What to Expect at a Casting and Thereafter…
By L Morgan – mum to 3 children with Hashtag Talent
If you are reading this then you are probably trying to get your child into the competitive world of acting and/or modelling. There is a lot to get your head around when deciding whether to pursue this for your child or not. It can be very time consuming, expensive and you spend a lot of time travelling back and forth and to different cities and/or countries! However, don’t let this put you off…if you get the job you feel fantastic for making the effort! You’re then rewarded with a fantastic opportunity for your child and you don’t know what other opportunities that job could lead on to!
A casting may be in any city, however most castings that you will find you likely go to will be held in the beautiful and busy capital city of London.
At a casting you will wait inside a given area with other parents and children also waiting to be seen, you may be asked to fill out some paper work too with details of previous shoots they may have participated in; age, height etc. You will then get called into another room where your child will meet the casting director and maybe some of their colleagues. They will be asked to introduce themselves and asked to do some acting/modelling. This may be reading rehearsed lines that they have previously been given, dancing, playing games, interacting with other children etc. Make sure you arrive early and let the agency or the studio know directly if you are running late. There may also be a wait as they aren’t usually running on time so take something for your child to play with to keep occupied and use this time to practise!
To get to casting stage you may have been selected directly or had to do a self tape. A self tape is when you audition via video. Make sure that you are visible from the shoulders upwards (unless otherwise stated) and on a white background (unless otherwise stated) and that your child introduces themselves with name, their age and agency (again, unless otherwise stated). Send the video back via free app called we transfer. When you send the tape to Hashtag, make sure you rename it with the child’s name as they will receive a lot of tapes and this saves time for them and the casting directors!
AFTER A CASTING OR SELF TAPE:
After the casting you then have the dreaded ‘wait of doom’. If I don’t hear anything for a while, I usually assume he hasn’t got the job. In most circumstances you usually hear back the week after, or that same week if you are successful for a recall (2nd casting etc) or confirmed (booked). They will contact Hashtag who in turn, will then contact you. On the other hand, if you don’t hear back, keep ploughing through and keep getting your child to improve and stay positive! Sometimes 100s of kids get submitted for a role so to even get a casting is an achievement. Unfortunately, most castings don’t give feedback though so enjoy and if you hear back bonus!
LICENSES AND SCHOOL:
To enable your child to take part in a shoot you generally need a licence, there are a few exceptions but if aged 16 or under and still in full time education you will need a licence from your local LEA to work in the UK or an international licence to work abroad.
To get a licence production will send you a licence application form via Hashtag. You will need to complete it and send it back to Hashtag along with a recent headshot, birth certificate and if filming on a school day a school letter authorising time off. For overseas you also need a doctor’s letter.
To have time off during school term time for shoots you have to have written permission from your child’s head teacher, so if your school is strict with attendance this may not be the right time for your child to begin doing this, or you can always try and come to an agreement with your school. You have to get permission from the teacher during school term time to apply for a licence through your council which is used onset to be able to stick to strict time periods that the children are allowed to shoot for-this is a legal requirement.
Before a shoot you will be sent all the details from Hashtag. This will usually include your call sheet(s) (schedule), hotel details if needed and contact details for people who you will potentially need to contact prior or whilst there. On the actual day, be prepared for long days with older children as legally they can work for longer on set… so again, take snacks, a book, or tablet to keep them occupied! Before the shoot begins they will likely have hair and makeup done too!
Overall, make sure your child has fun and always follows instructions! Casting directors always remember those that stand out and feedback will likely be given to Hashtag on your child’s performance. Also, it’s Hashtag’s reputation that can be damaged if your child doesn’t perform well.