FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Helping Your Child Prepare for an Audition

Child Stock PhotoBonnie Wallace is the author of  THE HOLLYWOOD PARENTS GUIDE, an accurate, experience-based tested information on every step needed to give your child the best possible opportunity to make it in Hollywood. Bonnie includes wisdom, inspiration, and resources to help you on your own journey and even help you decide if this dream is right for you and your family to pursue. Bonnie J. Wallace speaks, writes, and teaches workshops to help parents navigate Hollywood so they can effectively help their child become a professional actor. Mother of Dove Cameron, star of Liv and Maddie, Disney Descendants, Barely Lethal, and more, Bonnie is dedicated to inspiring others on this journey. Bonnie is a Hollywood mom, a small-business owner, and a former nonprofit theater board member. Her book,  The Hollywood Parents Guide, is available at Amazon.


Helping Your Child Prepare for an Audition

How can you help your child prepare for an audition? It depends, in part, on the age of your child, as well as on their individual learning style.

If your kid is too young to read, then their sides, if they have any, are likely to be quite short. No one asks young children to memorize lengthy scenes or monologues. But see if you can make a game of it. Role play. Try saying the lines different ways so your child doesn’t get stuck in a subconscious rut in terms of their expression.

If your child is old enough to read, they might prefer to spend some time on their own memorizing the sides, then run them with you when they feel they are close to having them down. The more visual kids are likely to prefer this. Auditory learners may want to start immediately reading the lines out loud with you, not even taking the time to read them on their own first. Kinesthetic Learners may need to move while they memorize their lines. Remember—your learning style may not be the same as your kid’s, so see which approach seems the most comfortable and effective for them.

The question of whether to coach your child on their audition depends on your situation. My personal feeling is that you should not coach your kid unless they request it. Most parents are not acting coaches. You could really steer your kid in the wrong direction without meaning to, just because you don’t have the skill to direct a performance. If your child has the talent to be auditioning, then they probably have the instincts to make strong choices in a scene.

Learning their lines is just one part of preparing for an audition, though! You’ll want to help them choose an appropriate outfit—something that is either neutral or slightly suggests the character without being costumey, and that avoids the usual no’s: no black, no white, no logos or tiny prints. You will also want to make sure they have their headshot and resume. Ideally your child assumes responsibility for this, as it is their career—but you should be backup in case they forget. Again, age is a factor here.

Making sure they are rested and fed and arrive to the audition on time is a given, but mental and emotional preparation is where a lot of parents can make a very big difference. Kids take their cues from us. Are you stressed out? Has the traffic, or the sense of high stakes in a given audition, gotten under your skin? Are you feeling nervous “for” them? Try as much as possible to remember that no audition is going to make or break your child’s career. There is always another audition around the corner. If you can model a healthy sense of perspective, then kids have a much better chance of developing their own healthy perspective. And they also have a better chance at acing the audition if they are coming from a place of calm and confidence, rather than worry and stress.

However you approach helping your kid prepare for an audition, remember to keep it fun! Experiment and see what works best for the two of you. So much of a young actor’s life is about auditioning. Ideally, preparing for auditions can be something you both enjoy doing together.


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