Which Children’s Acting School and Agency?
The most important question a parent should ask is which acting school and agency would suit my child best. Parents need to understand that their choice of acting/drama or performing arts school maybe not be their children’s choice.
This is an article to explain the difference between schools, manage expectations and educate parents on choices from the outset.
Which training school?
Sometimes it’s just so easy to get a recommendation for an acting, drama or performing arts school from a neighbour, parent or friend, and because their children attend, you think it will probably be suitable for your child as well. This is the first mistake that parents face when choosing an acting school and could make it difficult for their child’s progress, or it may be the best decision you’ve ever made, but before you make this choice, I would strongly recommend doing your homework and research!
First venture into the world of show business
I suggest you talk to your child, ask the right questions, and then go online and research all the different schools online.
The questions I would recommend asking your child
1. Do you want to sing or act or do both?
2. Do you want to act on the stage?
3. Do you want to act on television or be in a film?
4. Do you want to sing and dance and act?
5. Do you want to do ballet dancing?
There are so many schools out there, so it can be pretty confusing to know which would suit your child, but taking the time now will reflect on your child’s future.
Performing arts School
A performing arts school is a specialised institution that teaches the art of performing — such as dance, music, theatre, and other theatrical arts. These schools typically offer various services and programs to help young people hone their skills and skill sets across multiple art forms. Programs often emphasise creativity, improvisation, and collaboration and often include instruction in technical aspects such as set design and lighting.
A children’s drama club allows children to explore their creativity as performers, allowing them to explore imaginative storylines, develop their stage presence, and create memorable performances. Additionally, it can give children a place to express themselves, build self-confidence, and make meaningful connections with their peers.
Screen Acting Training for Children
Children’s screen acting lessons allow kids to develop their acting skills and better understand how performance is captured on camera. Students learn the basics of acting while exploring the relationship between their expressions and the camera. They develop their performance skills, working on dialogue and developing their convincing characters through improvisation. With a focus on understanding the craft, children learn how camera angles and lighting convey emotion, characters, and plot for an engaging, professional result.
I often listen to parents saying I wish we’d found you earlier. These parents usually attended many other schools before falling upon mine.
Obviously, if the child is happy at their chosen school, you wouldn’t get to this point and feel the need to look at others.
Why is it important to get it right at the outset?
- Parents need to research and equip themselves with knowledge of these completely different disciplines. The technique is approached and taught differently.
- When you approach an agency that specialises in film and tv on behalf of your child or yourself to be considered and then refused, it is likely because they can see you have been trained for the stage.
It is frustrating that the casting agency is reluctant to explain why they have refused your application. I would always go back and ask why, but remember; they don’t have a duty to tell you.
3. As a trainer, teaching children to be subtle and natural is more challenging when they come from a theatrical background. It takes more time. The child has to be open to change and adjust their mindset to a unique set of instructions.
This isn’t easy when the child has been told they are very talented as they are. It can take longer and can be confusing.
They have to work harder!
4. Your child sometimes knows the type of actor they want to be, but if they are put in the wrong school, it can make them unhappy and frustrated.
Why can’t my child do both?
Well, they can, that is the answer, but in my experience, most children find it difficult to understand the differences between stage acting and screen acting. I prefer to work with a blank canvas.
All too often, I see a child on television that has been selected from a stage school, and the acting is forced and over-expressive. This is not usually the casting director’s fault, but more likely that a new director has been asked to direct and is inexperienced in the casting process. They are more enthralled and impressed with the child overacting in the audition than the child trained to perform more subtly and naturally.
A confusing mistake, but as you can imagine, the stage school actor will stand out.
Their inexperience led them to make the wrong decision, but unfortunately, the camera never lies!
Already at an acting school?
If you have, however, already made your choice and it isn’t going the way you thought. Seeing other children making much better progress than your child can be discouraging. What’s more, you don’t understand why?
Maybe you have made the wrong choice, but there are many reasons, and please don’t feel guilty. I would suggest first you take it up with the instructors and let them know your concerns. If it continues, maybe your child is just not happy in their environment for them to flourish. Perhaps the competition is overwhelming, and the atmosphere doesn’t suit your child’s needs.
It can be many reasons.
I suggest reconsidering a different school. Don’t be disappointed. Be enthusiastic and help your child understand that maybe this school wasn’t for them, but you will find another with which they will be happy.
Remember your child’s initial interest, and please don’t give up.
I once had a child from a stage school who wasn’t being challenged enough. She came to our school, flourished, and ended up in Hollywood!
We specialise in screen acting only.
Because of my love for filmmaking, I have a good deal of experience and knowledge of directing adults and children for the screen, which is very different from directing actors in theatre. We teach the difference between acting on the stage and screen. We put them in scenes and film them on location, so if they were selected for a part on tv or film, they would be comfortable with this environment and know the discipline, technique and etiquette. This all contributes to a professional performance.
So, it is essential to do your research and ask the child what they would prefer to do at the outset.
I suggest doing a few taster sessions at different acting schools.
I hope you enjoyed this article and it has been helpful.