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2010/08/10

My Nephew, the Child Star?

So as some of you know, my nephew is rather hyperactive. He's had some issues certainly, but he is still a good kid and he just needs some guidance. I've heard tell that many great actors became actors to control this hyperactivity. My brainstorm radar system started flashing so I asked the only person I knew who might have a clue about this sort of thing, my dear friend Heather Broeker.


I know Heather from The Writers Rep (one of the agencies I write through) and over the year since we've started working together we've gotten to know each other so I trust her opinion. Heather is the Marketing Director of Children In Film, a website devoted to the publication and exposure of child actors into a more positive light. I figured I would briefly impose upon Heather my questions if I were interested in getting my nephew into acting.

Azriel Johnson: If I were interested in getting my seven year old nephew into acting, what would some of the first steps be for me to take?
Heather Broeker: "The first step for anyone to take in order to launch a child's career in acting is to do their research. We have a program on ChildrenInFilm.com called "KidStart" and it walks you through all the steps of getting started and helps you determine if you're ready for this industry. Now, regarding your nephew, I would say the first step would be to get his parents on board. Even if you are the one doing the initial legwork, eventually, legally they will need to be involved."

AJ: Do you know of any casting calls for children in the Cleveland Area?
HB: "Hollywood" isn't located in just Los Angeles anymore; Hollywood is popping up in Michigan, Louisiana, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Canada and many other areas that didn't have film productions in the past. ChildrenInFilm.com offers a variety of casting notices for all types of child-actor related opportunities all over the US. Because castings are fairly timely, you'd have to log in and check regularly (or receive our emails) to know if there are any current castings."

AJ: Would I child actor necessarily need to try to make their break in Hollywood or could it be preferable to start in an indy scene so to speak to get discovered?
HB: "A child could make their start just about anywhere - on stage, through student films, through local productions, by attending events or conferences, or by giving Los Angeles a shot for an extended period of time. Most families come out to LA for a "test period" of about three months after their kids have done things locally first."

AJ: What kind of managerial representation could a child actor get?
HB: "A child can get a manager if s/he and his/her parents choose to do so. One can have a manager, an agent or both; you just have to consider that you'll be paying each of these people a portion of your earnings. Plus, there are some differences between the two types of representation. Our site has a ton of information about the difference between an agent and a manager."

AJ: How do you know if the representation is quality?
HB: "In California, you want to start by making sure your agent is licensed. It is the law in CA. Managers, however, do not need to be licensed, but they are often members of the Talent Managers Association. We know it is tough to find reputable pros when you don't know the industry, so we've created a rating system on ChildrenInFilm.com. Every agent and manager on the site is listed in a directory and parents and other industry pros can rate and recommend them based on their past experiences."

This was certainly enlightening for me, but I'm sure there are more questions to be asked. You should definitely check out ChildrenInFilm.com if you are interested in getting your own children involved with acting in some way or another.

Cheers!

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