Every now and again I hear through the grapevine that someone is complaining about their current or former agency. Most of the time it’s common to hear a person saying “ such and such agency is terrible they never booked my kid” or “ such and such agency only books certain kids and the rest get nothing “. I cannot tell you enough how much I hear this about my fellow agents and I’m sure I’m not excluded from these types of comments. So I figured it might be good to touch upon the fact that no two people have the same experience with the same agency.
An agent typically represents a few hundred kids. We all consider our children unique in their own way. With that uniqueness comes unique experiences. For example , I can represent two children that are very similar in appearance. They might both have tan skin, dark straight hair, brown eyes. However, each child has their own unique personality. One child might be more outgoing and personable than the other. Or one might be more suited for a serious type role. Either way one child’s booking experience might be completely different from the others. That doesn’t make that agent a terrible agent because he/she didn’t book your child as much as the other child. It just means your child had different qualities than the other child which provided different booking experiences.
I would like to remind all of you that AGENTS DO NOT PICK THE CHILDREN WHO BOOK JOBS. Clients always have and always do pick the children for their campaigns. Agents only have the power to submit your child to a client, they do not have the power to book the children. I see so many parents bitter at their former representation because their child didn’t book a lot of jobs. I understand it can hurt if you tried something out for your child and it didn’t turn out as expected but remember your agent roots for you! We would love every single child in our system to book weekly but unfortunately that’s not a reality. It doesn’t do an agent any good putting a child in their system who they are not going to submit. If it didn’t work out don’t blame or badmouth your former representation, booking your child was out of their control. I can also tell you that if I personally meet a new talent that was represented by someone else in the past and is speaking negatively about their former representation I typically see that as a red flag and choose to not represent that family.
Every child has a very different experience with the same agency. Your friends child can book jobs on a weekly biases . Where your child might book 1-2 jobs a year. That doesn’t make that agency bad because you didn’t have the same experience as your friend. It just means your friends child has a quality that clients find bookable. If you are not happy with your current representation leave with dignity and class . Thank your agent for their time and effort with your child and keep any negative opinions to yourself. The grass might not be greener and you might wish to return to your former representation. If you burn a bridge it might be hard to mend that relationship.
Sometimes it can be stressful being an agent. There is a whole lot of pressure on you to keep parents happy. We have a lot of kids to manage and time can be limited.
With that being said I think it would be safe to say every agent has a list of questions that automatically causes an internal eye roll. I think sometimes parents don’t realize they are one of many.
The same 5 questions being asked by every talent daily can become a bit exhausting.
Especially when they take the time to write out welcome packets, and blog that give the answer to their questions.
So what are those questions that every agent hates being asked ? Glad you asked.
1. Don’t ask your agent if they received the calltime unless it’s the night before the booking. If it’s Afterhours and you still haven’t heard anything feel free to ask your agent. I promise we will not keep your calltime from you. We are waiting patiently for it as well and you can rest assured if we received it you will have it immediately. So please try to avoid asking unless it’s the night before. Chances are we are just as anxiously awaiting the call time.
2. Don’t ask your agent if your kid booked the job if you haven’t heard anything yet. Again, same as above. We will never hold a booking from you.In fact you will typically receive your booking within 5 minutes or less once we have received it. I get it that your anxious but try to be patient. If you haven’t heard please assume your child didn’t book this job.
3. What’s the rate ? If we didn’t include the rate in the details then we don’t have it. Please don’t ask your agent the rate if it wasn’t given to you yet or it’s just a submission. Many times we submit without having the full rate and we are waiting as well. We always include all the details we have right away. So if something is missing it’s because we haven’t received it.
4. Why isn’t my kid booking ? Please don’t ask this especially if your child has mediocre photos and you haven’t updated your child’s profile. We also don’t always know why your child isn’t working. Agents do not pick the talent. The client always picks the talent so we most likely don’t have a good anwser as to why it wasn’t your child. If your looking for advice on if there is anything you can do to help your child’s success rate you can politely email your agent asking what you can do to help increase your child’s booking potential.
5. Please do not ask your agent if they submitted your child. Please for the love of god don’t ask if your child is being submitted. There is this common rumor in the industry that parents spread that agents only submit their favorite kids. This is ludicrous! It costs us nothing to submit your child and we don’t always know what the client is looking for. So it be hooves us to submit everyone that fits the category asked, as we never know who the client will choose. I promise you guys agents do not only submit their favorites. Some kids just book more than others because their look or personality is inline with what clients tend to look for. We would sooner release a child from contract than keep them in the system and not submit them.
I know as parents these seem like super common questions all or most of you have asked at one point or another. I totally understand why they are asked and you guys mean no harm. If we were only representing one child it wouldn’t be such an issue to be asked the above 5 questions. Unfortunately we represent hundreds of kids and are asked these questions daily, it can certainly become a bit exhausting. I mean the best by providing this info to you as I’m trying to help you have the best relationship with your agent as you possibly can , even if it isn’t Sprout 🌱. Be mindful that we are insanely busy and would love more than anything to have the time to answer every question you have ,but if it’s one of the 5 above I would write it down on a piece of paper and throw it away before you ask it.
When we watch documentaries, see news stories , or read magazines about celebrities who have “fallen apart” due to fame , we ask ourselves where did they go wrong, what the heck went wrong, how could this happen , and most of all where were their parents ?
Why all the drug addictions, why so many mental breakdowns?
As parents in this business we reassure ourselves that would never happen to our child(ren), that we would give them a break when they are burnt out and need to stop.
“This is like any sport, they can quit whenever. I’ll never be like those crazy stage parents putting my child in any danger. This is different, I am different, they are different. Surely, that would never happen to my child , nope never” But will it ?
I remember when the Michael Jackson Documentary came out, I remember thinking what in gods name were these parents thinking allowing their child to be around this man ? They have to see what everyone else sees, right? No loving parent could ever be so naive to think that this man wanted to be best friends with little kids? What were these parents thinking?!
Being on the other side of the industry makes me see things from another perspective, it forces me to take the “ mommy goggles ” off and see things clearly. I can almost bet that they saw Michael as Willy Wonka, he was their golden ticket, and if they didn’t take a trip to neverland their children would never see the light of Hollywood land.
I’m not insinuating that these children were abused in any way, but what I am saying is that grooming was definitely going on, and sometimes the flashing lights of the cameras temporarily can blind parents ability to see clearly and make accurate character assessments.
This business is amazing, and it opens doors to so many dreamers. Those who dream of creating with cameras, or those creating on the opposite side of the camera. Even those like me, someone who loves to make dreams come true. This business can be beautiful and filled with this magical light, but behind the light there are people with ill intentions, hiding in the shadows, offering you and your child(ren) a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I know this is a hard topic to hear, believe me it’s harder to discuss. As a team at Sprout we have been contemplating writing this for a very long time, but keep modifying it, and putting it on the backburner, not sure if parents are ready to hear it .
However, the media is just bringing so much to attention to the subject . We have the stories of Howard Weinstein taking advantage of his position abusing children in the industry , you have Kesha suing her producer for sexual abuse, we have the Free Britney movement, Demi Lovato coming forward with rape allegations, the wonderfully talented Amanda Bynes who has been on a downward spiral for years, you have the stories of Corey Feldman and Cory Haim, there even has been countless local child photographers in the area arrested for child abuse. The list goes on and on. It would be against everything Sprout believes in if we didn’t share this.
In this blog we will go over the signs of grooming. How to spot it, how to prevent it, and how to report it.
We are here to not only make dreams come true, but to protect the pure innocence and light that our little dreamers hold. While we will go over some sensitive topics we hope that everyone receives this and carefully reads every sign. Sometimes it’s hard to see clearly when the groomer is grooming you and your child when it seems to benefit your child’s career, and it’s easy to not want to see things as they are. Imagine yourself outside of your body looking in. Is it normal that an adult wants to “play” with your child all the time. If it wasn’t a person in the industry benefiting your child’s career would you see this as very odd. Is the risk worth the reward? In my opinion NOTHING is worth the health and safety of a child.
Sometimes as parents we get so excited about the prospect of our child booking a job ,shooting with a photographer, or wearing a designers clothing that we tend to let or guards down to what we normally might have seen as dangerous. We can’t rely on social media platforms, strangers, or even agents to protect our children. We have to protect them ourselves. As an agent I try to do my very best to stay away from clients that seem well… odd ( for lack of a better word). If something doesn’t sit right I don’t take the job. If someone seems a little strange whether it being a parent of another child or someone in the industry, I do my best to tell parents to stay clear. It’s a slippery slope and I think it’s important to voice when we have concerns or when something seems off. However, in the end you have to rely on your own gut instincts to make sure you don’t put yourself or your child in a compromising situation.
I realize this industry is a competitive one . Parents are anxious for bookings and everyone wants their child to make it ! So when a person in the industry shows your child attention it’s easy to get sucked in and the usual red flags get ignored. It’s important to know the signs of grooming and to stay clear EVEN IF IT MEANS YOUR CHILD MIGHT NOT BOOK THE JOB. Not everyone in the industry has the right motives and you need to always proceed on the side of caution when it comes to your child . A booking is not worth your child’s safety and innocence . If your child is contacted by a designer , photographer, director, ANYONE you don’t personally know, and I don’t mean know like “ oh I met them on set a few times “I mean really know . Then you need to look them up . Check the internet , make sure someone always knows where your going , and don’t let your children be alone with ANYONE! If someone wants to meet your child make sure you have someone going with you. Social media is filled with predators! Anyone at any time can pretend to be a photographer, agent, director, designer, casting director etc.. Do your due diligence ! A BOOKING IS NOT WORTH YOUR CHILDS SAFETY. I have seen many parents contacted by a photographer they never met asking to photograph their child. Please don’t just meet up with anyone who contacts you because they offer you a free shoot . Anyone wanting to do something for you for free should be looked at with a few sets of eyes.
Most parents would shoot with anyone , go anywhere , and do almost anything for their child to be noticed. Parents don’t want to say no and turn down an opportunity and believe me guys, I get it ! I do ! I’m not saying to turn things down I’m just saying to use much more caution then you have been. Don’t go to someone’s home, don’t leave your children alone with someone , and don’t ignore the red flags! You are your child’s protector. If a random person said come meet me at this location with your child, would you ? If they say they are a photographer or director you would most likely go without a second thought. Just be mindful. How well do we really know a person ?
I’m going to share some of the signs of grooming from a few articles we have researched. If any of these sound familiar to you please keep your distance and do whatever is needed to protect your children.
Signs of Grooming :
1: The offender will pay special attention to or give preference to a child
2: Gift giving of any expense – large or small – is a grooming technique used to flatter children and their families into trusting the individual. Be vigilant. If another adult is overly interested in your child and family, consider this a red flag. Gifts can also be given in potential bookings or jobs. Perpetrators work to gain the trust of parents/caregivers to lower suspicion and gain access to the child by providing seemingly warm yet calculated attention/support. The perpetrator gains the child’s trust by gathering information about the child, getting to know their needs, and finding ways to fill those needs. ” I can get your child booked on a job, I’m designing a dress I want your child to wear , I’ll photograph your child for free”
3: Having the child call them aunt or uncle. Or another “safe feeling” word. When a perpetrator uses a term that in some way makes the child feel they are family ,the child tends to let their guard down with the perpetrator and it gives a sense of feeling safe.
4: Offenders are often seen pressing boundaries and breaking rules, but are rarely caught in the act of abusing a child. They might meet up with your child outside of work or at their home. When you see a boundary being crossed, describe the inappropriate behavior or boundary violation to the person who has crossed it. Have family rules about when and how adults engage with your children.
5: Perpetrators will test the limits by starting to introduce touch into the relationship. They might put their arm around the child or asking for a hug to see how the child reacts. They may do this in front of other adults. If the caregiver does not intervene or object, and the child is uncomfortable, it can confuse the child on what type of touch is appropriate. Teach your kids about body autonomy and let them know it’s OK to say “no” to adults. One can tickle the child to act as though it’s fun. Or ask if they want a piggy back ride or ride on shoulders. Let your child know to always say “no, thank you “. They need to know it is ok to say no!
6: The individual will offer to do special things or help the caregivers to gain alone time with the child “ come over hear in this room and let’s paint a picture , or I’ll show you something cool”. Be sure to let other adults know that you do not approve of them being alone with your child without your permission or knowledge. Check-in regularly so other adults know you are watching.
7: Groomers may rely on mobile phones, social media and the internet to interact with children in inappropriate ways. FaceTiming your child or messaging your child is never appropriate for an adult as adults should not be maintaining friendships with children.
8: They Become Useful to the Family. One way abusers work to gain the trust of the family of the child they are targeting is by making their lives easier. “They befriend the child, the family, and other adults in the child’s life,” says Pumo. “They’ll provide the child and family members with opportunities, privilege, emotional support, financial support. It could just be attention in a two-family home when both parents are working a lot of hours. It could be taking your kid to practice and saving you time.” No, this doesn’t mean that every time someone offers to do you a favor have nefarious intent. But it is a common sign of abuse to be wary of and note.
9: They Want to Be Alone With Your Child Most adult men, per Cooper, rarely want to be alone with children who aren’t theirs. “I always tell parents: if any adult male wants to be alone with your children, that’s a red flag. Most normal adult men want to be alone with other adult men or adult women.” She adds that if there’s an adult man in your life who exclusively wants to be alone with your kid, to take them to a movie alone or to the basement to play video games , ask about sleepovers ,that might also be a red flag. The same goes for women . Adults do not regularly want to spend their alone time with children. This is one of the most common red flags in potential groomers. While being good with kids and playing with them at a family dinner is no big deal, Pumo says a warning sign that grooming might be taking place or that someone you are around could be an abuser is if they almost exclusively prefer the company of children. “It could be an adult who you notice consistently prefers the company of children, or a particular child over same-aged peers and other adults,” she says. “At a party, is this adult always just with the kids?”
Everyone here at Sprout either had or has had a child in this industry. We get how amazing it feels when someone else sees the talent your child has and offers them opportunities . You want them to feel special, and you want to reap the benefits of this new found relationship. However absolutely no benefit should EVER come before the safety of our children. NO OPPORTUNITY WILL EVER COME CLOSE TO POSSIBLY SACRIFICING KEEPING THEM PROTECTED. There is no such thing as being an overprotective parent in this industry. This was not an easy blog to write as we are aware it might hit close to home for some. However, if it protects one child or one family from a lifetime of pain it was worth it.
I totally thought my kid nailed that audition. Why didn’t he book it ?
How many of you have taken your kid to an audition and the client seemed utterly obsessed with your child. It seemed they had the live version of googley eyes when looking at him or her? How many of you have had a casting director practically convince you that your child nailed the audition. How many of you were told “see you tomorrow“ by a client only to never get that call. Are you raising your hands? Yeah, I know. I get it and I’m right there with you.
I think sometimes my talent don’t realize how much I want them to book the job.
Yes it’s a business, but more than that I want you to know how generally happy I am for your child. When I get the call that little Sarah booked her first job, I can’t wait to pick up the phone and hear the excitement in your voice.
It genuinely warms my heart. I know I’m not alone in this. It seriously never gets old for an agent. Its kinda like being Santa every day ,to some extent.
Not really , but you get what I mean.
As good as it feels to give you good news it’s equally as hard to give you the bad news.
So why do some clients or casting directors give our hopes up? Let me start by saying it’s never intentional.
I truly don’t believe a client or casting director would ever be so cruel to intentionally make you think Amber got the job when she didn’t. I’ll explain. Let’s start with the client.
So let’s say one of the ladies on set said “ see you tomorrow “ and didn’t book your child. What happened ? Did little Robert smile funny “what the heck “.
Well , just because a lady on set loved your child doesn’t mean your child booked the job. Anything can happen from the time of casting to the day of the shoot.
For example , maybe they were going to pick your son and another boy walked in later that evening that might have fit the clothes a little better or matched the “ dad “ on set just perfectly,Or maybe they originally wanted a blonde boy.
However , a beautiful brunette girl walked on set and they decided to switch to a brunette boy. There are so many moving parts to a shoot , that anything at all can happen. There are also several people that determine who the final picks are for a campaign.
The lady on set “ loved your child “ however ,there are most likely at least 3 people who need to sign off on final choices for every production.
This leads me to casting directors. Casting directors are normally 99% right about who the client might pick.
However , once in a blue moon the client goes in another direction.
I’m sure the casting director was correct when they told you “you did a great job I think you’ll book it “.
You probably did do a great job, again there are so many moving parts to a production that anything can happen and multiple people need to give final approval.
The best advice I can give you is to congratulate your child on doing an excellent job on their audition and forget about it. If you hear back with good news it’s a welcome surprise. If you don’t , it’s no big deal as you already put it behind you.
I know it’s easier said than done . I’m not saying it’s easy but just go about your life as you would any day .
This business is filled with excitement and can create some really amazing memories. There are times it isn’t easy and we have to learn to handle rejection. Not just for ourselves but for our children .
“ No matter how great talents or efforts, some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in a month by getting nine woman pregnant “ Warren Buffet
This year has definitely been a year that has complety changed how our industry works.
From rules and regulations, to how talent is casted. Nothing has been the same.
I think that if I were to have written this blog year ago, everyone would think I was writing yet another screenplay copying all pandemic movies.
“There is no way that would actually happen.”…
yet, here we are almost one year into this mess, and absolutely everything has been changed to adapt to Covid. Quite frankly, I don’t think it ever will be the same, this may just be our new normal.In a few months (that just happen to seem like a few years) in person castings have become virtually obsolete, Pun very much intended.
While virtual castings may have been what parents dreamed pre-covod, the reality of multiple self-tape request each week has been proven to be overwhelming. Not only for parents, but for Casting Directors and Agents alike. It’s double or even triple the work, if not more.
Parents are being asked to try to replicate what casting office do, and honestly none of us had time to train nor adapt.
Casting Directors know what works. They know how to get a genuine reaction from a child, They have a staff of people dedicated to only making sure they get the best footage possible. The files they send to their clients have always been cohesive and streamlined. They have spent years solidifying a method to provide quality tapes every time.
Now they are relying on you, the parents, to provide the best possible tapes you can.
To be 100% frank, the results have been far from pretty. It’s not anyone’s fault at all, it’s just the hand we have been dealt. 99% of you are not professional acting coaches and videographers, nor do we expect you to be.
To put this into perspective, Lets just say that we get about 100 submissions for one project. That is 100 people sending us at least one tape, if not more per household. That’s 100 people sending via different hosting sites, or text messages, with incorrect file names, and lets not even talk about the video quality. eek.
While we want nothing more than each and everyone on our roster to their chance to shine, we simply cannot hold each persons hand during the very fast paced casting process. We have spent countless hours(and months) trying to whip up the perfect guide on how to completely nail your self-tape castings.
You now hold in your power the ability to completely win over clients and Casting Directors. However, you also power to completely destroy a casting directors impression of you because of one bad self tape. That thought in itself is utterly terrifying.
This is why we took the time to develop our How to to guide to ensure that you never bomb another self-tape again.
In our never before seen Ultimate Self-Tape guide we will cover everything from how to position your camera, how to label your file, how to use drop box /wetransfer, how to dress, how to find the perfect lighting, and everything in-between to completly make a POSITIVE and lasting impression on every industry professional who views your tape.
If you aren’t much of a reader I have included videos, and pictures those who prefer visual guides!
I know it’s so hard to follow every direction (they can be overwhelming).
