Help Your Child Actor Get Booked as Background

NOVEMBER 25, 2019
A child actor holding a clapboard

Are you interested in getting your minor into the entertainment industry? Background work is a great way for your child actor to gain on set experience and find out if acting is something they want to pursue.

What is a Background Actor?

Background Actors appear in non-speaking roles in movies, TV shows, commercials, and many other productions. You may also hear them referred to as extras, background, atmosphere, or background talent. At Central Casting, we cast minors as Background Actors, but not in speaking principal roles.

We also commonly cast minors to work as doubles for child actors. Each state has strict regulations for a minor’s employment and often limit the amount of time they can spend working on set. To ensure the crew can film throughout the day, productions hire doubles to replace the principal actor for shots where the actor’s face is not visible.

How can I register my child?

At our offices in Los Angeles, New York, Georgia, and Louisiana, we register babies 15 days old to teenagers 17 years old during our Minors Registration sessions. During registration, you’ll fill out paperwork and your minor will take a picture for our casting system. Many of our offices require reservations, so please check your location’s calendar before coming to registration.

Anyone who registers with Central Casting, including minors, must present the required documentation for the I-9 form. Please read the Lists of Acceptable Documents carefully before attending a registration session as we cannot register your minor without these original unexpired documents.

Work permits

While children don’t need work permits to register with Central Casting, they will need a work permit before they can be booked on our productions. You can find more information on your state’s minor permit requirements here:

Remember to keep your child’s work permit up to date so they remain active in our system. You can submit an updated permit to Central Casting by bringing it to a Minor’s Registration session at your local office. While there, you can make other profile changes for your minor and have them update their photo.

Where can I find background jobs for kids?

You’ve registered your minor and have their work permit, now it’s time to find them jobs. Our Casting Directors have many tools at their disposal to cast their projects, so there are plenty of opportunities to find background work for your child actor.

Jobs page

Our Casting Directors post roles they’re currently casting on our Jobs page. In Los Angeles, you can access jobs for minors by selecting the “kids only” link on the top left of the page. In New York, Georgia, and Louisiana the adult and minor background jobs all appear in the same feed. The posts will include important information about the role, like portrayable age, look, possible filming locations, and how the Casting Director would like you to submit. Please read this information carefully before submitting and be sure to send any photos or additional materials the Casting Director has asked for.

Text message

Our texting system allows Casting Directors to directly text parents/guardians about work opportunities for their minor. Often, the first message you will receive is an availability text asking if your child is free to work on a given day. You may receive multiple avail messages for projects on the same day and it’s important to remember that avail checks are not offers for work. Keep in mind that Casting Directors often send avail checks to more people than there are roles to fill, so don’t get discouraged if your minor is not booked when you receive a text message. Prompt responses and only replying “Yes” or “No” are two ways you can help set your child up for success.

Casting Directors may also send follow up questions and details via text message. Our article How to Text with a Casting Director outlines each step of the process so you can get your child actor on set in no time.

Phone call

When booking their projects, a Casting Director may also reach out to you directly by phone. They may call to check availability, to ask if your minor fits certain role requirements, or to give you details. Please write down any information given to you as you may need to refer to it later.

Now you’re all set to register your minor for background work and book their first job. Before you head to set, check out our guide What to Do When Your Minor Books a Job.

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By Meghan Dubitsky

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