It’s audition day!
Everyone who was chosen for the audition has the same script for the same role. If they’re seasoned auditioners, no one is overdressed, they’re wearing little to no make-up and most likely, nothing about their outward appearance says “HEY! REMEMBER ME! I’M UNFORGETTABLE! But unless your child gives an unforgettable performance, casting directors will likely… well, forget them. Keep reading and I’m going to give you 6 tips on how to ensure your child is unforgettable at auditions.
Hey Parents, my name is Diana Ivelis and I’m the author of “Raising a Child Star”! I am an acting career consultant that helps parents of aspiring child actors (just like you) successfully navigate the entertainment industry. If you implement these tips I’m about to give you, you will ensure your child is unforgettable when presenting themselves to casting directors. And even if they don’t book the role, they’ll be booking the room, audition after audition. And that is the goal of every audition… “Book The Room!” When your child books the room, it means they did an incredible job that was memorable. When other projects come across casting’s desk that your child is perfect for, they will remember them and request them to come and audition. Many Casting directors have even said that they keep a database of all of their favorites1
Let’s get right into it!
TIP #1 – Be 15-20 Minutes Early! In this industry, it’s said that “being on time is being late” so make sure that you plan accordingly for parking, traffic and using the restroom. But… be no more than 15 to 20 minutes early. If you arrive any earlier, stay outside the building until 15-20 mins before your child’s scheduled audition time, because in my experience, being way too early is just as bad as being late.
Casting directors sometimes receive thousands of submissions for one role and when they start the in-person audition process, they’ve scheduled their time very intentionally to see as many actors as they can within an allotted time. They leave just enough time in between auditions to prepare for the next. Sometimes, they are pairing your child with another actor who is auditioning for the opposite role. By you and your child arriving too early, you can possibly create a hiccup in their process, making their tight schedule even tighter, which can be frustrating or even annoying for them. Normally, they only want to see who is scheduled to be in the casting office at their allotted time.
Being late can cause the same issues and the same frustration for casting directors which can create issues for your child going forward. This negative experience can make your child “unforgettable” in a negative way. Bottom line… 15-20 minutes early… nothing more, nothing less (unless otherwise instructed specifically by the casting office or your agent).
TIP #2 - Be prepared. Be sure your child is familiar with their lines and that they’re “off book” if they can do so comfortably. If they’re not comfortable with being off book, then make sure they can at least run their lines without burying their face in the script.
Here are some quick memorization strategies from my son and husband, Travis Wolfe Jr and Sr (who are both great at memorizing scripts) that will help your child get prepared and get “on book.” Please have your child read this as we will be speaking directly to them for this part. Often, it’s good to have someone else other than our parents teaching us things. A “different voice” can really be beneficial when children are training. But certainly make sure to remind your child of these strategies and maybe even incorporate some of your own strategies with these proven methods to really help your child excel.
Hey kids! Here are some great strategies that professional actors use to memorize their scripts/sides before auditions and other projects.
(1) “I AM GREAT AT MEMORIZING LINES!” If we tell ourselves we can’t memorize lines, we are right. If we tell ourselves we can memorize lines, we are right. It has been said, “The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can’t are both right.” Remember, once we decide we cannot do a thing, we will absolutely struggle to do it or we won’t do it at all. If we believe we can, we can and we will! Before you even get started, positively affirm yourself, say to yourself “I AM GREAT AT MEMORIZING LINES!” Say this over and over again, loudly and powerfully in the mirror and believe it with all your heart! Then, go to strategy number two and start the process.
(2) REPETITION. REPETITION. REPETITION. Read your lines as much as possible! Sir Anthony Hopkins, considered by many to be one of the world's greatest actors, was asked what was his process for memorizing scripts, he simply said “I read it.” When asked by another student what he does after he reads the script, his response was, “read it.” As the story goes, he gave the same response about 5 times until everyone got the point. READ IT! Reading the script over and over with the intention to learn the script will help you memorize the lines! Repetition is really one of the best ways to memorize anything. This part is called “SEE IT.”
(3) “SAY IT.” Read the lines aloud. Hearing yourself saying the lines as you’re reading them are engaging a combination of your major senses. Without getting into the science of it all, seeing, saying and hearing the lines all together gives you more ways to engage with the content and helps you commit it to memory more easily.
(4) And finally, “DO IT.” Visualize the scene as you’re reading the lines. Put yourself in the scene. After you’ve read the scene over many times, act the scene out as you say the lines. By doing what is written, you are committing the words to memory by incorporating “doing” into the process. See It. Say It. Do It.
BONUS STRATEGY!: Break the script down into sections, three (3) is a good number to start with and you can break it down into even more sections of the script/sides are longer. Memorizing your script by section will surely help cure you of what some refer to as overwhelm or frustration. Learn section by section and as you learn the sections, bring them together.
BONUS TIP!: Trust yourself, know that you’ve learned the lines, and challenge yourself to say the lines without reading the script. There is proven scientific evidence that shows when you try this method, there are new neurological pathways that are created that help you build a better memory. So not only are you learning the lines, but you’re increasing your mental capacity and memorization skills. Trust yourself, you know it!
TIP #3 — Do Your Research on the project and on your child’s character. You’ll want to research the casting director, writer, director and the producer of the current project that you're auditioning for. Study the script and break down the character. Encourage your child to make a decision on what they're going to do with the character before they get into the audition room. Tell them to be interesting and be bold! Have them dare to be different from the rest and stick to it. Give them the space to execute it and then be proud that they did exactly what they went there to do.
TIP #4 - Be Professional and Dress the Part. Dress your child in such a way that will allow casting to see your child in the role. Come in with a resume and a headshot in hand unless you are warned ahead of time that casting is “green.” When a casting agency is “green,” this means they are environmentally conscious and prefer digital headshots and resumes rather than paper.
TIP #5 – Ignore Mistakes and KEEP GOING! The best actors are so good at their craft that casting directors don’t, or almost don’t even notice if they’ve flubbed over a line because the actor stays in character and keeps going as if nothing went wrong. Ordinary human emotion kicks in when we make a mistake and we can often find ourselves acknowledging the mistake and apologizing for it. Saying sorry, showing we’re embarrassed and frustrated, can affect our entire performance. The highlight of the audition can sometimes become how much the actor apologized, said “I’m sorry” and how badly they fell apart afterward because they couldn’t get out of their head after they made a mistake. But if your child wants to be extraordinary, teach them not to react to their mistakes and tell them don't apologize, stay in character and keep going! Your child didn’t offend the casting director because they didn’t say the line correctly, so there’s no need to apologize. Casting wants to hear the lines and see the actions written in the script. Teach your child to continue to stay in character and execute, remembering their training and minding their composure. Teaching them to become a master at this can make all the difference for them in an audition.
Last, but certainly not least…
TIP #6 Concentrate Mainly on Your Acting. Your child’s performance and what they do with the character is most important. Be sure to remind your little actor to be confident in what they’re capable of doing. The script is written a certain way but the producers don't always know what they want with the character until they see it. They may have their preference as far as age and characteristics, but the performance is left in the hands of the actors most times. You want your child to “wow” them with their acting!
Remember, casting knows that most actors are nervous, so teach your kid to just shake it off and do what they do best.
Now these aren’t the only things you can do to stand out at acting auditions, but these are definitely sure-fire tips that will absolutely work in your child’s favor, should they apply them.
If you loved these tips and you want more like it, join our community for Supportive Parents of Child Actors on Facebook and subscribe to our Youtube channel @raisingachildstar, and go down the rabbit hole of information! There’s so much to know about this industry, and it’s a privilege to be your guide and to share it with you!
See you on set!