I will break it down by sections so you can skip through and read up on the areas you most need help with, without experiencing information overload!
For our first blog let’s get down to the basics.
What props/equipment do you need?
No high tech professional video needed.
Your cell phone/ tablet will work just fine!
Please make sure quality is not grainy when doing your test video.
I prefer the quality of my iPad Pro but sometimes the files are too large, so my iPhone is my go to.
Good lighting is key!
It can totally up your self tape game.
Before I dive in to how to make sure your lighting is just right let’s go over a few of our top lighting must haves.
A ring light is probably my favorite light for beginners.
It has a built in tripod for those filming with a phone and most come with a remote so you can control your camera.
Neewer Ring Light Kit [Upgraded Version-1.8cm Ultra Slim] – 18 inches, 3200-5600K, Dimmable LED Ring Light with Light Stand, Rotatable Phone Holder, Hot Shoe Adapter for Portrait Makeup Video Shooting
If you have a bigger budget and would like to splurge on a better light, these LED lights really help disguise any flaws!
Make sure your phone/tablet is horizontal when filming (we’ll) get into that later.
I prefer to use a tripod even when I use my ring light, it allows me to get the perfect lighting without compromising the angle of your tape.
Tripod for a tablet
T-SIGN IPad Tripod Tablet Stand, Reinforced Mount Foldable Floor, Height Adjustable 360 Rotating for More 7 to 12 Inch Tablets, Carrying Case, Phone Holder, Bluetooth Remote Control
Tripod for iPhone
Phone Tripod, Torjim 50-inch Extendable and Lightweight Aluminum Tripod Stand with Bluetooth Remote Shutter, Phone Clip, Portable Travel Tripod for Photography, Video Recording, Vlogging, and More
My absolute favorite budget option for mamas on the go is the popable backdrop. I keep it in my car for all those last minute self tape requests.
While you can use with a backdrop stand you can just rest against the wall if you don’t have one.
This option works best for small children since you won’t have the awkward out of frame slate shot (I’ll elaborate soon), for adults and older children check out the paper and backdrop stand options below.
Neewer Chromakey Black Chromakey White Collapsible Backdrop Collapsible Reversible Background 5’x7′ Chroma-Key Black/White
Paper backdrop and backdrop stand-
Stains and rips? No big deal!
Just roll the paper down and boom brand new backdrop!
Great option for those who want to try out different color paper options as well!
Last item on my list but by far the most important in my opinion!
Any stool or chair will work, but in my experience kids tape best when they are relaxed!
Especially when multiple takes are involved.
I prefer a stool, because kids tend to lean back and fidget when they have a chair option.
Folding Stool – Heavy Duty 24-Inch Collapsible Padded Round Stool with 300 Pound Capacity for Dorm, Rec Room or Gameroom by Trademark Home (Black) (161263AMA)
Dressed to Impress
While you may think that wardrobe isn’t important for virtual castings/self tapes that couldn’t be further from the truth!
You should be just as presentable on tape as you are when you do an in person casting.
I know this may seem silly for some, but I’ve seen tapes where the kids literally looked like they just woke up and rolled out of bed. While that may be the case, it’s 100% not acceptable to do a tape in pjs 😆
Hair and makeup
While good lighting helps blur imperfections, there is no light that can make sweaty ponytails look polished 😆
So if there ever is a time you must tape right after a soccer practice session make sure their hair is styled and presentable.
Loose hair always is best, but if it’s already styled that’s fine too! If for example your child’s hair is in braids and you will keep them styled in braids for the shoot days don’t bother taking them out. However, if there hair is in braids and you are about to take them out please let casting know and include a picture of how there hair will be styled for the shoot. It’s always important to not change their look too much! Same goes for boys haircuts.
Very light makeup is acceptable but it should always be age appropriate.
A CC cream/ moisturizer, lip gloss, and clear mascara is usually all they need.
My absolute favorite secret weapon to perfect dewy skin
If your child has dark circles, or blemishes a tiny dab of concealer works wonders!
Boys shouldn’t be afraid to use a little cover up help. Makeup on set is the norm.
It should go without saying, but PJs and yesterday’s tshirt with a stain from spaghetti dinner should not be worn.
Avoid any colors that are similar to the background you are shooting on.
A cute bright t-shirt and jeans is perfect!
You want to stand out but you don’t want the outfit to distract casting from your child.
When starting out I didn’t know any better and I’d take her to castings in her sundays best.
While big pouch dresses still takeover her closet, I always have a few t-shirt and jean options for self-tapes and castings!
Don’t worry about splurging on expensive options.
Walmart and Target have the best inexpensive lines that are bright and just right for every budget.
Ready to get started?
Not so quick!
Before we dive deeper on the technology side of self tapes let’s go over the basics laws of self tape.
1. Your should always film horizontally
2. There should be no background noise
3. Only the person(s)requested should be on tape
4. Other than the slate and unless specified otherwise the person being taped should look slightly off camera, and not directly at the camera.
•this is especially true for acting videos
5.. Unless specified it is typically taboo to use any props
6.. Good lighting is key
7.. You should always include a slate unless the casting director does not request one.
8.A good reader(person reading lines off camera) is just as important as the person auditioning
9.You should always submit ASAP! Casting directors view as they receive tapes, it is never in your benefit to wait until last minute.
10.Read carefully and follow all of the instructions!!!!
How do I shoot you shoot a self tape audition?
To shoot a self-tape, use a tight frame that goes from your chest to just over the top of your head. (This is called a medium close-up.)
I always recommend sitting down on a stool while your reader is also sitting on a stool at the same eye level. Remember the reader should be SLIGHTLY to the side of the camera.
The camera should also be centered and at eye level.
What is a slate and where do you put it?
If you are asked to slate, make sure to read the instructions carefully. Every casting director wants something slightly different. Some want full-body shots, others tight close-ups or profile shots. If the instructions don’t specify, Film ONLY the slate vertically and the rest horizontally. For the slate you typically want to pan the camera out, and do a full body shot.
• Shoot the slate separately from the scenes.
• Slate directly into the camera.
• State your name, age, role, and agency (and anything else requested by casting).
• Place at the end of your tapes.
With little kids I think it’s really important for the person reading to do the slate as if they were interviewing them. Instead of having the child memorize what they should say, ask them their age, location, etc. They show so much more personality when they are engaged opposed to just reciting back what you told them to say.
What makes a good reader?
While casting is focused on the requested talent, a bad reader can totally be a distraction and make casting skills ahead.
They don’t expect or need James Earl Jones lol, however a boring or monotone voice is not enjoyable for anyone.
The readers voice should not be as loud as the person auditioning but casting should still be able to hear the reader so the scene comes off as real and believable.
Should you wait for a deadline to submit?
While sometimes casting doesn’t send instructions until last minute, you should send in your tape as soon as possible.
Definitely take time and make sure you are sending in your best tape possible, but don’t purposely wait until last minute to send in your tape!
Casting typically goes through tapes as they receive them and can make a selection even before the deadline!
Your best bet is to always submit as soon as you feel comfortable with the material.
Come to the light!
When it comes to self tape auditions your first focus needs to be can you be seen Yes, you can get more intricate with your set up to make it look more cinematic, but it’s going to be viewed for about 2 mins and then they will move on. A poorly lit self-tape is a sure way to have your tape skipped and overlooked! Of course at the end of the day your talent will ultimately be what books you, a quality tape will help get you noticed!
When you’re struggling to submit a self-tape on time, the last thing you want to do is struggle with finding just the right light in your self-tape setup.
Natural Light ( naturally free)
There is no denying natural light is beautiful, but it’s not always an option. You are limited to shooting during certain hours of the days. Depending on where your natural light source is, a room simply may not allow for natural light taping. Here are some tips when looking to strictly natural light for your tape.
Always avoid any light behind you. Stand directly facing the window.
Remove any curtains/blinds that may cast weird shadows on your face
Leave 2-3 feet of space between the back wall and you
Ring light ( our favorite budget friendly option)
The Ring adds a glow to the front of of your face and a sparkle to your eye. We love how it gives an almost airbrushed appearance by evening out any blemishes.
To even up your ring light game we suggest adding two soft box lights to each side of the ring light to take away the harsh circle on the eyes and take away any shadows.
Adding a back light (Secret weapon) Want to fool a casting director into thinking you know exactly what you are doing?! Lol
Do yourself a favor and add a back light It creates even more depth in your video, which puts more focus on the person auditioning. It helps get rid of any shadows that are on the back wall.The back light should be low to the ground and shining up on the wall. You don’t need to go out and buy any expensive lights. A table lamp without a shade will give you the same results!
The back light can be directly behind you or to the side, shining on the wall behind you.
There is no right way, but there will be a right way for you! It may change from day to day, but don’t be afraid to play with the intensity and placement until you find a set-up that works best for you!
How to rename your videos on an iPhone or Android?
One of castings biggest frustration is the amount of videos that are not properly labeled. Without proper labeling you can completely bomb your chances at booking a job because a casting director can’t locate you or locate the tape later. Check out short tutorial on how to rename your files!
Is there such a thing as contacting your agent too much?
One of my biggest hopes when I write these blogs for all of you, is that I come across informative. I never want to give off the impression of being critical or condescending. I want all of you to walk away from reading my blogs with a little more knowledge about the industry than you had to start with. I hope that’s the impression I’m giving off. When writing this blog, it was important to me to start by saying my intentions so you know where I’m coming from when you read it.
So is there such a thing as contacting your agent too much? I would say, Yes! First things first, your agent’s personal phone should never be called or texted unless you hear from them first and they are waiting on a response from you. Email is always the best form of communication. Your agent should never be called after hours unless it’s an emergency and your child is going to miss a booking.
As agents, we are surrounded by all types of parents. We have the parents who are easy and take life as it comes, we have the parents that are a little rude, and we have the parents that make sure to call, text, and email at a minimum of once a day. The hard truth is there is never a reason you need to call your agent every day. We always appreciate the enthusiasm, but there is such a thing as too much. Try to remember that we represent hundreds of talent and we need to make time for everyone including ourselves.
The entertainment industry is 24/7 . Clients can call on weekends , in the middle of the night , first thing in the morning , and on holidays . We truly never get down time or a day off . It comes with the territory and we fully expect it . However , during the few minutes of downtime we might get, we need to take a breath . So if you have a question first read my blogs as most questions are answered there . If you can’t find your answer make sure to check that your emailing during business hours , and if so send us an email . I would strongly discourage you from calling or texting . This also goes for the agent’s assistants .
One of the common complaints I get from parents coming from other agencies (and I’m sure some of my parents) is that the agent is short with them and they think the agent is rude. I promise you, I don’t think there is an agent out there that is intentionally being short or rude. We are much busier than you might think. If you have a question, most of the time, I might give a one sentence answer just so you know I’m not ignoring you. I know my fellow agents probably do the same. It’s never our intention to not give you adequate time, we are just so limited on the time we have. That’s my purpose in writing these blogs. I want to have a place where you can read, educate yourself, and feel like you took something away from reading them.
Please, don’t get me wrong, we love that you’re excited about the industry and we are just as excited with you . It’s just important to remember that we are human and we need some time with our families and some time for ourselves. We want to be everything for everyone. I care so much about each and every one of you and want you to feel like you’re not lost in the industry. I’m always here when you need me even if I give you a one word answer 😉
Ok guys ! I’m starting this blog with a huge sigh.
I would start it with a few curse words but I’m not sure you guys would appreciate it lol!
Let me start by saying could this year have gone any worse? Oh gosh I’m not going to jinx it, it could always get worse.
I know we are all fighting our own version of what Covid has done to our lives, but man oh man the entertainment industry has taken a hit !
I know I’m not alone in receiving texts,calls,emails saying “I see some kids are booking. When is my kid going to book something?!“, or
“It’s been months without a job”Believe it or not , I’m actually in a few modeling mom Facebook groups. I try to give industry advice to and I’m mind blown by some of the things I’m reading .
Have we all forgotten we are in the middle of a pandemic??
This time of year agents are typically slammed and right now we are holding our breath waiting for clients to reach out that they are booking talent . As much as you want your child to book a job I assure you we are wanting it so much more.
Agents are closing their doors, production companies have had to stop all productions and in turn not receive a paycheck. Actors who make a living in this industry are without a job.Casting directors are fighting to stay open.
This is how we feed our families this is how we make a living and our world has come to a screeching halt.
So when you ask your agent why your child isn’t being called right now please be considerate and mindful that this is not just a hobby for us and a fun thing to do with our kid, this is our career, our life.
Remember , in most cases clients have to fly an entire team to your state to shoot their campaign.
So, it’s a risk for a company to put their team on a plane in the middle of a pandemic.
Most companies are just reusing images or paying for extra usage . For the few clients that are booking right now.
Most are looking for real families all from one household,in order to limit the potential spread of the virus.
So, if your child does not have siblings or a complete family ,the chances of them booking right now are very limited.
There is no telling when this virus will dissipate. I hope more sooner than later,But until then please be kind to your agents and industry professionals we are all going through a scary time right now ,and we could use some patience and kindness. Things will be back to normal one day and when it does be ready for us to work our little butts off.
Growing up in the child modeling industry isn’t always easy . You can go from being consistently busy to crickets within a year. Why is this? And what can you do about it? Well, to be honest, once your child hits about the 14, their child modeling career is practically over. There will be a few little jobs here and there, but as a whole it will never be what it once was.During this time, I notice kids agency hopping in hopes that it’s just the agency and not the child’s career slowing down. Parents don’t seem to understand how their child can go from booking job after job to nothing in a years time . Unfortunately, switching agencies is not the answer as you will find the same outcome with any agency you switch to. The teen modeling world is practically non existent.
So why are teens so slow ? We’ll , let’s think about this. When you take your teen shopping for clothes, I would probably be right in saying they shop at adult stores and buy adult size smalls or larger. They are no longer shopping at kids’ stores such as Carter’s or Justice. They are shopping in the adult sections of clothing stores. There are most likely only one to two teen/ young adult stores out there such as Abercrombie or Forever 21. The majority of stores are either branded as kids’ stores or adult stores. So when the clients are coming to your town to shoot their campaign, they are either shooting for their adult line or their kids’ line. For the one or two brands that target teens only,it’s not enough to keep your child as busy as they are accustomed to. I Without there being teen branded stores to cast your child, the teens have no way of staying busy in the industry.
So now what? Your kid loves the industry and wants to continue. What do you do? Most of my teens that were strictly models want to continue in one way or another in the industry. This is when I begin to discuss the acting path with them. Some kids are not comfortable acting and that’s ok.
However, this might be the tail end of their modeling career until they are 17/18 and can begin to transition into the adult modeling industry. Unfortunately, the adult industry is a lot more selective in the talent they represent. An adult model must typically must be 5 foot 8 or taller for women and around 5 foot 11 or taller for men. You must fit the aesthetic of the agency as well. For some of you open to the idea of acting, this can be a great alternative until you can transition into the adult modeling industry. Start taking acting classes with some great coaches ( you can ask your agency about who they prefer ) start practicing self taping and monologues at home, and transition your modeling portfolio into an acting portfolio. Anything you can do to improve your craft will be beneficial.
Unfortunately, some good things must come to an end and not every child model will model as an adult,but that doesn’t mean it’s an end to the industry. There are other paths that can be taken that your child might like even more than modeling. Don’t look at it as an end, but rather as the beginning of something new for your child. Acting is a great outlet that most kids love.If your child might be interested in acting make sure they are with an agent that has a strong acting division. I would strongly suggest transitioning out of a print agency that might have a handful of acting opportunities and into a talent agency. Not every great print agency has a great talent division. Ask around!
If acting is not your child’s strong suit keep them with the agency they are with for the small handful of jobs that might occur, but I would suggest looking into a second hobby. Modeling for teens will not keep them busy enough to cure teen boredom. So if you can manage it into your life, I would suggest finding out what else your child might love to do and add that in as an alternative.
The child modeling industry can be short lived. It’s rare for kids in the industry to make it as adult models, but it’s certainly a possibility. Don’t give up hope as it can be just a few years until your child can hopefully transition into an adult agency. Until then, be patient and understand it’s a small window of being slow and there are other options in the meantime. Who knows, your child might actually find something they love even more during this time. The world is filled with possibilities.
They say when life hands you lemons make lemonade right ? With this crazy pandemic it’s the perfect time now that everyone is bored to update sizes ! Ok so it’s not quite lemonade but it’s lemons with a little sugar on top lol!
Did you know when a client is looking for a child nine times out of ten they are requesting a certain height not age . Unless it’s a commercial or film . When it’s print they are always casting by size. I know I tell all my kids how important it is to update sizes but I think it’s important to realize just how crucial it actually is . Most of you live probably 30 minutes or more from your casting location . You take your whole day preparing for a casting. Dressing your child , driving down , paying for parking , and sitting to wait for your turn . Do you want to spend a whole day preparing for a casting to be turned away ? Do you want your agent to be upset with you because the client called asking why Johnny showed up to their casting and is 3 inches too tall . Probably not .
Taking 3 minutes of your day to update your child will save you hours of wasted time by showing up to a casting your child wasn’t in size for . I realize a lot of you think “ hey what’s an extra two or three inches ?” An extra two to three inches means a lot to a brand that wants their jeans to perfectly fit a child’s length and your child looks like they are waiting for a flood to arrive .
I get it ! Your excited and you don’t want your child to miss a potential opportunity. However , you risk a lot more by having the wrong sizes in the system . You also risk not being casted for something your child fits perfectly. Sizes matter guys ! Having the correct sizes in the system gives me a smile from ear to ear ( it’s like Christmas) . So take this time where we are all not doing much to log into your agents site and update. Now for my lemonade 🍋!
As an Agent ( especially one that is big on education) I tend to think my parents have all the tools they need for the business. Over the years I have realized there is a lot of useful info parents of kids in the business have too that can help guide someone new. Sometimes even better info than I might be able to offer because it’s from a parents perspective.
So what better way to give all the newer kids and parents out there an inside look into the modeling world than from an experienced parents perspective . So I asked a bunch of my moms “ if there was one or more things you know about the business that you wish you knew from the beginning , what would it be and why?” These are their responses . I hope this helps anyone new in the business become more prepared. I know it was pretty eye opening for me 🙂
Debbie says “ When gabby showed interest I had no idea where to go. What kind of pictures did she need. Could i use a regular camera? I would think most parents don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars for a maybe. We were lucky I have a friend who is a photographer But they still weren’t right. It was enough to get her signed but now I see a huge difference from that and what she gets now. There is a huge difference from you taking a picture and having a professional take them. Find out what your agents looking for in the pictures and get them done !
Shannon says “ In size and out of size. I have so many people ask me about getting their child into the industry when they are around 18 months. So when is a good time to start and also to expect down times and busy times. Most babies are in size from 0-12 months but then out of size from 12 months to 3 years old. When they become 3 things start picking up again. I also noticed a lot of older babies that were small for their age booking more. And Big babies don’t usually get booked. You may not want to say it that way (I’m brutally Blunt) LOL. But being a baby in the 99th percentile for weight is not good for baby modeling. You would obviously know more about this than I would but that was the first thing I noticed on set. Also, it doesn’t matter how cute your baby is, they need to be well behaved and can easily go with other people. If they cry every time mom leaves, don’t bother. So Rider was always in the 25th percentile for growth. He wore size 6 months when he was 10 months. He’s 4 now and still in 3t. Anyway, with babies, many are bigger and may wear size 12-18 months when they are 6 months old. Older babies can do more, sit up, crawl etc. So they are more likely to book a 10 month old who can wear 6 months than a 5 month old who can’t do those things yet.”
