What Do Agents and Casting Directors Look For?
In addition to "cuteness" and that "star quality," agents and casting directors
are also looking for: are also looking for the following characteristics and skills: [It's OK for a phrase to be the lead-in to a short bulleted list, but the lead-in to a series of subsections should be a complete sentence.]
An Outgoing Personality
Agents look for kids who are outgoing and spontaneous
with people with the people around them. Sometimes a kid may be outgoing at home but clam up in front of strangers. If that is the case, your child he [As we discussed on the phone, to avoid the use of the generic but sexist he, him, and his to denote any child, boy or girl--and especially to avoid the awkwardness of he or she, his or her, and him or her; the barbarisms he/she and s/he; or the ungrammatical use of plural pronouns for singular nouns (an often-used "solution" to this problem)--I have recommended you refer to all children as he or she in alternation--and you agreed to this. You might want to explain this in the preface to your book, by just slightly recasting the previous sentence, and then you could add the following sentence: "Although it may sound odd to unaccustomed ears, this seems the fairest solution to the problem." Shall I put that in the preface for you? (Also, using "he" or "she"--at least sometimes--in place of the prevalent "a kid" or "a child" or their plural forms makes the writing more immediate and personal, don't you think?) We can continue to use "he or she" to refer to an agent or director, however.] is probably not ready. Your child He should want to be around other people.
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Agents and casting directors want kids who act like kids—naturally. These are the kids who are naturally outgoing. At a young age, you can't really force a child to be something he is not. So, agents and casting directors look for a kid who is a "natural," a kid who naturally likes performing.
You should also note that although your kid may not be ready now,
he or she may he may be ready in the future. My sister's second oldest kid was shy at first and didn't do too well in auditions. Then he blossomed. Now he can't stop talking and talking, and he even got a speaking part in a major motion picture.
Desire & Self-Motivation Desire and Self-Motivation
Your kid should have the desire to be in show business.
Agents and casting directors An agent or casting director [One agent or casting director at a time, for any single child.] can usually tell if a kid is being "forced" into the business by their her parents. That kid usually will not That kid will typically not audition or perform well. Show business is hard enough work without having to try to work with a kid who is not interested in performing.
A kid She may develop a desire to perform from watching television or movies and deciding that it is something he or she she wants to do. Observe your kid her to see if he or she she likes performing and/or or ["Or" covers both "and" and "or"] playing pretend for a camera. If your child is she is a baby or very young, he or she she may not be in a position to determine whether he or she she wants to be in the business. You as the parent can probably determine that they she may have what it takes.
Discipline and the Ability to Follow Directions
Show business is in large part about following directions on what to
do — posing, do—posing, speaking and acting speaking, and acting on cue. Your child should be disciplined enough to follow directions without a lot of repeated prompting.
A "Natural" [MOVE "A" TO GO TO INSERTION POINT "A." This entire section belongs under "Outgoing Personality." I have put the term "natural" into the final sentence--OK?]
Agents and casting directors want kids who act like
kids — naturally. kids—naturally. These are the kids who are naturally outgoing. At a young age, you can't really force a child to be something he or she he is not. So, agents and casting directors look for kids who naturally like a kid who is a "natural," a kid who naturally likes performing.
than Than Average Attention Span
As with most things in life, not every aspect of show business is fun and exciting.
You may need Your kid [You're discussing what the kid will go through here.] might need to wait around a lot for a scene or equipment for a scene to be run or for equipment to be set up. [A parallel construction clarifies your points.] Your kid He will need a longer than average attention span to handle the down time that is a big part of show business.
A Thick Skin
Get ready for a lot of rejection. Show business is in part a numbers game. Your kid will audition far more times than
your kid she will work. Your kid She will need to be able to handle the concept of "rejection" without taking it personally.
At younger ages, some kids will not understand the concept of rejection. For your younger
kids, child, treat the audition as an outing — and not outing, not as something that your kid he will win or lose. After the audition, don't ask the kid him whether he or she he got the job — simply got the job; simply ask about the experience. This way, the concept of rejection doesn't become part of the audition equation.
There is no one "look" that will help a kid succeed. Kids of all sizes,
gender, genders, races and races, and so forth are needed in show business — depending on show business—depending on the role. Generally, it is a good idea for the kid to look younger than they are (older kids [Juxtaposing "younger" and--in the parenthetical clause that follows-- "younger" is confusing.] it is beneficial if a child is older than she looks (older kids tend to be more mature and so are easier to work with) mature, can [INSERTION POINT "B" FOR MOVE "B," with markup incorporated:]
usually follow directions better, and are generally easier to work with) or who are is less developed physically than other kids their ages. her age.
Ages [You are continuing the discussion from the previous paragraph; a new section with the heading "Age" is unnecessary.]
Agents look for kids of all ages because there are roles for all
ages — from ages, from [Overuse of the dash does not sufficiently distinguish relationships (and tends to make your prose not be taken as seriously as it should). You write with an informal style, which is appropriate, but too many dashes make the style too informal and "breezy."]
babies to teenagers. The majority of work for kids usually takes place after age 6 because kids, however, [The "however" is appropriate, because you are qualifying your previous sentence.]
is for children over the age of six, because after age 6 your kid can after his sixth birthday your kid can legally put in longer hours on the set. A child looking younger than his or her age is an asset because older kids [The foregoing words are redundant with the previous paragraph.] [MOVE "B" TO GO TO INSERTION POINT "B." The following phrase is the only part of its sentence that is not redundant, and it can be inserted in the previous paragraph.]
usually follow directions better. better,
One of the most endearing things about a child is
their her smile. Well, the truth of the matter is that a kid's smile will go through many changes. As your child grows, he or she she may loose lose a tooth or need corrective work.
