Many young actors and actresses (and their parents) often wonder what it takes to begin acting for shows on the Disney Channel. Unfortunately, the Disney Channel and their associated programs basically follow the same routines as any other commercial film or television endeavor. Disney does have auditions for their live shows, but they probably won't be much help for your film and television dreams.
Don't fret though, all is not lost! One thing that I think is important to realize as a young actor starting out in the business is that if you are a solid actor (or actress) that is mature, focused and professional, you stand an excellent chance of succeeding. In truth it can be quite difficult to find the right combination of traits in younger actors that will translate into a smooth working situation for the crew.
The first thing to understand before you embark on an acting career in your youth is that your parents must be heavily involved. The amount of time that is required to drive you to auditions, take you to acting classes and basically become a 'manager' to your career is tremendous. If your parents aren't just as motivated as you are, you're probably going to have a tough time of it.
Most importantly, there are a lot of people that will prey on your youth and lack of experience. Do not ever contact anyone regarding your acting career without letting your parents know exactly what you are doing and with whom. Getting scammed would be terrible, but putting yourself in danger is the more worrisome thing here, so be careful and let your parents know! Trust me, you're not going to 'make it' without Mom and Dad by your side...please don't try.
Now, assuming your parents are willing and able to provide that level of support, the next step is up to you. The second thing you will have to realize about acting professionally is that, as a general rule, the work is long, boring and tedious. As a young professional, there are rules regarding how much and how often you can work, but during the time that you are working, it can be really arduous...even on the Disney Channel.
There are a lot of responsibilities that are placed on you when you act professionally and a ton of money is riding on what you do on set. You must be willing to set aside a lot of time to learning lines, rehearsing and shooting. Once you get a job, you are contractually obligated to continue that job and as such, you are going to miss out on a lot of experiences that you may take for granted right now. Hanging out with your friends on a Friday night or going to school functions like dances and plays or participating in sports is going to become a rarity, if not non-existant in your life.
You also must be professional. When you are on a film or television soundstage, whether on a Disney Channel show or any other, you will be expected to act as professionally as any other adult on set. When it's time to roll the cameras, you have to work. Even if you're sick, bored, tired, restless...whatever, you will be expected to do your job. If you cost the production time and money by throwing tantrums or not cooperating, you will quickly gain a bad reputation and you won't get hired anymore.
And lastly, you must be able to deal with rejection constantly. Now, your chances of success are, in my opinion, much greater when you start out at a young age, but the competition is still quite fierce. You will be turned down for most of the jobs you go out for. And, by most, I mean nearly all of them. If you are booking one job out of a hundred auditions, you would be doing fantastic. Keep that in mind, becuase to continue on month after month like that takes a lot of diligence and patience from you and your parents.
To sum up, acting for the Disney Channel is going to require the same path that any other acting job would require, but if you are smart, dedicated and professional you will have an excellent chance of succeeding. Get your parents involved and let them know what you want to do. Take the time to talk with them and together you may find yourself on your favorite show!
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