“How to Submit Child Actors Without a Demo Reel”

As published on Backstage
By Melanie Forchetti
Q: What can a child actor
provide when a demo reel is requested if he or she doesn’t have one yet?
A self-taped monologue seems a bit inadequate, but maybe that’s
sufficient? If there is footage of stage performances, is that
acceptable, considering their age? If they’ve done industrial or
commercial work, what’s the proper way to ask for footage?
—@ChildActorMomSupport, Backstage Community Forums*

For kids, it’s really all about personality for me. It
depends on their age, but I find clips where kids are just introducing
themselves and telling a story helpful. I’d prefer an intro clip over a
school play clip any day.

Monologues that show their personality or acting ability
are OK, but I usually find most kids (without coaching) tend to overact,
and then it does them no good.

I try to have copy for the project for any kids’
self-tapes—I feel that’s always best. Look at the project you are
submitting for and see if you can self-tape something that might be
appropriate. The natural charm of the child is what I always look for.

Collecting clips can be hard and does take some legwork.
Best case, you can find them online or on TV and download or record
them. Be sure to search YouTube or ispot.tv, as well. You can ask for
them, but please don’t hound us or our client (a lot of folks do). We
will ask the client to get you a clip, and if the client sends it over
to us, we will certainly try to get it to you.

*This question was originally asked and answered on the Backstage Community Forums.

Melanie graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts
with a BFA in acting. She then started her own production company
producing feature films, documentaries, and commercials in New York. In
Los Angeles, she worked in business affairs at the talent agency Writers
& Artists and then went on to work at The Firm, a celebrity
management company. She is now head of casting at Mike Lemon Casting,
where has she cast nearly a thousand films, television shows, and
commercials, many receiving related awards.


Original published article: https://www.backstage.com/magazine/article/submit-child-actors-without-demo-reel-65194/