Enrolling your child in acting classes, workshops, and other specialty classes like dance or voice is an excellent way to prepare them for future auditions and roles. Classes are also a great place to network and gain exposure. But remember this: a class is a service you pay for in order to improve your child’s skills. It is not a guarantee of work, representation, or immediate success. As a performer, it is essential to continually work in order to improve your skills.
What type of class(es) should my child take?
You’ve already assessed your child’s strengths and weaknesses (on the “Be Honest” page). Start with classes that will help to develop your child’s strengths first in order to instill confidence and growth, and then move on to strengthen weaker areas.
- Choose a class in which your child expresses an interest
- Decide what type of performer your child wants to be (comedic, dramatic, commercial, television, feature film, theatre, etc.)
- Choose classes that focus on specific skills (Improvisation, audition techniques, etc.)
- When choosing more than one class, make sure they are diverse and will help develop varying skills
- Find out if the class offers videotaping (If it is an acting class, then video playbacks help to prepare your child for the camera)
- Consider non-acting classes that help develop unique skills (Karate, horseback riding, piano, etc.)
- Do not overload on classes
Where can I find classes in my area?
- Ask other members in our Forum
- Ask your Talent Agent or Manager for a referral, for they usually keep a list
- Casting Directors often hold workshops for young performers or give referrals
- Call or visit local parks and recreation departments
- Read entertainment trade publications like BackStage and The Hollywood Reporter
- Look into classes provided by local schools and community theatres
- In more remote areas, there are often many franchise acting schools
How do I make sure the class is reputable?
- Review comments posted by other parents in our member forum
- If possible, observe the class and/or interview the teacher beforehand
- Google search the school or coach’s name with the words “review”, “scam” and “ripoff”
How do I avoid scams?
- Be wary of classes that promise work. Taking a class does not guarantee your child’s success. Classes will help, but any class claiming to get your child a gig should send up a red flag.
- The school should not also be an agency. While some schools may promise contacts with agents (that is, they bring agents in to interview/watch the children), they should not claim they are also an agency that offers representation as a bonus to joining the class.
Where can I find sample monologues and 30sec commercial scripts?
Your child should have one dramatic, one comedic, and one short commercial script prepared in the event that they need to perform something spontaneous for an industry professional.
Children In Film offers a few suggestions for monologues and commercials, but you can also purchase books, search online, or even write your own!
What can I do at home?
While the experience of taking a class is beneficial for your child, there are also things you can do at home to further develop their skills. The following games help to assess your child’s skills and/or prepare them for auditions and gigs.
- After watching a commercial or segment from a TV show with a child actor, or reading a story from a book, have your child act as if they were playing the part. You could say, “Can you do/say what the Cheerios kid just did?” See how your child does at parroting back the lines or mimicking the actions of the child in the scene.
SKILLS: memorization, taking direction, acting/performing on command, playing varying roles
- Give your child a series of unrelated tasks and identify them by a letter or number. For example: “a” means pick up the ball, “b” means touch your nose, “c” means walk to the door, and “d” means say your name. After going over the tasks and practicing them, give your child a series of these letters and see how they do repeating the tasks. Building the list with more and more letters helps to improve their memory. Playing the game, in general, will teach them to listen and follow directions. You may also try letting them give you a list. They’ll enjoy being in control, and coming up with a list of tasks will help develop their creativity.
SKILLS: memorization, listening, coordination (if they are doing two tasks at once), creativity
NOTE: Games like “Simon Says,” “Memory,” “Guess Who,” “Eye Spy,” and “Charades” are also helpful.
Do the right thing!
Acting classes and coaches are great for building confidence and skills, but don’t stop there. Children in entertainment deal with extreme emotional highs and lows and also need to help learning how to deal with their feelings (anxiety, rejection, depression, etc.). Click here for some ideas on how to recognize and deal with childhood anxiety.