Alicia says “ I had to learn to not take it personal when your kid isn’t booked from a casting. I use feel like I did something wrong like, not choosing the perfect outfit or maybe her hair wasn’t perfect. Or maybe she didn’t smile enough lol I had all the anxiety while she was just having fun 🙃”
Melissa says “ In my case. Avoid over paying and enrolling your child in Talent Search companies like Barbizon, Talent Auditions. They charge over 3K in classes that are not real classes. They just want you to pay for overpriced headshots, acting and modeling classes. If I knew you could just go directly to an Agency and send your child pictures. I would it have save a lot of money and then been able to invest in real acting classes and photo sessions. 💯”
Jennifer says “ I wish I knew before how fast the castings are done, meaning you can get a call to be somewhere in 1 day. To always be on your toes when it’s time for a casting. It’s hard to plan but when they’re younger and home with you it’s easier. “
Amanda says “ 1) a photographer can make or break you. Sometimes people want to go the cheaper route but that’s not going to benefit you in the long run. You’ll end up needing new photos anyway and spending double what you needed to. It’s an investment. Nothing can guarantee you jobs but good photos will definitely put you in the forefront over bad photos. Also – you get what you pay for 2) when you ask for quick cellphone photos at the house it’s imperative you do them correct and you’ve put out examples. No distractions – accessories good background etc. a quick digital needs to look as professional as possible❤️❤️”
Lindsay “ Something I wish we knew when we first started was how short notice you can be given for castings, self tapes or bookings. You aren’t generally given much notice or time to clear your schedule or find a sitter, etc. The casting can be anywhere from Miami to Tampa (that I know of). Luckily our personal work schedule works great for this business because one parent is always home with the girls and we are almost always available and do our best to make that short notice work. But with bookings, sometimes trying to find a sitter for the other sibling can be a challenge with short notice. Family Self Tapes are also difficult for us. We would love to be considered for family jobs, but we are together as a family once every 3rd day, so when we are given only 24 hrs at times to submit a family tape, that is most likely not going to be the day we are both off together and can’t possibly submit. “
Tessa says “ I wish I had known that although I was allowed to be onset my opinion wasn’t. I remember the first time I was on set, I was singing,dancing, and playing peek-a-boo with my baby until the stylist asked me politely to basically to stop being annoying. I mean I was totally annoying. They have an entire staff dedicated to making the kids happy. A mom who is too involved just stresses everyone out, including the child. Now I look for a spot where kids can’t see me, but I can see them. I get to enjoy the process, not stress out and watch the magic happen. If they need you they 100% will tell you!
Maria says “ So having multiple kids in the biz is crazy stressful. I wish I had known that just because my kid is beautiful and their siblings love being in the spotlight, it doesn’t mean that they do too.I don’t push them to do jobs anymore. It stresses out my son, and he starts turning into another kid on set. I get stressed, the crew gets stressed, and by the end of the day I feel defeated. It’s not worth it anymore, and just not fair for my kid. Know when to let go, and when to sign up for soccer classes instead. Lol !
Angie says “If your child wants to be an actor 1000000% sign them up for acting classes! It taught my kids how to audition like pros, and how to overcome their stage fright. There are so many kids who are auditioning for the exact same role, and a lot of the time have a similar look to your child. It so important to have an edge over some of the other kids. Practice totally makes perfect when it comes to acting.My kids wake up so happy on acting class days!
One of the topics most of my parents are concerned about when deciding to try out the modeling and talent industry is the fear of rejection . They don’t want to destroy their child’s self esteem as we all know this industry can be filled with a lot more “No’s” than “ yes’s”. Totally understandable ! I get it ! These are our children we are talking about and the last thing we want is for them to hurt .
Here is the thing . I have noticed over the last 13 years in the industry that the parents tend to care more than the kids do in regards to booking a job . Kids tend to go to a casting and forget it. All the while the parents tend to be the ones loosing sleep wondering if their child will be picked. Kids have this way of being in the moment. If it’s not happening now they are not really thinking about it. Which can be a really great thing in this business.
The truth is … do you really want your child to book every job? Can you imagine the monster that would create ? You don’t want the opposite effect with a child that books every job and doesn’t learn humility right ? I truly believe you need to hear a few “No’s” so you can really appreciate when you hear a “yes”. There is nothing worse to an agent than when a kid books everything and a parent doesn’t seem excited or grateful because it is expected. We get so excited to call you and tell you about your booking and we want you to be just as excited if not more than we are.
If you do happen to have a child that’s a bit more on the sensitive side ,the best approach is one from the very start . As soon as they are mature enough to understand explain that there are several kids that audition, all the kids deserve it , but the director can only choose one or so . Explain to your child that it doesn’t mean your not great but they might want a child a certain age , height , or a child that matches a “parent “ exactly . I would also recommend not bringing it up again after the audition. Like I said most kids have a short attention span and will forget 20 minutes after leaving the audition.
Rejection is part of human nature . Whether it’s a job , partner , friend , sport , or this industry , it comes with the territory of life. It makes for a well rounded individual. I realize we all want to shelter our kids from rejection as it’s part of our nature as parents to protect our kids from any pain . Remember you want the victory to mean something and it can’t mean something without a few bumps in the road . I promise you , you feel the bumps more than your children do . I also promise it will mean that much more when they do finally get the job.
I understand as parents we worry and that’s ok. My greatest advice is to forget the audition as soon as you walk out the door and your child will too. They are not as fragile as we think they are and you’re making a stronger individual in the long run .
What does it take to be an out of town model or actor ?
This is one of those questions I get asked pretty often. I have parents that either live outside of Florida wanting to model for Sprout or parents currently with Sprout hoping for an agency in New York , Atlanta , or California to add to their roster. Is it worth it to be signed out of state ? Let me explain how it works and from that you can determine for yourself .
Most families wanting to work out of state have the best intentions . They know their child has talent and they want to give their child as much opportunity as possible . As parents what more do we really want for our kids than to provide them every opportunity we can ? I get it ! I’m a mom with two kids myself. My son plays hockey and every time there is an opportunity for him to grow as a player I jump on it . So I’m with you ! Unfortunately with our industry it’s a bit different . It takes a ton of sacrifice ( primarily financial) to add an out of state agency to your roster of agents . Let me explain why . When an agency takes on an out of state talent primarily for print and commercials that agent wants commitment from the family. When your child gets requested for an audition they want you to be there 9 times out of 10 . It never looks good for an agent to submit a child who continues to decline auditions. So, you accept the audition. Next you have to either fly down for the audition or drive. Which most likely is 2 plane tickets there and back . Now , let’s say the audition is on the 12th of July but the client doesn’t start shooting until the 15th. Most families don’t want to fly back to their home state just to turn around and fly back if your child books the job 2-3 days later . So , most families stay and hope for the booking which is 3 days in a hotel of waiting . Let’s pretend your child books the job and the client is shooting July 15-20. You hope for all 5 days but chances are you might book 2-3 days and it could be the 15th, 17th , and 20th. So now your paying for a hotel 3 days after the casting and 5 days during shooting. It can add up financially pretty quickly .When clients book kids they are hiring you as a local .They see it as it’s your choice to audition out of state so they really don’t try to make accommodations to help you and your agent can’t ask for accommodations as kids are hired as locals and it’s not fair to put your agent in that position. Now let’s say you auditioned and you don’t get the job. You fly into Florida or another state for the audition , wait 3 days for the client to decide who they are booking and your child didn’t make the cut. That ends up being 2 plane tickets and 3 days in a hotel with no reward. It can get pretty defeating . Like I said , most parents have great intentions but when you make the trip a few times without a booking to show for it , that’s when most family’s decide traveling isn’t for them.
I’m not saying it can’t work . It definitely can work and for some family’s it makes sense to travel . Where I see it making sense is if you can stay in the area for 2-3 months and you don’t have to travel back and forth , this option makes the most sense for a talent and the agent. We can send you on all the auditions we have while your in town and there are no hesitations when submitting your child due to rate or various shoot days . Next, if you have someone you can stay with regularly when your in town , your only cost is airline tickets . You would save a substantial amount of money and it would make it more worth while to travel . Lastly , if you can financially afford to travel on a regular basis without turning down more casting than you accept then traveling would be a good fit for you as well. Don’t forget traveling is not only a financial hardship it can also take time from school and work. If your a local talent the parent might miss a few hours of work or the child might miss an hour or two of school. If your coming from out of town most likely it could be days of missed school or work. So it’s all something to consider ahead of time before submitting.
As an agent I want to give everyone the opportunity to pursue their dreams. I realize some states don’t have modeling and acting opportunities like other states and I want to consider everyone. Unfortunately it isn’t always practical. Agents always want to keep a good standing with castings directors and production company’s. Having kids that clients request decline never looks good for an Agent , which is why most agents are very cautious when accepting an out of town talent . If you are considering submitting to an agency out of the state you live in please consider the sacrifices in time , money , missed school , and missed work before you submit to a new agency. We all love the idea of fresh new faces to add to our team but it has to make sense for all of those involved. We don’t want to burn you or your child out. This should be fun after all 🙂
For months there was a huge unknown regarding the entertainment industry. All the major industry hubs were at a standstill due to Covid-19. Directors, Agents, Producers, Creatives, Actors, Casting Directors, (just to name a few )were left with no answers as to when they would ever receive a paycheck. Even worse how would the industry would ever continue. Could things ever go back to normal? As of now everyone is adapting to our new normal. Even with so much uncertainty, we are still as an industry getting more and more emails from parents concerned they are missing out on the next big gig. We can’t guarantee that you will be as busy as before, we have no way in knowing when or how often castings will be coming in. We can guarantee that everyone who fits the project specs is being submitted. It is ultimately up to the Clients, and Casting Directors as to who will be seen, and selected. Virtual Casting’s are beginning to come in via Skype, and Zoom. We are having more Direct Bookings than usual. Safety precautions are in place, and Waivers are being signed. Not everyone is comfortable working while Covid-19 is still a threat. So make sure if you are not, you block-out all your dates until you are. This is such a new territory for all the working pieces of a production. If you think organizing a shoot was tough before, just imagine now. So let’s increase your chances of being asked to audition, while helping everyone involved in the casting and selection process easier. Here is our blog on how to dominate at Virtual Castings!
A constant theme in our blogs! Headshots, headshots headshots. This is the most important when you are looking to be noticed, even more so now than ever before. Casting Directors and production companies are almost exclusively relying on Virtual and Direct bookings. If you want to stand out, you simply cannot have a photo you took on a cellphone 2 years ago in a dimly lit bathroom. Photographers are starting to do headshot sessions. Start making your appointments! Contact your agency for a list of their recommend photographers. Stats
UPDATE YOUR STATS! This shouldn’t be something your agency has to remind you about. It is your job to keep up with any changes in height and sizes. With so many direct bookings happening, clients are relying on sizes being accurate. You can’t be upset if your child isn’t booking if they are 7 years old, and their profile says they are wearing a 4t, 32 inches tall, and in a size 5 shoe. Clients get so upset if they direct book a kid based off of their stats and end up being a completely different size. It makes your agent look bad, and you probably ruined your chance of ever being booked by that client again.
Zoom/Skype Step 1: have your Skype and Zoom accounts created and ready to go. Simple as that lol. Some clients ask to have your Skype account listed one your Casting Networks profiles, so have that done before your agent even asks. “Your very own at home Casting Office” Some people don’t see this as important, but as an agency we believe it’s soooo important to have this upper hand. When you go into a casting office you almost always are in front of a backdrop, have bright lights in your face, and have a camera set up in a tripod (for video) , or a photographer on the floor getting the perfect angles. While it may be Virtually (pun not intended) impossible to recreate something it took casting professionals years to learn, and perfect… you can do our best to show them you take this seriously. Here is a list of our Virtual Casting must-haves:
Lighting We recommend a simple ring light. Most ring lights feature a built-in Tri-pod for your smart phone. You can add some box light for even more lighting but that’s entirely up to you! Neewer Ring Light Kit:18″/48cm Outer 55W 5500K Dimmable LED Ring Light, Light Stand, Carrying Bag for Camera,Smartphone,YouTube,Self-Portrait Shooting, Black, Model:10088612 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LXDNNBW/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_oO73EbH6SBA27 MOUNTDOG Softbox Lighting Kit 20″X28″ Professional Photography Photo Studio Light Equipment with 2pcs 95W E27 Socket 5500K Video Lighting Bulb for Filming Portraits Shoot https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07G3423NQ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_VO73Eb9H1XGF0 Mic- Being that we focus almost primarily on children, we know houses with kids get a little noisy. These microphones work great to cancel out any noise. Video Microphone with Adapter – Unidirectional On-Camera Microphone for iPhone – Directional Cardioid iPhone Microphone for Video Recording https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FDYXBQZ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_aQ73EbZ7JPCS6
Preparation/filming We always recommend ongoing training. Many coaches are offering virtual classes. Make sure to contact your agency for recommendations. Less is always more when it comes to what casting directors/ clients look for. Like we always say, if their are no character/wardrobe instructions, be as blank of a canvas as you can. Let your talent speak louder than your outfit. Simple everyday clean attire (no pj’s though lol ) is usually expected. Extremely light to no make-up. Camera should ALWAYS be horizontal when filming any video/ Skype/ Zoom unless specified. Sides- If you have sides. Have them memorized. It’s important to be engaged and not reading them off a paper. Make sure your reader also is prepared, and expressive. You should not make direct contact to the camera if preforming sides. You should look slightly off camera. Slate- Your slate should be at the front of your tape. Usually you include: Full name Age Height Location Agency Some projects will request specific information to be included.
Be on time! Always! If your Casting Director is not on time, be prepared the entire wait time as you would at an in person casting. Try to minimize any distractions and outside noise. Make sure you read notes for any props, or information you may need.
It’s going to take time for anyone in the industry to even imagine going back to normal, and until then it’s up to you to do your part in making the new normal, ok. It’s not ideal for anyone, but together we can create new opportunities, content, and memories. 2020 is definitely one for the books. By following our guide you will have a much higher chance in securing a spot in a Casting Directors book. Together we will get through this. We can’t wait to see your home office set ups! Be sure to tag us once you have yours complete.
Your child was cancelled on a shoot !!! I know it’s like a stab to the heart believe me I do .
Let me assure you it hurts me to tell you as much as it hurts you to hear the news. Telling a parent their child was cancelled is one of the absolute worst parts of my job. I dread the phone call like the plague . The disappointment in your voice , the hurt it’s going to cause your child , and the anticipation that I might get blamed for what’s out of my control . None of it feels good but it unfortunately comes with the territory .
Whether your child is cancelled because of bad behavior or because the client just no longer needs your child there is never a good way to tell someone their kid wasn’t picked. The younger talent , in most cases don’t understand one way or another , and the parents ego is what’s most affected, But when it’s an older child it makes it that much worse. They get excited for the shoot and now they are let down and it can be really discouraging for the parent to have to break the news. No one wants to have to hurt their child. I’m in this business to make dreams not break dreams and I don’t ever want to be the bearer of bad news. Sometimes it’s inevitable. Let me be the first to tell you that before I called you I already did everything I could to try to change the clients mind. So if I’m calling you it’s the final outcome and there is nothing more that I can do . Our jobs as agents are to book the kids the clients ask for so if they cancel your child please don’t blame your agent it’s really out of our hands.
As far as cancellation fees go, it can be a touchy subject. If a child misbehaves on set I would never ask for a cancellation fee as an Agent. It’s not the clients fault your child misbehaved and they most likely have to hustle to figure out what they are going to do next. Remember this is a business with deadlines , budgets, and expectations. If your child isn’t meeting the expectations of the client they need to let your child go. Always present yourself with class and take it as a learning experience for your child to teach them proper set etiquette. If your child was cancelled the night before a shoot it would be customary to ask for a cancellation fee. This of course is at the Agents discretion as it can complicate a relationship with the Agent and client and we don’t want to potentially lose a client over one cancellation fee. Typically the Agency m knows which clients would be open to cancellation fees and which wouldn’t. Try to put yourself in your agents shoes. We always want to defend our kids but if we don’t have a leg to stand on and if it couldn’t potentially destroy a client /agent relationship we will avoid that at all costs.
All in all we don’t ever want to make the “ cancellation phone call “ but know when we do we are hurting right there with you. Please try to be understanding at these moments as it’s really one of the worst parts of what we do !
So you went to a casting with your child or you brought your child’s friend with you to a casting and they are interested in you auditioning or your child’s friend. What do you do ?
This happens more often than not. So I figured it’s a good subject to touch upon. Many of you bring your kids to castings and sometimes they might ask YOU to audition as a parent . What’s the next step? If your willing to give it a try more power to you! Go ahead and try.
First and foremost you should ALWAYS sign in under the agent that sent your child. Let’s be honest you wouldn’t have found out about the casting if it wasn’t for your agent. So do the right thing and sign in under them. After you leave the audition send an email to your agent so they are aware you auditioned with your child so they are not blind-sighted if the casting director calls them.
Now let’s say your child had a sleepover or play date and their cute little friend came to the casting with you. Typically this is frowned upon in the industry, I would always say to never bring more than just yourself and your child to a casting.
BUT, if by chance the client wants to see them first ask the parent if he/she is available for the booking if picked , next SIGN IN UNDER THE AGENT THAT SENT YOU, and last notify your agent that your friend went and give them the child’s name and info just in case the client books your friend. I realize it might be a little hurtful if the friend books the job and your child doesn’t but unfortunately it comes with the territory of bringing someone with you.
Let’s be happy for our friends 🙂
Hope this little tidbit helps you guys out the next time your unsure what to do in these situations.
One of the most common questions I get asked is “ what should my child wear to a casting?”
Gosh this brings me back to when my daughter was a little peanut and I was just learning the business. I remember walking into a casting with my freshly groomed daughter . Her hair was done, she had a little color on her cheeks , and I dressed her in the cutest gosh darn outfits you could imagine . Then I watched other kids walk in looking like they literally had just rolled out of bed with mismatched socks and hair in knots. Somehow those kids would book everything and it baffled my mind. Now I understand.
If you were a painter and you were getting ready to paint a canvas would you want an already painted canvas ? Probably not . You would want to pick the colors , imagine what you were going to paint , and put your creative juices onto paper . Well , same goes for art directors . They want to see a child and imagine what they are going to create with their canvas. They want to envision what will happen when their imagination comes to life . If you come to the casting with a freshly painted canvas your not giving them the opportunity to create and that can get boring . Now I’m not saying to have your child walk in looking like a ragamuffin but they shouldn’t walk in looking like they are about to get photos taken by glamour shots either . Casual attire is always good , like how they would dress if going to a movie with a friend . I always say stay away from white . Most castings have a white backdrop set up so you don’t want your child to blend in wearing the same color as the backdrop . Wear jeans or shorts and a casual top that complements your child’s skin tone. If you put makeup on your child keep it to a minimum . A little blush can go a long way . No mascara or eye makeup is ever necessary . Make sure to have hair similar to your headshot photo unless going for an acting role that requires something charactery. Kids should always look like kids. No heels, sexy attire , hats, or bows . If your going for an acting role try to dress according to character and use your best judgment for that role.
All in all what you wear doesn’t really make or break your chances of booking a job. It really is about the child as a whole and if they are a perfect fit for the job and what the client is looking for .
