How to be a Child Actor
So you want to be a child actor….Fantastic!
This can be a truly exciting process and profession. Beyond being able to practice your craft, you’ll…
- meet a ton of vibrant and passionate people,
- learn a tremendous amount about all aspects of the entertainment industry, and
- foster skills like grit and perseverance.
For young people, so much is changing all the time, so check in with yourself consistently to make sure you still love doing the work of auditioning. Keep up with training, coaching and being inspired. Educate yourself in all aspects of life so that you’ll be a more interesting performer and person too! Single-mindedness and focus can really help when you have to get memorized for an audition, but make sure you still get to enjoy the pleasures of being a kid!
That said, if you are ready to begin your journey, you may be wondering some things like…
- How do you start?
- What equipment do you need?
- How do you book an audition?
- How do you make a reel?
- What are the steps to getting an agent?
- How should my family be involved?
There’s a lot of questions and a ton to balance. But if you genuinely LOVE performing and want to do it professionally, then this conversation is a great starting point.
Resources for the Child Actor
Some of you may know that Child’s Play NY was named among the top 12 NYC training programs in Backstage. That magazine and website is an invaluable resource for a child actor or kids looking to go from “acting as a hobby” to acting as a job! Since then, we’ve even expanded the roster of classes for kids hoping to make that transition to being a professional actor. Still, parents – and our students – have many questions about the industry. So, the following interview was a way to get some answers, learn about starting up, and hear this invaluable and clarifying perspective from Christina Wright!
Christina’s multi-faceted career in the business is proof that there is no one way to fit inside “the industry”. She has worked as an agent at CESD, at Nickelodeon Kids, and in casting on The Greatest Showman, Boardwalk Empire, Vinyl and Veep among others. She is also an actor herself and brings a wealth of warmth, relatability and realness to the dialogue.
In a typical year, Christina leads an annual on-camera class with Child’s Play NY and then gives a talk to the parents about supporting their kids interested in becoming a child actor. Because of COVID-19, we didn’t get to do our usual meet-up in person this year. That said, it was super exciting for me to get to hear her talk, and now we have it recorded for posterity, and for YOU!
Watch the Interview with Christina Wright
Get Inspired and Focused!
Christina offers great advice and nuggets of wisdom for the child actor, culled from her decades in the business. The following are choice excerpts from our interview: In her own words….
On how to pick an agent:
“Acting is a team sport, when you are picking your agent or manager a lot of people go in with the mentality “I just want to be booked”, but I really implore all the parents out there looking for an agent to take your time and really click with someone, make sure it is someone who understands your kid…”
On facing rejection and staying optimistic:
“I was in casting for almost 10 years, I saw so many auditions that were brilliant and I just wanted to say, ‘You’re so good but you aren’t getting this role…but you’re so good, keep going!’ Anyone you cast is going to tell a different story”
On the how the industry has a wealth of opportunity for careers and experience, and not to get stuck:
I always say “do what makes you happy for as long as it makes you happy then move on.” I’ve been really lucky that I’ve gotten to see so many different areas of this business.
On how to have an awesome perspective on auditioning:
“If you love to act, see auditioning as your time to act.”
Best advice for how to start out:
What to Watch For in the Interview
Since you may need different nuggets of wisdom, depending on where you are in your journey as a young child actor, here are bookmarks to relevant chapters in the video:
00:00 Introduction & Acting as a Team Sport
14:54 How to Support Kids
20:14 Learn How to Start in the Business
28:52 Tools for a Great Self-Tape
35:08 Making Successful Family Decisions
41:48 How to Protect Your Child Actor
If you have material you want to work on, you can book Christina Wright as a coach.
Join up with Child’s Play NY for on-camera programs, coaching and group classes.
Enjoy the journey and let us know if you have any questions!