TOP 10 TIPS FOR CHILD ACTORS AND THEIR PARENTS BY EVA GLETTNER
My son is a child model and actor. I get asked ALL the time about the business, so I figured I would share what I’ve learned here. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the questions, but there are just a few things that you should know from someone who is currently in the trenches. First things first, it’s a tough business. But it helps when you have a little bit of an idea what you’re getting into. But understand that NOTHING about this is easy.
Fear not! I will help you through.
1. YOUR KID MAY BE THE CUTEST THING YOU’VE EVER SEEN, BUT THERE ARE A HECK OF A LOT OF CUTE KIDS ALL OVER THE WORLD.
Yes, this was my first shock. When my son went on his first casting call, I was sure he would get the gig. Then we walked into a huge studio that was filled with the most unimaginably beautiful children all gathered in one spot, all vying for the same spot as my son. Be realistic.
2. SO YOU WANT AN AGENT FOR YOUR CHILD? DO YOUR RESEARCH.
There are many different agents and management companies. Read up on them. Find out who the best fit will be for your child. If you know someone in the business, ask them for recommendations but please, please, please don’t expect them to give you their agent’s personal email address. It just doesn’t work that way.
3. BEFORE YOU SPEND MONEY ON HEAD SHOTS, IT’S ALWAYS COOL TO TAKE A FEW YOURSELF.
Headshots can get mighty expensive, so it’s best to make sure that your agent even wants professional portraits. But how do you land an agent without them? Take a few pictures yourself and send them out. If your child has the look, the agent can see it in a candid shot at the park. Seriously.
4. MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE VALID PAPERWORK.
Ahh, the paperwork. No one likes to do it, but if your child is booked for a gig and you don’t have a valid permit, it’s game over. Read up on all of the necessary information. Helpful sites like Children in Film and Hollywood Mom Blog will give you the guidance you need.
5. YOU NEED TO BE AVAILABLE.
Often times, you will be told of your child’s audition with just a few days notice, if that. You need to be able to make it happen. If you’re not okay with juggling schedules on last minute plans, this is not going to work. Plus, there is a lot of waiting in this business. Even if your audition is set for a certain time, add in drive time and delays. It’s just the nature of the game.
6. KNOW YOUR CHILD
In order to prevent tantrums, make sure that your child is well fed and rested. If an audition is scheduled for smack in the middle of your child’s nap time, expect disaster and let your agent know.
7. BE FRIENDLY
Even though everyone in the room is your child’s competition, life is so much more fun when you show manners and respect. I was at a recent audition where a mom full on ignored me. It was strange.
8.UNLESS YOUR CHILD IS ASKED TO PREPARE DIALOGUE, DON’T PRACTICE.
No joke, I have seen mothers teach their children how to play invisible basketball for a sports shoot. That’s weird. If your child doesn’t know how to play basketball, they are not going to be any good at invisible ball.
9. ONCE YOUR CHILD HAS PERFORMED, MOVE ON TO THE NEXT AUDITION.
Once your child has performed, move on to the next audition. Don’t wait for callbacks, avails and holds. Your agent will contact you. Stressing about something beyond your control will not do anyone any good.
10. JOIN A COMMUNITY OF LIKE-MINDED PARENTS.
It helps to talk with people that know the lingo. Backstage has great forums, as does Facebook.