How to practice for acting auditions – for child actors, is below. I often get asked how I help my child when the lines come in.
Practice for an acting audition has to be professional and adequate for your child actor. This cannot be overlooked or kind of done halfway as there are up to hundreds of other kids or more that have been working on the copy or sides diligently.
Trying to just sort of wing it does not work in acting for children or adults. Casting directors often tell stories of child actors that walk in completely unprepared and the kids bury their heads in the script. To make sure the casting director can see your child’s face, make sure they are memorized (off-book or off-copy) and that they are confident in what they have worked on.
It is not at all like sports either, in that, if you practice the same things a few days that week kicking a soccer ball with your team, you should be prepared for your game. But in acting, you are not prepared necessarily for each audition, because each one is completely unique. This is because lines are often specific to the audition your child is doing.
Trying to crash memorize lines into their head, in the car right before, is not considered professional and it your child will likely panic, be anxious and/or mess up in the audition room – don’t do that to them nor should they do that to themselves. So, with that in mind, if you have your lines the night prior, then your child should be working on the lines the night prior and the morning of, then also a few times just prior to the audition, that day.
They should run through it at least 20 times to get off copy first (memorize it), to understand their role, to get a feeling for their character, to not be locked into how they are going to say it, and to see something new in the text each time they read it.
If, your child is lucky enough to get their lines days or even weeks ahead, then you should help them to schedule consistent times to be first “off-book” (memorized) and then working on delivering the lines in an authentic and interesting manner (consider putting on a family calendar). They should use the time wisely over that week or month to study the copy or sides. (copy is for commercials, sides are for Film or TV)
Waiting until the last day or days will create anxiety for them and for you. So space it out, and have them break it up, if long amount of lines. They can memorize in chunks and take their time making the delivery their best.
One more thing, as they get more advanced, they may get their lines day of the audition or even “at” the actual audition. That can happen. However, as they become more advanced actors they will find ways to absorb and learn lines at a quicker pace. They may even get asked to cold-read their lines at an audition, so make sure your child is taking a cold-reading class at their professional acting academy, like Hollywood Access Inc. in Las Vegas or your own acting school. And they should repeat this class more than once their first few years. Cold-reading is a skill they must have as they advance in the acting world.