Saturday, July 31, 2010

entertainment industry coach Question 514: How do kids/teens get acting jobs?

I have two very eager Twitter Followers with lots of questions about getting into acting. One excited young lady would like to be on the Disney Channel and the other is a mom who wants to get her son into the biz. Because they are both starting from scratch, I will give some basic starter-uppers:

1. Location: One lives in Alberta, Canada the other in NY, although I don't know how far from NYC. For Canadians, visit ACTRA and for my young New Yorker, you want to go to SAG. The Unions will give you and your parents valuable information, list of agents, and advice on steering away from scams that take advantage of artists looking "to be discovered." Many parents whose children have an agent, take them to Los Angeles during pilot season to audition for television pilots. Although these days it's possible to put yourself on video and send the link to Casting Offices.

2. Agents: Is it important to have one? Yes. They give you the "stamp of approval," have connections with studios and casting offices, and have access to the breakdown services that announce the roles for auditions. Is it something that you go after first? Not necessarily. You may want to research the "business side of the business" first, so you can approach an agent in the most knowledgeable and professional way.

3. Headshots: If you visit and put in a actor/actress' name (not the most famous ones because they don't need headshots. Try a secondary character on a show you like) you will see a a picture. This is a headshot. Click HERE to see mine. They are submitted to agents and casting directors. These are NOT glamour shots. You want to look like your headshot. Nothing upsets people more, than when they call you in based on your picture and it looks nothing like you. Call an agent and ask what they require as far as a headshot if you don't live in a place where there are professional photographers. They may suggest you send some personal photos and if they want to work with you, they may make arrangements for you to work with a photographer they know.

4. Unions: I mentioned them in #1. Unions protect child actors. They are very informative and have business representatives and member services departments who can answer questions before you make any decisions.

5. Attitude: While there are union regulations that monitor child actors' work hours and study time, child/teen actors are expected to be professional, know their lines, be directable, and have a good attitude. While acting looks like fun (and it is), it's also hard work. There are many adults doing jobs that you won't understand. Their jobs and reputations are on the line if a shot/scene isn't done on time. Therefore, they are depending on you to know what you're doing.

There is a lot more to learn. Obviously I can't fit this all in on a tweet, so feel free to visit my website at There is another blog there, as well as the 513 questions answered before this one. I'm here to answer questions and direct you to helpful resources.

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