Acting classes for kids: why positivity is a must
We all hear the stories about young actors who face personal challenges, leading to shortened careers and other unfortunate circumstances. This does NOT have to be the case. Here at 3-2-1 Acting School in Los Angeles, we teach dozens of happy, vibrant, well-rounded children, teens and young adults every single week. I am a firm believer that a positive professional experience starts with a positive training environment. Show business is just that — a business — and we can’t always control who we encounter when making business deals. We CAN, however, control where and how we train as actors. Child acting classes especially must be safe, fun spaces for growth and exploration. Here are four reasons why acting classes for kids and teens must be positive and uplifting:
Positive and constructive feedback stimulates growth.
I am all about positive reinforcement. By acknowledging a child for doing something fabulous — this could be a simple as having a great smile — we automatically create an environment in which an actor feels more comfortable, and free to play. Of course, we want our actors to grow and learn, so we always deliver feedback constructively. For example, I once had a student who was squirming during his camera slate. When he was finished, the first thing I said was “really good!” followed by, “now this time, lets try it with your hands folded in front of your body, while speaking the words loud and proud.” I use this “loud and proud” mantra often because it motivates students to deliver lines confidently. The idea is that the more warmly we encourage children from the beginning, the more their confidence grows, and the more receptive they will be to new suggestions.
Positive reinforcement boosts self esteem.
For actors, having self-confidence is everything. I’ve hosted over 50 industry showcases here at 3-2-1-, and after every showcase, the agents and managers who attend are impressed by how confident our actors are. And they always notice how much fun we are having! The “break them down” before they “break through” method does not instill confidence in children. It does just the opposite. Children have their whole lives as adults to navigate the business world; again, acting classes for kids and teens should be challenging, yet uplifting.
Acting classes prepare kids and teens for other areas of life.
I have had students who signed up for acting classes for kids not to become professional actors, but simply to gain confidence (some of these students ended up pursuing acting careers, but that’s a story for another post!). Some students are very shy when they begin my class and want to have more ease when it comes to, say, school presentations. These student have been some of my favorite students! Through speaking on camera, participating in group improv games, and performing scenes in a safe, creative environment, these students gain important communication and leadership skills that stay with them for the rest of their lives. Because not all students in a given class will go on to become professional actors, and may just want to gain confidence as communicators, it is doubly important that we keep our acting classes for kids as positive and uplifting as possible!
Positive training environments set actors up for longer careers.
Many adult actors that I know lament that they wish they had started when they were children. Kudos to you and your child for exploring what this industry has to offer! The early childhood years are such crucial developmental years, and your child is building instincts, muscle memory, and skills that will serve her throughout her career. It is so important that your child also embark on her lifelong journey as an actor with a healthy mindset. It is her positive mindset that will lead to longevity in this business.
Also, as I mentioned before, through acting classes, people gain important communication and leadership skills that are great for all industries. Want to excel in a job interview environment? Take some improv classes. Want to enhance your business presentation skills? Take an on camera commercial copy reading class. Again, you will set your child up to win with a safe, uplifting training environment.
Positive acting classes for kids are FUN.
Let’s get back to basics here. Your child wanted to act to begin with because acting is FUN. Training should therefore be FUN. Have I made my point yet? I think so. 🙂
On a more serious note, I am always here for you if you feel that your child has been exposed to an unhealthy training environment or business scenario. Please, please don’t hesitate to call me at the studio with any questions or concerns that you may have. This business can be enjoyable, and it should be.
I look forward to hearing from you. Until then…keep acting, and keep having fun!