Things You'll Need
- Child Actor Work Permit
- Social Security card
- Birth certificate
- School records
Does your child dream of being on TV? Those dreams can come true. With some hard work and dedication, your child can be a star on the small screen. The market is competitive and full of new talent. However, with some preparation and focus, your child can stand out. Whether you live in a small town or a major city, your child can find television work. In the end, true talent can open up doors for larger roles. Following these steps to help prepare you and your child for their opportunity at television stardom.
Learn your role as the parent of a child actor. Learn as much about the film industry as possible. Scams that target actors of all ages, but often target the parents in particular who want to give their child a competitive edge. Check the Internet for reviews from other participants before enrolling in a program or workshop. Also, ask for advice from other parents of child actors or people who were once child actors. Former child actors have written articles or blogs.
Enroll your child in a local theater program or acting class. Workshops and summer camps are also available for aspiring actors. Look for programs that provide training and practice with improvisation and “cold reading.” Cold reading is when the actor is asked to read dialogue from another part of the script or for another character. Being able to perform well in a cold read shows versatility and talent. Help your child practice these skills using scripts available on websites such as SimplyScripts.com. Your child can read and perform portions of the script in front of the family or a mirror. Also, watch television and movies with your child. Just as athletes watch game footage, your child should watch television and movies in the genre in which they are interested in working.
Write a resume. Your child’s resume is also called his credits. However, acting experience is not necessary to land a role, so be honest about your child’s experience. Include your contact information on your child’s resume.
Get headshots. A headshot is to an actor what a business card is to a business person. Your child must have a headshot. There are two types of headshots, according to ActingSchoolStop.com–theatrical and commercial. Theatrical shots are the natural-look photos used mainly for television and film; while commercial shots are the natural-smile photos used for advertising and comedy. In either case, your child’s headshot should be an 8x10 with a white border. Their name should be printed in a black on the bottom portion of the border. The headshot can be black and white or in color. It is a good idea to have all four types of headshots; two theatrical shots–one in color and one in black and white; the other being commercial –one in black and white and the other in color. Also, your child’s headshot should be natural; and most of all, it should look like them. The photo should reflect the child's age and current appearance. Get new photos as the child ages and gains or loses weight. Your child should wear simple, solid-colored clothing. Their hair should be in a simple style or cut. Hire a photographer with experience taking actors' headshots; and most importantly, do not touch up these photos.
Decided if you want to hire a manager and/or agent. An agent and manager are not necessary in the beginning. However, an agent can help you find auditions and casting calls. Managers are not legally allowed to work as an agent for their clients, but many do. An agent or manager cannot make or break your child’s career. The child's talent will speak for him and land jobs faster than an agent could. Besides, the more jobs your child gets, the harder their agent will work to book them for other jobs. Managers and agents are free; they are paid a percentage of what your child earns. By law, an agent can receive only 10 percent of the earnings from jobs they help your child book, and managers can receive only up to 15 percent of your child’s total earnings. A legitimate agent or manager should not require an advance payment or fee.
Seek out auditions. Your local television station may know of local commercial and television opportunities. Internet sites such as ActorsAccess.com and NowCasting.com are also a resource. Be prepared to travel to major cities such as Los Angeles or New York for larger roles.
Attend casting calls and auditions. According to Broadway producer Ken Davenport, actors should arrive at an audition with their resume and headshot. Also, be sure that your child has memorized the material but are prepared for a cold read. Encourage your child to simply try their best and chalk the rest up as a learning experience. Encourage your child to be decisive. If the casting director asks them to make a decision, your child should be confident enough to make a decision. The first 15 seconds of your child’s audition are the most important. Their personality and manners will be a major factor in winning the director over.
Your child must have a Child Actor Work Permit to work as a paid actor. Each state has its own documents and regulations regarding child actors. Your child must have a valid Social Security card and birth certificate to receive a work permit. If your child is of school age, you must provide school records. Check with your local social services department office to find out how your child can be issued a Child Actor Work Permit.
Encourage your child in their acting career, but let them know that it’s more important that they enjoy what they do. It’s okay for your child to take a break from acting to pursue other interests. It’s important that they fulfill their commitments and be as professional as possible; but once the work is done let kids be kids.
- Boy is looking at a Celluloid movie image by Ivonne Wierink from Fotolia.com