Child Actors And Long Term Career Goals
Child Actors And Long Term Career Goals
Gabrielle Schary (Casting Director) gives expert video advice on: What mistakes should parents of child actors try to avoid?; Do many child actors make the transition to grown-up roles? and more...
Do casting directors prefer to work with certain child actors repeatedly?
If you have a child that you know is great, is balanced, is a good listener, good performer, outgoing, pleasant with other children, you'll want to have them back again and again, so that your directors have good kids to work with.
What makes a casting director want to cast a certain child actor again?
The kids that casting directors tend to gravitate towards are the kids that are the most natural and professional at the same time. They aren't stiff. They aren't robots. They aren't repeating things the way that they have been coached by their parents or a manager to say things. I tend to get a little nervous when a small child comes in and insists on shaking everyone's hand in the room. It just doesn't feel natural or real and it feels a little forced. So the children that are more natural yet able to focus in when you are giving direction like you would do in a classroom situation. OK, here's what we need you to do. The kids that are able to focus in on that and really do it without getting distracted or distracting the others, are the ones that we want to go for.
What would make a casting director not want to work with a child actor again?
Inability on the child's part. This could be an inability to focus, somebody who's too hyper, somebody who shows up to the interview and whose parent have given them too many sugary treats and they can't control themselves, children that aren't nice to other children that you're working with, or playground behavior. If there's a kid that's mean, you don't want them. If he's got a parent that he comes with, and the parent decides to bring all the other siblings to all the auditions or is intrusive into the interviewing process, we won't call them back. There's kids that I can't call back just because of the way their parents behave.
Is it difficult to sustain a child acting career?
You get hot in certain times, and then not so hot at other times, and I've seen children go from pre-school age, working all the time, and then suddenly they hit second or third grade and they're not working very much. Suddenly, they get into pre-teen and they start working again. If you have the tenacity and the absolute drive in your heart to put yourself through this, because it's a difficult prospect for anybody, adults as well, and when you think about a child who is developing and trying to go through all of these pressures and judgment, which is what it is, because you're constantly putting yourself up to get hired for something. It's hard to sustain that, and very few do.
What makes a successful long term career for a child actor?
A successful long-term career for a child actor, in my mind, would be one that is slow-paced, is balanced, and incorporates having a really healthy home life, a healthy school life, a healthy friends life, and that the parent really makes sure that the kid doesn't get burnt out.
Which child actors have had impressive careers?
Well, impressive in what way? You have to ask yourself, is it impressive because they have had box office hits? And, then when they have turned 19, and they are in absolute trouble all the time? Or, is it the kid that maybe worked a little bit here and there, and then decided to go to College, and came out, and is now working as an adult actor? It's really hard to know what makes an impressive career when you are in the middle of it. Because, a career is something that we look back on.
What mistakes should parents of child actors try to avoid?
Forgetting that it's about the child. It's about the child. I think most of the time, the mistakes parents make are when they start thinking it's about them. They don't mean to do it, but you have to constantly look at the situation and go, "What's best for Jimmy?" or "What's best for Susie?"
Do many child actors make the transition to grown-up roles?
In my opinion, and experience, not a huge number, because either the child's burnt out and done and they don't want to do it anymore, or they've found something else that they are more interested in. Maybe they go into film making or behind the scenes. Maybe they go to college and decide they want a professional career in another area. There's a percentage, but I don't think it's a huge percentage by and large.
What can child actors do to keep getting roles as they grow older?
Child actors can continue to maintain a good relationship with their management, their agents, and their managers, if they have them. To continue to stay balanced in their own lives, and to stay up on their school, stay up on their after-school activities, keep good friendships, and just enjoy it. They need to enjoy it for it to go any length of time and be successful.