Your child wants to play in a TV show? Do you think he has talent and that it would be a good experience for his self-esteem? Here are some tips before you embark on the adventure!
Where to start? Classes
There are drama classes for all budgets, from acting classes offered in municipalities to acting workshops in front of the camera given by television professionals. "It's a good way to validate the real interest of the child and to ensure that he considers doing TV for the right reasons, considers Liane Simard, stage coach who often prepares children for auditions. When you watch TV, it all seems simple, but like skiing or the piano, it can be learned. »
Sign him up with a casting agency
When Tristan, 7, indicated that he wanted to do TV, an idea encouraged by everyone around him because of the boy's charisma and pretty face, Mélanie, his mother, and her husband did a lot of research to find a serious casting agency. “There are companies that sell dreams, considers Mélanie, like this American agency whichmoved to Montreal for a few days last year and promised roles in Disney films by demanding thousands of dollars in membership. You have to be careful and shop around. »
How to make sure you make the right choice? Liane Simard: “We avoid all agencies that do recruitment and advertising, that’s not how established companies operate. The agency must be listed by the Union des Artistes (UDA) and have signed the code of ethics. »
Good to know
Know that it costs $300 to $500 annually to register with an agency, whether your child gets auditions or not, to which may be added professional photographer or training fees. If your child obtains a contract, you will have to pay a commission of 15%.
Preparing him for the auditions
Your child will have a text to memorize. It is most of the time one or a few lines to learn, nothing more. For a larger audition, you can hire a private coach (about $60/hour). According to Liane Simard, parents must avoid playing theater teacher with their child at all costs.
Audition calls can be made at the last minute. "The auditions require great availability," recalls Lynda, who accompanied her son Zacharie for a few years before he got bored and moved on to another activity. Auditions take place during office hours, in Montreal most of the time. And there are callbacks, waiting. You have to be flexible. »
Help her overcome rejections
Tristan was lucky enough to land a contract at his first audition. “Obviously, says mother Mélanie, this created expectations for him and in the following months, after several refusals, he experienced this as failures. We talked to him a lot to make sure he continues because he loves dramatic acting, and not for the money earned, an unreal notion at his age, or for the idea of impressing friends. »
For Liane Simard, the audition must be a pleasant experience in itself where the child takes pleasure in acting: “Often, for the casting of a child, we look for a resemblance to an adult actor. It's not primarily a question of talent. Casting directors receive up to several hundred children to choose one, it's a matter of lucky stars! »
Supervise him during filming days
Each shooting day (or night!) is a maximum of 8 hours. “Your role as a parent is to ensure the well-being of your child during this day, respecting his breaks, for example, explains Liane Simard. The child must have fun, but the fact remains that this is work and it is tiring. »
A recurring role on a TV series will provide access to a tutor to make up for missed school days. Mélanie, mother of Tristan: “As a parent, I make sure he is ready, that he has eaten and that he is not in the way. The agentde Tristan warned us not to get involved in artistic matters, the hairstyle or the clothes intended for him, for example. I bring quiet games to occupy him between scenes. The people on the sets are very respectful, but they have no time to waste. Throughout this experience, I want my son to remain humble, to understand that it is very unusual to sometimes earn so much money in a few hours and that this activity must be focused on fun. »