Teaching Acting to The Little Ones…
June 28, 2017 | Casting Director | Barry Shapiro
I really enjoy teaching classes to young children for several reasons.
One is that even if they never go into the acting industry it still gives them the experience of performing in front of adults and other children. I think this will help them later in life when they start interviewing for jobs. I didn’t have this opportunity when I was a child and when I first started interviewing for jobs after college I was like a fish out of water.
And if they do decide to continue pursuing acting as a teenager and adult, they will be step ahead of the others because of their earlier experience.
I can’t tell you how many successful actors and actresses I worked with when they were young performers. Some I knew they were special and others it was more of a nice surprise. It is such a wonderful moment when I meet a teen or adult actor and they come up to me and tell me that they worked with me when they were a child.
One of the things most important to me when teaching children is to make it fun as well as educational. These kids often spend their days in school listening to teachers all day long. When I work with them on the weekend or after school, I want them to feel like this is fun and not like school. From the moment we are young – until the very end – we love to play games. Whether it’s outdoor games as kids or cards and checkers as grandparents, we never lose that desire. So that’s always a big part of my classes.
It’s so gratifying when there’s a word that a kid has never heard of and I realize they learned that in my class. What is most fun for me teaching the very little ones (ages 3-8) is that you never know what will come out of their mouths. I tell stories all the time of what one of the kids came up with in the class.
There was one girl who had such an amazing imagination that I’d give her a subject and she could create an hysterical ten minute improvised monologue.
It is also so gratifying when a child is very shy in the beginning of a five-week class and by the end they are as talkative as can be. I also try to keep things very informal and light. I want them to look forward to coming to class because it will be entertaining as well as learning what it takes to become a young actor.