As a working film director, I’ve had lots of opportunities to work with children and teen actors. And it seems to me that most of the training is actor to actor– so here’s some information to children and teen actors and their parents from a director to actor. I’ll be teaching a class in Fort Worth on January 21 on this subject. You can register at the store. There’s a morning session and an afternoon– you just need to pick one– they’re identical.
First of all, the child actor needs to look and play younger. The younger the better. This goes against what almost every child is seeking– to be grown up. So as you shoot headshots, assemble demo footage, go to auditions– keep that in mind. You want to look and play younger.
Why? Two simple reasons. The more mature the child actor, usually the better they are on the set. Secondly, child labor laws. While every state has different standards and laws, most productions will abide by the more stricter. And SAG has it’s own standards. And usually, most productions will abide by the stricter standard. What this means is that a 6 year old can only be on the set a certain few hours. Whereas a 12 year will be able to work longer. This is also why twins are employed quite a bit.
Now the above applies to film and television… but not necessarily commercials and print. In the Dallas Fort Worth market, commercials are the highest paying gigs actors can get right now. I have employed child actors that have landed that McDonald’s national spot and have their college now paid for. And for these type of roles, it’s going to start with the look and move from their.
At the seminar on Saturday January 21, we’ll talk in more detail about the differences between commercial and film, different styles of acting for children, and what they can expect on the set. I’ll talk to parents about protecting your child in this industry and what is “okay” and what is not “okay.”
Come with questions.