We have talked about what to do and what not to do at auditions. But lengthy checklists can add more confusion and stress than they resolve. So here's the single MOST IMPORTANT thing for an audition - your kid must feel comfortable. It will help them act more natural, not worry about anything other than their performance, and be their confident & authentic selves, which casting directors love. If you've got a toddler, then it's simple - make sure they're clean, fed, fresh, and just generally ready to be their dazzling selves.
But as kids get older things such as lines, behavior, and interaction become more important, and keeping your kid comfortable becomes a challenging task. So these tips will surely come in handy.
4 simple tips to make your kid feel comfortable & confident
- Put your kid at ease before an audition.
- Make sure they have everything they need.
- Be friendly with the casting director and others.
- Distract your kid with acting games.
The core idea is to remove as much stress and obstacles as possible, so your kid doesn't get distracted or worried about things other than their performance.
Tip #1: Put your kid at ease before an audition
Auditions are scary. There are a bunch of strangers with certain expectations, it's an unfamiliar environment, and there's pressure to do a good job. And parents often amplify the scariness of the situation - “Do it exactly like we practiced!”, “Don't forget to greet everyone!”, “Remember to smile and look happy!”. This is perfectly natural. Of course we want our little ones to do their best. But by trying to be helpful with tips and tricks we as parents often end up having an adverse effect. Instead of your kid going out there having fun and doing their lines, they end up worrying and trying to remember all of the stuff they have to do, oftentimes messing up in the process. It's a LOT of information!
So here's the ideal scenario: get your practice in well before the audition, but on the day of the audition, just be there for your kid and show them that you believe in them. Don't lecture & teach, but rather encourage and support. Don't question them about “do you remember everything?, but rather ask them “Do you have any questions?” and “How do you feel?”. Celebrate that you're at an audition, not that you might get the role. These things will help your kid feel more sure about themselves and feel happier during the audition. And there's nothing casting directors love more than a genuinely happy child.
Tip #2: Make sure they have everything they need
If you find yourself asking your kid if they brought their lines with them, then something's wrong. YOU should be the one making sure they have their lines and everything else they need so that your kid can focus on the audition. How can they feel like a star if you don't treat them like one? This includes everything from their lines and documents all the way to snacks and water. It's normal to feel anxious before an audition, so we recommend having a special treat handy (your kid's favorite candy) to give them and calm their nerves.
Tip #3: Be friendly with the casting director and others
You can diffuse the scariness of the new environment by making your kid feel comfortable in it. How? Show them through your actions that there's nothing to worry about. Be kind and communicate with others, and especially with casting directors. If you show your kid that there's nothing to fear and we're all on the same team trying to create a cool project, then your kid won't fear or worry about the casting directors. You being friendly with others will help your kid feel the same. What's more, casting directors often evaluate the parents too! A quick chat before or after the audition isn't just a pleasantry. Working with a child actor often means working with the parents as well. So that talk holds a lot of weight. It helps casting directors understand what to expect from you and your kid and how easy would it be to work together. So being friendly with a casting director will not only let your kid feel more relaxed and welcomed, but it might also score you some brownie points for when they're making their final decisions.
Tip #4: Distract your kid with acting games
An acting game is the best way to shift your kid's focus away from the audition, while still “practicing” for it. Playing a game together can help ease the stress of the upcoming audition, letting your kid forget about their worries. Two games we recommend are It's HOW you say it and Tongue Twisters, since they can be played anywhere - even on your commute to the audition.
Here's the quick version of the rules: It's HOW you say it: Pick a phrase, any phrase, e.g. “Driving to the audition” or “I'm going to be a superstar”. Take turns saying the same phrase in different ways, e.g. angry, happy, sad, confused, like you're being interviewed, like you're explaining it to grandma, try putting emphasis on different words. Tongue Twisters: Pick a tongue twister, a classic one being “She sells seashells by the seashore”. Take turns saying it as clearly as possible and once you've got that down - speed it up! Find out who can say it fast & clear the most times. For more in-depth descriptions & examples, as well as more games, check out this acting games for kids article.
Make your kid comfortable for an audition by:
- Supporting & believing in them
- Taking care of all the practical things
- Being friendly with others and showing your kid there's nothing to worry about
- Taking your kid's mind off the audition with some acting games
Doing these things will help your kid feel better, make the audition process more fun, and produce better results! Good luck to you & your kid on your next audition! Looking for gigs for your kid? Browse the latest kids acting & modeling casting calls.