child actor

A Complete Guide to Becoming a Child Actor

So you really want to be an actor? Even as a child you can have a career in acting. However, you will need a lot of support for this. However, if you really want to embark on this path, you will also overcome the obstacles that you encounter along the way.

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Talk to your parents

If you’re under 18, you can’t work as an actor at all without your parents’ consent. That’s why it’s important that you get them on board. Tell them how much you enjoy acting so they can see that you really care. As you do this, reassure them that there is no way you will let your other commitments, like school, slip because of this. Don’t tell your parents that you just want to be an actor to get rich and famous. You should be able to come up with better reasons to get them to take you seriously. For example, say that you love telling stories and getting into other roles.

Take acting lessons.

You may be a natural, but it still helps if you continue to work on your skills so that you are well prepared for castings. The drama club at school is a good place to start, but real acting classes and workshops in specific areas of acting will definitely look better on your resume. If you don’t have time for acting classes during high school, you might be able to go to an acting camp during the summer break. If you want a more personal and professional education, talk to your parents about hiring a private acting coach who can work with you alone and help you reach your full potential.

Gain experience.

You probably won’t be spotted for a leading role on television right away, but you should have at least a modicum of acting experience to show potential agents and casting directors. Take every opportunity that comes your way, whether it’s school plays, local theater, or being an extra, to get your foot in the door of the industry. Play as many different roles as possible. This allows you to expand your skills and shine with your wide range at castings.

Make contacts

Have photos taken of you.

When you meet with potential agents, you will need photos of yourself. You want the images to be as professional as possible, so invest in an appointment with a photographer who specializes in photos of children and young people. Tell him exactly what you need the images for so he can work accordingly and come up with perfect images that you can apply to film, television, theater and commercials. It is important that you go to the right photographer for these photos. If you already know people in the industry, ask them for recommendations. Otherwise, check out the websites of photographers in your area and take a close look at their portfolios. These photos are very important, so make sure they are of high quality.

Find an agent.

You can probably handle smaller jobs with your parents, but if you really want to start a career, there is no way around an agent. Not only does he know the business much better than you and your parents and can therefore accompany you professionally, but he also has contacts with casting directors and producers who can pave the way for you and ensure that you are invited to castings in the first place. To find an agent, you should research the most successful talent agencies in your area. Only work with a reputable agent who requires no upfront payments. Many agencies allow you to apply online. Still, it’s a good idea to meet with a prospective agent in person before blindly closing a deal. If you live in a rural area where finding an agent is difficult, you can still be spotted. All you have to do is try harder and find out about casting dates on your own via the Internet and register for them. It’s also possible that no agent will take you on unless you have professional experience. Then you’ll have to snag a few roles yourself (or with your parents’ help) before you can start looking for an agent.

Get permission to work as an actor.

You are a child, actually, you are not allowed to work at all. In order for you to be able to do it as an actor, you have to obtain a lot of special permits and permits. In case of doubt, your agent knows what to do and can get you the necessary papers. What is always required is a declaration of consent from your parents. If they don’t stand behind your plans, you don’t stand a chance.

Report yourself to casting agencies.

While your agent will keep an eye out and hopefully give you opportunities to introduce yourself—that’s his job, after all—you can still look around yourself. Feel free to contact casting agencies and television stations and apply directly there and register on the UFA talent page, for example. However, you should always discuss potential roles with your agent beforehand. There is usually a fee for these sites, so you will need to discuss this with your parents first.

Create your own account on YouTube.

Whether you have an agent or not, it’s important to show yourself as an actor on as many channels as possible, especially if you don’t live in Hollywood but in a small town where talent is rarely spotted on the streets. Make small videos for YouTube showing off your talent. There’s no guarantee a director or agent will ever see them, but it’s a chance and many videos have gone viral at once. Videos of school performances or from the regional theater are ideal for putting on your YouTube channel. Even if you’ve starred in small commercials, you can upload them to get noticed in the industry. If you want to be particularly creative, develop your own scripts and shoot short films in which you can present yourself in the best possible way.

Go to castings

Prepare a monologue.

Most castings will play a specific scene or selection of scenes that you will be told beforehand. Sometimes it can also happen that you are asked to play something spontaneously. So it’s good to learn a monologue or two that you can recite in your sleep so you can act them out when in doubt. Select scenes where you can put all your acting skills to the test. If you don’t know which monologues to learn, think of your favorite movies. You will definitely find something in one of them! You should choose a monologue that is appropriate for your age. So when choosing, focus on characters who are about your own age.

Study the script or lyric sheets.

In most cases, the production company will send you a text before the actual casting that the role you are applying for will speak. Don’t just look over it a few times and learn it by heart, but deal with it intensively. Try to understand the character, put yourself in their shoes and think about how you can play the scene in the most believable way. Many casting directors don’t mind if you read from the script during the casting. However, you should not stare at it. Just occasionally glance at the text out of the corner of your eye so you can keep your focus on your acting.

Realize it’s work.

If you really want to be an actor, you have to take every casting seriously. Whether you’ve had a job before or not, act like a pro so the casting director has no qualms about working with you. Be open to any criticism or suggestions he might make, and be willing to play a scene fifty times if that gets you the role. Be confident at the casting. If you don’t believe you’re good yourself, the casting director won’t believe it either.

Do not get discouraged.

The competition is fierce, even among children. Therefore, you will probably experience many castings where you will not be selected in the end. But that doesn’t mean you should lose faith in your talent. As with so many things, practice makes perfect. The more castings you complete, the more professional you will become. If at some point you realize that acting is no longer fun for you, talk to your parents. If you’re not comfortable with something, you don’t have to keep doing it. Maybe it’s better if you stay in the theater club for the time being or make small films with your friends. You can still pursue an acting career as an adult!


Never forget that acting is just a job. You should continue to pursue your other hobbies and interests and make time for friends and family. Always stay on the ball and keep practicing, be it just at home in the living room in front of your family. It will still help you be less nervous and present yourself more confidently at real castings. If you’re having trouble understanding the emotions of a role you’re auditioning for, try recalling a moment in your own life when you felt something similar, or imagine how you would feel.


About the Author

Josh Morgan

Josh Morgan is CouponAnnie's Contributing Writer. He lives life on the cheap, but that doesn't mean a boring existence. Josh loves helping people focus on frugality without giving up the things they enjoy. When he's not getting deals, he's probably drawing or writing something amazing.