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What do casting directors look for in child actors?

What do casting directors look for in child actors

Casting directors play a huge role in the first steps towards the success of young kids in the showbiz industry. They have seen not even hundreds but thousands of aspiring child actors! So, how can your child leave a lasting mark on them during the competition for a role?

Top 4 things casting directors judge

1. Appearance

The first nexus between the casting director and your child is the application sent to the announced casting. When applying to a role, you and your child should objectively look at how well your child matches with the specific requirements listed. They are well thought through and won’t be changed just because one actor might be good at other, non-required aspects. Don’t expect any miracles – if your child doesn’t match exactly what’s asked for the role, you shouldn’t waste your and the other side’s time. Instead, use this time to search for a more appropriate casting opportunity.

Amongst the usual required information like age, height, and so on, you must also add the photographs of your child. While they should be done to showcase the looks and potential diversity of the young actor, they must also naturally match whatever you listed on the resume and applied to in the casting announcement.

Also Read: How to Slate for an Audition

2. Personality

Being natural doesn’t always mean behaving stiff and serious. Every child’s personality is different – some are quirky, some are funny, and some are adorable and cute. Embrace this uniqueness, since that’s exactly what the casting directors are hoping to see.

The Golden Age of Hollywood is long gone, so over-the-top, bigger-than-life looks and behaviors for child actors, unless specifically expected for the role, are not needed. While they are acting, children are still expected to behave and look like actual children. It’s no different than with adult actors – casting directors expect a real and authentic performer.

This authenticity can also be seen through the passion of the aspiring actor’s performance. Sometimes applying to casting and arriving at an audition is primarily the parent’s wish, not the child’s. If the child seems uneasy or even unhappy about even being on the stage, don’t fool yourself – everyone else will see it too. It goes both ways, though – if the child sparks with excitement, he or she will probably connect with the casting director as well. It can ultimately make or break the chances of getting cast for the role.

3. Preparation

Getting an invitation for an audition is only the beginning. Even if your kid has a natural talent and passion, extra preparation for the role can go a long way towards the ultimate goal. If the child doesn’t have much experience, acting classes, a consultation with an acting coach, or at least an online training can give a massive boost to the way he or she will later perform during the audition.

Acting doesn’t stop at only getting into a role. Any useful creative skills can come in handy. Can your child sing or dance, play a musical instrument, or do anything else that not every kid is able to do? This doesn’t apply to only stage arts – knowing how to play, for example, basketball, or the ability to ice skate can be both marketable, and ease the process for the given role. Children are quick learners, and given the opportunity, your aspiring actor can really boost their experience baggage.

Special skills can highly increase kids' chances of getting cast

Also Read: How do Kid Actors Remember their Lines

Even better if you can help reflect this natural learning process of your child in detail when applying for a casting. Casting directors want to see young talent with the willingness to learn and grow, so actually seeing this process through footage can be priceless in order to stand out among the other applicants.

Casting directors are usually supportive of child actors and sometimes even find the time to give an extra tip or two, but ultimately it’s not their job, nor do they have the time to coach the young talent. This is exactly why knowing the basics of performing is so important and makes such children stand out amongst other competitors, while inexperienced kids instantly are at a disadvantage.

Like with most things in life, being prepared for acting will also certainly help your child with their confidence when their time to impress the casting director finally arrives. And everybody loves confidence!

4. Performance

While child actors are indeed still children, with applying for a job comes a certain degree of expectations for professionalism even from minors. After all, if they get the job, they get paid for it too. If they keep on getting jobs, it becomes a whole career choice at a very young age.

While it’s absolutely natural if the kid has fun while acting, casting directors will quickly become a variety of children who show attitude problems during the audition. In order to ensure a smooth process, they look for children who can show certain maturity and easily follow commands of what is expected from them.

Usually, there are hundreds of children competing for one role, so the ones throwing tantrums and acting overly immature are unlikely to get much consideration. The ability to successfully perform under the pressure, when realizing the amount of competition faced, and under the scope of the casting crew is kept in high regard as well.

Also Read: Stage fright: How to help kids with performance anxiety

Thankfully, unlike with baby actors, there are plenty of things the parents can do to keep their child in line. If the family decides to continue, one such failure might end up being a great lesson for both parties, and, most importantly, for the young actor, and help further down the road. Needless to say that casting directors absolutely love to see loving and supportive parents!

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