How to Help if Your Child Wants an Acting Career

Does your child want to become an actor? Here’s what you can do!

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Nearly every young star has an identical story. Around the age of five, they pointed to the TV and exclaimed, “I want to do that!” If your child has done the same thing, you may have a budding actor on your hands. Of course it doesn’t matter if your offspring dreams of being a football player, violinist, or a thespian. As a parent, you want to encourage them while preparing for speed bumps. So what are the best ways to help if your child wants an acting career?

Do They Really Want to Be an Actor?

Maybe your little girl bursts into song at random moments. Perhaps your son acts out scenes from a favorite movie. Chances are even before they express the desire for an acting career, they are revealing their interests. However, if they are more focused on fancy careers and signing autographs, then they may be more interested in fame and fortune. That’s why sitting down and discussing their dreams is so important. Most stars have struggled, and many were quite poor before their “big break.” Plus, it’s much harder being a child actor. Auditions can mean skipping school. If they book a job, they could be on a set for weeks, even months. It’s a huge sacrifice. Help them understand what becoming an actor really means. 

Finding Opportunities

No matter their talent, your location will have a lot to do with the opportunities available. Your child may be able to work in local commercials. Getting cast in a web series can provide valuable on-camera experience. If you live near a large city, there’s likely some film production going on. TV shows in the U.S. mainly film in New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, Georgia. Becoming an extra or background performer is a great way to learn about sets. It may also help your little one become more realistic. If they find the whole process boring, then it might be a good idea to wait for a while. Of course you never know what can happen. In 1991, Reese Witherspoon signed up to be an extra on The Man in the Moon and walked away with the lead role.

Construct the Toolkit

Pursuing a professional acting career means having four things. Your child will need a headshot—an 8×10-inch color photo that reflects their current look. Don’t waste money on professional pictures; a candid iPhone pic is more than adequateAlong with the headshot, you’ll want to type up a resume. Besides any theater work, include webisodes and featured extra work. For unknown performers, the “special skills” section will offer casting directors an idea of your child’s interests beyond acting. It can also put them at the front of the line if they can do martial arts or gymnastics and the role requires that ability. If your child has amassed some on-screen time, you’ll want to build a demo reel highlighting their best performances.  Finally, your child needs to memorize two short monologues along with 16 bars of a song (if they have musical ability). Once they start booking professional jobs, there are numerous legal issues you’ll want to address. Don’t try to do it alone. Take the time to hire a skilled, competent attorney like the ones at the  Crowell Law Offices.  

Although you can find casting notices in publications like Backstage and online, most major roles require an agent or manager. Do your research. When you bring your child in for a meeting, trust your instincts. If you’re uncomfortable, seek representation elsewhere. The sweet spot for castings is ages eight to twelve because there are so many roles available. If your child is older or younger, then training and school plays may be the majority of their work. Remember, if your child does become a professional actor, then you’ll be taking on a new job, as well.