Child actors now have a new digital tool to gain acting experience, increase their exposure, and improve their chances of connecting with legitimate casting professionals. By downloading the Scenebot app or visiting the Scenebot website, aspiring actors can “get scene” and “help kickstart” their acting careers–all through the use of a smartphone.

Scenebot was created by founders Krisha Bullock and Stuart Alexander. Bullock is an award-winning Hollywood casting director with credits including iCarly and Henry Danger, and Alexander is a child actor-turned-writer/director. Together, they wanted to provide a free, safe platform to help connect young talent with agents, casting directors, and talent managers. Bullock explains:

“I think that the idea came after seeing a lot of kids around the country struggling to have the same opportunities as kids who are in a major city like Los Angeles … I’ve seen far too many families go broke trying to find ways to get their kids to be seen by the right people. And not knowing how to find the right people to get into the industry. There seems to be some big secret to finding their way in. So we wanted to find a way to bring that access to everyone and anyone for free.”

How Scenebot works

The app enables users to download one free original script per month, rehearse the scene, match their end of the dialogue with a pre-recording of a celebrity scene partner, and submit a self-tape of their performance into a monthly competition. Those who make the top ten get to be seen by casting professionals.

The celebrity scene partners who’ve lent their voices to Scenebot include Austin & Ally’s Laura Marano, iCarly’s Jerry Trainor, comedian Orlando Jones, and This Is Us star Chrissy Metz. By selecting an Act Back Track, users can perform their lines with these seasoned talents to create their self-taped auditions. But before hitting the record button, users can mine for valuable performance tips by viewing the training videos hosted by various casting professionals. Once actors feel ready to go, they can do several takes and choose the best one for submission. Alexander encourages the young actors to “Perform your audition like it’s a show!”

Although submitted performances are given “likes” during the monthly contest, the number of those likes are not visible because the founders want to protect the kids from the audition process feeling like a popularity contest. Rather, only the actors who receive the highest number of votes will “be scene” by the 150-plus industry professionals associated with Scenebot. Child actors who don’t make the top 10 are not connected to these pros until their auditions are “ready” to be seen, thus allowing them to develop their skills over time. With that in mind, Scenebot provides positive, constructive feedback acknowledging the strengths of the performance as well as any areas to improve. 

Limitations

As far as drawbacks are concerned, it’s clear that acting is made all the richer when an actor has an actual living scene partner. After all, a huge part of quality acting is being able to actively listen to the subtle variances of each delivery, assuring that each reading is fresh and unique. In this way, a pre-recorded scene partner only goes so far. Also, the percentage of Scenebot users who find representation through the site is not great, so it’s important for young talent who are seriously seeking contacts to keep pursuing other avenues as well. (According to the website, over 300 Scenebot users out of the 130 thousand-plus members have signed with an agent, casting director, or talent manager as a result of their Scenebot auditions.) And while the site does provide fun opportunities for kids to develop their acting skills, they’re encouraged to also take classes and participate in community theater to keep growing as an actor.

Overall, Scenebot is a fun tool for aspiring talent to practice their craft, become more comfortable with self-auditions, and put themselves out into the world. Many users express excitement about using the app, and some decide to pay a small monthly fee to upgrade their accounts to be able to submit more auditions per month. But kids need to be 13 or older to sign up. If not, they can ask the site to invite their parents to sign them up.

Have you ever used Scenebot?

 

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