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.

  • Get a child actor headshotOnce your child is auditioning professionally, he will need anactor headshot. Ideally, you want the picture to be taken by a professional acting headshot photographer, but don’t spend too much money. Children change quickly and you will probably have to pay for new headshots in 6 to12 months. What makes a good kid headshot? One that looks exactly like your child and doesn’t keep the casting director guessing. So do their hair the way it usually looks and pick clothes they wear everyday. And no makeup! Kids should look like kids. Just go for a natural spontaneous look that shows your child’s personality.
  • Put together a child acting resumeThey don’t need much to get started. Casting directors at kids auditions don’t expect to see a list of 30 credits. What they are looking for is a sign that your child will be comfortable auditioning or performing because he has had some exposure to the world of acting. You can list school plays, student films, commercials and even showcases. And don’t just list credits on their resume. Write down any acting classes they took under “Training”, along with dance and singing classes, on-camera classes, etc. You can view our acting resume format page for help on where everything should go. Special skills are a real plus on a kid’s resume, so make sure to mention if they play an instrument or love soccer or if they can sing and dance. Your child’s resume should include their name as well as your name and contact information, plus their agent’s or manager’s information if they have one. As a precaution, make sure you don’t write down any home address or home phone number.
theatre child auditionsIf 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 ShrekAnnie 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).

kids casting callsA 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 ResourceActors AccessCasting 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:

Audition Locally

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.

Have passion

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!

Hope these tips help. You can find out more about child acting here or visit our kids acting classespage to get them started.

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