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Talent in the Spotlight: the Perfect Start to Child Acting With Kennedy Long

Talent in the spotlight: Kennedy Long

KidsCasting is excited to bring you another instalment of Talent in the Spotlight! This time our featured guests are Katrina Long & her daughter Kennedy – a mother-daughter team with a can-do attitude, an exemplary mindset, and a bright future ahead. 

Kennedy recently became a KidsCasting Featured talent… by accident! In this insightful and bubbling interview with the delightful Katrina, we learned how that happened, how Kennedy got started with 0 experience, and what are some highlights of their journey so far. Let’s dive right in! 

Katrina and Kennedy Long

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You’ve been a member of KidsCasting since April this year. You were using KidsCasting so actively your daughter Kennedy got to be on our featured list – how did that come about and how did it make you feel?

I was very excited when Kennedy made it onto the featured page and, at first, I didn’t know how it happened. Actually, a friend of mine that saw it first and then called me and said: “look, Kennedy is on the featured page!”. It was a welcome surprise – seeing your child highlighted is always exciting. 

So then I read about what you have to do to get on the featured page – keep your profile up to date, apply to casting calls, and just be active on the website. I didn’t intentionally try to get her on the page, but once she made it and I understood how, I went out of my way to try and get Kingsley, my son, on it too (and succeeded!). 

KidsCasting featured kids

How have you found KidsCasting so far?

Well, I can honestly say I am obsessed with KidsCasting. I love KidsCasting and, since I’ve joined, I think maybe four of my friends have joined too. They see what I’m posting when I’m out on a casting call with my daughter and my stories on Instagram and now everybody’s like “oh my gosh, how do I get in” and “I want that too!”.

So I’m having a very, very positive experience with KidsCasting.

Was getting started and using the KidsCasting website easy or did you encounter any issues? 

The website is easy. When I first registered with KidsCasting, I went for the free profile. I wanted to see what this is about. So I just created a basic page and didn’t pay for anything and then I started seeing casting calls that I wanted to submit to.

I had to decide – what do I want to do? Do I want to just do the 6 months or do I want a full year? There was a sale around Easter, so I jumped on it.

I decided that I’m going to do it. But there was also a guarantee saying if you do a six-month subscription and you don’t get a call back from a producer or something or other you’ll get the next six months free. So worst-case scenario is if I pay for the subscription and no one contacts me I’ll get six extra months for free.

But then, within two weeks a Warner Bros. producer sent me a message on KidsCasting. I was like “wait a minute, is this a joke? Are they just doing this to make sure that they don’t give me my next 6 months for free?”. I didn’t know if this was fake or real, but it turned out legit – it was a documentary for a Warner Bros. production.

So within the first month of being on KidsCasting, I was already doing self-tape auditions and submitting things. And you know this was not even knowing what I’m actually doing.

What was your biggest challenge when setting up profiles on KidsCasting?

I think the biggest challenge that I had was just having the right picture – choosing the best picture to put on the website for exposure and then understanding just what kind of pictures I want. I was looking at other profiles and seeing professional photos. It can be intimidating when you don’t have professional pictures. 

So that was the most difficult thing – taking and choosing the right picture.

Kennedy profile pictures

Tell us about the first audition for Kennedy. How did it go?

The first audition was actually for the Warner Bros. documentary, so there were several phone calls with me before Kennedy was involved. I got a message from the director saying that they were creating a documentary on imaginary friends and they asked if Kennedy had an imaginary friend, which she did! 

They asked me a few questions and we were just going back and forth a few times about you know my experience as a parent with her having an imaginary friend and child development. The movie was a documentary on child development with a part on imaginary friends. 

The casting director was based in California and they had another office in New York. They wanted me to come into the office. But I was just getting back to work from maternity leave and my schedule was too tight. And then – surprise! 

They asked if they could come to my house. So my first audition with the casting director was actually in my house!

Woah, in your house?! 

I was actually completely blown away. That was a real Warner Bros. casting producer in my house. I made sure they’re legit beforehand and everything checked out. 

And it was just a wonderful experience for myself not knowing anything about self-tape auditions and non-disclosure agreements, child performer permits. I mean there were so many things that I hadn’t even heard of and didn’t even know about. And just within the first two weeks of being on KidsCasting I actually had a producer in my house teaching me the ropes of the industry.

Katrina Long quote about KidsCasting

Kennedy didn’t actually get cast for the documentary because they ended up moving the film out of New York and they took it to another state. But it was an absolutely incredible experience anyway! 

Unfortunate! Did you have better luck with your next casting call? 

