Acting isn’t as easy as looking pretty for the camera, parents! It isn’t all glitz and glamour in gowns on red carpets. It’s about technique, observation, direction, emotions, and lines. In fact, child actors need to be training regularly to improve their skills, hone their technique, and keep their acting tuned. That way, when that once-in-a-lifetime Disney audition rolls around, you’re ready to reach out and grab it. Regular acting training is of especially great importance for children who are already signed with agents. But whether or not your child has an agent and whether or not they’re enrolled in an acting class, your child can always practice acting at home with you. Make it natural and routine, and your child will be landing roles in no time.
How Your Child Actor Can Practice Acting at Home with You
Watch lots of movies.
Perhaps the best way to practice acting at home is to watch the masters in action! There are literally thousands of movies on TV, in theaters, in stores, or online that, if viewed through the eyes of a curious student, will provide invaluable acting lessons. In fact, every successful actor now has once sat through another actor’s movie and learned from them. Likewise, you can let your child practice acting at home by watching other child actor’s performance with them. Tell them to observe the child actor’s skills as the movie progresses.
Have them reenact scenes.
Now that you’ve watched a lot of shows and movies together, your child might have seen a character they love. You can use this admiration toward certain characters to hone their skills. Once a movie ends, ask for their opinion on how the role was played and how they would have played it if they were given the same role. Pen down or search for the monologues from the show and have them reenact some scenes, preferably the ones you think they love the most to get them interested in the activity. Later on, at their next audition, they can use these monologues to give a more powerful performance.
Look for scripts or monologues online or at the library.
There are plenty of websites like simplyscripts.com that offer free monologues and scenes for actors of any age. Start browsing, and you’ll realize that opportunities for your child to practice acting at home are actually everywhere. Even cold reading or quick memorization, both incredibly important skills for any actor, can also be practiced with any written material. You can simply open up a magazine and have them practice reading an advertisement copy out loud.
Record and review.
Any phone or camera will do. Record your child or, better yet, have an older sibling record their performance so that your little one can see their progress for themselves. Having a sibling or friend run the camera can help parents stay in the role of parent and out of the role of critic. A parent in the director’s chair, giving note or pushing for improvement, may nullify the effectiveness of home practice for young actors. Child actors are children first, and what children need at home may be very different from what they need in an acting class to stimulate their skills and growth.
We are in a day and age where actors have complete control over their auditions! Self-tapes are becoming an increasingly popular way to book projects across all media platforms. Go grab a script and practice taking self-tapes for your child and be their reader. What lighting looks good? Can you hear your child’s voice in the video? Which moments worked the best? Does the color of your child’s shirt look distracting on camera? Is your child’s eye reference too far off to one side? Once you’ve learned how to record a perfect self-tape, you can submit your child’s performances to as many casting calls your child likes.
Just like learning an instrument, acting is a skill that needs time and repetition to master. Set aside time for refining your child’s acting skills and practice acting at home regularly. Don’t forget to make it fun!