How To Take Your Little To An Audition

Leeann Dearing

May I brag for a hot second? Of course I can. It’s my blog.

My little dude Jack has turned into a booking monster this year. He’s so much cooler than I am, guys. He’s had three large commercial jobs in the last month.

Matthew and I have adopted a technique as coaches (and now as a parents) for taking children to an audition. And today we’re gonna talk about it.

For young children, we never use the word audition.

It doesn’t exist. Audition is a four lettered word in our house. It’s always a booking, each and every time. Because of this mentality, Jack has found joy in bookings and in the audition room alike. The whole process is fun and rewarding for him. And if it ever ceases to be, he won’t have to do it any longer.

So when our agent sends Jack out on a casting, we tell him “You got a commercial, buddy!”

Read: The audition IS the job.

We congratulate him on the chance to do his commercial. We talk about the script and what might happen. We make a game out of it. (We do this in our Dearing Studio’s classes all the time! It works great with littles!) Our job is to emphasize that we’re proud of him, and that he’s earned the right to go do his commercial.

2. Money Ain’t A Thang.

Don’t mention the dollars. More money, more problems. Especially when you’re explaining compensation to your 9 year old who understands exactly how many x-boxes they can purchase with it.

The money shouldn’t come up before the commercial. (Remember, not an audition. Commercial. Booking. They already got it.)

Don’t tell your child that they’ll be paying for one whole year of college if they can just book this one national ad. They don’t need that noise. Keep it fun. Congratulate them on getting to go do the commercial. As long as your child truly loves to act (and if you’re reading this, I assume they do) that is reward in and of itself.

(Our daughter Rosalyn on set for Discover ID at 6 weeks old. We start them young in this family.)

3. If The Audition/Booking Bombs…

…and with littles, it sometimes will. They didn’t sleep well, they’re “hangry”, they didn’t get to watch Frozen, etc. Every now and then the audition will just go poorly because toddlers and littles are not miniature adults or robots.


If the audition goes badly, do not belabor a discussion about it. Do not say any of the following:

“Why didn’t you do your funny voices/ songs/ impressions (insert your child’s talent here)?”

“Why are you being shy?”

“What were you thinking in there?”

“Were you really trying?”

“Don’t you want to be a STAR on television?”

(*Face palm)

First, let the child decompress for a second. Then instead of asking aaaaaaany derivative of the above questions, ask open-ended questions and just listen. You, the parent, can also learn from the success or challenges of each audition.

So ask open-ended questions:

“How did you feel about that commercial, buddy?”

“What part of that commercial felt easy for you? What part felt hard?”

Now stop talking. Let him or her answer you. Letting them explain their experience is so important. If something cued them to feel nervous, insecure or unsafe, you’ve got to know about it. This is a big part of the reason that my husband (Matthew Dearing) or a Phoenix Casting employee always does warm up games with our young talent at auditions. We all need help getting into a fun head-space sometimes!

That’s it! Enjoy the audition process with your littles! It’s a fun experience to bring your child along with you on a casting. Keep it fun and everybody wins.