Auditioning Child Actors: A First-Timer’s Checklist

Hiring child performers can be stressful if you’ve never done it before because it can leave you feeling like you’re fighting an uphill battle to find the perfect performer while having to let down dozens of very volatile performers. 

If you’re auditioning child actors, this is a first-timer’s checklist to ensure you do it correctly!

The Parents On-Site and Within Sight

The most important part of any audition involving a minor is that the parents or guardians of the child are present and are within sight of the child at all times.  Although this may seem like a distraction for the performer, this protects both you and the children from anything happening.  

This can also allow the child to feel more relaxed and able to put on a good performance if they’re younger and have trouble separating from their parents. 

Another Person Helping You Audition Them

Work as a pair with another person on your team who can help you with auditions.  This will give you someone to bounce ideas off of and give you a second opinion if you’re unsure about an actor.  It can be hard to tell if child actors are doing a good job or not since they’re playing children, which can be incredibly unpredictable and goofy acting.  

Having another person on your side who can help you create a good team of performers is vital to ensure that your cast is everything you need them to be.  

Longer Time-Slots For Auditions

Time slots for auditions should be a little longer or have a longer gap between them for child actors.  This is more true the younger they are since it might take a moment longer to corral them in and get them ready for the read.

Just because a child is distractible doesn’t mean they won’t be a fantastic asset to your production when things begin.  Many child actors are awesome when push comes to shove and just have audition jitters.

A Script That’s Short, Familiar, and Easy to Memorize

Avoid giving them too long of a script unless their role is going to require them to memorize several pages of dialogue at a time.  You can borrow a script from other popular children’s media and use this as what they read off for you.  If it’s more of a physical role, ask for them to show the abilities that you’re hiring for.  

A Comprehensive Schedule for Production

An important item to have on hand is a comprehensive schedule for when production should start, how long it should last, and how much the child actor will be needed during that schedule.  This ensures that they’re able to plan around production and that you’re able to stick with child labor laws.

Hiring Child Actors Doesn’t Have to Be Stressful.

You don’t have to lose hair over hiring a young professional actor!  Instead, take the time to interview and audition them thoroughly, and be clear if the answer is no.  There’s no need to get people’s hopes up just because you don’t want to call or email them to say they didn’t get the role. 

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