How to Become a Child Actor: 15 Tips to Succeed

Does your child ham it up for the camera or does he or she quietly observe the situation and how other’s react to it? Are you wondering if your child could be a child actor? 

Children use their imagination when they play; they become a pirate, a princess, an astronaut, etc. That ability to put themselves into another character can help them become a child star. Quietly observing others reactions to various situations can also help them portray true emotions when acting. 

So, how do you help them if they show interest in becoming a child actor? We will help you lay out a plan and teach you things you need to know in order to help your child become a child actor. 

Early signs that your child could be a star

Beyond watching how others react to situations and the emotions those situations elicit there are some other signs that your child could be a child actor.

  • Asking questions – Children learn by asking questions and if their favorite question is why it is a good indicator they are looking tento understand how people react to different circumstances. Such as, why are they happy when they see a person they have not seen for a long time or why are they crying when they see something that reminds them of their childhood? The child wants to understand why the boy picks on the girl if he likes her or why the girl does not like dogs. This why question and the need to understand how people act is a good indicator that the child is an intuitive actor. 
  • The child uses their imagination but let’s clarify that; not only do they play pretend but they believe. Highly imaginative children can not only pretend they are a pirate, a princess, or a warrior but they believe they are that person during play. Really good actors are highly imaginative people. Encourage your child to use their imagination so that they do not lose that ability. 
  • Channeling emotions and experiences not only their own but those of others to convey the emotion of the character they are playing or pretending to be with their imagination. Being able to channel emotions and experiences allows the child to portray true feelings and emotions such as sadness, joy, tears, or a real smile for the lines of the plot as they move through the story. 
  • A good child star can play off the emotions of others; this means reacting to others in the scene. Let’s take an example; Jill is supposed to walk across stage but as she does so she stumbles slightly and seems embarrassed, so Jack reacts to that by showing caring emotions or depending on the character he is playing he is indifferent to the stumble. 
  • The child pays attention to more than words, meaning the tone of the voice, facial expressions, mood of those around them. 

How to help your child become a star

You can help your child become a child actor and attain stardom by following these simple tips.

  1. Have some professional headshots taken of the child. On the back of the headshot write down age, height and weight, and any agency affiliations. Mention acting classes or camps and school and community theater experience, and if they have ever been in a commercial, movie, or television show before. Write down any unique qualifications such as a second language, swimming, or singing talent they have.
  2. Get an agent. While there are many true professional agents out there, not all agents are reputable. For the best results, use The Call Sheet by backstage which lists all the agents in New York City and Los Angeles. Contact all the agencies that have a youth department. When you contact them if they ask for money upfront, want your child to go to certain classes or work with specific photographers you need to be wary. An agent should never get paid before the actor has worked.
  3. Keep auditioning it helps your child keep their skills and talents from becoming rusty. It also helps them learn that rejection is not the end of the world. 
  4. Having a monologue for those auditions where the director does not have something prepared for your child to do. 
  5. Make sure that your child also has time to do their school work and spend time with family and friends to maintain a balance in their life. 

Somethings to remember

You, as a parent, need to be part of the process and make sure that your child is safe and still getting an education.

These tips will help you with making sure your child is safe.

  • Know the set rules. The rules and regulations for union and non-union sets may differ and even differ from set to set so always make sure you know the set rules. 
  • Always use a stage name to protect the privacy of your child and it helps separates your child learn to separate their private life from their working life allowing them to learn balance in the various parts of life we all go through.
  • Make sure the people working with your child from directors to make up artists have a state license or at least a child performer services permit.
  • Listen to your child if they feel something is off or not right it probably is not. So always listen to your child about his or her work and the people who surround him or her. This will help your child not only feel safe but reassure you that everything is well. 
  • Know what the contract calls for from your child is the child comfortable doing what is required, are you comfortable with your child doing what is asked of them? If not you should reconsider if your child should do the part. 

By following the steps above you can help your child become a child movie star, retain a certain amount of privacy, balance their acting career with their real life, and make sure they are safe and well educated while they are working. 

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