We get a lot of parents asking us if we think their child should give acting a go or stick to modelling. After all, it’s pretty much the same thing, right? Unfortunately, not. You see, even though your little angel might be perfect in front of the camera, great modelling doesn’t necessarily translate into great acting work, and by the way, that’s through no fault of your child!
To explain a little more we’re going to get specific about the differences in the work involved for both types of jobs. But before we get to that, we’re going to explain the different processes we have for signing and working with child models and actors.
Generally speaking, signing kids up as models doesn’t take too much time or effort on the part of child or parent. Your kid comes into one of our offices, and we have a chat with you about all the serious stuff like contracts, payment, and workloads. We then take a few photos to see how your child handles being in front of the camera and if they are quite young, how they can manage taking instructions from adults who are not mum and dad.
If all goes well, we create a nice portfolio for you with the help of our pro photographer (he’s very good you know). Then, when clients are looking for suitable models for their photo shoots, all they need to do is check out our photos and choose the kids that best suit their needs.
Acting is quite different and takes more effort from all involved (especially your child). Ideally, we like to see potential child actors perform a few lines for us in front of the camera. These can be anything at all, and yes, you can prepare beforehand.
A great idea is to have your child learn a monologue by heart so that they feel comfortable saying the lines during the audition. Learning their lines at home is what they will be doing anyway if they’re lucky enough to land an acting role. So get the practice in now if for no other reason than to see if they can handle the study.
When a client comes to us looking for a child actor, we will help them choose potential actors based on the requirements for the role. These requirements could be age, hair color, or height among others. So please remember that because casting directors can have super-specific needs, your child may not be considered for every role.
A child that the casting director is interested in will be asked to attend a formal audition and they may also be given a few lines to learn to speed up the process. The final decision will be based on your child’s performance in this audition, so they really need to try their best.
Open Casting Auditions
Every now and then a kids’ casting agency will hold open casting auditions where they will be on the lookout for new talent. This is a great opportunity to get your child in front of the camera with a minimum of fuss as the entire process is usually a lot faster and more convenient for all involved.
Open casting events are also great because they’re fun and there are usually plenty of kids around which is great for calming your child’s nerves. It’s also nice for parents to get a chance to speak to other parents about the industry and maybe pick up a little advice on how to handle certain things.
Some casting events are for child modelling only while others are for child acting. However, if you’re lucky, you might find one that covers both saving you a lot of time and hassle. Saving time and hassle; the holy grail of parenting!
There’s this common misconception that we often see when new parents show up to their first shoot with their child. They assume that it’s a simple matter of changing into a nice outfit and standing in front of a camera. Nope, not even close.
Child modelling is actually a lot more difficult than it seems.
For a start, it’s tiring. There could be quite a few outfits to wear and several backgrounds or locations to shoot in front of. And gummy bears can only take a child so far before they start getting sleepy, or worse, grumpy!
Then, when in front of the camera, the photographer may need a specific expression or pose that it could take your child quite some time to nail down. So you see, it is hard work.
And now for our second common misconception; modelling and acting aren’t so different.
As we said earlier, although both involve working in front of a camera, they are very different paths to follow.
The work involved in acting is just as, if not more tiring than modelling. You see where a child model can show up and start the shoot, a child actor must prepare their lines the night before or if there are lots of lines involved they could spend a week or more learning them.
Acting also takes more time (and missing some school) as even a short commercial might take a day or even more to shoot. And if it’s a movie or TV show, then that could be weeks or months depending on your child’s role.
But don’t think though that we’re trying to dissuade you from allowing your little cherub to pursue a child modelling or acting career. Nothing of the sort! We just want to make sure you understand the work involved and the differences between the two.
And now we come to the most important part of the entire process; the rewards.
The rewards from a successful modelling career are simple. Your child makes a little money to save for a rainy day, you get to see your child in a magazine or catalogue (perfect keepsakes to embarrass them with when they grow up), and your child may become recognized as a model. The latter could lead to more modelling jobs and a chance to continue their career into their teens.
Since acting takes a little more work, the potential rewards are also a little better. Your child could earn more than they would as a child model, they get to be on TV (everyone wants that, right?), and they gain national recognition. A little more money and being on TV is great, but that last reward is how your child could turn their part-time job into a career.
Now we’re not saying that all kids who get into child acting will become stars, but the recognition from being on national TV or in a movie can open doors that may have otherwise been closed to them.
So now that you know the differences between the two, what do you think your child might be good at? Are they totally relaxed in front of a camera and enjoy the idea of having their photo taken? Or perhaps they’re really good at playing pretend and can learn lines in the blink of an eye.
Whatever path you decide to follow, you know that Bubblegum Casting can help, right? Yes, that’s right, we’re not just a child modelling agency, we’re a talent agency, and we have quite a few child actors on our books.
So whether your child loves the idea of catwalks and photo shoots or fancies seeing themselves on TV, apply now to Bubblegum Casting, and we’ll guide you and your child on your path to child stardom.