It is common for teen girls to dream of becoming a young actress on the big stage. Young actresses like Millie Bobby Brown and Maisie Williams became very successful as they grew up. Despite not all young actresses being as successful as Sophie Turner or Zendaya, acting can still be a good hobby for teens.
How to Become a Young Actress
It takes several steps to become an award-winning actress or celebrity if you decide to get into acting. Mark Willingham, CEO and Co-Founder of AGENT, Inc., offers tips and advice from a background in model management and branding to help you get started in the acting business.
Step One: Consider Your Motivation and Goals
If you want to become an actress, think about why you want to do so. Would you do it for fame and money, or would you do it because you love and respect this art form? Would you like to work on Broadway, the Disney Channel, or in movies?
People who aren’t passionate and focused about this job generally don’t succeed. Mark emphasizes the importance of taking this process seriously in his advice to “understand the commitment that is required to seriously pursue an acting career.
Keep in mind life balance when it comes to acting, school, friends, and family.”
Step Two: Get Professional Headshots
Mark says that one of the first steps in becoming a young actress is to get a headshot. As an aspiring actress, your headshot is often the first thing an agent or client will see. Your versatility and personality are evident in this statement. Here are some tips for modeling in headshots:
- Focus on the chest from the top down.
- All shots should be taken directly at the camera.
- Makeup should be kept to a minimum.
- To show your personality, take a variety of photos.
Mark recommends researching a local photography studio to make sure it is both experienced and reputable before having your headshots taken.
Step Three: Take Acting Classes
Acting classes are a great way to get raw experience without booking jobs,” says Mark, and they are available in traditional or summer camp formats for all types of acting. He recommends auditing as many classes as you like, then choosing the ones that feel right.
- Look for classes in your area based on the type of acting you would like to pursue.
- Connect with other young actresses on social media to find out which classes they recommend.
- First-timers are usually allowed to audit acting classes for free to determine whether they are a good fit.
“Acting classes can be expensive, but they’re worth it for teens who want to gain some experience and learn the ropes before entering the workforce.”
Step Four: Build Your Portfolio
In Mark’s opinion, aspiring actresses should keep their portfolios updated because agents and clients “usually expect samples of work like acting reels, plays, clips, etc.” To demonstrate your professionalism, preparedness, and capabilities, keep your headshots and these items on hand at all times.
Be prepared to present your best self at all times because clients and agents will want to work with you because of your acting abilities and attitude.
You will be signed by agents and clients because you have something special to offer.
Step Five: Research Agents
Mark recommends obtaining a referral when pursuing an acting or talent agent. This involves thorough online research for any agents you are considering. Check if they have more complaints or positive reviews, if their website looks professional, and if they have a good reputation and track record.
For each individual, the process of finding or landing an agent may look different.
- A play, class, workshop, or even the internet could lead to a meeting with an agent.
- An agent may be able to help you get a meeting if you have a mutual connection.
- To schedule a meeting with an agent, you can contact them directly.
Step Six: Choose an Agent if You Want One
It’s up to you to decide whether hiring an agent is the right move for your career after you’ve done your homework and met with desired agents.
- It is always a good idea to have a parent or trusted adult accompany you when you meet with agents.
- Make sure any contracts you sign are reviewed by a lawyer.
- In most cases, reputable agencies will not ask you for money up front.
- In the case that you choose an agent, they will provide you with all the job-hunting resources you need.
- It’s up to you to find open casting calls on your own if you don’t choose an agent.
The best way to select an agent, Mark suggests, is to choose one who is not only reputable, but also “excited and eager to sign you.” When choosing an agent, you want to make sure they believe in your talent and will really go to bat for you.
If they don’t, you won’t be able to land work as hard.
Step Seven: Go On Auditions
The most common way for a teenager to become a young actress is to audition for television commercials and small roles in movies, such as extras. As you gain experience, you’ll have more opportunities to audition for larger roles. Auditioning or attending casting calls:
- Ensure you are on time, prepared, and looking your best for your audition.
- You should bring a parent or trusted adult with you.
- Contracts should not be signed without legal advice.
Typical Costs Associated With Becoming a Young Actress
In spite of the fact that many aspects of becoming a teen actress are free, there are general expenses, as with any other hobby or extracurricular activity.
- The average price for headshots, according to Backstage Magazine, ranges from $400 to $1,500, depending on your location and photographer.
- Children and teens can take acting classes for about $30 per class, which usually requires a six-week commitment, which ends up costing $200 to $400.
- In union jobs, talent agents typically take 10 percent of the actor’s earnings, but they can take as much as 20 percent. You should expect to pay your agent about $200 if your job pays $2,000 per year.
As Mark explains, “Wages will vary based on your experience and the type of job you land,” so keep this in mind when spending money on photos, classes, travel, and other expenses.
Parent Role in Teen Acting Careers
Parents play an important role in a teen’s desire to become a young actress, since teens under the age of 18 are not legally allowed to sign contracts. In Mark’s opinion, “Parents should be involved in all aspects of a child’s pursuit in acting” because safety should be the primary concern.
- Discuss your teen’s goals and motivations, as well as reasonable expectations and danger signs.
- Make sure your teen knows everything about the agents and clients he or she will be working with.
- Your teen should attend all meetings, casting calls, and auditions.
- Consult a lawyer before signing any contracts.
- Provide your teen with assistance with transportation and costs as needed.
- When you’re on set with your teen and something questionable occurs, remember that you are in control and can always leave with your child.
Mark warns, “The industry is filled with powerful people, some of whom may not have the best of intentions, who know there are young people out there who are willing to do anything to achieve their dreams.”
Follow Your Dreams to the Big Stage
It takes a lot of hard work and forethought to become a young actress. Teen girls often follow similar paths to acting and modeling, so be open to opportunities that can advance your career. Create a team of trustworthy adults who can guide you toward your career goals based on your own talents, skills, and goals.