10 Things you wish you knew when starting your industry journey

10 Things you wish you knew when starting your industry journey

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 🙂

  1. 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 !
  2. 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.”
  3. 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 🙃”
  4. 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. 💯”
  5. 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. “
  6. 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❤️❤️”
  7. 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. “
  8. 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!
  9. 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 !
  10. 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!

How to reject rejection!

How to reject rejection!

How to reject rejection :

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 comes after the booking?

What comes after the booking?

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 !

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!

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 .

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.” 

Sprout Spotlight: From a model moms perspective.

Sprout Spotlight: From a model moms perspective.

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 !

Meet Stacey!

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.

The 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.