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What Kind of Performer Are You?
November 04, 2015
|"Your child's age, experience and credentials will dictate the type of work s/he gets!"
We may be called Children In Film, but in reality our name should be "Babies, Kids and Teens in Film, Television, Print, Theater, Dance, Music and more!" but that doesn't quite have the same kind of ring to it. Point is,our members make up a variety of age groups and skill levels, and they work in a variety of performance fields. And because your age, experience and credentials often dictate the type of work you receive, it is important to know what kind of performer your child is.
So what kind of performer are you?
Babies can start to work in the entertainment industry (in states with strict labor laws like California) as early as 15 days old. Because of their age, babies do not require expensive headshots, but should you be seeking representation for your child, you'll want to find an agent or manager who specifically works with infants.
Babies tend to find the majority of their work in print photography and advertising (print, TV), and will occasionally find work in television and film. Newborns, in particular, are in high demand within the first few months of their lives for productions looking to recreate birthing scenes. Due to the limited number of work hours allowed for babies and toddlers on set, twins are even more in demand. By hiring twins, producers can get double their footage by staggering identical twins over the course of a day.
On set during a California production, babies under six months are required by law to have a Studio Teacher/Welfare worker, and a Baby Nurse (RN or LVN) which the production must provide. Additionally, productions often employ Baby Wranglers to assist with evoking great reaction shots.
By the time your child is at least five, he or she will be able to voice individual interests. You'll start to know if there is a true interest in entertainment, rather than something you simply signed your child up to participate in. Kids (age 5-12) are in a unique position to book work based on their looks alone, as well as their general ability to simply be a kid. This type of work includes print photography, runway shows, advertising (print and television) background work or supporting roles in films, television and even live theater.
Kids in California productions still require the presence of a Studio Teacher/Welfare worker at all times.
The 'Tween years (anywhere from 10-14 depending on the child's maturity and development) are a complicated time in the industry. As a performer, your child must be enrolled in classes and genuinely perfecting his or her craft as a performer. Beyond a certain "look," industry pros will now be expecting a certain level of natural talent, but if that spark is there, and a base level resume already exists, 'tween actors can advance quickly gaining significant roles in television, commercials, film, theater and in other areas of performance like dance and music.
For those 'tweens just getting started in the industry, excellent representation is more important than ever. To catch the eye of an agent or manager, be sure to have great headshots and a solid repertoire of classes on your resume. Attend VIP events and make connections in order to showcase your natural talent as much as possible.
Established teen performers are some of Hollywood's most in-demand stars working in everything from print/modeling shoots to national television commercials, hit television shows and films. They also take on multi-dimensional careers performing in a variety of ways such as with the triple-threat star who can act, sing and dance.
But for those teens just trying to get their first break, this age group (14-17) can be a very challenging time. Depending on the teens maturity, height, weight and voice (particularly for boys), gaining roles as a newcomer on the scene can be challenging.
If your teen is 14 but looks 16, she can only be on set for 9.5 hours, one hour less than a 16 year old, so producers often opt for the 16 year old. Not only do 16/17 year olds have longer work hours, at this age the law does not require the presence of a parent/ guardian. While for some this can work in their favor (if you're 16 and look 14), it is for these reasons that parents often question whether their child should become an emancipated or a graduated minor. These two concepts are different and it is important that you research them thoroughly before making any major decisions.