What happens at a casting and thereafter...
So your child has got the acting bug and has already done the hard work and been accepted to join Hashtag Talent. Let's look at what happens at a casting...
Most castings will be held in the beautiful and busy capital city of London. `For our northern based clients you could be asked to go to Manchester or Glasgow for our Scottish clients. Occasionally there are a few in other areas such as Wales, Norfolk or Birmingham. If you live out of these cities you may have to leave school early on occasion - it's worth having a chat with a teacher so they know this might happen and take any missed work to catch up with on the journey.
When you get the call to attend a casting firstly check where it is - some are easy to find and some are not- try google maps and even using the street view. PLAN the journey to allow extra time for delays and getting lost 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 them occupied - but maybe not a laptop or phone game if they don't want to leave it suddenly to go in to the casting - nothing worse than a screaming child wanting to finish their game! You could instead use this time to play a few games or practise!
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. Always have Hashtag Talent's phone details to hand. Usually you will be asked to stay in reception while your child goes through to the casting room where your child will meet the casting director and maybe some of their colleagues. Let your child know in advance that this will happen (unless the child is a toddler or you have been asked to also cast as mum/dad etc). Tell them to go in smiling, say hello and have fun. They will be asked to introduce themselves and asked to do some acting. This may be reading rehearsed lines that they have previously been given, dancing, playing games etc. Sometimes they may go in with a few other children to see how they all get on.
Hopefully your child will come out happy and had a good time, don't worry too much if they don't say much - leave it a while before asking how it went. We have had children think they did really badly and booked the job.
AFTER A CASTING:
After the casting you then have the dreaded ‘wait of doom’. Unfortunately this is a busy industry and casting directors and agents don't have time to feedback from every single casting. When you did get feedback cherish it and take on board any pointers.
In most circumstances you usually hear back the week after, or that same week if you are pencilled (shortlisted) maybe asked for a recall (2nd casting etc) or if you are confirmed (booked). If for a large film role you could be waiting longer. They will contact Hashtag who in turn, will then contact you. 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 there are far more no's than yeses.
LICENSES AND SCHOOL:
To enable your child to take part in a shoot you will 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 to work in the UK, 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, copy of birth certificate or passport and if filming on a school day a school letter authorising time off. For overseas you also need a doctor’s letter. You will need to let Hashtag and production know who is going to chaperone - this has to be a biological parent or a licenced chaperone.
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.
The difference with an international licence is that production have to go to court to get it. For this, on top of the documents for a UK licence both the child and chaperone need to have valid passports and parents will have a police check - if biological parents do not live together both will still have to give permission for the child to fly overseas.
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! There may be wardrobe to do and meeting other members of the cast.
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.
Good luck with your castings and all that may follow!