Kids Acting Classes
Here's a list of important skills child actors need to succeed, and things good kids acting classes should provide:
There are no guarantees in the acting business. It's just the nature of artistic careers that actors don't know if and when the next job will come. This can be particularly hard for children who are still building their sense of self. Look for a kids acting class that offers support and makes children realize that their worth has nothing to do with whether or not they are successful in the biz.
Expect to pay between $35-$50 per class for a 2-hour basic children acting class. Most classes are offered on a 6-week or 12-week basis. Avoid acting schools for kids with expensive "packages" that include classes, headshots and other "showbiz specials". Similarly, if a children's acting class is really cheap, there may be a reason, so check the teacher's credentials and reputation before you sign up. If you can audit the class first, that's great. If not, ask if you can get the number of a few parents whose kids attend the class to get recommendations.
Now that we've gone over what good kids acting classes should offer, let's look at some other options you may want to consider depending on what your child's dreams are:
If your child wants to perform in theater plays, they need to practice being on stage in front of others. In that case, a class that culminates with a small performance for family and friends is very useful. You'll see what your kid's been up to and your child will get used to performing in front of a live audience. If your child is ready for theater auditions, also look for a class that will help them prepare a kids monologue.
If your kid wants to be in musicals, then they'll need to be a "triple-threat" (which means they'll need to know how to act, sing and dance). There are plenty of kids acting classes out there that teach everything Broadway, from basic vocal technique and dance steps for younger kids all the way to musical theater workshops where children get to perform in popular kid musicals like Annie or the Wizard of Oz.
When your child first expresses an interest in acting, get him or her to try an acting class. Later, if it turns out your kid is really hooked and wants to pursue a professional acting career, you'll have to start thinking about an agent or manager. That's when kids acting classes that include agent showcases and casting director workshops become useful. Agent showcases allow your child to perform in front of invited kids talent agencies. It's a great way for them to be "discovered" once they're ready. Casting director workshops allow your child to practice his audition skills with a guest casting director. It's a great way to be introduced to casting directors in town and to get professional feedback on their acting, headshot and resume.
If your child loves to act but you're not sure if they should take this passion a step further, look for children's acting programs that will introduce them to the professional world of acting so they can decide if this is what they want to do. Look for children theater performances that have a Q&A with working actors after the show or find a kids acting camp where young actors get to experiment with costumes and props.
Is my child too young for acting classes?
Most acting classes for kids start around 6-7 years old, although some start as young as 4 years old. Of course, that doesn't mean you can't sign up your preschooler for a fun class that explores acting through storytelling, animal exercises and other age appropriate methods. These classes can be a lot of fun for children, while at the same time helping them develop their speaking and listening skills, as long as you don't expect them to learn an acting technique. All a very young child needs is to smile and be cute. If you want to get them started in the business before 6, just go straight to a good child talent agency that does modeling and acting.
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