So you booked a job !!! Woohoo !!! What comes next?
How do Agency fees work ? What does plus agency fee and inclusive of Agency fee mean ?
Are your new to the business and your child just booked their first job ? Maybe your child hasn’t booked yet but you want to be prepared for when he/she does ? Or last maybe your child already booked and your curious how Agency fees work ? Then this blog is for you !
Woohoo ! You finally got the call from your Agent ! Your child booked the job. Ok now what happens ? Where do you go from here ?
In most cases when a child books a job your agent doesn’t have all the info yet . Most of the time we just know that you booked the job . The days , times, and location will come later. So in most cases we are making sure your available for the shoot date and letting you know your child has the job. So try not to book a family vacation that week lol!
Once we get all the info we will call or email you with the remaining details. Once you receive the details it’s your responsibility to make sure your on set on time . Give yourself an extra 30 minutes or more to account for traffic if your in a high traffic area like Miami. Being late to a booking never looks good. So make sure your early. Most agents have payment vouchers they want you to bring with you on set . This is important . Vouchers are a copy of the hours you work and are to be signed by the client as a record of your work. I ask my parents to send the vouchers by text or email to me once their day is complete. You can ask your agent what he/she prefers . While your on set be prepared to wait . Sometimes your child can quickly be photographed and your in and out . Other times are not so fast. So assume you will be there all day . Bring snacks , quiet games, and anything to keep your child busy on set while they wait. After the production is complete we bill the client . Most clients pay their invoices in 90 days or less. Some can take a bit longer to pay their invoices. Remember the Agency doesn’t get paid until you are paid so we are anticipating payment just as you are. If it’s been over 90 days you can politely ask your Agency if payment has come through, things can always be overlooked so it’s better to be safe than sorry . Agency fees?! this is a common question, so let’s touch on it here.
All agencies have a somewhat similar commission structure. But what most parents don’t know is that clients pay Agency fees. So what does this mean ? If your child books a job and they made $200 clients pay the Agency a fee to use our kids . The could be 10%, 15%, or 20%. To make it easy let’s say it’s 20%. So when you see on a voucher or on a casting call “ plus agency fee “ this is what the client pays the Agency . Now let’s say your agency takes 20% agency fee for print from their talent (which is standard ) that 20% DOES come from your child’s check. So if your child made $200 for the day their net is $160 and $40 goes to the agency . On top of that the Agency made $40 Agency fee from the client ( which is the plus 20%). Every now and then ( not very often ) a client has a job that’s inclusive of agency fees. Argghhh this is the biggest pain to Agents because most parents don’t fully understand what this means. Inclusive of agency fee means that the agency fee the client is supposed to pay the agency ( 20% for this example ) is included in the child’s rate. So if this is the case on a $200 check your child’s net would be $120 as the agency fee is included in the rate. This can get pretty confusing for parents and they don’t like it very much because they don’t understand the fee was included. In most cases this isn’t done very often but every once in a blue moon it happens. Now the fun part . Your child’s check was received by the agent . Every State has different rules and laws in regards to kids and finances so on this topic I’m going to be speaking in regards to Florida. Once your child’s check is received by the Agency we take out all commission and issue your child’s check. The check is always made out to the child and it’s your discretion what you decide to do with your child’s income. Your child did earn this money so please make sure it goes to them. Some parents open savings accounts , some save for college, some purchase bonds. This is your choice but it’s always great to discuss your options with a financial advisor . I’m not an accountant so the tax part of the business is not my area of expertise but I’m going to have an accountant write a blog soon to better answer those questions for all of you .
I hope this helps with your Agency fee and booking questions and most of all Congrats on your booking !
Cómo convertir el sueño de tu hijo en realidad: actores y modelos infantiles de habla Hispana
Guía para principiantes Por donde sea que miremos, hay anuncios y comerciales promocionando algún producto o servicio. Si prestas atención a los carteles publicitarios que inundan las calles o a los comerciales de televisión, te darás cuenta que hay una enormidad de niños actores y modelos que trabajan en estas campañas.
Si estás leyendo este blog, seguramente quieres saber cómo hacer para que tu hijo ingrese en el medio y se convierta en la cara de una de estas empresas. Aunque puede parecer un sueño inalcanzable, la realidad es que si tienes un chiquito extrovertido y talentoso que le gusta actuar acá en el sur de la Florida existen muchas oportunidades de trabajo siempre y cuando logres meterlo en una buena agencia que lo represente.
Si tu chiquito además habla español fluido entonces tiene aún más posibilidades de triunfar ya que son cada vez más los clientes que buscan talentos infantiles latinos (de entre 5 y 12 años) con buen dominio del idioma.
Es por esto que Sprout Kids Agency, la principal agencia de talento infantil del Sur de la Florida ha decidido expandirse con la apertura de Sprout en Español, un sector que cuenta exclusivamente con niños y familias latinas.
Sprout no busca niños ni familias perfectas, sino personas talentosas y reales que representen la diversidad del mundo en el que vivimos. Así que si tu hijo o hija siempre soñó con estar frente a las cámaras no dudes en mandar su aplicación y recuerda que muchas empresas como Disney buscan familias reales para sus comerciales. Así que esto se podría convertir en un gran negocio para toda la familia.
Te estarás preguntando: “¿ dónde y cómo aplico?”. Tranquilo que es muy sencillo siguiendo nuestra guía.
Primer Paso: Busca en internet una agencia en tu ciudad o en alguna ciudad vecina que te guste. Mira su página web y redes sociales para conocer bien sus trabajos anteriores, cuales son las marcas con las que ha trabajado y qué tipo de niños representa.
Segundo Paso: Envía tu aplicación. Si quieres formar parte de Sprout en Español ingresa a www.sproutkidsagency.com. Ahi llenas el formulario y en aproximadamente una semana estarás recibiendo una respuesta si estamos interesados en trabajar contigo. Si no fuiste contactado, puedes volver a mandar tu aplicación con nuevas fotos para ser considerado nuevamente. No se aceptan solicitudes por Instagram ni facebook.
Tomate el tiempo de mirar la página web. No sólo para conocernos en cuanto a experiencia y trabajos, sino también para asegurarte de que somos lo que buscas para representar a tu hijo.
Lately we have had so many parents turn down AH MAZING potential castings/bookings, which is a H U G E no no. While we have been digging deeper to find out why our talent has been turning down jobs we found that most of not all turned down opportunities could be worked out. Want to have your cake, and eat it too? Here’s how.
Availability check: what does it mean?
So your agent just let you know a client reached out and wants to check if your child’s available December 11-14 ( for example). Your only available the 13th and the 14 do you decline ? Do you confirm ? What are your next steps ?
First things first, Let your agent know your available! Nope just because not all dates work, it doesn’t mean we can’t let the client know.
Here is what we recommend saying. “ Hey agents name, We are available just 2 of the 4 days. Can you check with the client if that’s ok?”
That’s it! It’s never good to decline an availability check as a lot do turn into bookings. Most agents get really frustrated if all they hear is not available, we rather work around a schedule then hear no.
The same goes for a client.As long as your up front with the client,if they like your child they will work around their schedule to fit your child in to their shoot . So it’s a win win . Just make sure you let us know know any known conflicts before you are booked.
Wanna know what you shouldn’t say when an agent is doing an availability check?
What time ? What location ? Or a million questions!
Argghhh it just drives me mad even typing the words lol . 🙈
99% of the time when we are asking availability the only info we know is the dates. If we have any additional info (rates, location, etc.) we almost always include it. We don’t ever hold information from talent if we have it.
Another reason to keep your response short and to the point is, We are also on a time crunch getting this info back to the client as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Think of it this way,
a client isn’t going to have their schedule ready before they book the kids they want so most likely they won’t have a time yet .
All your Agent is trying to find out is … is your child available the said dates. Yes or no.
This is also another reason why sometimes agent get a bad rep, we aren’t trying to be short, we just have to be. When we are clearing hundreds of kids.
Nothing takes more time than trying to get everyone cleared, and a project perfect for a client.
Do your part in making this process smooth, and we promise we will do our best in getting you in front of our clients!
13 years in this business has taught me a lot . It’s taught me humility, gratitude, and patience in particular . Some days I have more patience than others I must admit .
Most of all I have watched the tides change . I have watched kids go from booking nothing to being a super star booker. I have watched super star bookers dry up and just completely stop booking.My point is everyone has their time in the sun but with it comes the shade . You can be on the highest of highs for one year and the next season it can call come crashing down.
My point in saying this is we have all seen the kids that go into the business and magically start booking right away.
The parents go from being the humble grateful parents to the entitled parents in about two seconds flat.
They start demanding more hours from clients, asking for booking times to be changed, or asking for full or half day rates to book their kids.
I have seen this time and time again and every time this becomes where the child peaks then takes a nose dive within the industry. Parents can be a child’s biggest sore thumb.
Don’t become too big for your own good that you stop being grateful for what you have been given. There are so many parents wishing to have the 2 hour booking your child was lucky enough to get and wouldn’t dream of asking for any type of accommodations. Remember your CHILD is making on an hourly bases about 10 times more than minimum wage for most adults. Have gratitude.
I realize many of you take off work for your kids to be involved in the industry , you move things around, and your other kids need to be picked up by family members or friends. Trust me I get it ! You made the choice to involve your child ( in turn yourself ) into the industry and with that comes some sacrifice.
With that sacrifice come a huge return. My son plays hockey he’s at the rink more than he’s home.
I pay way more money than I would like to for him to be involved ,and I spend way more time than I would like to at the hockey rink. It’s sacrifice.
We sacrifice as parents as much as time allows us for our kids. Unfortunately with hockey there is NO RETURN on my investment unless maybe god willing my son plays for the NHL one day and he can start paying MY bills woot woot lol !
This is one of those great hobbies that you can actually make more money than you invest.
Actually a lot more, And your lucky enough that your child has what it takes to be signed by an agent.
Remember about 1 out of every 150 kids that submit to me gets signed.
So it’s a privilege to be represented and should be treated as such.
Chances are your child’s day in the sun will come to an end and it will be on to something new. So enjoy it while it’s here, be grateful for every opportunity, and you can never thank your agent too much.
“Hi I would like to submit my child to your agency but I’m only available for Direct bookings” – A quote agent that makes an agents stomach turn.
Castings are essential to this industry, they are unfortunately a “necessary evil” that any talent has to accept when submitting to an agency . Will I represent kids only available for direct bookings? No, unfortunately I won’t. If your not willing to put in the work, in my eyes you shouldn’t reap the rewards. There are countless parents willing to put it all in. They run around like chickens with their heads cut off just trying to get their kids to a casting on time. Would it be fair to them for me to accept kids not willing to put in the time and effort ? Probably not. I understand some of you reading this might be new. Some of you might have been in the industry years ago and are not familiar with how it has evolved. In your mind your going to sit in a room for 5 hours waiting for your child to be called and they weren’t even the right look or size anyway. Well here is the good news, the industry has changed drastically . Cattle calls are a thing of the past and rarely done unless they are booking hundreds of kids for a big shoot. These days a client sees your child’s photo ahead of time ( thanks to modern technology) and preselects who they want to see before the casting. So there is no waisted time and most castings are in and out.
If your thinking of joining or rejoining the industry be prepared to attend castings. Every model or actor famous or not needs to audition for a role. It’s also that much more exciting when you actually book it.
When things come easy , there is no premium on effort . There should be joy in the chase,zest in the pursuit .
So you are interested in submitting your child to an agent?
What’s the best way to go about it?
Let me start by saying that I do not accept social media submissions. I also cannot represent a child based on your description of them over the phone.
We need photos, even if they are not professional, in order to get a feel for your child. Every day I receive at least a DOZEN of DM’s on Instagram and Facebook, combined with countless phone calls telling me all about your gorgeous children.
When I see DM’s on Instagram my first thought is… this parent hasn’t even been to my website, let alone read my bio.
You’re submitting your child to someone and you didn’t take the time to look at what I’m all about?
Our agency specifically spends so much time educating, and writing these blogs.
Almost always, and I’m saying almost so no one comes back to say it’s not true lol, all the questions that are asked in the DM’s are answered in our blog.
The majority, if not all agencies have a submission process on their website.
It’s so important to take the time and follow directions, so that you aren’t overlooked because you annoyed the agency before even getting a proper chance. Submitting on social media is a sure fire way to get your child overlooked as 9 times out of 10 we won’t go to your child’s Instagram profile.
How to submit
So take a pause if you haven’t checked out our website, and then come back here if you think we are the right fit for you.
Sprout’s submission form is under the Info. tab and you simply click “Grow With Us” .
That’s it, super easy right?
Once we receive your application it takes about a week for us to get back to you IF we are interested. We have been receiving an influx of applications lately, so please be patient. If we do not respond in a week, you are always welcome to take new photos and resubmit.
Please take the time to explore an agent’s website and find out a little about them and what their submission process is before you call or use social media to connect.
Not only because it’s important to show you know how to follow directions, but you need to make sure this agent is the right fit for you. Picking an agent shouldn’t be taken lightly and we encourage you to take the time to do your research. Find out everything you can online before reaching out so you are as informed as you can be.
Agents are busy bees 🐝. We are navigating hundreds of parents, clients, talent, billing, social media, and let’s not forget, our own families.
I’ve said it before, every time I’m so proud I’ve clear out my emails a new stampede of emails come through.
It’s just like the scene out of the Bruce Almighty movie.
When the phone rings countless times a day with a parent on the other line ready to tell us all about their child, it takes time out of our hectic schedules to explain that you just need to go to the website.
This is not us being rude, we love that everyone is so enthusiastic about joining.
As we always say, this is a co-working relationship. If you do your part, our job is soooo much easier! Let’s create a solid foundation for your child, and start this off the right way.
Show us that you’re an informed parent who takes this business seriously.
Have you ever been to a casting and just felt some major evil eyes on your kid as soon as you walked in the door? Have you ever felt like this industry is an arrow and your the bullseye? While I am proud to say that Sprout Kids has some of the most unified and supportive parents I’ve ever come across, this is not standard. We do try to keep the peace, and stray away from any outside drama.
This is a field of mamas who are drama mamas and a business with a lot of jealousy attached to it. The second someone starts making moves, people start to notice, and then start to talk. In this industry Negative Nancys, and Bitter Bettys sipping on an extra strong doses of haterade are just waiting on the next person to contaminate with some bad juju. Again, their reasoning is how dare their kid not get every booking they casted for; Or how dare this agent change the status quo. We were all so comfortable the way it was, and I can’t always blame them. There can be a sense of superiority when you’ve been doing this for so long. To see a newcomer come in and try to steal the crown… it hurts. People notice and react. Some more gracefully than others. It just comes with the territory. The bigger the threat, the more people cannot handle it. Letting go of the throne isn’t easy for anyone.
All empires eventually fall, and to expect to be the greatest of the great forever and always is delusional. Change is necessary. It’s unrealistic to assume that your child possesses every quality for every booking every single time. It’s unrealistic that in a world that’s forever changing that the industry won’t change with it. I’m a strong believer that everyone has a season, some do last longer than others. Some will not easily be defeated. If there is someone who is breaking boundaries, and catching the right attention, people with the wrong intention will try to knock you down behind your back. Some will smile in your face, and If you’re lucky they won’t.
You must always be confident in who you are as a parent, a person, and your child’s abilities. My greatest advice in staying away from the negativity is to stay quiet. Keep it all to yourself. Is your child on hold? Don’t spread it all over. Humble bragging only gives you more hate. Followers preying on their downfall. Succeed in silence. Is another Agency getting a little attention? That’s o.k., it doesn’t mean yours isn’t good. Be and lead by example. People will mock you, when in reality they want what you’ve got. They will laugh, and then try to imitate whatever it is you are doing. I always tell my kids: “There is only one you, and that, my dear, is your super power.”I could give someone every tool I had to create/discover on my own. I could give them the formula I used to open more doors… and they will never get the same result. Not because they aren’t great, but because everyone possesses their own unique greatness within them. They key is to discover, or in many of our cases, help our children discover their own greatness. This isn’t a competition of who books the most jobs in one season. It’s not about being the greatest, and the only. There is far more greater things to be concerned with. For parents, It’s just a future memory your child will hold with them for the rest of their lives. Make the journey a beautiful one, a genuine one. Not one of an anxious parent complaining about gossip that will seem so minuscule when you look back 20 years from now. Be peace, be the difference.
Any negativity, any closed door is just a detour to get you to the destination meant for you. Let those unexpected storms water your roots, not drown you. Even when you are the negative voice in your head, and in your child’s head always remember a rainbow of blessings awaits you. What is yours can never belong to someone else. ️
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
We’ve talked a lot about the inner workings of the business, the do’s, the don’ts etc.
We thought it was about time to hear directly from the kids who are at the center of it all.
We posed the same four questions to a few Sproutlings of all different ages to get their varying take on being in the industry.
You know what they say….OUT IF THE MOUTHS OF BABES!
Get to know Aria Blue (13) IG @therealariablue
Q: How long have you been acting/modeling?
A: Since I was about 7 so for more than half my life! My first job was forTaylor Swiftso that was really exciting.
Q: Do you prefer acting or modeling?
A: Hmmnn. Well, they are really different. I like both but you get a little spoiled with modeling because of hair and makeup and all that. With acting you have to put in lots of work. There’s classes and self tapes and you have to understand that you probably won’t hear back on most of the bigger auditions you do. It’s exciting but it really is hard work.
Q: What would you tell a friend who wants to get into the industry?
A: I would tell them 2 things. You have to do what your team asks even if if you don’t feel like it because it is a business. I would also tell them to have fun and not to get discouraged if they aren’t getting jobs right away. It should be a cool experience and not something that stresses you out. We really are lucky to get to have these opportunities so you might as well enjoy it all.
Q: What’s the high and low of being in show biz?
A: The high is definitely all the friends you make, travel and craft services! The low is sometimes not getting a part that you really loved. Also, sometimes you are really busy and other times it’s like crickets!
Get to know Giada Rae (10) IG @giada_rae
Q: How long have you been acting/modeling?
A. It’s been just a little over a year now professionally and I love it. My first job was a Disney commercial.
Q: Do you prefer acting or modeling?
A. Well I really used to like modeling because of the clothes and stuff but now I like acting more because you get to be on set, meet more people and actually be interactive.
Q: What would you tell a friend who wants to get into the industry?
A. I would tell them it would be a really fun thing to do but you have to know if you want to concentrate on – acting or modeling or both. Acting is like a magic 8 ball – you shake it and you never really know what’s doing to happen. It’s like life, kinda random.
Q: What’s the high and low of being in show biz?
A. I’d have to say the best part is being on set. Every time I get on set I make new friends and I feel proud because I worked hard to get there.
Auditioning can be hard because they can be far away from your house and self tapes have to be done even if I’m tired or whatever. To be honest, I’m not a fan of auditioning but it’s totally worth it to get to the part I love which is being on set!
Get to know Daisy Flores (4) IG @justdaisy_
Q: How long have you been acting/modeling?
A. For like, a long time, like all day. Since I was a baby.
Q: Do you prefer acting or modeling?
A: I like to do commercials. I can play pretend with toys and I have so much fun.
Q: What would you tell a friend who wants to get into the industry?
A: You can’t be distracted. Pay attention and have fun. Take a nap.
Q: What’s the high and low of being in show biz?
A: Sometimes it takes a longggg time. I hate waiting. The best is when my friends see me on the TV!