If your child is missing a tooth, you may want to get
your child him a "flipper" which "flipper," which is a dental device (very much like a denture) that device very much like a denture that fills in for the missing tooth. If your child's his teeth are not straight, you may also want to get braces. get him braces. Most advertisers — especially for food products — will want advertisers, especially those promoting food products, will want to see straight teeth.
Before you spend a lot of money on dental work, talk to your agent about what to do.
[MOVE "C" TO GO TO INSERTION POINT "C." This entire section belongs at the end. "Other Skills" should come last.]
If your child is auditioning for speaking or dancing parts,
your kid he will also need to have speaking or dancing ability. Most roles, however, don't require specific skills (such as athletics, music or otherwise). These other skills, however, skills (such as athletics or music). [The "such as" means that the items mentioned are not necessarily all of the skills, so "otherwise" is redundant.]
Such skills, however, look good on a resume because résumé, because it shows that your kid he is involved and disciplined enough to pursue these activities.
One good way to determine whether your child has what it takes to succeed is to enroll
your child her in a professional commercial workshop. Your kid She will be shown how taught how to work in front or a front of a video camera, say lines and learn techniques for showing different camera, to say lines properly, and to show different types of action. [Before she was "shown how to work ..., say, and learn techniques for showing...." Now she is "taught how to work ..., to say ..., and to show..." The parallel construction clarifies just what she will be able to learn in the workshop. Also, the "properly" is needed to qualify "say lines"; she could probably "say" them before the workshop.]
How your child she responds to this workshop experience can help you determine how your child she will respond in a real working environment.
Some agents do not want younger kids to go to
workshops because workshops, because sometimes they lose their "naturalness" in front of a camera. When a child gets older, however, and the competition older and the competition is more keen, it may be a good idea more keen, however, [The "however" works best between the entire time condition and the result.]
it may be a good idea to send your kid him to a workshop to fix little things such as fidgeting too much or how things, such as how to control fidgeting or how to pose for a camera. [You don't want to teach him how to fidget too much.]
Proactive, Caring Parents
You are also a big part of your child's
success — from success—from how timely you show up to auditions and jobs, to how you relate how well you relate to agents and casting directors, to how well you encourage and prepare your child for what it takes to "work" in show business. Show business is a very competitive business. Show business is very competitive. You need to be ready to do what it takes to help your child succeed — from succeed—from going to yet another audition, to staying on top of all opportunities to handling opportunities, to handling all the necessary recordkeeping. record keeping.
You should know that casting agents are
also casting parents too when also auditioning parents, too, when they audition your kid. [Having "casting" as an adjective with "agents" and as a verb for the object "parents" is very confusing. The agent is, however, auditioning both the kid and the parents.]
They'll even ask your agent about their his or her experiences [Having "They'll" refer to the casting agent and "their" refer to the personal agent is confusing; let "his or her" refer to the personal agent.] with you as a stage mom or dad. They don't want to work with a difficult parent on the set. They want They do want [You need an emphatic contrast to what the casting agents don't want.] parents who are supportive of their kids, who return calls quickly and quickly, and who are on top of all the paperwork that has to be done.
it takes It takes a lot of hard work and persistence to succeed in show business.
[This extra space should be eliminated.]
Reading and Memorization Skills
[This heading should be subsumed under the main heading "What Do Agents and Casting Directors Look For?"; it should be parallel with the other subheadings here, such as "Proactive, Caring Parents."]
Reading and Memorization Skills
important thing that is necessary to succeed is good important factor in your child's success is good reading and memorization skills. [There is no need for a new paragraph here. Let the text run in, but eliminate the redundancy.]
Reading skills are very important because your kids will need She will need to be able to read audition scripts quickly and to remember them.
For some auditions, your agent will send you
"sides" (which are the lines "sides" (the lines your kids are child is supposed to memorize) about one day before an audition. Agents and casting directors will expect that your kids he can read and deliver the lines well.
So from an early stage, develop your child's reading skills. Start reading aloud to
them her at a very early age. Point out words in a book to create word recognition. To create word recognition, point out words in a book. [Whenever possible in a "how-to" book, put the desired outcome before the required action.]
There are many educational tools out in the marketplace today to assist children with their reading skills.
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If your child is auditioning for speaking or dancing parts, he will also need to have speaking or dancing ability. Most roles, however, don't require specific skills (such as athletics or music). Such skills, however, look good on a résumé, because it shows that he is involved and disciplined enough to pursue these activities.
One good way to determine whether your child has what it takes to succeed is to enroll her in a professional commercial workshop. She will be taught how to work in front of a video camera, to say lines properly, and to show different types of action. How she responds to this workshop experience can help you determine how she will respond in a real working environment.
Some agents do not want younger kids to go to workshops, because sometimes they lose their "naturalness" in front of a camera. When a child gets older and the competition is more keen, however, it may be a good idea to send him to a workshop to fix little things, such as how to control fidgeting or how to pose for a camera.