How to Help Child Actors Stand Out for a Commercial Audition

How to Help Child Actors Stand Out for a Commercial Audition

If your child wants to be an actor, a commercial gig is always a good place to start. Commercials are a good stepping stone for those who want to break into the business, and their shorter scripts are perfect for children who want to hone their acting skills. It is natural for any parent or guardian to want nothing more than to see their child stand out during this period, but commercial auditions are not as simple as you think. The truth is, casting directors might have already seen 50 other children who look and act just like your child so the number one challenge that all budding young actors must face is finding the best way to stand out.

So if you happen to be gearing up your child for his next big audition and don’t know where to start, then you have come to the right place. Here are some helpful audition tips that professionals swear by to help child actors stand out during an audition.

1. Have the child dress their age

child actor

When casting directors look for a child actor, they will likely go for one who actually looks like a child. So there is no point of having a young girl dress up in heels or in provocative clothing for that matter. On the other hand, young boys do not need to show up in suits with itchy collars and sleeves longer than their arms. Sure, looking like this will make them stand out but for all the wrong reasons, and no parent would want to put their child in anything they could end up being uncomfortable in. So stick to comfortable clothing that will complement their personality and see to it that this goes in line with the character they are auditioning for.

2. The child should resemble their headshot

child actress, commercial audition, headshot

Headshots are a requirement for everyone who is trying to find work as an actor. A headshot typically comes in an 8 x 10 professionally shot photograph that have both full-colored and black-and-white versions.

The most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to getting a good headshot is that it reflects how the child currently looks. Parents often make the mistake of shelling out a ton of money for a headshot that is heavily airbrushed or photoshopped to the point that the subject in the photo looks unrecognizable in real life. To avoid this, keep in mind that the photo produced should remain as minimal as possible, meaning there should be little to no makeup, adornments, or unnecessary props and advise the photographer to go easy on the digital retouching.

3. Analyze the script

analyze script, child actor, acting mentor

Even short commercial scripts require analysis. Explore with the child who the character is, the products or services the company represents, and if applicable, try to analyze how the character interacts with other individuals in the script. To do so, let the child actor reflect on their characters to really get to know them inside and out. Aside from the fact that this helps the child reel out his emotions during the audition, this type of activity also helps them improvise.

4. The child should be able to take directions easily

child actor, commercial audition

As mentioned earlier, there are hundreds of other kids in the audition, so it will take more than just a unique look for your child actor stand out. A good advice to accomplish this is to make sure that they can change the way they deliver their lines during the actual audition. The most common acting skill that child actors and their mentors fail to develop is the ability to be flexible when the situation calls for it. For example, the casting director may ask the child to stop using hand gestures, but since the child has adapted to doing them during his practice sessions, it may be a bit of a challenge for them to stop. This is a big minus for casting directors, as they are likely looking for an individual who can follow instructions easily.

So how do you work on both flexibility and improvisation? When it comes to preparing for a commercial audition, or any audition for that matter, try experimenting on a variety of movement, pacing, and timing. It is important not to settle with only one delivery style as you never know when casting directors would want to change things up a bit.

5. Make it fun and properly manage their expectations

mother hugging child, child actor, commercial auditions

Being able to come out triumphant after an audition is undeniably a great feeling for both the parent and the child, but this should not be the main reason for auditioning in the first place. Doing so will only increase the pressure placed on the child, and they may end up messing up during the actual audition. So focus less on getting the job and more on feeling good about exerting the effort to go out there and try.

There is nothing else that captures a casting director’s attention more than when they see a child who is happy and ready during an audition. As a parent or guardian, it is up to you to help them view auditions as an opportunity to act rather than a make or break performance. Besides, a big part of setting goals is overcoming new challenges, and lucky for these budding young performers, their parents are there for to guide them for every step of the way.

At the end of the day, every parent wants their child to successfully book an acting job. You may have spent long nights rehearsing with your child just to make it happen. Not to mention, your agent has worked extra hard  just to get your child a slot in the actual audition. So it is only fitting for you and your child to walk in fully prepared. But do bear in mind that no matter what the outcome is, it is always important that both you and the child have fun and learn from the experience in order to move forward and develop their acting skills in the future.

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