We couldn’t have said it better kiddos: have fun, work hard, make friends and take naps!
As parents we always want our kids to shine, and reach the potential we KNOW they can reach.
It’s only normal to want to see your kid be “Famous” so the world can see the beauty, and talent they process.
People know that, and take advantage of that if their intentions are not right.
Many times parents rush into signing contracts without reading the fine print.
Everyone is rainbows and butterflies when you are about to get into a contract.
A cell phone sales person isn’t going to talk about all the surprise fees that you will get billed to you. They want their sales commission, so they sell you a dream of the perfect phone.
Same applies in the industry.
Don’t let the thrill of a shiny modeling contract, get you stuck into a contract of lies.
I didn’t intend to write this blog. It kinda fell into my lap after helping a parent of an adorable 3 year old child who was just beginning her journey in the child modeling / acting industry.
Boy, was she off to a R O U G H start!
Let me start by saying she signed with an Agency here in Miami ( not mentioning any names).She was promised the sun
,moon and stars.
She was easily convinced to sign a contract. Like most parents, she just wanted her child to have a shot at becoming a star.
Mind you , her daughter is only 3 years old and this is her first ever experience with anything talent industry related.
She met with me after not receiving a single call from this agency after months.
I advised her Sprout was exclusive so she would have to email her current agency that she was withdrawing her child from their system. Which is just standard procedure, when moving on to another agent. (Check out our last blog post on how to “break-up” with your agent.
My brain almost exploded when she emailed me their response to her termination of contract. I’m cringing even quoting this,
We would like to inform you that the legally signed contract creates certain obligations that are to be fulfilled by the parties who entered into the agreement.
As per our official agreement the contract can be terminated only by mutual consent by both parties.
We would like to inform you that based on the extensive work dedicated to promote your daughter as well as numerous of customized portfolio packages created as well as sent out, we cannot agree to the termination of the contract.
A contract is legally binding agreement. Once a party formally agrees to a contract, they become liable under the eyes of the law and contract to fulfill their contractual duties. Failure to perform the terms agreed to in a contract can result in a breach of contract lawsuit or various other legal liabilities.“
SAY WHAT!!!!!!! I could not believe my eyes! So this Agency was trying to tell this mother of a 3 year old that she could not leave the agency for 3 YEARS!!! No matter what. It gets even better, well worse … in the contract it then states that after she leaves the agency she can’t work with another agent for another 3 years.
So this child would be 9, N I N E years old before she can be represented by someone else. I have never in my 13 years in this industry have come across such a scam.
I asked the mom to forward me her contract . Luckily in the contract there was NO WHERE where it says that there needs to be mutual consent . It actually said only one party needs to consent . This agency was bullying her and lying to her to get her to stay . This is beyond unethical and an embarrassment to Florida and our industry as a whole!
My point in all of this is READ YOUR CONTRACTS my friends . An agency shouldn’t lock you in for more than 2 years and you should always have a way to leave if your not happy . An agent never wants to lose talent but unfortunately it’s part of the business. Talent comes and goes. You can spend months or years working, and pushing for them sometimes for them to just leave. As much as it hurts, we don’t ever want to be force talent to stay. That is something that has always been important to me. I stress that to every parent I meet.
It’s like having an unhappy employee. That’s not good for anyone.
In the end it’s just better to cut your losses amicably. There is always a chance they will appreciate that and come back if things don’t work out.
I know a lot of you get excited if your child gets signed but don’t let that get in the way of making a smart decision. There are A LOT of scamming agencies out there looking to make a quick buck off of eager parents and I would like you all to be careful when an agency is waving the Cheese in your face . The early bird might get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese. Stay smart, and be cautious!
A Blog post by Sprout Kids Agency Miami owner Shaina Miller
Let’s be honest . Your kids amazing right ? Well of course you would say yes…. well at least I hope you did . Does your agent think your child’s amazing ? Now that’s the question you want answered. In an industry filled with options how you choose the agent that’s right for you, how you know when your agent is no longer a good fit and how you break up amicably? Are extremely important.
Choosing an Agent
Like I said you have multiple options when looking for a good agent to represent your child but let’s remember an agent has thousands of options when looking for kids. The ratio of agent to talent is enormous. Not all agents are created equally. Just like humans each agent specializes, or is more versed in certain areas/ So what makes a good fit ? There is one question you need to ask yourself when you meet an Agent “did this agency feel excited about representing my child and do they seem to believe in my child ?” That is the most important question! If you left the agency feeling like the agency was super excited about your child then chances are it’s a good fit . If you left feeling kind of eh
then I would continue your search . There are a lot of great Agency’s out there but that doesn’t mean they are great for YOU. What might work for one child might not work for another. That doesn’t mean that the agent is bad, it just means they just may not be able to give you the same experience as an agent who is over the moon ecstatic about repping your kid(s).
Now let’s say your already signed by an Agent. How do you determine if that agent is good for you . Does your Agent believe in your child ? Answering that question also requires a bit of realism. I’m going to be 100% honest here so hold your horses!
Every agent has their favorites. I’m sorry but it’s just true. What many parents don’t understand is as much as we love you this is still a business and if an Agent is given a limited amount of spots on a casting they will always pick there “go to’s “ first. These are a small handful of about 30 kids in various sizes that tend to book the majority of jobs. We still have bills to pay and a company to run so we will always include those kids on castings. You have to be realistic when it comes to your child not every child is going to be a top pick, but you should always be called on more castings than your not. I had a realization this weekend while watching my son play in his hockey tournament over the weekend. It’s his first year on the travel team . There are players that have played since they were 3 years old and here is my son only playing for 2 years total. I was getting a little frustrated the coach didn’t play him as often as the other kids. Then reality hit. If I was the coach would I play him as much as the others… no I probably wouldn’t . The other players were more experienced and the truth is until he gets on their level the coach is going to do what he can to insure the team wins. So it might take a season or two for him to prove he’s worthy but he made the team and now it’s up to us to put in the effort so he gets played more. Which means private lessons , group lessons, and lots of practice. This industry is the same. As Agents we are going to play the kids that have the highest probability of “winning “ the role. If your child isn’t on the “A TEAM “ then it’s now up to you to ask your Agent what your child can do to improve. Let’s also remember every child isn’t the next Brad Pit or Angelina Jolie , in other words not everyone is made to be a star. All I can say is enjoy the moment . If your child books a job relish in it. If they don’t that’s ok too. If you truly with your whole heart believe this is what your child is made for then make sure your agent has that same belief. Just because they are the top Agent in your area doesn’t mean they are the top for you. You will feel it in your gut.
Time to say goodbye.
Now let’s say it’s time to breakup. This is never fun but it’s part of the process. If you honestly believe your child isn’t a good fit then the best thing to do is send an honest email to your Agent. I would NEVER tell your Agency where your moving to as that just opens the door to hurt feelings. The truth is as much as we don’t what to get hurt we are still human ( I think you guys forget that a lot ) so telling us your breaking up with us will sting , but saying your breaking up with us for another agency is like a stab in the heart . Just be mindful don’t let the other Agency instantly post on social media they are now representing your child. Remember this new relationship might not work out so it’s always good to keep the doors open . The grass isn’t always greener .
Remember as agents we are not miracle workers and we have limited power as to who is chosen by clients . Keeping your agent updated on your child and any classes they might be taking is always a sure way to be an agents top choice .
A blog post on how to be a “Model mom” by Sprout Kids Agency owner, Shaina Miller.
Let’s talk about behavior on set. Not just your kids’ behavior but there are also do’s and dont’s for parents on set as well. Let’s touch upon this .
So your child just booked a job, you arrive at the location, you’re in the holding area, there are producers and directors on set. What is appropriate? Do you talk to them? Introduce yourself? If you have a toddler do you help the photographer? The short answer to all of this is a firm no.
Every once in a while I might get a call from production about a parent on set. What’s even worse is when I get a call and that child is sent home due to a parent’s behavior on set. Please don’t be that parent .
When your child’s booked on a job your one and only job is to get them to the location. You are their driver and that’s it. Being invisible is always best unless you’re specifically asked a question or asked for help. I would advise to never talk to the director or producer unless they come to you and ask you a question. Remember it’s your child they booked on the job, not the parent. They are shooting these campaigns every month or more and they have parents trying to “suck up “ to them on a daily basis and believe me, they don’t like it .
I have been on the production side of this industry and there is nothing better than parents that mind their own business, reads a book or does some work while their child is on set.
Now, what if you have a toddler that’s “misbehaving” on set. Simple answer is let production handle it unless they ask for your help. There will be times where in your mind your child is being rambunctious or misbehaving but a director or photographer is loving it. I have had a lot of moms jump in while I’m shooting and try to tell their child to stop doing whatever it was they were doing, I was absolutely loving what the child was doing and in turn the parent ruined the whole shot. So what you might perceive as being a problem a photographer might love. So the best thing to do when they take your child on set is say “hi my name is … and if you need me for anything I’m right here“, hand your child to them and if they need you they will come get you. Never leave your child on set alone without you there unless you’re running a quick errand. Directors are not babysitters.
With that being said, sometimes your child might have to wait to be called on set . Waiting could range from ten minutes to several hours. Always bring something to keep your child busy while they wait on set. We never know the wait time so bringing games, quiet toys, and even some snacks are always a good option.
While you’re waiting you typically meet other “model moms”, this seems to be gossip hour. Again this is not the time for you to brag about your child’s bookings, bad mouth other agencies, or find out all the industry gossip. Set is a professional environment and in turn everyone on set should act accordingly. Every day I receive calls from moms I work with about what so and so’s mom said on set. Remember you never know who’s listening and 95% of the “advice” you’re receiving is probably inaccurate. Johnny’s mom is bragging about her booking and your son wasn’t called?? Now you’re upset at your agent. In reality Johnny has brown eyes and your son has blue and the director wanted a boy to look like a dad with brown eyes,which is why your child wasn’t called. Magically that was left out when Johnny’s mom told you about his amazing booking. Moms love to make other moms squirm, they love to brag about their kids, and it’s easy to feel jealous or upset. Please don’t use a booking as a time to gossip.
If you have other children DO NOT BRING THEM ON SET UNLESS YOU HAVE ASKED AHEAD OF TIME. This is a big no no! If you have no other choice but to bring another child you must let your agent know so they can advise the client. It is frowned upon in the industry to bring anyone other than yourself and your child on set. This also means one parent and the child. Both parents, grandparents, in-laws, or aunts and uncles should never be on set, it should only be the person driving the child and the child. The less noise and distractions the better.
Now what happens if your child loses a tooth, scratches their face, gets a rash? Or you’re booked as a parent on set and there is something that in some way might affect the shoot or the client booking yourself or your child? What do you do? You call your agent. It’s better to be safe than sorry. It’s never fun to lose a booking but it’s always worse to lose a client altogether. If an agent loses a client because you failed to disclose something that might affect the shoot this could mean the end of your relationship with your agent. And you not just lost the job for yourself but for all the other families as well. So please be considerate and mindful of all the effort that goes into a production. Honesty is always the best policy and it’s always appreciated.
I hope this helps answer some questions and helps us all have a better on set experience .
The other day we talked about how to let go of modeling if it wasn’t a good fit for your child, but we still haven’t talked about how to let go when you are waiting to hear back from a casting. No one talks about the anxiety that comes after the casting. The anxiety that takes over until you hear something, or in this industry: see another industry mom blast it on instagram. You bet your bottom dollar if a Stage 5 momager books it (not her kid, this is personal lol ) she will have created her own booked graphic, and post that sucker faster than you can refresh your email.
No one prepares you for the silence. In the beginning, you ASSume that you are owed an answer. Quickly you learn that no answer, is an answer. No answer, is a no. It’s a rejection, a rejection that you are SO not prepared for. Each client is different, and their procedures are different. I’ve been to castings and got a phone call my kids booked the job before I even got home. That has happened 1 time in about 5 years. Some clients book day by day for a 2 week campaign, and don’t even give you 24 hour notice if they do happen to book it. Those are bad, and in South Florida, one of the most common. It’s all bad, until it’s good. Well, until it’s fantastic because you got that email with all the booking details. The email you have refreshed for without ceasing. Then it’s just cheek to cheek smiling for the rest of the day. A feeling that I at this moment, am going through it.
So here I am writing this blog at 7:00 am because I need to vent. Lord knows I needed to get this off my chest. My daughter auditioned for a huge role, probably the biggest role she has auditioned for in her entire life. I wont say career because ew ( I’m still not that mom). A role that will really change our lives for a while.
I have truly mastered the “art of letting go” when it comes to forgetting about pending jobs, the years of obsession are far behind me, or so I thought. I think this opportunity came, just to remind me I am not immune to industry mom struggles. Here I am being the mom I swore I wasn’t anymore.Refreshing my emails every 5 minutes, making sure the phone I love to leave dead is fully charged. It’s been 2 weeks of waiting, and for this role in particular, waiting is not my strong suit. I am SHOOKETH. The inability to plan ahead is torture.
I had actual nightmares last night about me getting a handwritten note that she didn’t book it. Side eye emoji… So if I don’t vent I may need to get more highlights to cover up the new greys. It is time to regain my composure and put back my crown of the Agent/Mom who knows better. How do I do that again?
The biggest and best advice that a veteran mom gave me when we were starting out was to go to each casting, and forget it ever happened. I always had that advice in the back of my mind prior to working for an agency.I tried for years to have that mindset, yet I still was equally obsessed while I waited to hear back each and every time. The transition of how I learned or accepted the fact that not every job will be booked: That not every client will get lost in the energy she exudes in her big bright honey eyes was easy after I understood the industry more in depth. Like I said In my last blog post, It kind of just came once I saw the other side of the business. However, my situation is far from ordinary. I don’t expect my blogs to be enough to completely alter your mindset. At this moment, I just need to remind MYSELF that it’s not that serious. So let’s dive in and hopefully I can help myself get out of this rut, while I help share some of my advice.
Your Agent has no control over who ends up actually booking.
Does your agency have favorites? Yes and no. We have kids who we know if we send have a higher probability of booking a job. The main reason Sprout Kids Agency has a policy of meeting every kid before signing is because we need to know who a kid REALLY is. Almost anyone can take a cute photo. However, a kid who has that little spark in their eye, and commands their presence in a room is not only going to just grab our attention: but usually grabs most industry professionals attention. There are kids who are absolutely stunning, and can make everyone’s jaw drop as soon as they enter a room. However, that same child freezes and clams up as soon as they are in a casting room filled with 20 people in front of their laptops, a big spot light, and an even bigger camera staring in their soul.
Certain jobs, call for certain kids. You may very well have the most captivating child, but if they can’t perform when it’s time. No matter how much an agent pushes for a child, they will go for someone who may not be as beautiful in your perspective; if that child still shines like they are running in the middle of a field of flowers on a perfect spring afternoon.
The worst thing you can do is blame your agent, and then send an email that you have written out of anger. Even worse is to continue blaming agents, and end up being a flip-flopper. A mom who changes agents, as much a mom with a newborn changes diapers.
Wait it out. Listen to your agents suggestions, get new headshots, have your child take classes if they are old enough, make sure they are in size for print (nb-12m, 3t, 5t, 8/9,10/12). If after one year of being fully dedicated, and your child hasn’t booked something then consider switching agents/take a break from the industry. Be real with yourself, and don’t force it if it is your dream not your child’s.
Side note: Don’t text your agent for updates, if they had an update they will share it as soon as they have it. There is no reason they would withhold information from you.
Castings are their job, bookings are the cherry on top.
Bookings are not promised, and shouldn’t be expected. They should be cherished. They are that much needed hug on a hard day. However, not all hard days are met with a hug.
There are usually thousands of kids that are scanned through when a client/casting director is looking through a casting site. Usually they look through kids who are all very similar in appearance. To even be chosen! to cast is an honor. To even be considered by an agency is an honor. Your child may be your superstar, but a superstar is nothing with an entitled attitude.
A client has a look in their head of who they want. If your child doesn’t match that look, their chances of booking or even being seen are much lower. That doesn’t mean that they won’t use your child on future projects. Each casting your child should go in with the same excitement and happiness that they did on their first casting. Clients/Casting Directors see everything, and notice everything at castings. If there is a kid that stands out, they will want to see them again. Each time they are seen is a chance to be used for something even greater. Take each chance you get and appreciate it. The same goes for a crappy attitude. It takes one disgruntled parent trash talking to another mom to never be seen again, or even dropped from your agency. Be humble, and be grateful. Use the resources your agent gives you. Once you approach this in a different light, more doors will open. That is the only thing I can promise you.
Let their talent do the talking
At the end of the day it comes down to everyone agreeing on their final choices. Usually the final choices have gone through 15-20 executives before getting approved, if not more. There are so many factors that will determine whom they choose. You need to be confident that your child is doing the best they can, and you need to never let your child in on any doubts you have. Build them up.If they aren’t up to par, get them the training. Be their number one supporter. If they do their very best, and give all their heart. They will be the perfect fit for the role that was meant for them. You don’t need to cover up any blemishes, or tuck in the extra 2 lbs they gained on summer break. You don’t need to be the mom that scolds them when no one is watching. The internal light that shines because you believe in them will be enough to hide any imperfections. Let their talent do the talking, and negotiating.
Today I am taking a bow, and fully accepting my life motto “ What is meant for you, will inevitably be yours. No one can take away what has been written for you. #Maktub”.
This industry has taken us to places I have never imagined. On plane rides to countries I have never before visited. It has given me friendships that otherwise would have never happened. As competitive as some parents are, I have met parents that are an essential part of my day to day life. It has given my kids an understanding of hard work and dedication at such a young age. My kids know that it’s not the person who is the best,or the most talented who gets what they want. It’s the person who never gives up. It’s the person who wants it with all their heart, and gives all their heart who will always come on top. So as I finish this post, I close my eyes. I say a little prayer, and let go. I’ll grab my phone, and I will refresh just one more time. If the curtain is meant to open for her, it will. I will watch her take a bow at the end, I will clap like no one has ever clapped. I will be proud, just as proud as I am now. I am proud of each and every audition, of each line learned, of each photoshoot finished with a smile. Take it in, breathe it in, enjoy each opportunity to be seen. Do not let the obsession of uncovering the unknown, dim the beauty of the experience. Let go, and take a bow.
“Let go of certainty. The opposite isn’t uncertainty. It’s openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides. The ultimate challenge is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never stop trying to learn and grow.”
Do you work ? If not does your husband , wife , aunt , uncle, or friend ? I’m sure someone in your household works or you wouldn’t be able to pay for the internet to read this blog. Would that person work all day out of the kindness of their own heart? Would they work 6, 8, or 12 hours for no paycheck ? Would you ? Probably not. Neither should your child! This industry has taken a turn. In a lot of ways it’s been for the better but in one way it’s taken a nose dive! Social media clients, small brands who mainly operate on FB and IG expecting your child to work for free. This subject is one that makes fire come out of my ears!! I realize all of you want your child to grow their following, but is it worth ruining the industry ? Is it worth doing this one shoot if it causes the client to hire kids for free instead of paying them? This was unheard of years ago ! A child that was a signed model would never shoot for free ! It just wasn’t an option . Let’s not forget your child has value just as you do. Your time is valuable and so is theirs. Think of your little model as a brand. They are a professional child model , they have experience , the look, the following . All of that has value and should not come free of charge. Did the photographer get paid? Did the stylist ? Did the makeup artist ? You bet your but they did! So why should your child who does all the work make nothing in return ?? The simple answer is they shouldn’t !
