A reader writes in with a question about getting an agent for her six-year-old son and what she should watch for! Also, the reason why casting directors won’t let parents go into the audition room.
What should I watch out for in getting an agent for my six-year-old son? – Hanna F., Houston, TX
Be diligent when choosing an agent no matter what age you are. Do some research. If there is anything fishy or misleading about the agency, go somewhere else. Ask them for references, look them up on the BBB. You should look for an agency with a good reputation, who has a good relationship with the casting directors, and an agency that believes in you. Remember, as an actor with very little experience it is sometimes unwise to go to the biggest or best agency as you can sometimes get overlooked for auditions because of their more established talent. A real agency will not charge you money to promote you; they make a commission of 10% on film and television work, occasionally 15%, and sometimes up to 20% for print. Be prepared to pay for a headshot, whether it is done in-house or on your own, you will always need one. Some agencies offer classes and seminars, and it will be up to you to determine if the course is run and taught by a competent instructor. I highly recommend classes and seminars, but you should ask to audit a class and feel free to ask the teacher and other students any questions you might have. If the instructor ever claims to be the final word on acting you should take that as a sure sign to study elsewhere. There are many ways to do it and ultimately it is up to you to develop your own method based on the experience you gain, classes you take, and books that you read. An agency that promotes a half-rate coach or class is probably half-rate themselves. Remember that when making your final decision, an agency will be working for you, so you need to put in the effort to make sure they are someone you want to be associated with your son’s name.
Is there a problem with me putting makeup on my eight-year-old daughter for auditions? – Casey T., Philadelphia, PA
The casting director and filmmakers want to see your child as natural as possible. An eight-year-old does not need make up for an audition. If she gets hired and they need to enhance some features for the screen, that will be their call. However, in an audition they will want to see her as she is. Make sure her headshot is as natural as possible as well. (This is even true for adults.)
Why won’t casting directors let me go into auditions with my child? – Charles K., Portland, ME
It depends on the age of the child. Parents of very young children are usually asked to be in the room and close at hand through the entire process. As they get older, however, most children tend to not do as well when their parents are present. They get shy, or goofy, or feel more pressure to do the “right thing” according to you instead of their instinctive creative self, or the direction of the casting team. The casting directors need to see your child showcase his/her ability without the influence of the parent. Keep in mind that if the child is cast, although you will be on set, it will usually be at a distance while each take is in progress. If the child is incapable of performing independent of your influence, they might be a liability on set.
– Chalese Thill-Stevens
Chalese Thill-Stevens 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