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Acting for Children: Getting Started

Posted Date: 20 August 2009 at 02:52:19PM

So the Kid Wants to Act

First ensure that your child has a real desire to get into the business. It's unsettling when we see parents pushing their children to do something that doesn't ring true for the child. You have to recognize when you are projecting your own desires and ambitions onto your children instead of letting them think for themselves and follow their individual passions.


Class, Class, Class

If your child has a genuine desire to start acting it's necessary to enroll them in an acting class prior to seeking representation. Taking a class is a good way of discovering whether the child truly does enjoy performance and if it is something that they can realistically commit to. Look for accredited institutions in your area by searching the internet, visiting your local library or community centre or asking for recommendations from friends and other parents.


Finding Representation

If your child has taken at least one class, and discovered that they enjoy performing, the next step may be to seek representation. This is especially true for younger children. Older children and teenagers may require further training before an accredited talent agent will be willing to sign them up. Reputable agents look for a high level of commitment when considering new talent.


You must decide that you can commit as much as your child. You may be called for auditions on short notice and be required to chauffer your child to various casting locations. If your child is successful in landing work it means they will need to be driven to wardrobe checks and shoot locations and this can all fall within school hours. Call times can be extremely early in the morning on weekdays or weekends and shoot locations can fall outside city limits or even interstate. Unless you can be flexible with your time you should not sign your child with an agent.

If you and your child agree that you are both prepared to put in the time necessary for a working child actor then representation by a talent agent is necessary. Not only do agents seek performance work for your child, but they also negotiate fair rates and ensure that productions employ your child legally.

There are various youth talent agents in most large cities. In Australia it is not legal for any talent agent to charge a start up fee. If they do they must be clear about what the fee is for. There are fees for registering for online casting databases, such as Showcast and/or for professional photographs to be taken. A reputable talent agent will be up front about these fees and what is included. If your child is successful in landing paid work then the talent agent is entitled to a percentage of the fee (commission), which must be outlined in your contract with the agency upon sign up. This percentage should not vary between jobs, but remain fixed at the maximum industry standard of ten percent.

View the current National 'Standard Artist's Representation Contract' as outlined by MEAA here -


No Pressure, Up-keep and Keeping Your Integrity

Once you have found representation that you and your child are happy with then the fun and work begin. If your child is serious about acting they should be attending regular classes throughout the year and auditioning on a regular basis.


Ensure that you are comfortable with the content of the projects your child is auditioning for. The character and script must resonate with you and your child. You don't have to accept an audition just because it is offered to you. You must maintain your integrity at all times. You always have a choice and by no means should your child be forced into a role that they aren't comfortable with. You must recognize the boundaries at all times. This also means not over working your child or putting pressure on them. If, at any point, they want to stop working you should respect their reasons and their wishes. You must find a healthy balance and it should always be fun for your child.





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