Let me explain it this way. If there are 10 clients that come to Florida and they have a clothing line they want to shoot, typically they hire a photographer, hair and makeup artist , stylist , some times art director , and always models. The shoot wouldn’t work without the full team right ? So typically they would pay each member of the team and if they couldn’t afford to they might postpone the shoot for a time when their budget is higher . So let’s say they hired 5 kids at $500 a day plus agency fee. Now the child made their money and it was worth their time to take off school or a potential play date with a friend. The agency was able to make a fee and help keep their doors open and so did the rest of the team. Now times that by 10 clients a year. That’s a significant amount of money lost for the children and the Agencies . This is on 10 clients and we all know their are thousand upon thousands doing this! The industry is losing and your child is losing! All for what ? A couple followers if your lucky.
My thoughts are this. If you want a child to work for your campaign for free you can hire a friends child or a child playing at the park. If you want a certain esthetic for your line which entails a professional child model than you need to budget for it. That simple! Again , you wouldn’t work for free and neither should a child. Let’s not forget the element of burning your child out either. I mean if I photograph 5 or more kids a day I’m tired and I get burnt out just like anyone would. So does your child! Do you want to run the risk of them getting burnt out on the industry because of a few free shoots?
I know next I’m going to hear… “ but what about the smaller clothing lines that don’t have a budget for models?” My simple answer is wait until you have the budget like the good old days where you had to grow a business for it to be successful. Just this week I shot a brand new clothing line they had a limited budget and I knew that, but instead of having them go to another photographer and not pay the kids I gave them a starter rate for new clients and they got a full shoot with models for a very reasonable price. I would rather do this then ruin the industry. For smaller brands there is also the option to photograph a few of your favorite pieces on models and the rest on mannequins to save some money. There are plenty of options but everyone wants something for nothing, and we are prepared to give it to them .
Please guys help me help you ! Let’s start a MY KID WILL NOT WORK FOR FREE REVOLUTION!! If we join together we can fix this!
“When we stand up for what we believe in—for what’s right—there is always a chance that we risk the very things we fight for: our safety, our lives, our freedom. But if we stand down, the risk is definite.”
We all come from different walks of life. Each of us experience life differently. As model moms it’s easy to get blinded by the glam and the flashing lights. At the end of the day we are all just moms who want the best for our kids.
This blog is about two very special Sprout Kids Agency moms who are sharing their journey and experience with our readers.
Meet Kirsten !
Mom to Sprout Kids Mia, and Jadon
I’d never considered the modeling industry for my children , ages 10 and 12, until someone approached us and mentioned they might be a good fit.
Of course I was skeptical but I decided to do my research to determine if this was a great opportunity.After signing with an agency and shooting some incredible campaigns, we’ve learned many lessons: from how to choose and partner with an agency, the ins and outs of the business and how to best prepare. Modeling and acting can be an incredibly rewarding experience for your children. It can serve as a great confidence booster for kids and the industry allows for an amazing opportunity to meet new people. We’ve enjoyed our time, my kids have blossomed and we are so grateful to be aligned with an agency who supports our children’s goals and values. Child modeling and acting isn’t for everyone but if you do your research , ask questions and remember to have fun it can be a wonderful experience !
Mom to Sprout Kids Amaya and Lilah
I am a teacher and learning to be a newborn photographer. I am also a momager to my two girls, Amaya and Lilah. Amaya is a gymnast and Lilah plays tennis and dances and they both love to model and act
What did you look for in an agency?
Kirstin: First and foremost I was looking for someone who had integrity and a great reputation. Someone my family would be proud to align with. I also looked for someone who was willing to take the time to educate us about the industry to ensure we had a positive experience. Lastly , we looked for someone who valued diversity, someone who understood the needs of their talent and respected those needs.
Stacey: Competency, knowledge, trust and that the agency has my kids best interest at heart.
What should parents expect from their agent?
Kirstin:I believe parents should expect a partnership that includes clear and honest communication. The news might not always be positive and it’s important to find an agent who is willing to communicate both good and bad.Kirstin:
Stacey: Expect what you put into your agency is what you’ll get out of it. It’s a team effort.
What tips do you have to help new parents have a good working relationship with their agent?
Kirstin: What tips do you have to help new parents have a good working relationship with their agent?
Stacey: always be transparent with your agent. Make a concerted effort to get to as many castings as you can. Respond to your agent quickly because clients are waiting for agencies when they have to wait for a response from the talent. Always keep resumes and stats everything up to date. Put in the effort. Once your agent sees that, she will do the same for your child. It takes equal effort from the agent and talent to make your child successful in this industry.
How did you first get your child into Modeling/acting?
Kirstin: My daughter is a competitive skimboarder and spends most of her free time at the beach. While on the beach one day we were approached by a mom in the industry who mentioned that it might be a good opportunity for our daughter. Of course , we were skeptical but after researching their agency and digging a little deeper we decided to take the leap and submit our daughter. It happened rather organically.
Stacey: My friend had her baby modeling and so I sent Amaya’s picture to the manager at the time and that kicked off her career. Lilah followed Stacey:
What surprised you most about the industry?
Kristin: One of the biggest surprises wasn’t how quickly things move. One day you are sitting on the beach, the next day you have to be at a casting. Clients are working around tight deadlines , travel schedules and even the weather, so when they need you there often isn’t a lot of time to prepare, you just have to go with the flow !
Stacey: Most things are very last minute so we have to be extremely flexible
How did you prepare your child for this industry?
Kirstin: I think one of the best ways to prepare your child for the industry is to be open and honest. Rejection is a part of the industry but it has no relation to their value. We talk a lot about this not being a sport , you don’t win or lose, but you do get to have fun.
Stacey: They were babies when they started, but as they got older, I just follow their lead. Whenever they’d ask me questions, I’d answer them. I didn’t want to give them more industry info than they were ready to understand.
What advice would you give new parents looking to get their children into the industry?
Kirstin: My advice for any new parent is to research your agent, make sure you click. They are your business partner and will play a big role in your child’s life, it’s important that you feel comfortable. Also, be realistic, there are tons of adorable kids, yours included, but don’t expect overnight success. If your child books one job a year , that is one job more than many kids. Also, have fun and don’t take it to seriously. There are many ups and downs with this business , keeping a positive attitude is critical.
Stacey: Make sure you are flexible and that your child if they want to do it. It is a big time commitment so be prepared to invest a lot of time into the industry because what you put in is what you get out of it . Most importantly, find an agency that you can trust. But, don’t just jump on the first one that gives you an offer, do some research and then go with your instinct as to which one will be the best one for your child.
What lessons have you learned?
Kirstin: We’ve learned many lessons. The biggest one is that I personally play a big role in my child’s success. I do this by supporting my agent with things like , being responsive , showing up on time and having willingness to adjust our schedule. I think in the beginning I didn’t understand how critical my role was, but by understanding the bigger picture I now know how I can best support everyone. Also, never compare always celebrate. A booking for another child does not mean a loss for yours.
Stacey:Patience, how to handle rejection, and to teach your kids to be humble and grateful for every opportunity that comes their way. Even if you don’t get one opportunity you may have wanted, there may be something just around the corner even better!
What has been the most rewarding about this industry?
Kirsten: This industry can be so rewarding. My daughter and son have both become more confident and willing to try new things. They are excited to meet new people. They have also become more mature ,understanding that being professional, polite and kind always wins.
Stacey: Building relationships with so many amazing people. Traveling to fun locations. It has also been a joy to see confidence my kids have gained from being a part of this industry which translates into all aspects of their life.Stacey:
What was your initial investment, if any?
Kirstin: The biggest investment we made was quality headshots. Headshots matter ! It’s not a huge financial investment but it was critical for us to get started. Finding a photographer who can captured our child’s personality did wonders to launch her career.
Stacey: Headshots and Casting Networks Subscription
Supporting your child
How much time can new parents expect to dedicate?
Kirstin: The time commitment really varies. Some weeks/ months are very busy with castings others are quite. I think the best thing to remember is always be ready.
Stacey: It varies. During the busy months, there can be several castings per week and sometimes more than one in the same day. Then, if your child books it, you can expect to be at the booking anywhere from 2-10 hours. It all varies so much depending on the project.Stacey:
How do you help your child handle rejection?
Kirstin: Rejection is definitely a big part of this business. We are very honest with them and always remind them that it has nothing to do with who they are.
Stacey: They understand that rejection comes with this industry and if they know they are constantly striving to improve their acting skills, showing up to as many castings as possible, and always doing their best, the rest is out of their hands. They also understand that often times, they may be “on hold” or had a callback which they find out they didn’t book and have the knowledge that it simply could come down to matching a family together or looking for a particular ethnicity. I also always tell them that when one door closes, another one opens.
What role does social media play for your child?
Kirstin: Social media has served as a great way to meet other families. We definitely don’t take it too seriously. I manage their accounts, they are too young.Kirstin:
Stacey: We have an Instagram page @amaya_lilah_sistermodels and we try to actively post on it as much as possible. But, we are still in the beginning stages of understanding the social media world in relation to the modeling and acting industry.
A blog entry by Sprout Kids Agency owner Shaina Miller on how, when, and If to let go.
About 2 weeks ago it was one of my least favorite days….REMOVAL day.
During off season before a new season begins I typically go through my talent and determine which kids I’m keeping for another season and which kids I need to remove. This is one of the most dreaded weeks.
Honestly, there is no easy way to tell a parent their child didn’t make the cut. I hate this part of my job with a passion and typically I don’t talk about it.
I read Brandis Ohlsson’s ( from Ohlsson Models ) post in regards to this and it was EVERYTHING! It inspired me to blog about it myself in hopes that you guys can understand as Agents we are people too.
We don’t want to hurt anyone and we really truly wish you the best when we say goodbye . My poor assistant Emily had sweaty palms and an increased heart rate when I told her I was emailing a few parents to remove their kids from the system. She literally said “ Can’t we just remove them and not say anything? “ half joking of course. She says this for two reasons.
1. She truly feels for these families the way I do. We are rooting for your child every day since we sign them ,we want you to succeed , and nothing hurts us more than when it just doesn’t work out.
2. Social media . I have a big love hate relationship with social media and one of my biggest faults with the internet is when I’m simply doing my job and I upset a parent by releasing their child which causes them to leave me negative reviews.
Believe me, I don’t want to release your child, I want them to work. I want them to thrive in my agency but sometimes a child just doesn’t fit. Instead of holding on for dear life to avoid a bad review and hurt feelings it’s only fair to give you a chance to pursue other options. I’m only trying to be fair to you and your child.
Sometimes I have a child in my system that goes through a dead season. The industry changes every year and the type of kids clients are looking for varies from season to season. So,I could have a kid that goes through a dry spell but I realize it’s just the industry right now and it’s not permanent. When I believe that’s the case I will talk to the parent telling them “ not to quit and don’t be discouraged your time will come”. I mean this when I say it. I have watched kids go 2-3 years with very minimal bookings and the next season become a booking machine. It’s the nature of the business it always comes in waves.
I just want you to remember as Agents we are human too, we have feelings, we understand your frustrations and we never want to say goodbye to a talent. Remember that before ego forces you to leave a bad review or you get angry we let you go. We truly wish you the best . After all when you succeed we succeed.
This blog series is dedicated to how a mom with kids in the industry understands not only the struggles of fellow moms but agents as well. It will serve as a guide to help navigate your journey in the entertainment industry with eyes that have seen both the parenting and agency side.
I wasn’t always a working mom. I was a mommy mom. I was the type of mom that only shared about my kids on Facebook (well, still do). I was all about my mommyhood and never strayed from my official “mom uniform” of black compression leggings and a highly knotted mom bun. I’d tote my infant in his baby carrier and toddler in her way overpriced stroller to all the castings I received. I was a typical stay-at-home model mom: bored out of my mind, just looking forward to the next casting.
Ok, to be honest , I was borderline obsessed! My manager even had her very own, very distinguishable ring/text tone, and you better believe those emails were marked as VIP. (Not that she really needed it because I refreshed my emails religiously every other minute.) I, too, was in a daze by the flash of all the photos taken of my “perfect” children.
Oh , they were perfect. God forbid someone try to get me off my high horse and reject my child. I had my model mom bff’s on speed dial so that we could trash talk the stupid casting that “we didn’t want to go to anyway,” or the crazy casting directors, who obviously only wanted everyday kids, not my stunning child. Why else would they not pick me?!…. I mean… my kid.
In reality, I was an amateur. I was the mom who almost every mom in this business is in the beginning. The mom who just cannot handle the rejection as well as they thought they could. I used to think, “Oh, modeling will be just something else to do.” Then, it became everything!
The hardest part in the modeling business is to accept it when someone rejects your “perfect child.” I think that any parent who doesn’t think that they have created a future legend should get an award. It is normal to think that way, but it doesn’t mean that everyone thinks that way. That’s the lesson I learned from rejection.
I think that if I never got a job in the industry, I would still be like every other mom lost in obsession. The mom that no one can stand. You know exactly who I am talking about: the mom with her kids’ headshots and resume neatly tucked into a leather (or pleather for the earth conscious mommy <3) portfolio, the mom who proudly calls herself a momager on her child’s instagram account (you know, the instagram with the paid followers), the mom who congratulates her own child on social media for her kid’s booking just to make other moms jealous #nothumblebrag (don’t do this by the way), the mom who talks way too much trying to get “in” with production but ultimately just ends up annoying the crap out of them. I promise I was totally getting to that point: the point where you think your kid is a star before he really is a star. Then, everything changed.
Everything that I thought I knew about the industry came crashing down within 24 hours of getting a job with THE top manager in all of South Florida and Orlando, who is now the owner of Sprout Kids Agency in Miami, FL. #Boss This was the same manager who I was positively sure hated my guts, up until the very second before I sent her THE message: the message that, unbeknownst to me, would change my life.
It was a typical day, I was sitting on the sofa scrolling on social media making sure no other agents or managers had posted new bookings. I had time for that, even if I swore I didn’t care. Out of the blue, on this completely ordinary day of my completely ordinary life, I heard that echoing loud obnoxious ring tone. Then, I got another, even before I could stop yelling at my kids to stop fighting. I always got nervous when I heard that tone; imagine two back to back. She was either really excited about something, or I must have pissed her off.
I opened the email. Ok, she was mad, thankfully not at me. She was sending out instructions about a new agency she was working with and no one was listening. ( Little did I know, I would soon understand her frustration.) As I’m reading the emails, I get another alert. “CHECK YOUR EMAIL NOW!!” I can’t lie, she scared the crap out of me. Then, I got another all-caps message. When that 4th message came in, I got the BIGGEST urge to ask if she was ok, and it just wouldn’t go away.
I wrote and rewrote THE message maybe 15 times. I am naturally shy and very awkward, always saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, so the last thing that I wanted was to be the reason for another all-caps email. (I’d been there before, and I may have cried (she doesn’t remember this)… let’s just blame that on new mom emotions! She totally hated me…. or so I thought.) Once I finally mustered up the courage to send her THE text, I felt my soul leaping out of my body, and I now totally see this memory as an out of body experience, not even kidding. She texted me back almost instantly. She was at her breaking point, and I was too. I was tired of being just another mommy. I needed purpose, and she needed a helping hand she could trust. So that annoying ring tone rang, my heart was racing, but instead of being greeted by someone who I feared, I got a human that honestly put up with more than anyone should completely alone: to work with 13 agents, some not so nice agency owners, and hundreds of even more demanding parents. She held the weight of making sure everyone (hundreds of parents, 13 strict agents with their own agendas, and countless number of clients) was happy for 13 years, and it had become all-consuming, especially when the happiness of her kids, husband and most importantly her own expectations for joy had been met with disappointment.
In my head, I always thought, “How hard could it really be? I could do her job with my eyes closed.” #wrong SO wrong. I listened to her vent, and I offered to help her with all I could. I just didn’t think she would say yes. She did before I could even think about. She needed this, someone who would never let her down for the first time in years. For me, I somehow landed myself a job. As unexpected and organically as it could have happened, I didn’t even have time to call my husband and tell him. It was just meant to be, I didn’t just gain a job, I gained someone who I am so proud to know, someone, who I trust with my life. So did she. It was just the beginning of a beautiful and successful working relationship: Ying and Yang, Shake and Bake, Arnold and Danny.
I don’t think that any parent can fathom how draining this can be. I will not say that it is not rewarding, or that it doesn’t bring us great joy; it does. That is why we do this. We live to make kids smile and dreams come true. To be a part of such a magical journey, is just that: magical. However, we are not fairy godmothers, and no matter how hard we try and push a child, there will always be a mother who doesn’t think we did enough.
Everyone thinks that they can do your job better. We have to deal with the know it all parents who “just want to offer some insight,” aka they want to tell us, “you don’t know what you are doing.” We do, and we are doing the best we can. If you want us to do better, then you can help! Follow directions, email and call us during business hours, go to your classes, keep on top of your casting sites, update your headshots without a reminder.
Agents and managers are notorious for leaving you on “read”, or not answering every question after you’ve emailed them 10 times. Let’s not even talk about the dreaded one letter response… K. I always thought she was just intentionally being mean, but I can promise you that your agent/manager does not hate you. They are just working so hard to make sure your child doesn’t miss an opportunity. Just imagine at least 500 talent/parents emailing and calling and texting you all day and night. Most parents don’t, but I have gotten daily texts at crazy hours( 3 am/ 12:30 am). The classic message starts with, “Sorry for the late text, but I had to message you now or I would forget.” What they really mean is #sorrynotsorry.
I realized then that all the years of my child being represented by her, I didn’t ever before ask her about her. I didn’t ever care. That’s just the harsh reality. It makes me so sad that I could have ever been so blind. Working moms are moms, and they’re great ones who do whatever it takes to get things done… usually neglecting their own needs. I try now to be more conscious to never be that resentful person I was again. We are all humans just trying to make it through the day. Of course my kids’ careers matter, but it’s not an obsession anymore.
I go to a casting, and I’m done. If they book, it’s a blessing, not a right. If they don’t book, it’s an opportunity to show off their skills. It doesn’t mean that the casting director is blind; it means they had a different vision already. If my kids don’t get requested and my friend’s kids do, I don’t secretly mope around all day sulking in my misery. I get genuinely happy that there are enough jobs for everyone. Once I changed my outlook, my karma started changing, and more doors opened up for my kids (all on their own, with no help from me) in different markets and here.
The most important advice I can give a new mom, or veteran mom, is to be aware and not let rejection get to you. Life is so much greater than being obsessed with a booking. Remember the kids who did book the job wanted it just as badly as you did; they worked just as hard. Remember that your agent is human and forgets things or is just tired. Remember that the casting director is just trying to do their job and make the client happy. It is not personal, but you can be a personable person as you navigate on this journey. Let your child shine the way they were meant to, and everything that was meant to be for them will find them! Let them be who they want to be.
I can rant because I have done it, all of it. I really did. I assumed her phone was off when I was “just a mom” and I sent her an early morning message.The phones are never off, never on silent. Neither is your brain. Requests come in even when our brain just prays for one second, just one second of quiet. There are no weekends, no real vacations. This business never sleeps. We, just like you, refresh our emails religiously just to make sure we don’t miss a casting, so that you don’t miss an opportunity. We always have to be ready to jump on a computer and make sure that client has everything they need so that they keep coming back to us. You better believe that if we mess up, that client will not ever work with us again. That is the last thing we want, and not for selfish reasons. We try because all we want to do is make your child’s dreams come true, too.
