7 Audition Tips for Babies and Toddlers

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Photo Source: Mike Von on Unsplash

Hey, baby! Yeah, you! I’m talking to you with the chubby cheeks and the bright eyes and the dazzling, toothless smile that makes everyone say “Awwww!” when they meet you. How would like to be on TV? “Who, me?” you would ask if you could talk. “But I can’t even walk yet, and I don’t even know how to use the potty!”

I cannot keep enough adorable babies on my roster for the amount of castings that come in for them. Besides diaper and baby food commercials, infants and toddlers are featured in car commercials, toilet paper ads, cleaning supply commercials, banking and investment commercials, cell phone ads, and many others. You get the picture: Everyone wants an adorable baby in their ad, even if the product isn’t for babies.

But let’s face it, there are lots of beautiful babies out there—all ready, willing and able to start a fat college fund before they are even in school. With all that competition out there, what's a parent to do? Here are seven simple tips to to ensure that your baby's audition goes as smoothly as possible:

1. Make sure your baby is wide-awake and changed. Before even walking into the casting office your baby (by baby I am including any child from zero to three years old) should be awake, fed and changed, and alert. Little ones usually sleep in the car on the ride to the audition and wake up groggy. Arrive at least 20 minutes early to take care of food, diapering, and a walk around the block so that are fully awake upon walking in.

2. Dress your baby like, well, a baby! No frilly party dresses or little suits or anything else that is too mature looking for an infant. Simple, solid-colored pastel onesies look best. If you are auditioning for a diaper commercial, make sure your baby is wearing the brand that you are auditioning for. A sure-fire way to blow a Huggies audition is to show up in a Pampers diaper.

3. Come prepared with a photo and measurements. When your baby auditions, they will normally take a digital photo on the spot to see how the child looks at the casting. Always have a photo that you brought from home to offer them also. This should be a very current photo, no more than a month old. The child should be smiling, looking at the camera, alone in the picture, no hats, plain background. Have your baby’s most current measurements (height and weight and sizes) on the back of the photo. You should also be updating your agent/manager every two to three months with sizes and pictures, as babies change so fast!

4. Have the least-attached parent bring the baby to auditions. At baby or toddler auditions, the casting director many times will take the child away from the parent and into another room to audition. This is to see how the baby separates and interacts with strangers. The parent whom the baby is least attached to should be the one taking them to the audition. Oftentimes a baby will scream when taken away from Mommy and not make a peep when taken from Dad or Grandma or the babysitter.

5. Have an audition toy. One trick I find very helpful is having a special toy that always makes the baby smile and saving that toy for auditions. Offering a squeaky toy or stuffed animal to a CD when they are taking the child in and telling them that the child will smile at it makes things very easy for them when they interacting with a little one. Maybe it’s a special phrase or noise that makes a baby crack up. Mention it before the baby goes in.

6. Learn from your mistakes! It's also helpful to note what doesn’t work. I’ll never forget taking my daughter Ashley on a huge national commercial audition and being told afterwards that they couldn’t get her to look up, no matter what they tried. Turns out she was transfixed by the bright red booties she was wearing and wouldn’t stop looking at them! Lesson learned!

7. Combat separation anxiety. Some babies and toddlers will go through separation anxiety no matter what you do. This can’t be helped and the only solution is to wait it out. During this period, you as the parent should be exceptionally friendly and outgoing to everyone you meet (seriously!) so the child can see that there is nothing to fear from strangers. I know this is completely counterintuitive to the way most of were raised.

We have to remember that “babies are babies.” If your child is sick, let your agent or manager know as soon as possible that you won’t make the audition. There is no need to push it. As all parents know, a baby’s mood can be unpredictable from one moment to the next, however, if you practice the tips above, your child may be the next baby star!

Like this advice? Check out more from our Backstage Experts!

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Jackie Reid
Jackie Reid owns and operates L’il Angels Unlimited, a talent management company, which specializes in placing young actors in films, theater productions, commercials, print media, on television, and with voiceover work. Reid works extensively with agents in New York and L.A.
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