Where to start if your child wants to be an actor… Part one

As I mentioned last week, our first step on our family’s acting journey was seeking out representation, meaning finding an agent. I say family, even though only Elizabeth is acting, because it takes a village, people. It really does.

While finding an agent was our first step, it might not be the “right” first step for your family. I wouldn’t have even considered seeking out an agent if my best friend, who’s a makeup artist in California, hadn’t suggested it. Elizabeth was pretty young when Heyman Talent signed her. They didn’t even want us to bring Elizabeth in with us; they just wanted to see a photo. But who did they want to meet?? Her parents.

Now why would that be? I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure we assumed correctly. They wanted to feel us out before they signed our child. Were we stage parents who were pushing our child to do something she didn’t want to do? Were we going to be a nightmare to work with? We weren’t (and aren’t) stage parents, and hopefully we’re pretty easy to deal with, but how would they know that without meeting us?

Columbus OH Ohio Child Model
Elizabeth working for Thirty-One Gifts, 2017 Spring/Summer Catalog

I’ve spoken with some moms who feel like their daughters would really enjoy acting/modeling, and I try my best to paint them a clear and honest picture of what to expect. So I’m going to get down to it.

1. Find an Agent

This one is pretty clear, and I wrote about it, in detail, last week. If you missed it, you can find it below.

2. Get Your Child involved in Local Theatre

Auditioning can be nerve-wracking. So your child needs to be comfortable performing in front of people and in front of the camera. Elizabeth is starting to hit the age where she gets a little nervous before callbacks, because she knows, during most in-person auditions, she’s going to have a panel of people watching her every move. I can’t stress enough, the importance of getting your child into local theatre, if he/she wants to be an actor. Elizabeth has taken several classes at Commonwealth Theatre and Derby Dinner Playhouse. She is obsessed with live theatre, and it has been a great way for her to learn about performing and how to be comfortable in the spotlight. She would be in heaven if she were able to do live theatre for the rest of her life. She hardly sleeps the night before her performances, and it isn’t because of nerves. She can’t wait to get up there and perform in front of an audience.

3. When Your Child Starts Booking, Be Flexible & Plan to Travel

Here’s the part where we really didn’t know what we had gotten into, but looking back, I don’t know that we would’ve done anything differently. We are in Louisville, Kentucky, and while things pop up here from time to time, this is not a full-time market. And your agent will tell you that when you sign with him/her. When you have a hungry child, (hungry in terms of wanting to work) he/she can get a little frustrated waiting for auditions. Elizabeth booked her very first gig in Fall 2016 with Thirty-One Gifts. The project shot in Columbus, Ohio. It’s about 3.5 hours from Louisville. I think they booked her around 4pm, the day before the shoot was scheduled, and we had to be on set, in Columbus, early the next morning. We threw stuff together and drove up the night before and stayed in a hotel, so we would be there and be ready the next morning. That’s the nature of the business. When your child gets booked, you often don’t get much notice, so you MUST be flexible, especially in a part-time market, if your child wants to work.

I’ve included some photos from her shoot. She was photographed for their 2017 Spring/Summer Catalogue. She was completely inexperienced and was pretty difficult to work with, to be honest. God love them for having her back again, recently, after this shoot. They worked with a totally different kid, the second time around, thankfully. She was ready to go and knew what to do – something that is only learned from experience.

Columbus Ohio child actor, Elizabeth Howlett
Elizabeth modeling for Thirty-One Gifts, 2017 Spring/Summer Catalog

In the past few years, I can’t tell you how many trips we’ve made to Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Nashville. We’ve been fortunate enough to tape most of Elizabeth’s auditions at home or at the Heyman Louisville office, but sometimes casting directors want to see talent audition in person. Elizabeth booked a national La-Z-Boy commercial this past year, and while we taped and submitted the original audition from home, they held the callbacks (A callback in a second audition, once they’ve narrowed down their selection of actors.) in Columbus. Elizabeth was fortunate enough to be selected, but if she had not, we would’ve driven 7 hours, round-trip, like many of the actors did (some drove even more!) and still not have gotten the job.

Since this is getting long, I’ll write more on things you need to know, next week (I hope). We’re going to be traveling a lot in February, so I might be a little less consistent for a bit. Thank you for following. ❤

Elizabeth Howlett modeling for Thirty-One Gifts in Columbus, Ohio
Elizabeth modeling for Thirty-One Gifts, 2017 Spring/Summer Catalog

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