7 Reasons Your Child Actor Didn’t Get the Part

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Bookings don’t come easy for most actors so when your child is close, it’s exhilarating. But as you know, the difference between the gold and silver medalist is 1/100th of a second and with so many things in this business, the decision to cast—or not cast—your child is almost always out of your hands.

You’ve done your part and now it’s a waiting game. That phone call may or may not come, but whether your child is on the right or wrong side of the booking, here are a few things to think about as to how the final decision was made.

1. Your child simply looked the part.
This is purely a marketing decision: your child looked like what they needed. Your daughter may very well have been the less talented choice, but if she resembled the parent/sibling/friend who has already been cast in the project, she fit the bill. Whatever the physical reason, if she gets the final call, it’s still a booking. Take it and thank your family lineage for giving her the right gene pool for this role.

2. Your child’s résumé.
Your son was the better actor but he was just too new to the business. Or the role was too big and his résumé didn’t reflect enough experience. Or he doesn’t have major film credits yet and they don’t want to take the chance. In this business and time is money and they don’t want to get it wrong so they go for number two, the safer bet. The one with solid or more credits.

3. That one little thing your child did.
You’ve heard that expression “You remember moments in life”? Well, they do. Your daughter had that spontaneous moment in the audition that produced something really funny, really sincere, or really captivating. Whatever it was, it was really right. She made them feel something in the scene and that made all the difference, whether or not she knew she was doing it.

READ: Parents, Don’t Kill Your Child’s Career Before It Starts

4. Timing.
The actor they wanted suddenly wasn’t available so they went with their second choice. Number one had a situational conflict with the new shooting days, an unexpected family emergency, or something that prevented them from ultimately accepting the job. Either way, congrats—they are still happy to have your kid on board.

5. Your child’s skill level.
Your son is simply more talented or not as talented as the other actor. His moments were stronger, his choices were more interesting, he was more connected to the role. He was more focused, specific, engaging, or surprising from beginning to end...or not.

6. Your child’s background.
Casting directors have called me regarding kids when they get close to a major booking wanting to know about the parents and the child’s background. Difficult parents can lose a job. Full stop. If you’re a difficult parent, the industry knows and this can seriously sway the final decision. Unfair to the child? Yes. Reality? Yes.

7. Something completely out of your child’s control.
She was up against a famous actor and they decided they wanted a name. Or the director or producer has a niece or nephew that wants to be an actor.

Who knows why your child books or doesn’t book something. If he doesn’t, it’s a big letdown. If he does, it’s an amazing opportunity. And you likely won’t get any specific feedback on why the decision was made. But life doesn’t always provide answers, so it’s best to just let it go and move on.

Your kids will never be able to control the booking, only the audition. You’ll never know what’s in their heads or why they made the choices they did. What you do know is that you can’t change it. Let your child know that he or she did their job, that this role just wasn’t meant to be, and look forward to the next opportunity that comes their way.

Todd Etelson is a top NYC kids and teen acting coach, specializing in on-camera television, film, and audition technique. In 2004, he founded Actors Technique NY (ATNY), a TV and film school for serious young actors. He is responsible for helping hundreds of young talent gain representation and succeed in their budding careers. He works closely with most all of the top NYC agents, managers, and casting directors. His clients have boasted numerous major successes in network TV, film, and other commercial and stage projects. He began his career working at Dick Clark Productions in Los Angeles on such hits as The Academy of Country Music Awards, Puttin’ on the Hits, and American Bandstand. He’s performed on network television, film, and stage. He travels nationally and internationally to speak and teaches regional acting workshops. He’s taught in Canada and has been invited to China to teach on-camera acting skills.

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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Todd Etelson
Todd Etelson is a top NYC kids and teen acting coach, specializing in on-camera television, film, and audition technique. In 2004, he founded Actors Technique NY (ATNY), a TV and film school for serious young actors.
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