Here at Sprout Kids Agency, we work so hard because we are a family, and we care about your kids,too. We want nothing more than for your child to succeed. If it were up to us, every child would book, and there would be enough jobs for everyone, and everyone would be the perfect look for every client. Although we cannot guarantee that your child works, we do promise we will continue doing our very best to get them all the opportunities to be seen. We will continue to educate ourselves so that we can share the knowledge. We will be the difference.
I am so blessed, and I say blessed and not lucky because it is so much more than luck to get to do something I am so passionate about. I get to make dreams come true everyday, and I get to do it with one of my favorite HUMAN beings that has ever walked the earth since the beginning of time. Shaina, for you, I am so grateful.
“There is nothing more prestigious than a beautiful soul painting the world with his or her vibrant colors. ” ~Bonnie Koury
I realize some of the parents reading my blogs have never had your child in the modeling industry but your curious about the process. The information that is out there is great, but times have changed. There is so much contradicting information, and it becomes a bit too much to process. Here is my simplified guide on how an agency actually works, with no extra fluff, and no scare tactics. This is the honest truth on how an agency really works.
When do I pay?
I’m happy to help you decide if the industry is for you. I often get emails asking if there is a cost to join my agency , or asking me to represent a child that I haven’t seen, or what exactly am I looking for in a child ? As a whole most LEGIT agencies follow a similar format. There are some minor differences but if your submitting to a reputable agency you shouldn’t EVER have to pay a fee upfront. If an agent is requesting up front payment, you need to contact other agencies. This is not the norm. As an agency we can never guarantee your child is going to book a job. We generally have a good idea of what kids have a high probability of working but in the end it is the client ( Target , Carter’s , Old Navy etc. ) who picks the child for their campaign NOT the agent. We can only do our job by submitting your child when we believe they are the right fit for the job. Everything that happens past the point of submission is completely up to the Client and Casting director (so please don’t get mad at us if your child ultimately does not book), Because agents can’t guarantee your child is going to book a job agents typically don’t take a fee upfront. Where we make our money is from commission. We only get paid, if your child gets paid. If a child books a job we take a commission from that job. Commissions can range according to agency but they are typically between 10% union jobs (SAG- the jobs everyone wants) to 20% non union jobs ( Most Print jobs). When you sign your paperwork with an agency you should be advised of the commission structure of that agency. MAKE SURE YOU READ WHAT YOU ARE SIGNING. I haven’t seen an agency take more than 20% so I would say 20% is the “norm” in the industry. The commission is taken out from your child’s check at the time they are paid. So again nothing is coming out of your pocket in advance. Payments are made AFTER the client pays the agency. So if you have to cover any expenses (travel, lodging, outfits) at the time of the booking, take that into consideration as well.
How to submit
As far as the submission process goes, all agencies should have a submission form on their website . Sprouts is in the “grow with us “ tab under the info button on our website. There is a form where you submit your child’s photos and your contact info. Please check an agencies website before you call or contact them for how to submit. An agents phone is constantly going off, email alerts are buzzing by the second. You do not want your first impression with an agent to be the wrong impression. Follow the agents specific instructions on how to submit. As a general rule DO NOT SUBMIT VIA SOCIAL MEDIA. If you DM me via social media I’m going to direct you to my website to submit, if I have time. There are times when simply there are not enough hands to respond to social media inquiries. Most agencies do not prefer being contacted via social media for representation and it’s easy for your message to be lost in the internet world. Calling on the phone describing your child to me is also not the best way to get your child signed. I cannot sign a child I have never met or seen and again it’s very time consuming answering these types of calls throughout the day. Please just take the time to check the agents website for their submission process. Most agencies will only get back to you if they are interested in possibly representing your child and setting up a meeting. We do not respond to submissions if we are not interested in meeting your child. No one likes to hear that your child is not the right fit for an agency, and it’s even harder being the person to deliver that news. Generally no response is a response. All children are beautiful, and amazing in their own way. Not every child is going to be the next star. Which brings me to my next topic.
What am I looking for ?
That is such a broad question. I’m not looking for a certain ethnicity , hair color , or eye color. There is just something about a kid that grabs my attention. I’m not always sure what it is but there is something. It’s the “IT “ factor. The first step is submitting a photo. Some agencies require your child to take professional photos to even be considered. This is at the discretion of the agency. I have recommended photographers that I like to use as do most agencies. Please read my prior blog post about headshots for further info on the importance of great headshots. Once I have seen your child’s photo and or a resume if they have one I decide if that child would be a good fit for Sprout. That is why it is so important to submit photos that show your child in their best light. No topless photos, babies in just diapers, photos of your child eating, photos of your child on the toliet etc. As silly as this seems, you have no idea how many crazy submission stories we have. Once again, make sure that these are photos that make your child look their best, and not overly posed. If I feel they would be a good fit I set up a meeting to meet the child in person. I never represent a child I haven’t seen in person .This is my policy and doesn’t pertain to all agencies. In my opinion I can’t in good conscience recommend a child to a client I haven’t met so I always meet the child in person. This helps me determine where the child belongs in the agency. Some kids are a better fit for print,some are a better fit for tv, and some are great for both TV and print but without meeting your child I can’t determine the best way to represent your child. Our agents have a special gift in really seeing the potential of a child just by having a conversation with them. Once we see where the child belongs, we give them the tools they need to further their career, and skill level. If I was a parent looking for representation I would only work with an agency or manager that has an interest in meeting my child as I don’t feel they could be properly represented without a formal introduction. If they don’t know who exactly your child is, and what they are capable of, then how are they submitting them properly? Make sure if you haven’t yet, meet your agent!
What happens after your child is signed ?
After we sign a child they are registered into our system(s). The sign-up process is usually lengthy, and there are steps you need to make sure you take quickly. Agencies move very fast, you want to make sure you turn everything in at a timely manner, and not forgotten. If you don’t have headshots right away, schedule them. A good headshot photographer books months in advance. Once the contracts are signed, the profiles are created, the stats are entered, the headshots are uploaded, you are finally ready to be submitted. Usually clients know exactly what they are looking for. They will send us a breakdown for each role, and what specifically each child needs to be/have. They will send us some thing like “looking for a 5 year old boy, with dark eyes, hispanic, that can ride a bike” then submit the children that fit what the client is looking for. After all the kids that the clients request are submitted the client or casting director picks the children they would like to see in person . Your child attends the casting , they take a quick snap shot or video if it’s a commercial , they might ask a few questions , or might fit the child in clothing. After the casting is over the client picks the children they would like to book for their job. At times their are callbacks or holds, but thats something I can explain at another time. Clients contact the agency once they have made their final decision and we contact you to book your child. Sometimes clients will ask you to bring wardrobe choices, or has special requests. So if they are booked, make sure you are able and ready to accommodate last minute requests. Most of this business happens on short notice. If you can not work with last minute castings, and bookings you might want to rethink getting representation. Nothing makes an agent more upset than talent who make us look bad with a client because they cannot make a booking. So make sure you go to your booking on time, have fun, and enjoy the experience. Once you have completed a booking you can expect a check around 90 days, sometimes sooner, sometimes later. The agency will take out the commission for you, so there is no extra work required.
Separating Fact from Fiction
I think there is this common misconception that child modeling can be sexy, very serious, or the child is layered in makeup. People tend to compare it to how superficial the adult modeling/entertainment industry is at times. This is NOT the case, with kids. In most ads there is little to no makeup on the children. If makeup is used, its just to smooth the child’s complexion. The kids are never dressed sexy or inappropriate. Most of the time when you see ads of kids looking ridiculously happy, its because they are. Their are crew members whose only job is to make sure the kids are having the best day ever! Our clients range from Target, Carters, Old Navy, Children’s Place, J Crew, Pottery Barn Kids, Gap Kids, Disney, Nickelodeon, and many more. These are all fun happy kids conscious brands letting kids just be kids. Professional agencies will never allow a parent or child be put in an inappropriate situation. The children’s modeling and talent industry should be a fun experience for you as a parent, and especially your child(ren).
I hope this has helped you further understand the industry, and serves as a guide in helping you decide if this is something you would like to pursue, or continue pursuing!
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This is the final entry of our Sprout Spotlight Casting Director series, but it is certainly one of our favorites. Here at Sprout Kids Agency, our vision is a little different. We believe in having fun, while showcasing our talent in their best light. While this is a business, we know the entertainment business is a bit different. Almost everyone in this business, began as a creative. From being an art student to creating million dollar ad campaigns. From being a child model to becoming the owner of a top Childs agency. From being a stylist to becoming a highly coveted Casting director. This was certainly the case for this weeks Casting Director Deb Temco. Deb Temco has an artistic eye which clients love, and even talent appreciate. You should just see how cool her office space is in Miami, Florida! Our talent always takes advantage of her perfect selfie backdrop. Our talent has worked with her on projects for H&M, Mini Boden, Tommy Hilfger, and other highly coveted clients.
Who is Deb Temco?
“I was born and raised in New York. I started as a stylist, then was a model booker for a fashion photographer. From there I got a call about a casting job at the biggest casting office in New York City and jumped at the opportunity. I moved to Miami after falling in love with the place while working here on photo shoots.”
Which is your favorite project to date? What made it impactful for you?
“One of my favorite projects was a music video for Missy Elliot that was full of kids dancing. I loved working with the kids, they were such an inspiration.”
What makes the kids that you select to been seen stand out?What is it that you typically look for?
“The kids that stand out the most to me are the ones that are just themselves, just real and natural. I look for something different on every project. An updated current headshot is always important.”
When a project is submitted who picks the kids selected to be seen at the castings? is there a specific process?
“On most projects, I pick the kids to be seen and then the client gets the top picks.”
What is your funniest casting memory?
“My funniest casting memory is so hard to pick because there have been so many. Casting comedy and kids are my favorites. Comedy makes you laugh all day and the kids just make you smile.”
What is bad etiquette that prevents someone from being chosen? from little kids to adults
“Being rude, being late, or not being prepared.”
What is your biggest casting pet peeve?
“Coming when you’re not requested, being late or being rude.”
For kids interested in taking their career to the next level, what the biggest piece of advice you can offer them/their parents?
“My best piece of advice for anyone who wants to take their career to the next level is that you must want it so bad you can’t imagine doing anything else. It has to be something you’re totally passionate about, it has to be your dream, not someone else’s.”
What is your opinion on Social Media and how it is impacting the industry? Do you take talents social media into account when casting them?
“As much as it can be great, it can also be smoke and mirrors. I think it’s important to see people in person to really know what you’re getting. That said, many clients are interested in talent with a big social media following.”
What advice do you give to agencies in regards to their talent? How would you do it differently?
“Make sure they’re prepared for the casting and have a current headshot online.”
What is your website? Do you have any social media accounts? If so, please attach your links.
Here are some questions our talent here at Sprout Kids Agency Miami wanted to know!
Do you keep talent in mind for other projects, if you were impressed by them?
Feedback! If we provided a feedback form after an audition, would you be willing to offer input to the agency on a big audition?
“Yes, but hard to do for every person who comes in on big castings.”
What are some auditioning (in-person and self-tape) mistakes you see over and over and what is the best way to avoid or overcome them?
“Not following direction. Read over things carefully and listen to the director.”
Thank you Debra for taking the time and answering our questions!
There is nothing we love more than really taking the time and helping our talent grow as professional Actors and Models.
Please stay subscribe to our page, to get updates on our latest blog posts! We create content not only for our talent, but for talent all over the world. Knowledge is power, and to be able to share that power just makes this industry more powerful!
A little insight on the importance of having proper headshots from Sprout Kids Agency Miami owner, Shaina Miller.
Today, I want to talk about importance of having great photos on your profile. This is one of those things I hardly ever talk about. Reason being that I am a photographer and I am always overly cautious about not mixing my Agency and my photography. However, this week I received a project of kids from a New York Agency. As I looked through the project, I thought to myself WOW every child has an amazing portfolio. Not one of these kids has a snapshot their parent took, not one is dark and hard to see, not one was unbookable because of their photos. If I was a client I would be booking kids with this Agency all day!
Why would you not take the time to make sure your child’s profile is perfect ? Like any sport or hobby there is somewhat of an upfront cost. If your involved in hockey you need a stick , pads , ice time . If your child dances you pay for dance class , leotards , dance shoes. In modeling you pay for a proper headshot. The great news is, with that headshot you have the potential to earn back the money you spent and then some. What I can promise you is without a great portfolio your child will not book a fraction of the jobs they could have booked with a kick butt one!
The modeling world has changed. We have now entered the digital age. Years ago,when I was first in the industry you didn’t really need a professional photo as clients would hold “open castings.” There was no way to digitally send kids photos to a client. So, an Agent would either send a bunch of comp cards via snail mail to a client or the client would hold a giant “open casting.” Every child and their mother would show up, it would take hours to be seen , and 90% of the time your child wasn’t the right look the client was searching for. Now we are lucky enough to be able to digitally send your child’s portfolio to the client ahead of time . This makes for much smaller castings , kids are requested from their photos, and in turn your not waisting a day at a casting your child’s not the right fit for.
Today a great headshot is VITAL ! Your child will not be seen at a casting if their headshot does not stand out next to 50 others. YOUR HEADSHOT IS YOUR BUSINESS CARD. Take the time and do it right. I honestly believe you get what you pay for. If you want mediocre headshots for a value price you will be lucky to be requested on a mediocre amount of castings. If you invest once or twice a year on a great portfolio your number of request castings should greatly improve. Remember your child is being picked from their photos. If you don’t LOVE your child’s photo neither will the client. As an agent it’s hard to hear a parent complain about their child not getting as many castings as another child when the parent hasn’t done their part. I have heard time after time we will start with this photo and if he does well we will invest in a great headshot. This is backwards thinking. You can’t put your child in soccer and if he is doing ok then buy him cleats. He will never play to his full potential if he’s sliding all over the field. The same goes for our industry. Your child won’t play to his/her full potential without the proper materials. The good news is their is a chance for your child to make a return on your initial investment. How many other hobby’s can you say that about ?
What makes a great headshot ??? Great question lol! In my opinion the cleaner the better. No props , nothing distracting in the background, nothing distracting in the hair. The photo should be about your child and your child only. The best photographers use makeup artists that are great at making it look like there isn’t much makeup on. Remember, these are children and they need to look like children.
I believe the child should wear bright colors and the personality should show in a photo. I love a good serious look but clients are typically booking happy kids so you want your child to seem happy and easy to work with in their photo. See below examples:
A film headshot typically has a darker background and a more serious look to it and again nothing distracting in the photo. It’s all about your child. I would stay away from trees , flowers, or anything that can distract from your child. See below for an example:
There are a lot of great photographers out there. Always ask your agent who they recommend if your looking for guidance. I hope this helps. If you have any questions please comment on the post on Instagram and I will answer to the best of my ability .
“If your not going all the way, why go at all “ -Joe Namath
We had such a great response from our last post that we could not delay this one any longer.
If you ask anyone in the Miami entertainment scene, they have heard of Universal Casting.
Universal casting is definitely a leader in casting offices in South Florida.
Casting Director Carlos Rojas, and his partners are definitely doing something right.
They have casted some of the biggest projects to reach South and Central Florida.
Not only do they cast, they also offer training at their sister company Universal Acting.
Universal acting Classes are led by industry professionals/educators and provide students with comprehensive curriculum and programs.
They have locations in Fort Lauderdale, and Miami.
Who is Carlos Rojas?
“Today, Carlos is proudly one of the three managing partners of Universal Casting. Since the day they opened their doors, Ginger Wortley, Eva Edlund-Borges and Carlos Rojas set out to change the face of casting on Miami Beach. Remarkably – this innovative team of individuals joined forces just six years ago. Yet today the trio own and operate the leading casting facility that services countless clients from around the world. Their high tech casting options, teleconferencing capabilities, production offices and access to an extensive talent pool has allowed them to be a driving force for some of the most exciting, humor-filled and emotional projects casted in Florida. The Universal crew makes sure that all talent are comfortable and prepared before the camera goes on and it shows. Clients know that every assignment awarded to Universal Casting will afford them with top notch talent and a friendly yet professional working environment. On any given day you can flip on the TV and find some project they helped create. The future holds endless possibilities for this clever group as they forge forward seeking out and cultivating innovative ways to make the industry grow and prosper.
Carlos Rojas has raised the standards within the casting community and it is no longer business as usual. For his competitors…Carlos Rojas – the funny boy from Colombia is no laughing matter. “
Which is your favorite project to date? What made it impactful for you?
“Any Given Sunday / Directed by Oliver Stone /Starring Al Pacino and other great actors – First major Feature Film.”
What makes the kids that you select to been seen stand out?What is it that you typically look for? ( A solid headshot, an impressive resume? is there a “look you go for”)
“First it takes a great professional photo to catch your eye. The “look” depends on the specs given to us by our clients. A solid resume can definitely help you get seen. Each project varies – sometimes we pick who will be seen – others the client does. When we pick – we stick closely to the story boards, concept, skill set and character breakdown requested by the client.”
When a project is submitted who picks the kids selected to be seen at the castings? is there a specific process?
“Each project varies – sometimes we pick who will be seen – others the client does. When we pick – we stick closely to the story boards, concept, skill set and character breakdown requested by the client.”
What is bad etiquette that prevents someone from being chosen?
“Bad attitudes, self entitlement, lack of humility, coming off as fake or not authentic, not knowing their place in the production hierarchy.”
What is your biggest casting pet peeve?
“When actors don’t listen to the directions that are given”
For kids interested in taking their career to the next level, what the biggest piece of advice you can offer them/their parents?
“This is a business – treat it as one. Do your research – know who you are dealing with. Read everything you sign – become familiar with industry terms.”
What is your opinion on Social Media and how it is impacting the industry?
“Be careful what you post – clients are watching.”
What advice do you give to agencies in regards to their talent? How would you do it differently?
“Make sure you actually know your talent (what they currently look like – what they can and cannot do – talent level) Make sure they are prepared for auditions:
on time, prepare/memorize scripts/lines , learn to take directions.”
If you could work with any industry professional, or any client that you have not worked with before who would you work with?
“Casting Director Sarah Finn
Casting Director Carla Hool”
What is your website? Do you have any social media accounts?
Frequently asked questions of every mom in “The Biz”
As many of our readers know by now, we love to share information you can’t get anywhere else. We may not have all the answers, but we do try to get them. We have reached out to Top Miami Casting Director Lori Wyman with questions we get asked everyday. Questions we can typically only answer from an agencies perspective, thankfully today we can share the answers to the most frequently asked questions of parents with children in the modeling/acting/ entertainment world.
Who is Lori Wyman?
