The dream of becoming an actor is one that’s captivated young people for centuries. The glamour, fame and artistry associated with the profession is alluring to many children. Whether your child is just beginning to express a desire to pursue acting or they’ve been set on the path for some time, it’s important to know the realities of the industry and provide appropriate support.
Previously, we shared an Introduction Guide for Parents of Child Actors. Now, we’re delving into the heart of it all – Training and Finding an Agent — so take a deep breath and get ready to ride the roller coaster!
Even the most accomplished actors still train with a coach. There are coaches for just about everything – acting, singing, dancing, fencing, you name it.
One of the things you want to always to be mindful of is burnout. Do not push your child to take so many classes that they feel overwhelmed. It’s okay to choose just acting classes, or just dance classes.
For purposes of this guide, we’re going to focus on acting. A good acting coach can help your child build confidence, develop their skills and reach their full potential.
Here are some tips to help you find the best acting coach for your child:
Determine Your Child’s Goals: Before you start your search, take some time to think about what your child wants to achieve through acting. Are they interested in stage performance, film or television? Knowing what your child is interested in will help you find a coach who specializes in that area.
Research: Take advantage of the internet to research potential coaches. Look for reviews and testimonials from other parents and consider reaching out to them for more information. You can also check the coach’s credentials, such as training and experience, to determine if they have the qualifications you’re looking for.
Schedule a Meeting: Once you have identified several potential coaches, schedule a meeting with each of them. This is a great opportunity to ask questions and get to know the coach. It’ll also give you a chance to see how they interact with your child and determine if they’re a good fit.
Observe a Class: If possible, observe a class taught by the coach. This will give you an idea of their teaching style, how they interact with the students and if they create a positive and supportive learning environment.
Consider the Cost: Acting classes can be expensive, so be sure to consider the cost before making a decision. Keep in mind that the most expensive option may not always be the best, and a more affordable option may be just as effective.
Trust Your Gut: Trust your instincts. If a coach doesn’t feel like a good fit for your child, move on to the next one. You want to make sure your child is comfortable and confident with their coach so that they can get the most out of the experience.
Getting an acting agent is an important step for any aspiring actor. An agent can help you find auditions, negotiate contracts and advance your career.
Unfortunately, finding an agent is a Catch-22 – it’s very difficult to get an agent if you haven’t done any work, yet you can’t get work unless you have an agent.
Because finding and choosing an agent is such a hard task, this will be the main focus of this section of the article. You don’t have to jump at the very first agent who’s interested in signing your child, but if you wait too long, the window may close. Talk about anxiety!
Here are some steps to help you find and secure an acting agent:
Research: Before approaching an agent, research and make a list of the best and most reputable agencies in your area. Look for agencies that specialize in representing child actors and have a track record of success in the industry.
Prepare your materials: Compile a portfolio that includes your headshot, resume and any demo reels or videos of your performances. Your headshot should be professional, and your resume should detail your training, experience and any notable credits. What if your child doesn’t have any credits? Well, you can’t expect an agent to want to sign you if you haven’t proven your chops. This is where local theater comes in. Contact all performing arts centers in your surrounding area, audition and get up on that stage.
But before you do that, make an account (or login if you already have an account) to DirectSubmit from NYCastings, find your Market (area you live near) and start sifting through the casting notices. You should do this every day, and if your child is really persistent, then twice a day!
Network: Attend industry events, workshops and networking opportunities. Introduce yourself to agents, casting directors and other industry professionals. Building relationships and making connections can help increase your chances of getting an agent.
Submit your materials: Once you’ve identified a list of potential agents, send them an email or submission package that includes your headshot, resume and any other materials you’ve prepared. Be sure to follow their submission guidelines and be respectful of their time.
Follow up: After submitting your materials, wait a few weeks and then follow up with a phone call or email to inquire about their interest. Remember to be persistent but professional.
Interview: If an agency expresses interest in representing you, schedule a meeting to discuss your child’s career goals, what they bring to the table and the types of opportunities you’re seeking. This is also an opportunity for you to ask questions and determine if the agency is the right fit for you.
Negotiate: Once you have chosen an agent, negotiate the terms of your representation agreement. This may include commission rates, payment schedules and the services the agent will provide. If this is your first agent, you really don’t have much negotiating power – actually, you probably have none at all. If they want you to sign a contract right there and then, tell them you’d prefer to take it home to review. This will allow you to contact a lawyer to go over it with you, should you feel the need.
If you think training and finding an agent are the hard steps, you’re half right. Come back for A Guide for Parents of Child Actors: Part III in the near future!