How much will I need to invest in my child model’s career?
As with any new venture or career, there are certain costs involved. Some costs are tangible such as photography, headshots, composites, acting classes, etc. Some costs are not as tangible, such as gas to and from auditions and bookings, parking fees, flipper (fake teeth if and when your child needs one), fast food dinner because auditions interfere with family dinner, babysitting fees for other children (you can NEVER take extra children on auditions or bookings), etc. Good photography and promotional items are the key to obtaining bookings since pictures are the first view a client has of an actor/model. Babies and toddlers can usually get by using snapshots because their look changes so quickly. Some agents and managers request that you are on casting sites which cost and some even charge a small fee to be up on their websites. One large modeling agency (LA and NYC offices) charge models $165 a year to have their portfolio and resume posted on the agency website.
Do you accept every applicant?
Legitimate agencies and managers accept ONLY children with true potential for a particular market. Children are selected according to personality, animation, availability, size and look. Of course, NO GUARANTEES go along with this industry. I accept about one out of twenty of the children I interview.
Can I print my own Headshots/Composites?
All agencies and most managers have a design format that makes the agency/manager recognizable to their clients and that are competitive in the marketplace. I encourage parents of my infants and toddlers to simply download and print a pic/resume for auditions since the child changes so quickly but for kids over the age of 5, I do insist on professional pictures and professionally printed headshots.
Do you accept all of the children in the same family?
I will always consider siblings if have the same qualifications needed to be successful in the industry. I also always encourage a “family” pic (including pets) be included in a client’s profile – if the whole family is willing, for projects that are looking for REAL families.
Can my child be listed with another agency?
In California you can only have one agent (you can have a different agent for print, commercial and theatrical) for any one area. So you have rep in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco but you cannot have two print agents (or commercial or theatrical) in any one area.
In Las Vegas and NYC you can be represented by multiple agencies. In Atlanta most agencies will want you exclusively.
Clients tend to recognize models/actors and their agency affiliation and do not want to have to choose one agency over the other when requesting a model/actor. This is known as an “Exclusive Model”. The better agencies require all of their models to have this arrangement. Also remember that if you have two or three agents or managers representing you (in one area) you could be liable to pay a commission to each one!
For managers, you should only have one manager, no matter how many agents you have.
Must I be available when my child is called for an audition or booking?
Yes. Otherwise, you and your agent/manager will be wasting each other’s time. Of course I understand that parents cannot accept every audition but declining more than a few is unacceptable.
Are there auditions on weekends since I work full time?
Rarely. Most auditions are 9-6 on weekdays, even during the school year. Be prepared for your child to miss school occasionally. In California, a child cannot audition during school hours but auditions start at 3 PM (usually) and if you live 90 minutes from Los Angeles, then making auditions could be a problem.
I would strongly DISCOURAGE a parent who works full time from trying to get their child started in the industry. I do not know of any managers or agents who would take a child who could not make auditions during the week.
Do you get many bookings for infants?
Infants work sporadically because they change daily. I interview most infants so that I have a nice stable when the time comes to “book” a baby. There “seasons” for infant print bookings. Normally it will be prior to holidays such as Christmas & Easter and March. Advertising agencies print catalogs several months ahead of these seasons. Commercials, television shows and films are casting all the time for infants so there is no season. A baby only needs to be good natured to get work.
How much will my child make modeling?
That depends on an infinite number of factors such as; temperament, availability, age, size, looks, general personality and promotional materials (photos, snapshots, etc.) Some children make a few hundred dollars a year while others make many thousands. I can not predict the number of auditions and I certainly would never predict how many bookings or how much money a child will make. In most cases, a parent will invest more in a child’s career than the child will ever make!
What is the percentage taken by your agency from my child’s earnings?
I normally work on 15% from all gross monies booked. Occasionally, I deduct varying amounts according to the arrangement and fees paid by the client or advertiser. I always tell my clients the quoted rate at the time I give them the audition. Unless it is a Union job (and print jobs are never SAG) there will be different rates for different jobs.
My child is missing front teeth. Can she/he still model/act?
It is best to begin a modeling/acting career WITH teeth. Then when this natural process occurs, clients already know that your child is a good model/actor and may continue to book them. If the child has no experience, it is more difficult but not impossible to get a client interested. Braces used to be “death” for kids but now braces are more acceptable in the industry (except for food commercials).
How much notice will I receive prior to my child’s audition?
Sometimes as much as 2-3 days, most likely it will be 24 hours or less and sometimes only a few hours. Therefore I keep several children of similar looks and age in every division so that a client’s needs can always be met.