It’s difficult to know how to get into acting for kids and teens if you don’t know much about the entertainment industry or even performing arts in general. So we’ll cover the basics in this guide to acting for kids.
Acting Classes for Kids
Have you joined an acting class or attend regular musical theatre lessons?
Through acting games in your drama class, along with regular performances in front of a live audience of parents, and exams to analyse your technique, as a drama student you’ll learn a wide range of technical skills and develop the natural talent you possess.
There are few kids who can naturally perform on stage or screen to a professional level, especially in musical theatre where superior skill in singing and dancing is crucial along with good acting technique.
Plus, attending regular training means you’ll learn how to listen to instructions and adapt your performance. This is called ‘taking direction’, and every working actor needs to be good at it.
If you’re looking for acting classes for 12 years old and up, you can also consider youth theatre opportunities.
We’ve also got a page about acting classes in Liverpool, which includes performing arts venues welcoming young actors.
In the UK, once you’re 14 you can audition for the National Youth Theatre. There is high demand for places, so a lot of young people seek help from an acting coach or their drama class teacher before each audition round.
Find Acting Jobs for Kids
Many young kids get their first acting job through their dance or drama school, while others get signed up to a talent agency quite quickly.
You should be looking to join a reputable talent agency for child actors. They’ll guide you when sourcing professional headshots and a showreel for your child, and in the UK arrange membership of Spotlight.
Also follow casting directors on Twitter, because some of them promote their current casting calls, especially where they have very precise characteristics needed for a role in a television, film or commercial production.
And of you’re interested in musical theatre, some of the top casting directors for leading musicals hold open auditions for kids meeting the height and talent requirements.
But it’s very rare for a child actor to get an acting job without first going through one, two or three acting auditions for the role.
And if you’re managing your child actor’s career without the help of an acting agency, then you’ll need to understand and follow the Child Performance Licence regulations.
Acting Auditions for Kids
Auditions, which are called a casting, are run by a casting director. These casting professionals choose who gets each role.
They are looking at the talent of the kids in front of them, assessing everything from looks to performance technique, behaviour and confidence, movement and voice, through to their skill in listening and taking direction.
Audition technique is therefore something that benefits from practice, and over time a young actor picks up knowledge and confidence about what to do in a casting director’s room.
Only one young person can ever win the role. So whether the casting director considered thousands of child actors or just 20, there will always be one happy child and many disappointed kids. The life of a professional actor is emotionally difficult, whatever the actor’s age.
Child Actor Parents
Casting directors also quietly assess whether parents are reliable and easy to communicate with, or whether they are difficult and disruptive people to be avoided.
That’s something worth bearing in mind, no matter how passionately you want your child to get the part.
But supporting the career of a child actor is a job in itself, which is explained further in our article about How to Become a Child Actor.
Voice Acting for Kids
The voices of kids are regularly needed for radio, animation, commercial, gaming and educational productions. So voice acting for kids is an area every child actor should explore.
You’ll usually need a professional voice showreel, and representation by a voice agent.
However, it is possible to pick up the occasional voice job through work of mouth, which is another reason to attend a regular acting class and find other ways to take part in the performing arts world.
Because young kids confident about performing on stage and in front of a camera have good communication skills and translate instructions into precise body and facial movement, they often make good child models.
So you’ll find a close relationship between modelling and child acting for kids, with many talent agencies representing young actors for both areas of work.
Acting for Kids and Teens
Getting into acting for kids and teens can be daunting when you’re in the early stages of an acting career.
But if you get the right combination of skills from a regular acting class, experience of drama on stage and screen, find an acting agency to take you on, and do well in acting auditions, you could join one of the young performers who make money doing something they love.
Just don’t forget that it’s rare to become famous, each acting job is paid work with responsibilities, and the constant round of auditions involve a lot of commitment and disappointment to balance with the demands and pleasure of school, family and friends.
Thanks to Jason Rosewell for use of the featured image via Unsplash License