Whether your child is a seasoned actor or entirely new to the scene, you (and they) don’t likely need to be reminded that acting is a competitive industry. Broadway statistics from the US show that you need to be in the top 10% to get cast in a show.
However, that shouldn’t deter you from encouraging your child to pursue acting! It should encourage you to learn more about how to help them stand out. And, creating a stellar acting portfolio is one great way to do just that.
Designing an effective acting portfolio can be a challenge. There are so many things to consider – what should be included, how should it look, and most importantly, how can you make sure that your child’s portfolio stands out from the competition?
In this article, we’ll share ten top tips for designing your child’s acting portfolio. Follow these guidelines, and you’re guaranteed to help them create a portfolio that will impress agents and casting directors alike. Just look at them on their way to being the next big star.
What is an Acting Portfolio?
An acting portfolio is a collection of an actor’s work that demonstrates their range and abilities. It typically includes headshots, images and reels from past acting roles, as well as any training or experience the actor has.
Essentially, it is a way for an actor to showcase their skills and experience to potential employers. A good acting portfolio should be well-organised and easy to navigate.
Headshots should be high-quality and professional, and the acting reel should be high-definition and showcase the actor’s range. The resume should be succinct and list all relevant acting experience (yep, even the small stuff!).
Any other materials included should be carefully chosen to give the casting director a good sense of your child’s skills and experience.
Why Acting Portfolios Are So Important
With so much competition in the acting world, particularly for children, having a strong portfolio is essential for landing gigs. An acting portfolio allows an employer to get a sense of an actor’s work without having to bring them in for an audition.
For younger actors, a strong portfolio can be the key to landing their first job. Why? Often, casting directors will use an acting portfolio to get a sense of an actor’s range and whether they would be well-suited for a particular role.
However, an acting portfolio can also be a valuable tool for experienced actors, no matter how young, looking to branch out into new genres or roles. By showcasing their previous work, you can help your child demonstrate to casting directors that they have the skills and experience needed for the job.
For all of the above reasons, it is important to put time and effort into creating a strong portfolio that will make a lasting impression. And, we’re about to help you with that.
Tips in Designing a Great Acting Portfolio for Your Child
1. Start with a Strong Headshot
How do you take a strong headshot for your child? Are portfolio headshots important for child actors? Yes, they are! And including the right portfolio photo can make or break the entire audition.
First, it’s important to find a photographer who has experience working with children. They’ll know how to get your child to relax and feel comfortable in front of the camera.
Second, be sure to dress your child in clothes that complement their features and make them look their best. It’s important to make sure that clothing, props, and the setting are all age-appropriate.
And finally, don’t forget to have some fun! A headshot is meant to capture your child’s personality, so make sure they’re having a good time during the shoot.
2. Create a Very Detailed Resume
List your child’s acting experience in chronological order, starting with the most recent credits. Include the name of the production, the role your child played, and the director or producer.
If your child has no prior acting experience, you can list any relevant school plays or community theatre productions. Get creative here but be honest, always.
3. List Their Skills, Talents & Dialects
Under “skills,” list any special skills or training that your child has with acting. This could include singing, dance, martial arts, horseback riding, or acrobatics. If your child has taken any acting classes or workshops, be sure to list those as well.
It’s worth mentioning here that if your child is serious about making acting their professional life-long career, it can help to train them in different dialects early on.
This is also true if you believe that the role they’re auditioning for is big enough to warrant preparation beforehand. If that’s the case, enrolling them in a workshop or course can help immensely.
4. Include a Monologue From Their Favorite Play
Whether as part of your child’s full acting reel or as a separate inclusion in their acting portfolio, including a monologue is always a great idea.
However, the monologue should be age-appropriate. A monologue that is too mature or complex will be difficult for a child to understand and deliver convincingly. Conversely, a monologue that is too juvenile will sound insincere and false. The best monologues strike a balance between these two extremes.
Once you’ve selected an appropriate monologue, the next step is to ensure that it is short and to the point. Your child likely has a limited attention span and will quickly lose interest if the monologue is too long-winded.
5. Choose Quality Photos That Highlight Their Range
We talked about portfolio headshots above, but what about other photos that you include in their portfolio? Make sure they all demonstrate their range.
