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How to Get Your Child in Film and Television

Updated on May 1, 2023
Kenna McHugh profile image

I work in modeling and film production and like to share insights into both businesses.

Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning

Much Younger Dakota with Tom Cruise
Much Younger Dakota with Tom Cruise | Source

Child Actor

No matter what your age. You could be seven years old, 11 years old, or 15- years old. Opportunities are available for you to start acting in a film. Film, television, cable, DVD, and Internet industries are dramatically growing. Giving more options for acting jobs is the result of the increase.

Every year, countless movies cast child actors in minor and significant roles. Oscar-nominated Little Miss Sunshine is one example. As a child of Charlotte's Web, Dakota Fanning starred in at least one movie a year. She even worked with such notable stars as Tom Cruise (War of the Worlds) and Denzel Washington (Man on Fire).

Fanning is now grown up and working in the industry as an adult. She stars in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Hollywood.

Rewards of Being a Child Actor

The rewards you experience from pursuing an acting career are many. You get to spend quality time with your parents. You will learn something new every day on the set. You will build your self-confidence and have a better understanding of others.

Working in film is a very effective way to pay for your college education. If your parents act as your manager, they can earn 20% of your income.

Becoming an Actor in Film

Wanting to be in the movies is not enough to become an actor in the film industry. It takes passion and one of your parents' willingness to help you. You and your parents work as a team, with both of you committed to your business's success.

It is a full-time job building a career in the movie business. Each of you will take time out of your schedule, going to auditions and film sets — the days along and, mainly, tedious. If you do the right actions mentioned in this article, there is a good chance you will be successful.

Arnold Talks About Breaking into Acting

Guardian with Child Actor

If parents cannot be with you as you pursue your acting career, a guardian can take their place. The guardian can be a grandparent, an older brother, sister, or a babysitter. It needs to be a safe and responsible person.

A guardian does what a parent would do:

  • Go with the son or daughter to auditions.
  • They stay with them on the film sets.

The reason they need a guardian is that it is the law. Actors underage cannot go to auditions and film sets alone. A responsible adult needs to be with them the whole time.

Shirely Temple is the icon of child actors.

 Shirley Temple in "The Little Princess," circa 1939.
Shirley Temple in "The Little Princess," circa 1939. | Source

What Do You Think?

Is one of your parents willing to help you build a career in the film industry?

See results

Film Production Cities

Convincing your parents to move to Hollywood is not necessary to break into the business. Many cities have a film production community.

At times major film companies come to cities across the United States to film on location. Popular film locations:

  • Atlanta
  • San Francisco
  • Chicago
  • New York
  • Vancouver. Canada
  • Austin
  • Orlando
  • Seattle

If you live near or in one of these cities, you can start right away.

First Steps to Building Your Acting Career

Here are suggestions to get your film acting career started:

  • Get involved with the drama department at your school
  • Enroll in a local acting class for children
  • Sit in on a class or two before deciding to enrollment
  • Get valid feedback on the acting class and make sure it is the suitable class and teacher for you
  • You want to feel comfortable. Have your parent talk to the other parents who have children in the class
  • Research and find a legitimate agent
  • Agents registered with the union are the ones you should see. Union agents follow the rules because they are union-regulated by their members. It encourages them to follow the laws of the business.


How to Get an Agent

Agencies require actors unless they have a reputation and are known to be talented to audition for them before signing them up and representing them. Getting an audition with an agency is a step forward in the right direction of building your acting career.

Once you book an audition with an agency, you need to do the following:

  • Bring a headshot and resume to the meeting. It doesn't have to be a professional headshot. The resume includes on-camera experience, parts in theatrical productions, and acting teachers.
  • Work with your acting teacher on putting together a monologue for your audition.
  • Practice with your parents on being in an interview with an agent. You might meet with the agent alone or with your parents.
  • Practice until you are comfortable talking about yourself. Being comfortable in the interview with an agent makes a solid first impression.
  • When you meet with an agent, find out what they need for headshots and resumes. Agents offer standard handouts they give their clients with specific instructions.
  • Make sure you go over these instructions with your parents and understand them. If you have any questions, ask the agent right away.
  • Always be on the positive side. Never give up.
  • Remember to have fun!

Sample of a Headshot


Child Support

Having your parents support you while you break into the film business is a commendable act. The rewards are plenty. Keep researching and staying on top of the industry. The more you know, the better. It can only make your job finding work a lot easier. Good Luck!

© 2016 Kenna McHugh


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