How to Help a Child Actor Prepare – Bug’s Corner

Learn the best way to help your child actor prepare for an audition or the set! And what do you do when they get camera shy at the audition? Chalese helps to guide you through these moments!

My four-year-old daughter has gone on a few auditions.  She does fine at home, but at auditions, she often giggles or cries – I can’t get her to do anything. Do you have any advice? –  Carol P., Tucson, AZ

It is very scary for most four-year-olds to perform in front of strangers. Sometimes they are just too young. Be sure this experience is for her and not just for you. If your daughter does seem interested, it can be very exciting for a parent to consider, but you need to make sure you are not putting undue pressure on her to get the job. She will feed off of your emotions and nerves. The more you want it for her, the more she will feel she can’t let you down and the more nervous she will be. Remind her that this is fun no matter what happens, and believe it yourself! The last thing you want is for her to feel that if she doesn’t get the job you will be upset with her, that she is not good enough, and she is not making you happy. Your goal at the audition should be to help her feel comfortable and relaxed like you do at home. Let her take a special toy or blanket if it gives her comfort. Have her practice in front of as many different people as possible (brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, etc.) to get used to doing it in front of other people. If it is still too overwhelming for her, she constantly fights it, or refuses to do it, it probably means she does not want to do it. Take a break. If you still believe she needs a creative outlet, sometimes dance or gymnastics can be the answer for now as they will help develop the skills that build confidence and get her used to rehearsing something and performing in front of an audience.

When we get a script, what is the best way for me to help my child prepare? – Linda R., Boise, ID

First of all, assess the importance of the role to the overall story being told in the script. Is it a day player, supporting, or lead role? No matter what the answer, always encourage them to be creative, use their imagination, and be as memorized as possible. If it is a day player, which usually means the role is meant to help aid some other character’s storyline, the most important thing to do is to be able to deliver the lines honestly and as themselves. If it is a more substantial supporting or lead role, which usually means the character has his or her own storyline, first start by deciding the similarities that exist between the character and the actor, and then utilize this natural similarity as a starting point.

Next, it will be important to figure out what differences exist between the character and the actor, and begin to add those new details to your personality and behavior. Because acting is largely an exercise in using your imagination, it is very important to believe that the imaginary details are true to you so they can honestly affect the actor in each scene. Ask questions like “Who am I?” and “How do I feel about me?” “Who are the other characters, and what is my relationship to them, and how do I feel about them?” “Where am I?” “What am I trying to get or accomplish, and why am I trying to get it?” “How important are all of these things to me/my character?”

At the audition or on set, be sure to use this information to make the character’s needs important, not your needs of getting or doing the job itself. The best auditions are the ones where the actor is feeling and believing what he or she is saying in this imaginary situation. The best way to do that is to create the details, believe them, and have fun!

– Chalese Thill-Stevens

Chalese is the founder of the non profit organization, Rainy Days Foundation, which helps individuals heal after loss.  She is a motivational speaker, children’s book author, Liberation Guide, as well as a program director in leadership.Her story comes from a tragic accident in which resulted in the loss of her 4 year old son. She tells about her journey of healing and how she found the strength to carry on. She built her wings and now is helping others to build theirs. She began writing The Adventures of Bug children’s book series in hopes that her son’s thrill of adventure will live on. Chalese is also blessed with two more beautiful children that keep her on her toes and remind her of what is truly important in life. In her free time she enjoys singing in a band, kickboxing, hiking and spending time with her friends. Her infectious laugh, passion for life and ambitious “no fear” attitude build strong and lasting relationships, inspiring those who come into her life.To purchase one of her books, please visit: The Adventures of Bug Books


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Last modified: August 13, 2017

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