5 Tips for Preparing Child Actors for Post-Pandemic Auditions

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Many of my students are curious about theater opening up again and changes to the industry. More specifically, the audition process. With Broadway, television, and film resuming production, the question of auditioning in our new reality is increasingly becoming a hot topic among actors. 

I recently held a livestream where I brought on three different casting directors and directors. They shared their vision of a hybrid audition process with many first auditions by self-tape and further down the road, in person. Theatrical casting hopes to be in person sooner than later. So now that the world is opening up, how do you best prepare? Here are some tips

1. Vaccines and testing.
The unions and productions are still figuring out how to open safely. Most sets will require proof of vaccination or a COVID-19 test before shooting. Store your vaccination card on your phone or in Excelsior Pass if you live in New York state. If you’re traveling to and from certain cities, you may be asked to quarantine so research requirements and plan ahead. 

2. Perfect your setup
Over the past year, actors had to adapt to the new virtual world. Now that we know casting directors are planning to work this way, having the right gear should be of utmost importance. It not only makes you look professional but being seen and heard with no distractions will help you stand out. Make sure you have a blank wall in a neutral color or purchase a pop-up screen. I like the blue and grey ones. You’ll need a tripod for your camera or phone and good lighting. Many of my students have a tripod ring light. Whether you like it or not, the self-tape is becoming an integral part of the process and well worth the small investment. Auditions have been conducted by self-tape and Zoom for over a year now. Proper equipment is expected. There is so much out of your control in this business that you don’t want to be passed over by inadequate equipment. 

3. Use the self-tape to your advantage.   
Self-taping allows casting to see many more actors and it provides many benefits to the actor. They can put their best foot forward by doing multiple takes and choosing the best one to send in. They have more time with the scene and more time to prepare. There are no excuses for memorizing their lines, understanding their scene, and making strong acting choices. Also, since actors may still be taping at home, parents should get savvy on being a good reader to increase their child’s chances of having a great audition. 

4. Talk about the audition room.
As casting progresses into callbacks, testing and chemistry reads, actors will be brought back into the live audition room. Since it may have been over a year that your child has been in an audition, remind them of new protocols like no shaking hands. Being around people may generate some anxiety or nerves, especially for those kids who have been worried about getting sick. Talk to them and assure them no one wants to get sick, and everyone is taking measures to ensure their safety. 

5. Stay flexible, adaptable, and open-minded.  
Don’t keep your child so overscheduled and overbooked that they can’t take adequate time to prepare for the auditions that lie ahead. They may have become so used to taping in the basement that the thought of traveling to an audition or performing in a show again might stress them out. Have a family meeting where you talk to your children about their worries, fears, and excitement. What are they looking forward to most? What are they not? Give them space to share their thoughts and feelings. 

For me, teaching online this past year has been both challenging and rewarding. My students have been more disciplined than ever, with fewer distractions in their Zoom boxes but craving the connection with others. We are a strong community and will all do our part to ensure a safe transition back into the room, on set and onstage.

Looking for remote work? Backstage has got you covered! Click here for auditions you can do from home!

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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Denise Simon
Denise Simon is a New York-based acting coach and career consultant who has been involved in the entertainment industry for more than 30 years as an actor, teacher, director, casting director and personal talent manager.
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