a steel-trap memory, or is the star of every school play. He or she regularly points at the television and says, "I want to do that." If you're thinking of helping your child launch an acting career in film or television, there's a lot to learn. You, as the parent, must take on this responsibility. With hard work, talent and luck you can make it happen.

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  1. Make a list of licensed talent agencies you plan to submit your child to. Printed directories are available, or you can search for agencies online. Some people simply go down the list and submit to everyone. Write a brief letter stating your child's interest in acting and what experience he or she has, then send it to them along with a clear snapshot of your child.

  2. Wait for a response.
    If an agency is interested in meeting your child, someone will set up an interview and have your child do a reading. With young children, agents are looking for an outgoing personality, someone who isn't afraid of chatting with adults. With older children, they look for personality, acting ability and ambition. With everyone, they look for the ability to take direction well. You're interviewing the agent, too. This person will have a great say in what kinds of auditions your child goes on and will be your child's advocate and negotiator. After you and the agent agree that your child is a good fit with the agency, you'll sign a contract. At this point, you'll acquire professional headshots of your child. Your agent will suggest photographers and tell you how the photos should look. Once you've got headshots printed out, the agent will send your child out on calls (auditions).

  3. Calls can take place with only a few hours' notice, or with a few days' notice. Usually, the agent receives "sides," or lines, that the actor should go over and learn as well as possible. The agent will fax or e-mail these to you so you can practice with your child.
    Allow plenty of time to get to the audition. Invest in a GPS system, or at least know how to read a Thomas Brothers guide well. Bring snacks and drinks for your child and games to keep her occupied.

  4. Expect to go on dozens of auditions before your child lands her first job. Don't make a big deal out of auditions; it will help keep your child calm.

  5. When your child gets her first job, show up on time and prepared. Stay in the background as much as possible and let the professionals do their jobs. However, if you see that your child needs a break to get a snack or use the bathroom, speak up respectfully. Your child may be so focused on pleasing adults that he or she won't ask. Have fun! It's all make-believe for kids. Keep it pleasant.

  6. Tip

    Don't be afraid to ask questions at every stage. Ask the agent what her philosophies are, what kind of career she sees for your child, and everything you can think of.
    Be true to your morals. If the script is questionable, how much of the questionable material will your child be exposed to? Do you have a problem with the material? Discuss your concerns with your child's agent. You can say no. Balance your life with nonacting interests, whether it be family, church or sports. Working shouldn't be the centre of a child's life.


    Stay away from agencies that charge fees or want you to pay money for "lessons." A reputable talent agency earns money only when the client does. Let your child lead. If your child decides not to pursue acting, let her quit. Do not do try this unless you are already financially stable. You will need to accompany your child to auditions, so this will become your primary job. Don't depend on your child to support you.

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Things You'll Need

  • List of licensed talent agencies
  • Envelopes and stamps
  • A clear snapshot of your child (professional photos aren't required at this stage)

About the Author

Margaret Dilloway's debut novel, "How to be an American Housewife," is out now and her second, "The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns," will be published in August 2012. She has been a writer for more than 10 years and has written for publications such as "San Diego Family Magazine" and the Huffington Post. Dilloway holds a B.A. from Scripps College.

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