Biz Kids are Whiz Kids
by Peggy Lewis & Frances Vye Wilson

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Peggy Lewis and Frances Vye Wilson, the founders of biz kids N.Y., inc., have over 60 years of experience in the business. They belong to six different unions and have worked as models, actors, singers, talking heads, voice-over talents, art directors, casting directors, makeup artists, stylists, producers, directors, teachers and are parents of children in the business.

Does Your Child Have What It Takes?

Working in a major market like New York or Los Angeles can be very rewarding, but it�s important to be ready and aware of what these markets are looking for. In a nutshell, you or your child will most likely succeed if you or your child are all of the following:

Smart. We want people who read well, understand quickly and who have a lot of natural curiosity.

Creative. Again we are talking about natural curiosity in addition to brightness.

Positive. Potential actors need to be self-motivated and have tons of positive energy.

A Good Choice Maker. It�s important that a person has the ability to make strong, intelligent, well-informed choices in their work and about the work. (Don�t forget this is a business.)

Hard Working. Show business is hard work. We need actors who are bright, curious, and healthy. Show business may look glamorous, but actors need to be very disciplined. It�s hard to control energy and emotions if you�re hungry or sleepy. When you are required on set at 6:00 a.m., you cannot be an out-after-midnight Cinderella, or you may lose your glass slippers!

Natural. Kids and adults alike are less than natural if they have been primped and preened! Furthermore, it�s difficult to be natural when you�re afraid you are not pretty enough, not good enough, need prettier clothes, need longer legs, need curlier hair, etc. A natural person doesn�t second guess everything. If we need an actor to sell a product in a commercial, we need, first and foremost, a person who is believable! We need someone who is normal, honest, kind, and looking just like you and me!

Have the Ability to Learn Lines. An area of great concern is learning lines. When we memorize lines we do it by repetition. Memorizing is not the same thing as learning. Learning is accomplished on seven different levels, while memorizing is only on one level. Learning is processed through visualization, sense memory, the physical, association, conceptualization, and many other combinations of brain functions associated with language skills. When we learn lines we put all of these tools to work for us. It is a very lively organic process which reveals itself in the eyes, face, body, and mind of the actor. It�s simply not enough to merely say the line, the actor must also act the line.

Constantly Motivated. It is no surprise that actress Helen Hunt thanked her coach when she accepted her Oscar. As actors we must have pride in our skills, and like any artist, dancer, singer, or musician, we must always practice our craft. We must workout, go to dance classes, voice lessons, singing classes, and acting classes. You can�t tell a casting director to call back in a week or two when you�ll be in better shape! Your best bet is to enroll in school or community theater, dance school, and church choir. Get experience doing local commercials, television, or trade shows. Check out Web sites like Back State and SAG (Screen Actors Guild) as well as read magazines like Pageantry for every tip you can get.

Our work is very demanding, but it�s also very rewarding. It�s one of the few jobs that we can have over a lifetime. It affords us a wonderful opportunity to learn new things every day and to work with wonderful, exciting people. Since those of us who work in the business have such a high regard for our profession, we owe it to ourselves to help new young actors learn the business well and bring to it the love of the work we all share.

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