There is no “optimal” age for your child to begin acting, but you can anticipate varying casting opportunities based on their age. According to acting coach Denise Simon, child actors between the ages of 8 and 11 are typically the most desirable for agents and managers due to the abundance of roles available to this age range—but child actors of any age can expect the following:
Between the ages of 0 and 4, Naturally, your infant is adorable. You’re approached on the street and asked if you’ve ever considered investing in their business. If your child is sociable, easily separates from you, and you are willing to do the schlepping, go ahead. You are not required to pay for classes or professional photography at this age; snapshots will suffice.
Small kids from 5 to 7 years of age: This age group is just beginning to understand the concept of reading, so encourage your young actor to read aloud—but also encourage them to use their imagination and have fun. At this age, an improv or game-inspired acting class is the way to go, but caution should be exercised against over-coaching.
Preteens from 8 to 12 years of age: When I recommend an actor between the ages of 8 and 11, agents and managers are ecstatic. His voice remains unaltered, he is disciplined enough to work long hours, he is reading, he is not old enough to develop acne, and he is still a child’s height. There are numerous roles available for children this age across all mediums, and agents are eager to represent them—particularly if they can act!
Teens from 13-15 years old: Your little girl has reached puberty and is no longer a child. She may develop self-doubt, lacking the easy confidence she possessed at a younger age. Now is an excellent time for her to enroll in classes and develop skills beyond her natural ability. Roles in theater are no longer available; she is too tall to play a child but not old enough to handle the maturity and skill required for certain roles. There is still plenty of work available in commercials, television, and feature films. Amplify your experience by working on student films and begin building a demo reel.
Teen & Young Adults from 16-18 years old: Your teen no longer requires transportation to auditions, but he does require a tutor and there are work restrictions on set. There are plenty of 18-year-olds who can play younger roles, and tutoring will be free for the production company. If your teen wishes to pursue acting professionally, now is an excellent time to study and prepare for college theater auditions—getting into a good program is more competitive than ever. Contact us for more information.