"Scripts: To bring in or not to bring in? That is the question? Some articles I've read have stated in breakdowns that a child needs to be prepared and NOT bring sides into the audition. Yet I've also heard for an actor to not bring the sides in is arrogant. What do we do?" - Joy from San Diego, CA
Great Question! Follow all these guidelines, you will be correct and show casting that you know what to do. 1. Bring in the sides 2. Have the sides marked with audition notes, i.e. words to emphasize, places to pause, etc. so the casting director knows that they have been looked at and worked on. 3. The child should know the sides well enough to not have to look at them! In case of a forgotten line, the child can glance down. What we DON”T want is the child to be dependent on the lines and stare at the pages the entire audition. The goal is not to look at them, but have them in a pinch.
"I have an adorable 3-year-old little girl. She is very friendly and cooperative with us, but gets shy and clingy around strangers. If you give her 10 or 15 minutes to warm up, she becomes outgoing. Will casting directors allow her this time?" - Alex from New Rochelle, NY
Sorry, but no. At any age, the child must be willing to separate and be friendly instantly. Any sign of hesitancy or reluctance to separate will knock the child out of contention. If your child takes 10-15 minutes to warm up to a casting director, how long would it take her to warm up a fake Mom and Dad, directors, producer, and hundreds of crew members? No one wants to find out! A child that age has to be completely uninhibited about talking to strangers and unafraid. The casting director's job is to weed out the kids who will freeze in front of a strange crowd, and the initial audition is the first test. You need to wait until this shy stage passes completely before venturing into this business.
"I have two beautiful, friendly, and talented children who really want to be on TV. They have everything needed to make it in the entertainment industry. My question is about their accents. Both kids were born and raised in Texas and have Texas drawls. Will this affect their ability to get an agent and also get jobs?" - Jamie from Houston, TX
Unfortunately, yes. The Texas accent will affect their ability to book work and get representation. The fact that they have a recognizable regional accent will definitely impede them. One option is to hire a voice coach or a linguist and get your child private lessons. A cheaper way to do this is to go online and Google the phrase “How do I lose my accent?” and you will get a batch of websites with advice. I’ve also had success with clients who bought tapes/CDs to listen to in the car, which has the child practice the correct way to pronounce words with no regional accent. Of course every now and then we get film breakdowns looking for people with mid-west accents, but that is the exception, not the norm. Good luck!
Jackie Reid owns and operates L’il Angels Unlimited, a talent management company, which specializes in young actors for placements in film, television, theater, commercials, voiceover, and print media. She works extensively with agents in New York and L.A. She possesses an excellent eye for talent that both casting directors and agents value. She understands what it takes to support young actors as a stage mom to two children, one of whom currently plays Sinjin on Nickeldeon’s hit series "Victorious." Follow her on Twitter @LilAngelsTalent and like her on Facebook.