Lori S. Wyman, C.S.A., one of the most prominent Casting Directors in the southeast, has been casting films, television shows, and commercials in South Florida since 1979. Lori attended the University of Miami and she graduated with her Bachelors Degree in Speech and Communications and her minor in Education. Upon graduating from college, she aggressively pursued a casting career and immediately started working for ACT I Talent Agency. At the time, ACT I was the biggest talent agency in the State of Florida. Quickly building a reputation as one of the most outstanding talent agents in the business, she was asked by the company that was handling the Miami Vice casting if she would be one of their staff casting directors. While there, she worked on the Principal casting for “Miami Vice” during the 2nd and 3rd seasons. At the end of the 3rd season, she was approached by the producer of “Miami Vice” and asked to come work for them directly and head up their entire casting division. She did that for the duration of the series. When “Miami Vice” wrapped, she was immediately asked to head up the casting offices of the Burt Reynolds series, “BL Stryker” and to cast the Florida episodes of Stephen J. Cannell’s “21 Jumpstreet” and “Wiseguy.” Fast forward to the year 2012 and Lori obtained her Master’s degree from NSU in Interdisciplinary Arts with a concentration in Drama Therapy. She went after this degree in order to help actors overcome audition anxiety. Lori has cast some of the biggest projects in Florida. When you think the film industry and casting, Lori S. Wyman, CSA, always comes up. She is an 8 time Artios Award (Casting Society of America’s most prestigious casting award) nominee and a 2 time winner. She is also an Emmy nominee.
Which is your favorite project to date? What made it impactful for you?
“HBO’s Recount was one of the most challenging yet favorite casting projects. The movie is about the 2000 presidential election. Many of the 80 Florida roles that Lori cast were not only to be good actors,but look like their real-life counterpart. It was a great experience for which Lori won her first Artios Award and was nominated for an Emmy.”
What makes the kids that you select to been seen stand out? What is it that you typically look for?
“At first we look at resumes to see if the child has any background. Then we bring them in to audition. We look for well behaved, memorized, professional kids. At first we look at resumes to see if the child has any background. Then we bring them in to audition. We look for well behaved, memorized, professional kids.”
When a project is submitted who picks the kids selected to be seen at the castings? Is there a specific process?
“The casting director will put the breakdown out for the characters they need. Once the agent submits the talent, then the CD decides who will come in and audition and ultimately who will be passed along to the producer and director. The producer and director collectively are the final decision.”
What is your funniest casting memory?
“Too long to write here, but there are many!!!”
What is bad etiquette that prevents someone from being chosen?
“In a nutshell, BAD etiquette is not being prepared for the audition, not having the materials (headshot and updated resume) not being on time for the casting.”
What is your biggest casting pet peeve?
“My BIGGEST pet peeve is actors coming to a casting and spending the time before the casting talking in the waiting room and disrupting everyone, when they should be going over their audition materials. “
For kids interested in taking their career to the next level, what the biggest piece of advice you can offer them/their parents?
“Keep studying, do theater, watch what the winners do! Make sure you have an Actor’s Access account and check it daily. Make sure your photos are up-to-date. Make sure you have a reputable agent and stay in touch with them.”
What is your opinion on Social Media and how it is impacting the industry? Do you take talents social media into account when casting them?
“Social Media has good and bad characteristics. The BAD – is when a disgruntled actor decides they want to vent about their agent, the casting director or a client. As a CD, if I see an actor attacking me on Social Media, I will not want them to come back into my office to audition. And rightly so! People tend to have “keyboard courage,” which can get them into a lot of trouble. The good aspects are that we may see people online and think how great they might be for our project. It is also a reminder to us that the actor is out there. I do not take into account how many followers an actor might have, but there are many other projects that do look favorably upon that.”
What advice do you give to agencies in regards to their talent? How would you do it differently?
“Dear Agents: PLEASE know your talent. Know what they can and cannot do. Please do not empty your files into all of my castings. I look to you to know your talent so that you can submit intelligently to me. If you continue to send me any actors who are not necessarily right for a role, then I eventually will not want to work with you anymore.”
If you could work with any industry professional, or any client that you have not worked with before who would you work with?
“Spielberg!!! Streep!!! Streisand!!!!”
What is your website? Do you have any social media accounts?
We asked our talent what were some of their biggest questions, and we got the answers!
Some of our Sproutlings at an Acting class hosted by Lori Wyman
Do you keep talent in mind for other projects, if you were impressed by them?
“I always keep talent in mind and I do remember them.”
Feedback! If we provided a feedback form after an audition, would you be willing to offer input to the agency on a big audition?
“It’s really hard to do after a long day of seeing dozens and dozens of actors. having said that, I would ask anyway!”
What are some auditioning mistakes you see over and over and what is the best way to avoid or overcome them?
“Not being memorized is a big one. In person, the actor has to hit it out of the park right away. Self taping, the actor can record multiple times before they get it right. In self taping, make sure the person reading with the actor is a good reader. PARENTS, if you are not an actor, please don’t try to coach your child or read with your child. Leave it to the hands of the professionals!!!”
A special thanks to Lori Wyman for taking the time and providing us with such useful information that we can share with our readers from not only in Miami/South Florida/Orlando, but really in any state/city.
Stay tuned for next weeks blog post featuring Carlos Rojas of Universal Casting Miami.
🌱If you like this post, please subscribe to our innovated blog, where we believe that educated talent is the best talent. Many more exciting, educational, and not-so-ordinary blogs to come.🌱
blog post by Sprout Kids Agency owner Shaina Miller.
Like my yellow toes ??!!
Lol, me too ! Yellow makes me happy so why not ?
Why are you looking at a photo of my feet ? Well if you know me well you know I hardly take a moment to myself. I never go to the salon or get my toes done. Not much free time for this busy lady.
However, today I decided ( thanks to my assistant and friend Emily ) to get a pedicure.
What did I do during this pedicure you ask? Think about how I can help educate all of you. My ADD brain never allows me to shut off even during a pedicure. Shaina … at your service ❤️
Why do some kids get called on castings all the time and it seems my child is rarely called?
This question seems to be one of the most asked questions among parents. To be honest there is no simple answer. I can give you my perspective and my thought process as to what I look for and hopefully it can help you better understand .
Let’s start with the casting process.
When a casting Director is holding a casting they typically hold it in one of two ways .
One, they tell an agency I have a certain amount of spots I can give your agency please send your top kids that fit the role description. Two, they say please submit all your kids that fit the role description and we will pick who we would like to see.
When they ask me to send my top kids here is where the question is asked ??
As a parent did you do your part? Did you send your child to acting classes , have you updated headshots , have you updated stats, and are you the kind of parent that will jump to take your child to almost every casting. If you said yes to these questions chances are your child is considered a top pick . You have to remember an agency parent relationship is a co-working relationship not just what can I do for you . If I know your putting in the work I will equally put in the work for you. If your a parent that is always unavailable , your stats are outdated , and your not attending any acting classes I’m simply going to choose a child who does. All in all this is a business and child who is trained has a higher probability of booking a job.
Now comes the question? If it is a submission and the casting Director is making the choice why is my child not chosen . Sometimes this can be the luck of the draw. Do you have a headshot that stands out ? If that Casting Director offers classes have you taken them so they recognize your child when they are being submitted? In other words …Have you done your part ? Sometimes you have to be exactly the look a Casting Director is looking for or sometimes the client goes in another direction .The truth is , sometimes yes you have done all of the above and you still were not chosen and let’s face it you can’t win them all . If you won at everything it might take the fun out of winning, wouldn’t it ? Enjoy the ride and savor the moments that your lucky enough to be picked as it’s a competitive market out there.
There are so many questions I know we all have for Casting Directors stay tuned for our Sprout Blog featuring the top Casting Directors in Florida answering your most frequently asked questions . We are so excited to share all their knowledge with all of you !
“Everywhere we go, no matter where we go, we are surrounded by advertisements selling a product or service. In these advertisements you see child models or actors selling for these brands. You might think to yourself, “How do I get my child involved in child modeling or acting ?” From clothing stores and theme parks to doctors offices and everything in between, we are constantly being sold to in print, on television, at the movies, and on the radio. But what does it take to make your child a star in an ad? “
South Florida’s top child modeling and acting agency is here to help you get your child into the ever-present world of advertising. The Child Talent industry is both exciting and rewarding, and we are so happy to help you get started!
Step One: Find Representation That Meets Your Focus, Location, & Goals
The first step in getting representation is finding an agency that fits the direction in which you would like to take your child. Some parents choose to use separate agencies if their child is more into acting than print or vice versa, but Sprout Kids Agency in Miami, Florida actually specializes in both acting and modeling! (Stay tuned for our next blog post which will highlight the differences and benefits between modeling vs. acting.)
You also need to make sure you find an agency in an area that is in close proximity to your home or one in a city you are willing to travel to. Some states have multiple cities that are considered ‘busy’ in this industry. Make sure you either have an agency in each of those cities, or select an agency that offers representation in multiple areas.
Sprout Kids Agency represents children models and actors through the state of Florida. Sprout Kids works with casting directors in South Florida ( Fort Lauderdale, Miami), as well as Central Florida ( Orlando, Tampa). Our talent has the choice to either work in both markets (if they are willing to travel) or remain in just one area.
Sprout Kids also offers a truly unique experience for models outside of our home state of Florida. Our Global Talent division is open to kids in other states who are willing to travel for jobs. If you are interested in applying for our Global Talent division, please click here Also, Sprout Kids Agency is always accepting applications for our Breaking Boundaries division: an inclusive modeling program that we are over the moon about! Breaking boundaries is open to kids with various disabilities or physical conditions such as vitiligo or
alopecia .You want to make sure that the agency you choose to go with always advocates and believes in your child. Beauty is not a one size fits all mold here at Sprout. Sprout Kids Agency represents children with Down Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy, Hearing Impairments, Vitiligo, and everything in between. If you have a child who is extraordinary and differently abled, please click here
Step Two: Smile for the Camera
After Identifying the direction you would like to go and the agency you would like to submit to, your next step is to get your child in front of a camera or your smartphone camera. All you need is clear, bright, clutter free photos of your child that highlights his/her personality and shows clearly what he/she looks like right now. These photos are your entrance into the modeling industry, so choose with intention! Professional photos are NOT required and will not alter your chances into getting representation. These photos should represent who your child is currently and should be taken specifically for the submission. Try to refrain from using filters or heavily editing your photos.
My FAVORITE tip: say some really silly stuff to get a huge genuine smile before snapping the photo. Saying, “Cheese!” may work for a smile, but the reaction kids get from having a genuinely good time is exactly what agents want to see!
Photos to send: Include a close up (photo that shows everything above the child’s shoulders) One full body And one photo smiling with their teeth showing (This obviously does not apply to babies who do not yet have teeth!)
For Babies and Toddlers Make sure they are fully dressed and clean. They should not be wearing hats, bows, or anything too distracting. Choose a simple, clean, everyday outfit.
For babies, a onesie is perfect.
T-shirt and jeans or a simple dress is a great choice for toddlers.
If your baby is not sitting up yet, a cute tummy time photo is a great shot to send.
Here is a great example of a baby submission photo
For Kids and Teens Everyday outfits (T-Shirt and jeans is perfect) No hats, sunglasses, or anything distracting. No makeup is necessary, but light grooming is good.
Step Three: Submit!
You can chose to submit to your top agency choice, or to multiple agencies. If the agency is interested, you should generally hear back within 2 weeks; although, some agencies may take up to a month. If you do not hear back from someone, please do not be discouraged. Research more agents, get your child into acting classes, start an Instagram account featuring your child, and/or take new pictures. Most agencies allow you to apply again in a few months. Sometimes things like missing teeth, or being “out of size” (which we will explain in our next blog post, so stay tuned!) may be the reason they do not select your child.
The entertainment industry is constantly evolving, and so are agency expectations and desired qualifications in applicants. We aren’t always looking for the most beautiful child. The kind of beauty that used to be considered ‘different’ is now in demand and sought after. It is such an exciting and revolutionary time for the industry! At the end of the day, it’s the child with a little sparkle in his eye or a pep in her step who is going to grab our attention.
This is an exciting adventure and no matter where it takes you, enjoy every step!
Make sure you follow us on all social media platforms to stay connected to our soon to be library of information for aspiring Child Model and Actors!
Do Agents Have Favorite Kids? The Truth About Booking Models
Do agents have favorite kids ?
One of the things I hear throughout the industry quite a bit is “ such and such agency only books their favorites” . So, I’m here to anwser the age old question…Do agents have favorite kids and do they only submit their favorites?
Do agents have favorites ? No . Do agents have kids that they know are better models. Yes. Are there certain kids that are just natural in front of the camera and jump in head first like a pro? Absolutely! Having a few go to kids for clients is always a good thing. Photographers love a kid that doesn’t make them work hard. They love a kid that just gets out there and doesn’t need to be coached. It makes the day run much smoother and makes their job a heck of a lot easier. However , when a client is asking for a project of kids agents always submit EVERY kid that fits into the category the client is looking for. Sometimes we have no idea who the client might chose and we certainly don’t want to lose a booking. So , we always submit everyone that fits the size , ethnicity , and age requirements. TBH we wouldn’t be doing ourselves any good by only submitting a handful of our “ favorite kids” we would definitely be loosing bookings.
I understand it might look like certain kids book all the time . And you are right , they do ! That’s because those kids stand out to clients. They are easy and natural in front of the camera and it shows instantly on a casting. Typically when a client finds a kid they love they book them on most of their campaigns because they know that child will always bang it out ! This is why you see certain kids booking “ everything “. So more than anything , clients have favorites not your agent.
Do we have favorite parents ? Heck yes ! If a parent always says yes to castings, doesn’t ask 18 million questions before they confirm, is grateful and excited for every opportunity then you bet when a client is asking for one child or my opinion on who to chose .I’m going to push for that child. I know the parent will say yes and do everything they can to move things around to make it work. If you make my life easier I show you my appreciation.
Agents also appreciate loyalty. If you have multiple agents all over we are going to push for the families that are loyal to us and only have us as their agency. Finding out that our talent went on a casting or booked a job for a client we work with is a big no no and it definitely puts other talent in front of you.
I hope this answers your questions and if you have any more relating to this topic ask below !
Last week one of our adorable little girls had her headshots done. She naturally has very curly hair and wears it that way on a regular basis. However, the day of her shoot she showed up with straight hair. Although she looked adorable with straight hair it’s not what she normally looks like. Another adorable little curly haired girl had to submit a self tape for a big client this week. Her dad decided to have her hair straightened before her self-tape.
Again-adorable but she looked very different from what the client was expecting.
My advice is this- Have your child wear their hair how it typically looks on a day to day basis when they are attending a casting, booking, photoshoot, or headshot session. If you go in for headshots, and especially a booking with a photographer have your child come in with their hair clean and DRY ( do not show up with wet hair). If your child’s hair is typically curly come in with it curly. No fake nails . Just clean unpolished nails. When your child has to provide a self tape or digitals to their agency make sure their hair is down , clean , and how they typically wear it. They should also be dressed casually. No hats or bows, glitter or glam. It’s also very important to make sure your child doesn’t look like they just rolled out of bed. Pretend this is a job interview ( because it is ) this is a business and it’s important to always take it seriously. If your child has the option of wearing their hair curly or straight or in braids etc- for headshots wear it how it looks on a day to day basis but for digitals take two different sets showing both looks to your agent so the client can see them with two different options. If you’re unsure ask your agent what they think about how to style your child’s hair. You definitely don’t want to pay to take photos twice if your photos are not what your agent is looking for in regards to styling. Hopefully this helps with some of your questions.
Today was one of those days that could have ended in a disaster. I have this new beautiful little girl in my system. She lives in Florida. I have a NY client that wanted to direct book her – which is super exciting. She purchased plane tickets and a hotel and flew to NY for this booking. She went to the fitting and they had told her that her daughter didn’t fit the clothing properly and they were not booking her. My assistant was disappointed for this mother- she knows that being let down is hard in the midst of being so excited. We all were. So I sent a very polite email (you get more with honey than vinegar) to the client requesting a cancellation fee. Next thing I hear … they are booking her anyway and paying in full. Phew 😅 we all took a sigh of relief. They book the baby, she went to the booking, she was paid – but the client never shot the little girl, which feels personal right?
After all of the confusion, the mother was still grateful , kind, and handled this situation with class and understanding. Some things are out of our control. I was so thankful for the mother’s grace. I imagined how other parents would have handled the same situation and I was so utterly grateful it was her.
These moments happen in this business. To be frank, they suck. It’s never fun to be the bearer of bad news especially when there is absolutely nothing you can do. It’s one of the absolute worst parts of this job , but that is life. What made this situation noteworthy was this mother’s amazing attitude. She showed up, stayed happy with her baby and communicated she was happy to be there and was hopeful they would use her daughter in the future. Imagine how this scene could have been different? The next time I have a client that needs a little girl with her description, I will recommend her, because we all need this attitude at our shoots, and in life. I will make it up to her- all because she was kind and professional- but something tells me, I won’t need to try hard because actions speak loud.
What you can take from this story is to be kind. We are human. Things happen that are out of our hands. Sometimes, they are out of productions hands and the clients hands. It’s not personal. We will work with confidence for your child if we feel that you can take industry issues in stride, see the silver lining and still be grateful for us at the end of the day. We want this for you as bad as you want it for your child.
I gotta be honest… this week was not one of my finest. It was one of those ALL CAPS kind of weeks. I was on a rampage. I’m my own defense my frustration was justified (at least I think it was lol ). Let me explain why I was so upset so you guys avoid making the same mistake with your agents.
The reason for my frustration was that I had two kids on hold for two different jobs. Both of the clients these kids were on hold for are last minute type of bookers. They hold the kids for weeks and don’t typically book until the day before the shoot day. FYI this is super typical in the industry, so if you can’t move your schedule last minute, this industry definitely isn’t for you. Back to my point. So, I had two kids on hold. If you don’t know what a hold is , a hold is when I client likes your child and is still deciding who they are booking and your child is one of the finalists. They hold your child for the shoot dates and ask if the hold dates are confirmed . This is your ONE AND ONLY TIME TO LET THE CLIENT KNOW WHICH DAYS YOU ARE NOT AVAILABLE. For instance, if the client is holding your child from the 25-30th and on the 28th you have a birthday party scheduled, you need to tell your agent to tell the client your available all days but the 28th. If you confirm ALL the days you MUST be available ALL the days ! I had two children confirm holds on two different jobs. Last minute they both booked trips and now forced me to tell the client they were not available. This makes me see RED!
I need all of you to remember this is your agents’ livelihood. This is not a hobby or just something fun to do. This is a business and it’s how we put our food on our tables. So, when we have to go back and tell a client that a child they planned for and scheduled for ( that they placed on hold for a reason ) is not available anymore, it makes a client furious. Rightly so , what would be the purpose of holding a child for a date if now the child is unavailable. The sole purpose of a hold is to HOLD THE CHILD FOR THEIR SHOOT. In the end they don’t blame the child they blame the agent. The parents unprofessionalism effected every child that could have worked for that client in the future if that client now won’t work with that agency . I understand that this is a hobby for you. Something fun you do with your child. However, your agent works their tush off 7 days a week to make these clients happy so they continue to work with their agency. One child not being available for a hold that was previously confirmed can jeopardize everything that agent worked so hard for!
Remember if you are put on hold that means you do not travel or do anything that would compromise you being available for your potential booking. If you are wanting to travel and you have not heard from your agent please email your agent letting him/her know that your wanting to make plans and to politely ask the client if your child is still on hold or if he / she can be released BEFORE YOU MAKE PLANS DURING YOUR HOLD DATE. If another client wants to book your child during your hold date it is your responsibility to let your agent know you are already on hold with another client. The agent will then check on your hold and see if the client is going to book or release your child. If the client releases your child and later changes their mind and wants to book your child the fault now lies in their hands not your agents and no one can get penalized.
So please Remember : if you’re on hold and confirmed the dates you MUST BE AVAILABLE ALL DATES YOU CLEARED unless you email your agent asking for permission to release a day or your hold entirely.