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child actor

6 Key Guidelines to follow BEFORE your child signs with an Agent

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Becoming a performer in any capacity is a big undertaking at any age. It is even more so as a child.

Entering your child into the film industry is new and unexplored territory for most parents. It is a full time commitment, and the possibilities are limitless. To help navigate your way through the beginning processes, we have a few pieces of advice!

* Do your research! Most agencies have all of their policies and expectations readily available on their websites. Are you and your child ready for the expectations that come along?

* Enroll your child in a class or workshop, have a coaching session with an acting teacher BEFORE you contact an agent. The Coach has industry experience and could help point you in the right direction, whether it be to continue with classes first, or to jump right in and get an Agent.

*Just like any activity, is this a passing phase? Are you and your child ready to make this career decision?

* Look into workshops for parents of child actors, these information sessions are worth their weight in gold! An industry professional guiding you with insider information and teaching you etiquette on how to hone your child’s craft as well as teaching you how not to get too involved (Stage Moms…’nuff said!)

​* Understand that this is not like registering your child in a sport. You cannot opt out when you don’t feel like attending auditions. Agents are not coaches; we are not paid to represent your child. If you sign a contract with an Agent you are agreeing to be committed and do your part to ensure your child’s success. Children can’t decide they don’t feel like preparing for their audition, they don’t feel like studying their lines etc. You must explain to your child that they cannot decide not to put in the effort on a given day. It is a job, it is a commitment and getting auditions are like winning the lottery so to speak. They must be prepared and they must be eager to succeed.​

* The amazing thing about this industry for Children is that it can aid a parent with secondary school funds, it is the only activity that you child can do that has the potential of making money not just costing money. If you register your child in hockey, figure skating, dance etc. the chances that they will make an income from their sport is very slight. The chances they can make an income for your efforts in this industry is great! Children that stick with this, parents that do their part by getting their child training, following their Agent’s guidance etc reap the rewards and they can really help with savings for College and University.

At the end of the day, becoming an actor is a full time job. It has both benefits and drawbacks and can set your child up with amazing life experience. Interview skills, self-confidence, and public speaking are all transferrable. Learning to control the room at a young age can set them up for huge success in the future in any industry as well. It can also mean rushed/missed dinners, late nights of learning lines and time off of school.

​Know the facts before jumping in….read online, speak to actors, speak to coaches! Send a question or two to an Agency….collect information to make an educated informed decision.

The 10 minute fix!

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Thats all it takes, just 10 minutes! AS SOON AS YOU SHOOT anything; print ad, photo campaign, commercial etc. Hop on to Casting Workbook and Actors Access and update your resume. All the details that you need are right in your booking email.

Don’t make the mistake of getting so excited about booking a project (I mean, you’re awesome, of course you booked a project!) that you forget to update your CV. Star everything that is linked to the project so that is is easier to find. We all know how it goes, the email gets pushed down, the project name changes from a generic ‘Project Cookie’ to a more meaningful title, and you forget the original details.

Going back through mountains of correspondence to search for the production house name can be a nightmare. The more traction you make in the industry and the busier you get, the more this small step is crucial.

Adding to your online resume only helps you. The more resumed of an actor, the more casting directors and producers look upon you with respect. It shows your ability to take direction and produce quality work.

Just as with a corporate resume, your acting resume is just as important, if not more so. How often do you apply for a ‘job’? My guess is not half as often as your agent submits your headshot and resume for consideration. This is why updating is crucially important, it helps both you and your agent make the best impression you can.

Don’t forget the format!

  • Television/Film
  • Commercial
  • Print
  • Training

Project name-Actor Type-Production Company:
Children’s Aid Society – Principal – Phanta Media

An Agent’s Purpose

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An Agent’s entire job is to get you an audition; to run an efficient and effective business where their entire roster is accountable and reliable. When a casting house calls or emails, they know without a shadow of a doubt that (barring hospitalization and already being booked for another project) the talent they want to see will be unequivocally available. This business never stops or even takes pause for sleep. 

Lets break down the purpose and directive of an agent; their sole purpose is to promote their signed talents. An agent is a full time, 16-20 hours a day communicating machine. Your agent is in constant communication with casting houses, production teams and directors. 

They already have the relationships built, they know the nuances, and they have committed themselves to being your biggest cheerleader. They only get paid when you do. The more you get paid, the more they get paid. Everything they tell you is to help push you in the right direction for your career. This is a well oiled machine! Don’t reinvent the wheel! And at the risk of adding in one too many tacky cliches, They know what they’re talking about! They would NEVER steer you in the wrong direction, their job and livelihood literally depend on it.

