How to find auditions for kids
Tons of kids watch the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, CN and many other cable networks that cater to children. Many of them say “hey, I can do that” and then go searching for the latest Disney Channel Auditions on the Internet. At some point the child’s parent may get involved as well. After searching the Intenet for hours, they realize that it is quite difficult to find any kids auditions on the Internet, especially, if one lives outside of New York or Los Angeles. The auditions that they do find, many times will need an upfront payment for any information and many of those are simply child acting and modeling scams.
If your child wants to get into acting, stay away from any of the “get famous quickly” schemes. Getting into acting takes time and effort, there is no magic pill. Do your research before agreeing to anything especially, since it involves your child. There are many services out there that promise auditions and casting director attention for a fee. Some of them are completely web based while others use a more personal approach such as approaching someone in a mall. Both methods are used to play on your heart strings and love for your child.
One of the more popular child acting scams is the “mass casting call” method. Companies use commissioned sales people that they call “talent scouts”. These so called scouts hang out in areas that people will visit with their child such as shopping malls. When they see you and your child, they approach you, talk about how your child has “The Look” and offer to audition him. They tell you it’s completely free to go to the audition. When you go to the audition you realize that it is nothing more than a huge sales pitch at some of their services. It is done in the same manner as timeshare conventions. Basically, bait and switch. They get you there with the promise of something “free” then use hard sales tactics to separate you from your money. The entire sales pitch is done in a way to appeal to your child and convince your child this is the way to stardom. If you resist or say no, you will disappoint your child, and the organizers know that.
Another popular method is online. Your child searches for “auditions” and finds a form that asks for email, phone number, and name. They tell you the info is so casting directors can contact you and most kids fall for it. A few days later you get a call from a so called casting director who offers you an audition. You and your child are excited and then the ball drops. You hear “A payment is required” to submit your child. How can you refuse? Your child was offered a part for Disney, right? Not so much. The so called “casting director” is playing on words and you do not realize it. The casting director is really just another telemarketer with no connections at all to anyone in Hollywood.
What they are actually saying is that an audition is “available” and “He” believes your child is a perfect fit. He will “submit” you if you pay.
“Available” – means that the production company may actually be casting for the part, they saw it on one of the entertainment sites or spoiler sites.
“He” – means just that, which is meaningless since he is no closer to the casting director than you are. Remember, he never actually stated that he had any control over the casting, only that “he” believed your child fit. BTW, he believes ALL kids fit as long as he gets his sales commission.
“Submit” – means that he will forward your kids name to whatever contact he may have. He does not need to have the correct contact and most likely does not.
If you actually fall for this one, your child will be very disappointed when no one ever calls and an audition never happens. But I was submitted? right? Sure, maybe a link to your page was sent out, maybe not, no one knows, but most casting directors do not even get those. They get rejected as spam. If you were casting a large project would you want to be bombarded with thousands of unqualified links to pages? No. Most casting directors casting large projects for Disney and others use agents to find the talent they want. Most projects will only look at someone if they were submitted by an agent. There are a few exceptions and everynow and then you will run into a casting that asks for headshot, resume and reel be sent to a office location.
I don’t get it. I know my kid is awesome, why will they only deal with an agent? Simply because every kid is awesome and they only want to see the few kids that are qualified and trained. An agent is a screener of sorts making sure that they only see the candidates that not only have the look, but training and experience as well.
Great, the easy ways into showbiz are scams. Now what?
To get your child into acting or modeling you must focus on the skill set needed. Forget about the money and fame aspect of it and concentrate on developing the skills needed to get an agent. If this quest was started as a way to make quick money, forget it. You will most likely spend more money than you make, at least at first. Get your child involved in his school plays and community theater group. Not only will it be fun for the kid but it will also show you how dedicated he is to the craft. Once your child finds out he / she will not become an overnight Miley Cyrus, will they still want to do it? If the answer is yes, you enroll the kid in acting classes. The community theater, acting classes, etc. not only help teach your child the skills needed and build experience, they also offer you a way to network with other parents that can help you find an agent for your child.
This may sound like a lot of work, but anything worthwhile is. Hollywood just is not easy to break into.
Many Broadway / national tours and productions use child actors. Disney produces many stage shows every year and quite a few of them use children. The auditions for those are easy to find and many are open calls. Musical Theater has a different set of requirements and your child may need to take singing and dancing classes before going for any roles in large scale productions.
Commercials are another option for kids who want to be on TV. To even find out which commercials need kids, you must first have an agent. Most large budget commercials deal strictly with agents and once you have an agent, your agent will send you out on auditions.
In a nutshell, the steps you need to follow to find auditions for your child are:
- Get them into school plays
- Get them into community theater groups
- Pay for classes
- Gain some experience and get a few community / non-paying / just for fun productions under your belt.
- Network with others
- Begin Looking for an agent, now that you have a resume and experience
- Choose an agent
- Agent will find you work