Kids Auditions 101
Is your child ready to attend kids auditions? Here you'll find information on how to prepare for kid auditions, where to find casting calls for kids and what you can do to help your child book the job.
1) Preparing for Kids Auditions
The first thing a child actor needs to attend kids casting calls is a headshot and resume.
If your kid wants to attend child auditions for theater, they will need a memorized monologue. Help them choose a short one-minute piece from children's theater or browse our selection of original kids monologues. You can also look for children monologues in films. The important thing is to pick a monologue that will showcase their personality. There are also a number of musicals out there that require young actors, from Broadway to regional theater and even traveling shows like Shrek, Annie or Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. If your child wants to attend musical casting calls for kids, they will also need to prepare a song (make sure you bring the sheet music along).
A lot of kids casting calls are for commercials and TV shows. Not only can you find acting jobs for kids on networks like the Disney channel and Nickelodeon, but there are also a lot of child actors on "grown-up shows". Kids' auditions for commercials, TV and film are all on-camera, so the best way to prepare your child for these auditions is to get them into a kids acting class that will give them practice time in front of the camera and teach them simple film auditioning technique like finding their mark and slating their name.
2) Where to Find Kids Auditions
The surest way for your child to attend kids casting calls on a regular basis is to get them an acting agent or manager. When a child is starting out, they usually don't need both an agent and manager, but if your child doesn't have an agent yet, a manager with a good reputation can really help your kid's career along.
If your child doesn't have an agent or manager yet, you can still find auditions for them on casting websites like Backstage - The Actor's Resource, Actors Access, Casting Networks and Now Casting. All these casting websites allow you to set search criteria so you can look only for kids auditions within the age range of your child. You can also limit your search to paying or union jobs.
What is SAG and Equity?
As you start reading child audition listings, you will notice that some are marked "UNION" or "NON-UNION". The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) is the union that represents adult and child actors working in film and television. Actor's Equity (AEA) is the union for theater. There is another union, AFTRA, for some television roles. Union jobs guarantee a certain pay scale and specific working conditions. Child labor laws protect children working in the entertainment business, but union jobs have additional regulations to protect young actors. For more information on acting unions and the pros and cons of joining, click here. Whether your child is a union member or not, you can look for theater open calls for them on the Equity website.
If your child is starting out, also look for kids auditions that will help them build their resume, like student films and school plays. A good way to get them into student films is to drop by film schools in your area and ask the receptionist to add their picture and resume to their casting files. Also keep up to date on auditions for school plays. Finally, consider signing your child up for a few casting director workshops. This is a great way to introduce them to casting directors, the ones in charge of casting calls for kids.
3) Tips to Book Kids Auditions
Here are a few tips to make child auditions fun and help your kids succeed:
Don't feel you have to take your child on casting calls in Los Angeles or New York for them to succeed. Auditions in major entertainment cities are often crowded and tougher. For most kids, it's better to start auditioning in a place where they don't have to make a long trip to get to the casting call and where they can meet friendly casting directors which will help them build self-confidence.
Before scheduling child auditions, make sure this is really what your child wants. Your kid should be the driving force that makes you drive to the audition. If they are going along to please you but don't really want to do it, they will get nervous or moody in the room and are unlikely to succeed. Most importantly, they will not have fun! This should be fun for them or it could become a very stressful experience.
Personality is key
Unlike adult actors, beginning young actors don't have to compete against seasoned veterans, especially if they're young (after all, how much experience can a kid have?). This kind of levels out the playing field at kids auditions, so it really comes down to what a child will do in the audition room. So what are casting directors looking for? Personality! The best thing your child can do to book kids auditions is to be himself.
So let them be kids... and your child will succeed at kids auditions!
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