How to Get Your Child into Show Business

Lana got to join Tra’Renee Chambers on KATU’s new show Afternoon Live on September 20th to talk about how to get your child into show business.

Lana was able to give some great tips on the best way to go about it, and warning signs to look for with possible scams.

Here’s her full list of tips for parents whose children want to get into acting:

FIRST STEPS

  • Make sure it’s something THEY want to do
    • Is it your dream or theirs?
    • Don’t make them do it if it’s not fun for them
  • Network & do your research
    • Look for Facebook groups geared towards local actors, acting classes, indie filmmaking and casting calls
    • In Portland, join the longstanding Yahoo Group PDXBackstage
    • Talk to other actors who are working professionally and to their parents: learn from their experiences
    • Google any schools, coaches, casting companies or talent agencies you are considering and read the online reviews
  • Beware of scams
    • Don’t fall for the bait-and-switch:
      • You take your child to an audition, but it turns out to be a sales pitch for classes or talent competitions
      • Your child is approached in a mall by a so-called “talent scout” who promises to make them famous, only to try to sell you something later on
    • Avoid talent agencies that want money up front
      • Agents should only earn commissions off the work they find for their actors
      • Other than nominal website maintenance fees, agents should never charge actors for representation
    • Avoid any casting calls or auditions that require your child to pay to be seen; there should never be a charge to audition
    • Don’t join any paid casting websites, unless you know for sure that the casting directors in your area use them. Most are a waste of money
    • (We use Casting Frontier, where basic profiles are free. See our Submissions page for instructions on how to get into our database if you don’t have an agent)
  • Get GOOD training
    • Make sure your child learns good habits, so they don’t have to unlearn bad ones
    • In Portland, Northwest Children’s Theatre and Oregon Children’s Theatre offer good stage acting classes for kids
    • There are also several on-camera acting coaches in town; do your research and audit a class, if possible
  • Get experience
    • Do theatre, school plays
    • Let them make their own projects for practice: most kids are savvy with cameras and editing software
    • Have them do extras work to make sure they can handle standing around on set for hours
    • Find casting calls on Facebook or other websites (but research, be cautious)
    • Follow us on Facebook & Twitter or join our mailing list to be notified about open casting calls
    • Read up on how to participate in our periodic general auditions
  • Get Headshots
    • Don’t spend a lot on headshots for kids; especially before you find them an agent and know what they need
    • Snapshots will do until you find an agent who can guide you to a good headshot photographer
    • Headshots should cost a few hundred dollars, not thousands
  • Create an acting resume
    • Search online for examples
    • Include date of birth, height, weight, eye and hair color
    • Include acting experience, training, and any special skills they may have, like skateboarding, ballet and/or languages
    • Include your contact information (cell number, email address)
    • Never include your home address, the child’s direct contact info or their Social Security number
  • Find a GOOD talent agent
    • Look on the SAG-AFTRA website for SAG and AFTRA franchised agencies
    • SourceOregon also has a list of trustworthy agencies and managers
    • Remember: You should not have to pay a talent agent for representation, classes or photos. They may, however, recommend trusted coaches, classes or photographers who are unaffiliated with the agency
  • Celebrate small successes
    • Even auditioning is a success; don’t focus on bookings
    • Do they feel good about how they auditioned? Celebrate that!
    • However they feel, celebrate their bravery and accomplishment. Auditioning is hard!
    • Do something fun afterwards
  • Be a good actor parent
    • Always be reachable
    • Respond very quickly to emails and calls
    • Be an advocate for your child, but be easy to work with
    • We’re not just hiring your kid, we are hiring you!
    • Nobody wants someone on set who will create problems or drama

Good luck, be safe and have fun!

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