Direct bookings only please

Direct bookings only please

“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 .

Branch Rickey

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Over it? How long will this dry season end?

“I give up !!” I read this in a moms group for child models the other day. This mom was clearly over it. Over the business , over her child not booking , over it all . I’m not sure who she was , who her child was, or what exactly threw her over the edge? But I get it ! A whole group of parents encouraged her not to quit and told her this moment will pass … but will it ?

You see that’s the question so many of you don’t ask yourselves. Is this business right for my child or am I just trying to push a round peg into a square box? Let me start by saying “I feel ya”. Not long ago I was in your shoes too. My daughter modeled. She worked a lot as a baby. She was super easy , happy , and had these Shirley Temple curls that clients loved. Once she turned about six years old things slowed down. I needed to honestly ask myself was it everyone else or was my child no longer what they were looking for . That’s the hard part… excepting it’s time to move on.

I came to the realization modeling wasn’t in our cards anymore and we moved on to another hobby. I gotta be honest it was a bit rejuvenating to walk away. When I did I realized just how obsessive I got about something that really was just a fun hobby for my kid. It was kinda neat to truly look at the industry from an outside perspective without taking it so personally because it was my own child. I seriously have contemplated letting every parent work for me for a week just so they can see things through my eyes. Sometimes I think it’s like looking at earth through an astronauts eyes an realizing how small we are if that makes sense. I just think sometimes stepping away isn’t a bad idea. It doesn’t mean you can’t come back but I assure you that you’ll come back with a new set of eyes. Here is what I can say . If things have slowed down for your child be honest with yourself. Is this right for our child ? Am I holding on for dear life for my child or is this for me ? If it is for your child you also need to be honest with the idea that there’s a chance your child isn’t right for this business. If you are really truly unsure you can ask your agent to be honest with you. Just make sure when you ask you are going to get an honest answer and be prepared for it. Not every kid is meant for this just like every kid isn’t going to be the next Michael Jordan. Take it as it comes , enjoy the process , and know when to walk away

First impressions matter: how to properly submit to an agency.

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.

We will all be better off because of it!

Rising above the hate and negativity

Rising above the hate and negativity

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.”

The industry : from the Sproutlings Perspective

The industry : from the Sproutlings Perspective
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 for Taylor Swift so 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!

Stuck : Don’t let the thrill of getting signed blind you.

Stuck : Don’t let the thrill of getting signed blind you.

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,

“Dear Parents,

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!

How to choose your agent ? And when to break up with them .

How to choose your agent ? And when to break up with them .

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 .

Setiquette

Setiquette

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 .

When to take a bow?

When to take a bow?

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.” 


How much is your child worth?

How much is your child worth?

Can I ask you something ?

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.”