What Makes a Great Monologue for a Child Actor
So you’ve been asked to prepare a monologue for an audition, but have no idea where to start. Don’t worry, you’re not the first and you certainly won’t be the last young child actor (or parent) who felt this way.
But you know what? We’ve got your back.
Over the years, we’ve watched thousands of kids working on their monologues. Some aced it while for others, it was a little more difficult to master.
Luckily for you though, we paid close attention and learned a few tricks to picking the right one.
But before we get to those tips…
What is a monologue?
A monologue is a speech presented by a single character, most often to express their thoughts aloud, although sometimes it can also be directed to another character or the audience. It doesn’t have to be long, even just one minute is more than enough. As long as it showcases your talent as an actor, the casting director will be happy enough no matter how long or short it is.
‘But I’ve never prepared a monologue before…I’m not sure if I’m good enough for acting… I have no experience’.
This is a perfectly normal feeling. Even the most famous child actors in the world once had those very same thoughts.
So don’t use a lack of experience as an excuse for not trying – just give it a go. Anybody that turns up to an audition with a monologue prepared is already 10 steps ahead of those who don’t. The quality of your delivery will obviously play an important role, but often your willingness to try will tell the casting director a lot about how much effort you’re willing to put into the role.
Okay, so now we have convinced you to prepare a monologue (we have, right?), let’s get down to the nitty gritty – How do I pick a monologue that’s right for me?
Choose a monologue that gets a reaction
You want your monologue to bring out some kind of emotional response from the casting director. So choose something that touches your emotions. It could be a humorous monologue that makes you laugh, or a sad one that makes you feel for the character. This kind of monologue will be much more memorable and if you can make the casting director feel something then you’ve aced it.
Choose something you can actually do
You want to give a believable performance, so pick a monologue that you can give justice to. Don’t pick the part of a 45 year old if you are 12 – no matter how great a child actor you are, you’re still a child playing an adult and it just won’t work. Likewise, don’t attempt an accent that you really can’t master. It’s much better to perform something within your comfort zone and do it well than to try and pull off something unrealistic.
Keep it short
Aim for around 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Any more than that and you run the risk of boring the casting director. These guys are super busy and have no time to listen to your ten-minute speech no matter how good it is. Trust us, the casting director will make up their mind pretty quickly so there’s no need to slog through a long monologue.
Practice, practice, practice
You’re going to feel nervous on the day, and that’s OK. But the best way to deal with those nerves is to practice your monologue as much as possible. Practice in front of a mirror and in front of your family at home. When you know your monologue inside out, there’s less chance that you’ll forget something in the audition.
Even if you do make a mistake, just remember, it’s not the end of the world. The casting director probably won’t even notice as they don’t know your monologue word for word. Just take a deep breath and carry on.
Choose something you like
Now this is probably the best tip of all. You see, if you enjoy the monologue, it will show in your performance. It’s also so much easier to convey an emotion if you enjoy what you’re doing and remember what we said earlier about emotions. When the casting director sees that you enjoy performing your monologue (and they will see) it just might be that little something extra that makes you stand out from the dozens of kid actors they’ll see that day.
Unless the casting director has made a specific request, use your creativity to find a monologue that’s right for you. It can be from any play, film or even a book extract.
If you’re a Harry Potter fanatic, choose a part from The Goblet of Fire. If you love poetry, recite your favourite poem. Just be sure to pick something that will make you stand out for the right reasons. So beatboxing the theme tune to your favourite TV show probably won’t go down too well.
Want to see what a great monologue looks like?
Check out one of our favourite child actors, the super talented Unesa rocking her monologue.