Become a Kid Movie Star

  Reading time 10 minutes

There is a huge market for kid actors, because every year the current crop grows up and grows out of their roles. The Disney Channel alone hires over 1200 actors every year, some of them without prior professional experience. There are roles for every “look” these days: actors don’t have to be blond and blue-eyed, and glasses or braces are often just fine.


[Edit]Practicing Your Craft

  1. Act in local theater. Take part in school and community productions. You’ll learn how to read scripts and take stage directions, and get comfortable performing in front of an audience. You’ll also meet other actors of all ages, who can help you learn about what it’s like to be an actor.
    • Get familiar with what’s in your area. Many schools, churches, and local community theaters put on productions with roles for children.
  2. Watch the classics. Go to local productions or watch at home, but watch great performances by great actors. You’ll learn your craft, and you’ll become familiar with stories and scripts that you might see at an audition.
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    • Check out these movies that feature young actors to get an idea of the many and varied roles for kids.[1]
  3. Court the camera. Make (and post on YouTube or Vimeo, if you want) videos of yourself. Learn how to play to the camera, and get comfortable being the star of the show.
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  4. Take acting classes. Classes may be available through community theaters or local organizations. Summer acting camps are also popular. Taking classes shows a commitment to acting as a profession, and you will likely learn about the industry as well as the craft.
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[Edit]Presenting Yourself

  1. Get photos. Actors age 10 and older should have professional headshots: good digital photos are usually fine for younger children. You should have one clear headshot and one full-body pose. Don’t wear black, white, or busy patterns. Keep your photos current. [2]
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    • A good headshot should be built around your brand, which is a combination of your personality, your look, and how the industry sees you. Generally, if you’re a kid, you should wear youthful clothes and have a friendly, smiling expression.[3]
  2. Make an acting resume. Include your age, height and weight, and any agency affiliations. Mention acting classes or camps and school and community theater experience. Let the agents know what you have done and what you are capable of doing.
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  3. Highlight any special skills. Special skills can be anything from music to juggling to skateboarding to foreign languages to sports — things that make you stand out to an agent or could be useful in a stage or commercial setting.
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[Edit]Getting Representation

  1. Be careful. There are lots of good professional agents, but unfortunately, this industry also has plenty of people who just want your money. Legitimate talent agents are paid if and when an actor gets work. If an agent asks for representation fees, or requires you to take specific classes or work with specific photographers, be very wary. [4]
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    • Get the Call Sheet. Backstage publishes the Call Sheet, available in bookstores or online, which lists all the agencies in New York City and Los Angeles. Contact all the agencies that have a youth department.
    • Beware of scams where fake agencies promise to make you famous in exchange for a large fee.[5]
  2. Prepare for your agency interview. Agents want to see children who are relaxed, comfortable and confident. Answer questions with full sentences, not just a “yes” or “no”. Show that you are focused and can take direction well, and that you will be capable of maintaining that focus through a long day on the set. [6]
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  3. Stay positive. It’s very possible that you’ll not be accepted by the first or second agent you see. Agents all have different ideas about what they want, and your “look” might not be what they’re looking for. Keep interviewing and networking.
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[Edit]Going On Auditions

  1. Audition as much as possible. It’s great practice, and you will meet casting directors and other actors to build up your professional network.
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    • Read Backstage, which lists open casting calls for children. Most are in the New York City area, but all areas are represented.[7]
    • Visit Casting Call Hub, which lists casting calls and auditions for children.[8]
    • Check the major casting websites for calls for online submissions. It’s typically easier to submit auditions online, rather than having to travel to audition in person, so you may be able to audition for more roles that way.[9]
  2. Prepare to ace your audition. Make sure you show up on time, well-rested, with plenty of extra resumes and headshots.
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    • Know the product if it is a commercial audition. Casting agents may ask your opinion, and if you can respond knowledgeably and naturally, that will be a big plus.
    • Know the background and the characters if it is an audition for a play, TV show, or movie.
  3. Have a monologue ready. Casting agents may ask you to perform. If you have participated in school or community productions, you may have some dialogue memorized. If not, some suggested monologues for kids are here.[10]
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  4. Be prepared to do a “cold read”. The casting agent may give you a few pages of script and a few minutes to prepare. Read through it as thoroughly as you can, decide what approach you will take, and go for it!
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  5. Remember the old adage, “there are no small parts, only small actors.” In reality, there are lots of parts that most actors would consider to be “small,” and those are probably what you’ll start out with. If you’ve got what they want — and a whole lot of luck — you’ll be noticed and those parts will get bigger and bigger. Otherwise you may continue to be a bit player while you learn the industry.
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  • Don’t ignore your schoolwork. Actors on sets are required to keep up with their education and many agents won’t consider an actor without at least a “B” average.
  • Hone your hobbies. Agents look for skills like bike riding, sports, music, foreign languages, or anything else that makes you and your resume stand out.
  • If you like to act,practice at home before going to auditions.
  • Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get a role you want, you never know what may happen in the future.
  • Be yourself, and just be careful for haters. Who cares what they say, your awesome!
  • Stay calm all the time in the auditions. People will know if you’re scared.
  • Record yourself doing scenes of movie and TV shows you like. Next, watch the recorded scene, to see where you can improve. Try repeating this process until you are comfortable to acting in front of cameras.


  • Be realistic. Thousands of kids want to be movie and TV stars; very few of them make it. We’ve discussed some of the things you can do, but you can do everything listed and still not be the next Disney star. Think about whether you want to be an actor or a “star”. There are lots of opportunities for actors in school and community productions, and if you want to act, you can be very happy doing so. There are far fewer opportunities for “stars”, so if that’s your goal, evaluate how hard you’re willing to work to pursue it and how you’re going to handle it if it doesn’t happen.


[Edit]Quick Summary

If you want to become a kid movie star, start by watching performances by great actors to get familiar with classic stories and see superb acting. Additionally, make videos of yourself and watch them so you can practice playing to a camera. You should also try to get parts in school or community productions to learn how to read scripts and get comfortable in front of an audience. Once you get some experience, prepare an acting resume that highlights special skills, like singing or dancing, and make sure to attach a professional headshot. To learn how to find a good agent and get ready for casting calls and auditions, keep reading!

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