After The Audition
After The Audition
Gabrielle Schary (Casting Director) gives expert video advice on: How many elimination rounds does a child actor have to survive to get a role?; What should parents do once their child gets a part? and more...
How many times will a child actor have to audition for a part?
Typically twice. You will have your initial call with the casting people and then you will have a call back with the director. There is no set time, but generally it is two to three days or a week between the initial casting and then the call back within 72 hours, for a commercial. You might know the next day. You might know that day. It depends on their approval process. Each client has a different approval process and different executives that are in different parts of the country. It depends on how fast the call back material can get to the people up top that are going to finally decide on who they want to hire.
How far in advance of production in casting done?
Generally, a couple of weeks. However we've honestly been casting three days before, or we've cast the day before. For Commercials, every job is different, so there's real no true and fast rule. When you go to your first audition, you'll know what the call-back day is, and what the potential shoot dates are. Sometimes they'll tell you three or four days - you'll only work one, but they haven't nailed down all their locations yet, so it's just about communication and when you get the first interview that you get informed as to when a call-back might be, when the shoot dates might be.
Does the casting director decide which child actor will get the part?
No. The casting director chooses which children will be seen for the part. The director and the advertisers decide who will ultimately get the part. They will ask the opinion of the casting director- "Do you know this kid? Is this kid reliable? What do you think of them? How are they in the-" They'll take all that into consideration, but the final drop of the dime will be either the director's decision or the client's decision.
How many elimination rounds does a child actor have to survive to get a role?
After the first audition, there would be a second audition which will be the call back. Sometimes there will be a second call back. Sometimes we have to cast against another person. Do you look like the sibling of somebody? Do you look like the child of somebody? There will be circumstances where they might say to the kid, "Do you swim?" and it's something around a pool - there may be a call back at a pool to make sure that you are in the running. We really like you but we need to make sure that you can do what we asked you.
How does a child actor find out theyve been cast?
Typically, your agent will call you, if you've come through an agent. If you've come through a manager, your manager will find you. If you've been called directly through the cast company, they will call you directly. Typically you'll find out the way you found out about the audition.
How should a child actor handle rejection?
That has to do with the way the parent interacts with their child. If they don't get the part, they might be very disappointed. They may wonder if it was something they did or didn't do. And that's what's really important: to monitor your child to make sure that that doesn't become part of their life and part of what's going on with them. Children are not chosen because they did something wrong. They are chosen because they are doing something that people are looking for. So what I typically tell kids is, again, just get back to having fun. Just have fun and the reasons that certain kids are picked over other kids usually has nothing to do with the kids that did not get picked, it has to do with the kid that did get picked. They looked the most like the adult who has already been cast to be a child of that actor. They look the most like a sibling. You could have an amazing actor child but another child gets the part because they look more of what they are supposed to look like for the family.
What should parents do once their child gets a part?
Once the child gets hired, and it varies state to state, but in the state of California you have to have a work permit. It's very important that you have an entertainment industry work permit for a minor. So, if you are hired, you have to get right down to the labour department. It's not a hard process, it's a very simple process, but you need to get a work permit. And you need to open a Coogan account. The work permit has to happen before you go to the shoot but it has to happen before you go to the location and actually work. The Coogan account has to be opened before you get paid. So you have a little bit more time there, because they won't pay you for a couple of weeks generally. And a Coogan account is a bank account set up in trust for the child. A certain amount of the child's income has to be put in trust for the child in the Coogan account until they turn 18.
What is a 'Coogan account'?
A Coogan account is an account where a specific amount of money is held in trust for the child until they turn 18. Any bank can issue one. It's pretty much a savings account, and it doesn't cost anything to open. Any bank will offer it to you. It's just an account that, when the child gets paid or the advertiser is paying residuals, the percentage of that money be held for the child.
How is money deposited into a Coogan account?
The money put into the Coogan account happens automatically. It is either state regulated or federally regulated, depending on what state you are in. It works the same way that taxes do. They are withheld from the check that gets sent to the agent, the manager or if the check is sent to the parents. That money will have automatically been taken out.
Can a child actor's parents withdraw money from their Coogan account?
No, that's why it was set up, because many children had turned 18, had worked their whole child lives, and by the time they turned 18 the money was gone. This was a law that was enacted to protect the children to a certain extent. It's not a huge amount of money that is withheld. It's about 20 percent, but it's held for them until they turn 18.
How long does it take to get a child actor's work permit?
Usually a day. Ideally, before you start the process of going on interviews, it's recommended that you obtain a work permit ahead of time just to get rid of any stress or anxiety. If you do get a last minute booking, and I believe the work permits, check with your state office because it does vary from state-to-state. The permits generally run around six months, so once you have a permit, it's good for six months. The renewal process is also very simple. It's really a way that the state can make sure that the child is registered in school, the child is keeping their grades up, and that the child is being supervised by a guardian on set. You can't have a minor on set without a work permit as it's illegal to shoot a child for a commercial, a movie, TV or print without a work permit in the state of California.
Is it expensive to get a work permit for a child actor?
No, it doesn't cost anything at all. It's just the point that if it's a school age child, you get the application, and you have your school sign off on it. You then you go to the labor board with your birth certificate and your parent, and you sign it. Maybe there is a five dollar processing fee. If anything it's nominal.