Derrick Gallegos in his high school's production of "Footloose!".
Growing up in the digital age, many kids watch their favorite actors on TV and crave to be just like them. Having your kids audition for the school play or making home videos with them is a great way to introduce them to what it’s like to act, but what’s the next step to help them realize their dream?
1. Make Sure They Really Want To Act.
Seeing super heroes on stage or on the screen may inspire your kid to try out acting, but the craft is about much more than just looking awesome. It takes focus, determination, and an unwavering mind that needs to be able to memorize hundreds of lines, memorize blocking, and stay in the moment with your scene partner all at the same time. The strong focus needed can be learned but it is a process that takes time and dedication. Auditioning for the school drama club or local theater is a great way to test out the waters and see if your child really wants to put the man hours in to learn the craft. If they love it and can’t get enough, proceed to the next step. If they hate it and can’t take the stress, don’t force it.
2. Get Them An Acting Teacher.
Now that your kid has caught the drama bug, it’s time to hone their skills. There are all sorts of acting schools and private coaches available for all ages. Many acting conservatories have kids programs, summer intensives, as well as conservatory programs. It’s important to build a strong foundation of discipline and technique. Acting lessons are an absolute MUST. Even if you believe in the idea that “you are either born with a talent to act or you aren’t” (stay tuned for an article on the power of a growth mindset), acting classes provide a safe space to receive constructive criticism, but more importantly force students to flex their acting muscles regularly.
3. Get Headshots.
Headshots are a MUST in this industry. They not only show potential casting agents what you look like but can also show what types of characters you can play depending on the type of headshot you show them (Serious headshot/ smiling headshot). You want to always make sure your headshot is up to date and looks professional. Nothing is worse for a casting director when they call someone in and they look nothing like their headshot. It’s a waste of time for both the actor and casting director. There are tons of photographers everywhere that give great headshots.
If you’re in New York City or Miami we’ll take your headshots for a reasonable price! Email derrick@starrstreetmedia to learn more!
4. Have Them Audition For Gigs
There are tons of websites out there that post auditions (you can check out playbill.com and backstage.com). Make sure not to overwhelm your child with work though. The life of an actor is stressful and tedious and most of their time acting will be spent auditioning. But being an actor is to embrace all aspects of the job! So helping your kid with their audition piece can be a fun way to spend quality time with them as well as warm them up to the idea of auditioning without being too hard on themselves.
Be careful though. Every state has their own child labor laws. You might even need to get a permit so stay up to date with these laws!
5. Get Them An Agent
Getting an agent, while not absolutely necessary, is very helpful if you don’t have the time or resources to look for jobs on your own. Agencies have ties to directors, casting agents, and producers and can make getting jobs much easier. Remember that while talent agencies will take a portion of your child’s earnings, they will NEVER ask for money up front. If an agent ever does, IT IS A SCAM. However, real agencies still might ask you to get new headshots and may even recommend their favorite photographers.
Life as an actor is exciting and fun and, as parents, you should encourage all of your child's artistic endeavors. Just make sure that you and your child remember that acting is WORK and takes a strong mind and a heavy work ethic on both of your parts.