So after that experience, the next casting that I submitted to was for SamJen photography.

They were looking for an African-American girl to play the granddaughter for a video reel. The best part – not only would they pay us to take Kennedy’s picture, but also give us three headshots and two reels.

SamJen called us and we went in and met with the photographer at a park in Brooklyn. Within maybe a week or two, they sent me the pictures. And then those are the ones that I substituted out for the professional headshot on KidsCasting. 

SamJen Headshot

In your success stories, you wrote about the short film “Decode”. Did Kennedy get the part for that?

She just filmed last weekend! 

That was so exciting because not only did we get the part for that but we also met two other families from KidsCasting there too. So that was completely awesome. 

I submitted to the part and they called me back, but at first, they said they’re interested and they’ll hold our information and possibly get in touch later. And then within a week or so they called us up for an audition but it actually wasn’t even an audition. It was like a fitting without the fitting because when we got there we had already gotten the role – they just wanted to confirm that Kennedy looked the way she did in the pictures and they really wanted to see the dynamic between the two girls.

It was a silent film that’s about two innocent children breaking the racial tension and divide in a community by befriending one another in a park – an awesome film with no words, all based on facial expression and body language. As soon as we walked into the room, Kennedy and the girl acted like they were best friends for 10 years – they just ran and started playing with each other.

And that’s in the script. We didn’t even have a copy of a script.

They did exactly what the producers wanted them to do. See each other, make friends, and start playing, because that’s what they were going to have to do in their roles anyway. And they were perfect. We came  for the fitting on a Wednesday or Thursday. And then we filmed on Saturday! 

What was the experience like for yourself on set? Was it your first time?

It was exciting, very exciting because, yes, it was my first time being on a set. The cameras, the microphones, people were looking, and I’m just there on the side, “yeah, that’s my kid in a movie”!

Kennedy on the set of Decode

It was fantastic and the whole team was great. Kennedy didn’t get paid for this role but they did pay for our transportation. They paid for our meal and then she’ll get the credit in the film. They’re also having a screening party where they’ll invite us in to see the screening of the film when it’s done.

What advice would you give to other moms and dads out there using our website?

I would say the most important thing is to have fun and to just make sure that your child is happy. I think that’s the most important advice that I would give because I don’t think that this would be possible if it was my vision and my dream and then my children didn’t share the same energy and enthusiasm.

Kennedy has already told us that she doesn’t want to be a model. She wants to act, she wants to have her own TV show, she wants to have her own talk show, she kind of wants to go in the Oprah direction.

I used to model so I thought that she would want to model, but she doesn’t and that is totally fine. I don’t even really submit to modeling auditions because that’s not something that she’s interested in. She wants to be an actress.

Kennedy at a Disney audition

And in terms of actually submitting to the castings, I think that a piece of advice that I would definitely give is to just be nice. Be nice to everybody. You don’t know – you can be on the bus, on the train, you can be walking in the streets, you don’t know who the director is, you don’t know who the producer is, you don’t know who the scout is, and people are always watching you no matter where you are.

What’s more, they look at the interaction between the parent and the child. More than just the skills of the child. They don’t want to see you aggressive or overbearing with your child. 

That’s very important.

Would you recommend using KidsCasting to other parents out there and what’s the key to having a positive experience?

Yes! And I already have.

I have recommended KidsCasting. I’ve had people ask me – what is KidsCasting about and why did you choose KidsCasting and I’m going to be honest – it was a spur of the moment choice that I haven’t regretted for a moment. 

I had no expectations. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. But when I started, I was really just like – well, let’s see what happens. I didn’t get on dreaming that my kid’s going to be a star, we’re gonna be rich, we’re going to go to California.

But even if I had had any expectations, KidsCasting has already exceeded my wildest ones.

How has KidsCasting helped Kennedy develop & grow?

Kennedy is like a mini professional actor. Despite no professional training, she has really owned this. In her mind, she’s really set. Like I want to have my own show, I want my own followers, I want to do this. 

She’s a little girl you know. Before, all she talked about was going to Target and getting toys – she wouldn’t really think that far out. Now she actually has a vision of things that she wants to do and places she wants to go. And I think that’s amazing. 

Katrina Long quote about Kennedy

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Kennedy’s story is one of growth, natural talent, and dedication. We sincerely wish Katrina & Kennedy continued success and we’ll definitely stay tuned for all future updates! For those of you with budding talents at home that dream of becoming actors and models – there’s no better time to start than today. Ready to give it a shot? Discover a casting call near you

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