You might be wondering what the big difference is between prepping for an audition and getting your child all set for a casting call. After all, they’re pretty much the same thing, right? Well, not quite.
You see an audition is usually set up after a casting director has seen your child or teen’s portfolio. They have some specific requirements that your child matches and in all likelihood your agent has put them forward for the role.
A casting call is a little different in that it’s usually a general announcement made to both the public and agencies that a production company is looking for talent. This means that the casting director often has no idea who will show up or how many kids they will get to see at the call. More often than not, it also means that there will be tons of kids in attendance and for any chance of success, your child will need to stand out from the crowd.
So as you can imagine, you might want to take a slightly different approach to a regular audition.
With this in mind, we’ve come up with a few tips that will help your child or teen make the right impression at their next casting call.
Being well-presented simply means having your child’s hair combed and those little hands nice and clean. It doesn’t mean sticking on the outfit they wore to their aunt’s wedding.
This is just like choosing what to wear to a regular audition. Simple, unbranded clothes and clean shoes are absolutely perfect and keep any accessories to a minimum. In fact, we’d lose all the accessories unless needed for tying back hair.
If your child wears glasses, keep them on. They’re part of what makes your child an individual.
Whatever you do, don’t go overboard with makeup. This is particularly important for teen castings as teenagers may feel that they should try to look a little older than they are. Trust us, this doesn’t impress so, as with accessories, keep hair and makeup products to an absolute minimum.
Kids casting calls are usually extremely busy and while the casting director will try to see everyone who attends, the running order is first come, first served. For this reason it’s a good idea to arrive a little early so your child is higher up the list and doesn’t need to wait for a couple of hours for their slot.
The other benefit to being early is that a casting director will have a little more energy at the start of the casting call. This doesn’t mean that your child has a better chance of success by going in early, but let’s just say that a tired casting director may be a little more difficult to impress.
Now, remember what we just said about kids casting calls being extremely busy? Well, that means there will be a lot of chatter going on in the lobby or waiting area. Chatting with the other kids is fine but running around and causing mayhem is not. Any child or teen that causes any kind of trouble in the waiting area will be noticed by the casting director’s staff, and that won’t do their chances any good at all.
So consider bringing a book or letting your child watch a video or listen to music quietly on an iPad or smartphone. Chances are, they’re in for a bit of a wait so do whatever you can to help keep boredom at bay. Remember though, they still need to be relatively quiet even when watching videos or playing games.
And by that we mean that your child should be prepared for what happens in a casting call. Much like an audition, the casting director may ask your child a couple of questions and perhaps request that they perform a line or two. The only difference here is that you won’t have much time to prepare, if any, to prepare those lines beforehand.
This means that your child needs to be ready to answer questions and perform on the fly. It sounds tough, but casting directors are very understanding and they won’t ask anything too difficult of your child.
What you can do is help them prepare for this by asking them random questions or getting them to perform some actions. Ideally though, your child or teen should have had some acting lessons as these will give them the confidence to speak and perform in front of strangers.
Generally speaking, casting directors holding kids and teen casting calls want to see what makes your child or teen unique—in other words, they want to see them as themselves.
Of course, your child may be asked to act a role or to say a few lines, but remember, this is a casting call so the casting director understands that you’ve both had no chance to prepare. For this reason, it’s often best that your child doesn’t try too hard to overact. Tell them to be themselves and have fun. Hopefully, their unique personality will shine through and impress the casting director.
In all honesty, when it comes to casting calls, being yourself is often the best way to stand out from the crowd. We are all different after all, right?
One final piece of advice that we will give with regards to casting calls is to not feel discouraged if your child or teen doesn’t land the part. Like we said, casting calls are super competitive and a casting director will choose a child based on their own vision for the role. This could mean that they prefer a certain pitch to a child’s voice or the way a child smiles—things that you have no control over anyway.
So remember—be well-presented, be early, be well-behaved, be ready, and most importantly of all, be yourself.
Follow these tips at your next kids casting call and who knows what might happen!
If you’d like to learn a little more about acing an audition, then check out our comprehensive guide to auditioning.