BEHIND THE SCENES

Resume DO’s and DON’T’s for Child Actors

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I'm Bonnie

You have a dream for
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A resume can be a little tricky for a kid just starting out, as you may have little to put on it! One ironclad rule: never invent or embellish to have your child appear more impressive or experienced than they actually are.

Los Angeles is a town where everyone actually does know everyone! Casting directors will often ask kids about something on their resumes just to make a little small talk—to get a feel for them as people, and to break the ice a little. You don’t want to put them in the position of having to lie, or just as bad, answering honestly that they don’t know what or whom the director is talking about! Oops!

Similarly, don’t exaggerate skills. If your kid CAN ride a horse, or swim at a certain level, that’s great—put it down under skills. But if they can’t, and end up getting cast in a role that requires that skill, you could be actually endangering them, as well as setting them up for massive stress, embarrassment, and a possible loss of the job—and reputation.

When we came out to LA from Bainbridge Island, my daughter Dove Cameron had mostly community theatre on her resume. She’d been in two locally produced films (a featured extras role in an independent feature, and a supporting lead in a short film) and recorded two things (vocals on a demo, and backup vocals on a few songs for an album). She had an acting and a vocal coach she’d worked with whom we could list under training, and a small role in a locally shot commercial.

In other words, Dove had nothing that would specifically suggest she’d make an excellent bet for an agent or casting director. But enough to suggest that she had some experience both performing and taking direction. Anyone can (and probably should) be able to have a resume that suggests this by the time they arrive in LA. There are SO many kids competing for roles that you should arm yours with SOME track record before coming here. But if all they have to show is small and local stuff, no worries. That’s all most kids have before coming to Los Angeles.

Some cautions for resumes: these things end up everywhere and you must be very thoughtful about what personal information is on them. For example, limit contact information exclusively to your manager or agent, if you have one. If that person is you for the time being, keep it to your own cell phone and email only. No physical address. And no details that could help someone with less than honorable intentions track down your child or make that person sound like a family friend. So no school names, team names, etc. Give the minimum details necessary for professional communication and nothing more.

There are many sites online that provide templates or examples for an acting resume. A few good ones are here:

http://www.backstage.com

http://www.bizparentz.org

http://www.youryoungactor.com

http://www.tophollywoodactingcoach.com

My book, The Hollywood Parents Guide, available on Amazon contains everything I wish I’d known when Dove and I started this journey, and will save you untold amounts of time, money, and stress. Full of information you MUST know, it also features stories from parents of other kids who’ve made it!

Or book an hour consulting with me to come up with an individualized plan that takes your own unique needs into account. For about the cost of an hour with a professional acting coach, you can get your questions answered and a road map to help you move forward toward your dream.

Invest a little in your kid’s future today.

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