The risk isn’t ‘will your agent work for you’, the risk is, ‘will you work for your agent’? Once your goals align with each other, the sky’s the limit! Aligning your goals may take some time, but here are some surefire ways to help the process:

  • Be Punctual; with emails, confirming auditions, and attending meetings/auditions 
  • Always email. Phone lines are lighting up at all hours of the day and night, and are  reserved for casting/production/directors   
  • Read EVERY line of an email twice before emailing questions. The answer is 9/10 right in the correspondence 
  • Time change requests – Your agent doesn’t set these times, so no, they can’t change them 
  • Schedule yourself as though this were your job (it kind of is, right?) Write down (and have it easily accessible) all your Confirmed shoot dates, Outside dates if you are booked, but no dates have been confirmed and Auditions 
  • Do Not confirm conflicting dates 
  • Be accountable                 

Acting agents utilise a unique blend of customer service and marketing skills to give their talents the tools they need to succeed. Be receptive to their advice, and give them back just as much dedication. Your efforts won’t go unrewarded!

Video Reels/Demos

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The acting world is a media based beast. Everything we use, do, and intake revolves around an electronic submission.

As actors, our careers are navigated by any number of media outlets. Our electronic footprint either moves us towards our goals or stagnates our results. Its no wonder that presenting our best selves online contributes directly to our achievements and advancements (or lack thereof).

One way to showcase our talent is with a video clip/demo reel. It is uploaded to our agency recommended casting websites (Actors Access & Casting Workbook) and serves as a highlight and preview for Directors and Casting Agencies.

Just like adding pictures to a social media profile, it increases our chances of being viewed and short listed as your skills are physically highlighted. What do we add in our demo reel? A number of options depending on your experience!

A slate is recommended for everyone. It showcases your voice and presentation capabilities as well as your personality. All of which can secure you a role before the audition even starts.

For those actors just beginning, or who only have print campaigns and SOC roles, workshop and bootcamp recordings are great material to showcase your range. 

Once you have a few projects under your belt, you can edit a few of your clips together to make your own demo reel. Depending on which site you are posting to, there may be an editing option available directly on the site. Alternatively, I recommend learning an editing program (or at least a few basics!). iMovie is a great program for the technological apprentice, or if you are a diehard Windows User such as myself, I use the free version of LightWorks. It is a bit more complicated (the amount of time I have spent watching tutorials vs actually editing is kind of embarrassing!) but it does not limit your final product, and has a plethora of editing options.

Adding video clips and demo reels to your acting sites aid your chances, and can help propel you to bigger roles and opportunities. Remember, this is all up to you to do. You are a self employed contractor, your product is yourself. The better you sell your brand, the more people will come and knock at your door!

Acting Wardrobe Do’s and Don’ts

By | Blog Posts

Here is a handy – dandy pocket sized guide to your ever growing wardrobe.

While this may not be an exhaustive list of *every* rule a director or stylist could abide by, it is a great general resource for quick reference!

Do’s Avoid
Be comfortable!

If you can’t sit, or walk with confidence, there’s no way you’ll be able to convince anyone you are the right guy/gal for the job!

Loud patterns

No stripes, zig zags or anything flashy. You are there to show them what you’ve got, not what you’ve bought

Have a variety

Bring multiples in varying shapes and colors to a fitting. Shading can mean the world for that exact right look

Sparkles/Sequins

While these are a fav of every little girl (and lets’ face it, stage moms too!), they play tricks with the cameras and are not recommended

Always bring back-up

Spilt your coffee? Splashed by a passing car? Another actor in the same Aritzia top as you? Always be prepared with a ‘just in case’ outfit

Anything Neon

Pretty much for the same reasons as sparkles and sequins, neon is not flattering unless you are specifically styled that way by your wardrobe team

Keep it simple

Fussing and mussing about isn’t only distracting to you, but to the directors and casting agents as well. Showcase yourself, not all those extra layers

Showing *too much* skin

Especially for kids! Avoid spaghetti straps and short shorts

Always be cleaned and pressed/steamed

Whether you prefer an old fashioned iron, or a new styled hand steamer, make sure you are wrinkle free. It shows you have put effort into your appearance without showing the effort behind the thousands of auditions and late night commutes

Logos/Words/Team names

These have been copy written by their respective affiliates, and cannot be shown or photographed without explicit permission

Lead with confidence

Sometimes thinking outside the box is the best course of action. Your acting, attitude and confidence will sell your audition far more than a carefully chosen t-shirt

Red!

It does not show well on screen, there is this horrible orange aura! Accenting with red is ok, but nothing overbearing

Shopping for your acting wardrobe doesn’t have to be a laborious chore, scope out second hand and vintage shops. Above all else, remember to HAVE FUN!

Here is a printable option for you! Acting Wardrobe Printable

Seeking New Talent!!

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We are seeking new actors to add to our amazing team!! We are strictly Principal and are looking for the following categories. This is the busy casting season and Filmcomm is a little bit light in the following groups.
 
No experience necessary. Just a flexible schedule to attend auditions in Toronto and a strong desire to be on Television.
 
 
African American boys ages 8-18
 
Asian moms and dads ages 30-85
 
Native actors ages 3-85
 
Attractive but real men and women ages 25-50
 
And of course, all resumed experienced  actors​.
 
 
Please email us your information