We know, you might be thinking, “What kind of range can a seven-year-old have?” Actually, quite a bit! Children are naturally curious, emotive, and intrigued. During their headshot photoshoot, make sure you work with them to bring this out.
Talk about different emotional situations in a way that’s natural and fun and watch as the photographer captures different expressions and moods.
6. Design Templates for the Portfolio Pages
We suggest that you sit down with your child to browse through an acting portfolio template or two online. See what resonates with your child and their personality.
You might even be able to find attractive templates online! It isn’t so hard now that technology has been giving us these features for FREE even! However, we suggest that you develop and have a defining style and stick to it.
Templates provide a framework for displaying your work in an organized and professional way. Plus, they’re easy to customize, so you can make sure your child’s portfolio truly reflects their unique talents and abilities.
7. Think About a Web-Based Portfolio
We’re in the 2020s, after all, and everything is digital these days. So, consider building a web-based portfolio to help your child stand out even more. What do we mean by a web-based acting portfolio?
With a simple website building platform, you can design a basic website for your child and all of their photos, reels, and information. This makes it easier to send to casting directors and anybody else interested in hiring your child.
8. Don’t Forget About the Personal Information
Don’t forget to include personal information on your child’s acting portfolio! This includes:
- Their full name
- Hair colour, eye colour, etc.
- Contact Information
It’s important to note here that as a parent you are allowed to consider whether to include any personal information such as the child’s name and contact information.
Instead, you might feel more comfortable putting just their first name and then having the other contact information be for you or their agent or manager.
Whatever the decision, it is important to remember that the child’s acting portfolio should be a reflection of their unique talents and personality. That’s more important than the details like their email address.
9. Include an Acting Reel
You can’t submit an acting portfolio without a great reel! Okay, you can, but you’re less likely to get called back as an actor for certain parts.
Whether your child is new to acting or experienced, it pays to invest in creating a great acting reel for them. This is a compilation of your child’s best work that they can show to casting directors and agents to get work.
So how do you go about creating a great acting reel for your child? The first step is to choose the right material. You want to include scenes that showcase your child’s acting ability, but you also want to make sure that the material is appropriate for their age.
Once you’ve chosen the right scenes, it’s time to edit them together. Make sure the transitions are smooth and that the footage is high quality. You want the acting reel to be professional and polished.
Finally, add some music that sets the tone and gives the reel energy. With a great acting reel, your child will be able to land acting gigs and further their career.
10. Proofread Everything Before Submitting
Finally, it’s time to proofread everything before you send it off to any casting directors.
Spelling errors don’t impact much in the acting world, but it shows added professionalism when you’ve taken the time to proofread and edit your child’s acting resume and portfolio.
And, while we’re on the subject of looking for errors, it’s also important to remember to update your child’s acting portfolio regularly. You should definitely do this every year.
However, if you’d like them to be especially competitive, it’s a good idea to update it every time they complete a new acting course or appear in a commercial, play, or movie.
Can Acting School Help You Build an Acting Portfolio?
Absolutely, yes! While attending an acting school or workshop won’t necessarily teach you how to physically put together your child’s portfolio, it can help them build the experience they need to make their portfolio stand out.
You know by now that if your child is serious about making it in the acting world, they’re going to need a strong portfolio. But how do you go about building one for them if they have no experience?
One option is to encourage them to take acting classes. Not only will they get valuable training and feedback, but they’ll also have the opportunity to add professional photos and clips to their portfolio.
If they’re just starting, acting classes can be a great way to get their foot in the door. They can help most children build the confidence and skills they need to succeed in the industry.
Likewise, attending a special workshop where they’re able to learn how to expand their range and increase their skills can also help add valuable experience to their portfolio.
If they think they would like to audition for more dramatic roles, for example, taking a drama-centred workshop can certainly help.
Build Your Child's Portfolio
Building an acting portfolio as a child actor doesn’t have to be so daunting. In fact, it can be as fun as you help them make it be. They are, after all, simply learning how to express themselves and playing with different emotions and characters. What’s more fun than that?
As Australia’s leading modelling and talent agency, we’d love to help you build your child’s confidence, experience, and acting portfolio. From in-house workshops and coaching sessions to help them brush up on their skills, we can help your child grow in the field.
Apply now to get started.