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5 Steps to get your Kids into Film and TV!

Have your kids expressed dreams of being the next Chloe Grace Moretz or Jaden Smith? Perhaps your young one is a little entertainer and displaying the makings of a star! Creativity rears its head in many forms, and for some the dazzle of lights and the opportunity to be a story teller after the call of ‘3-2-1 ACTION!’ is something that can’t be ignored.

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As a parent or guardian of a budding entertainer, one who desparately wants to get on TV, and perhaps one that has not been exposed to the entertainment industry, it is difficult to know how to nurture this gift and how to help it grow. Queensland has a small TV and Film community which are supportive, but highly competitive, and breaking into the fold is half the battle.

To make it a little easier – here are 5 steps to help get your kids get on TV or into Film!

1) Make the decision and adopt the mindset

The things you need to think about and the questions you need to answer are ‘How much of their life will you allow for this to consume’? ‘What is the end goal’? ‘Is the intention for it to be a casual outlet where they use the experiences to build their confidence? Or, do they want to be the next Daniel Radcliffe and see themselves on the big screen and get on tv? These answers will help determine the mindset you and they need to adopt, the boundaries you will set for the experience, provide expectations on the money and time you are willing to invest, and provide measures of success.

2) Get training

Like anything, one’s ability as an actor is a journey of self-discovery and continual learning and honing of a skill. This commitment is not always cheap, and pending your decisions from Step 1, will determine how much you are willing to invest to unlock their full potential. There are a number of skills to learn which include; the technical side of on-camera communication and the auditioning process; the rules of etiquette within the industry and while on-set; the art of improvisation; an understanding and some experience in practicing various acting techniques and presenting as part of their skillset. Attend workshops, enrol in programmes, and learn the fundamentals. Watch and learn from other great actors. Most importantly, use their training to help build their confidence. Confidence is key!

3) Get experience

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While they are learning and building their confidence, the next step is to get experience. Kids are natural improvisers, but as they grow older this ability can fade. Maintain their natural abilities, and allow them to practice their skills by providing them with many opportunities to act. You could join them into a theatre group, a drama school or programme, and search for student films that they could audition to be part of. The more practice they get, the more experience and the better they will be. Actors need to exercise their craft continually, and by surrounding them with other young actors, provides them with the opportunity to collaborate and practice.

4) Put together a portfolio/showreel

Take any opportunity to collect examples of their work on film. Pay someone to professionally put a showreel together so that you can use it to showcase their talent to future casting directors or agents. Having a comprehensive showreel shows to casting directors not only their acting depth, but also that they are current in the industry, and continually practicing their skills. Agents and casting directors favour actors who display commitment and a good work ethic.

5) Get an Agent

Once you think they are ready to get on TV – get an agent. Shop around! Get an agent that casts for the type of work that you and your child want to work in. A lot of agents take talent on their books and only ever give them the opportunity to be ‘extras’. Fine if that’s the decision you made at step 1, but, if you want an actual role, then you have to find the agents who are known for having their talent cast for roles. Once you have found such an agent the challenge then becomes getting onto their books, and included into the select few who get put forward for the roles. At this point your child will have a good showreel, an understanding of the business, experience and a good work ethic. Use these to showcase them and provide them with the best opportunity to be taken under management by a good agent who will provide them with real opportunities. The harsh reality is that casting directors have all the power, and for big roles, they don’t have time to waste by auditioning bad talent. An agent wont risk their reputation and the years of hard work put into building these relationships by submitting talent they are not 100% sure will deliver in the audition room, and on the job. An agent is after talent they can trust to best represent them, and to win the jobs. It’s a business after all!

This journey is not easy, and not for the faint hearted. Nothing is fool proof, but, with the right plan, mindset, training, experience and determination– your kids have a much better chance of making it to the big screen!

Author: Cherie Kelly – QLD Regional Manager at the TV Training Academy

This article was published in Issue 19 of our print magazine, December 2016/January 2017.

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Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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