The mention of “sides” to anyone who is not involved in the television or film industry or who is not already going on acting auditions or taking a child to acting auditions is likely to result in a confused look.
So today I have chosen “sides” to be the “Showbiz Term of the Day.”
I remember my confusion when I first heard my daughter’s talent manager tell me he was sending me the sides for her to learn before her acting auditions. I did not want to show my ignorance by asking “What are sides?”
“Sides” are yet another of the many acting terms that you will encounter that you are not likely to understand when you are getting started in the entertainment industry.
Yet the term sides will become very familiar once you join the community of actors and begin actively auditioning. (For more on acting auditions, see “What Happens at Movie Auditions for Kids?“)
So, “What are the sides for acting auditions?”
What are sides?
The term “sides” simply refers to the specific set of lines from the script of an acting project that your child (or you) must learn prior to an audition. The sides for any given audition may be as small as a few words up to a few scenes or exerpts from a few scenes from the script for a project.
In addition to the lines that are spoken, there may be other instructions or specifications about what is going on in the particular segment(s) or sides from the script for the project. These will typically provide clues to help you make decisions about your character’s delivery of the lines.
How Do You Get the Sides?
Prior to going to acting auditions, it is the responsibility of the actor (or parent of the actor) to get the “sides” from the talent agency or talent manager, or to download them from a site (such as LA Casting or Showfax). In some cases, the casting director or others involved in the project will send the sides to you through email or have you download them from a site that they will tell you about.
Occasionally, the sides will not be available until arrival at the audition, but this is rare (except in the case of commercial auditions where it is common).
Though it is usually not essential that the sides be totally memorized prior to going to acting auditions, it is essential that they be studied and practiced enough to gain a good understanding and familiarity with them. Actors will typically hold the sides in their hand for reference while they are auditioning.
However, for young children who are not yet good readers, memorization is a must. This should not be a problem, though, since the length of the sides required for acting auditions for young children is usually fairly short.
For tips and information on this and many other topics related to becoming a child actor, be sure to subscribe to Your Young Actor’s Newsletter. When you do, you’ll also receive a free mini-course on Getting Started in Show Business.
To your success,