Thursday, July 25, 2013

Life of a Model

I took the photo above at an audition today. Ryan has been going for quite a number of auditions lately. At four years old, he is in a popular age group for child models - this is when the children look cute, can take instructions and can wear clothes well. So we have been very busy with his "career".

I've had some readers ask about child modelling, so I'll share a little about it in today's post.

If you want to get your child into modelling, the first thing to do is to get an agent. The agent will assess if your child is suitable for any jobs (both print and film). If so, the agent will send you details of auditions, you send your child to try out, and if successful, then go for the shoot. It's that simple. I would add that your child does not need to be conventionally good-looking - there are all sorts of roles for all sorts of looks.

This career can be inconvenient though, firstly, because things are always arranged at the last minute and most of the time, it is during weekdays. There are some weekend castings but, like I mentioned, it is usually at a moment's notice - we missed quite a few auditions because we frequently travel out of Singapore on weekends and the call may come on Saturday for an audition on Sunday.

Secondly, the child must always be accompanied. When the child is new to modelling or when the child is still very young, the parent plays a very important role in "activating" the child for the camera, keeping the child in a good mood, and explaining the directions to the child in the way that the child can best respond. Of course, the parent has to look after the child's physical needs as well. So if you are not a stay at home parent, it may be a little difficult because you will have to take time off. Most of the time, the auditions can be done around lunchtime (not always), but when it comes to the shoot, it will be much more intensive. A shoot can last half a day and it can also spread over a few days.

Importantly, be aware that your child may be auditioning for ten or twenty jobs, and never get any. So if you're in it for fame and fortune, well, it is not going to be easy. Modelling, both adult and child, is quite competitive.

For us, we value the audition process itself. We view the audition as a way for Ryan to build up confidence, self-awareness and social skills. The job, if he gets it, is a bonus.

Ryan gets to work with different people, from the director and producer to the wardrobe people to the hair and makeup people to the cameramen and of course his co-stars. He learns when he needs to be serious and work, and when he can let loose and play. He can take direction and he can understand instructions. He can interact and socialize with all sorts of people.

It does take time and patience to take up modelling, but it is worth it. When Ryan did his first audition, it was really not good. He wouldn't look at the camera, wouldn't sit on the chair, wouldn't pose, wouldn't respond to the director. It was a big flop. Now, it is amazing to watch him at an audition. Self-assured, confident, able to follow instructions, able to introduce himself to the director on his own, able to come up with his own poses and expressions and even make up his own script - what a change.  And most importantly, he absolutely loves it. In this photo, he was filling out his own casting form - haha! He filled in his name, his age, the colour of his hair, etc. It was so wonderful to sit there and watch him.

So, if you're thinking of getting into child modelling - go for it! It's an interesting and enriching activity for your little one!


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