How to Get a Child into Acting

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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