I gotta be honest… this week was not one of my finest. It was one of those ALL CAPS kind of weeks. I was on a rampage. I’m my own defense my frustration was justified (at least I think it was lol ). Let me explain why I was so upset so you guys avoid making the same mistake with your agents.
The reason for my frustration was that I had two kids on hold for two different jobs. Both of the clients these kids were on hold for are last minute type of bookers. They hold the kids for weeks and don’t typically book until the day before the shoot day. FYI this is super typical in the industry, so if you can’t move your schedule last minute, this industry definitely isn’t for you. Back to my point. So, I had two kids on hold. If you don’t know what a hold is , a hold is when I client likes your child and is still deciding who they are booking and your child is one of the finalists. They hold your child for the shoot dates and ask if the hold dates are confirmed . This is your ONE AND ONLY TIME TO LET THE CLIENT KNOW WHICH DAYS YOU ARE NOT AVAILABLE. For instance, if the client is holding your child from the 25-30th and on the 28th you have a birthday party scheduled, you need to tell your agent to tell the client your available all days but the 28th. If you confirm ALL the days you MUST be available ALL the days ! I had two children confirm holds on two different jobs. Last minute they both booked trips and now forced me to tell the client they were not available. This makes me see RED!
I need all of you to remember this is your agents’ livelihood. This is not a hobby or just something fun to do. This is a business and it’s how we put our food on our tables. So, when we have to go back and tell a client that a child they planned for and scheduled for ( that they placed on hold for a reason ) is not available anymore, it makes a client furious. Rightly so , what would be the purpose of holding a child for a date if now the child is unavailable. The sole purpose of a hold is to HOLD THE CHILD FOR THEIR SHOOT. In the end they don’t blame the child they blame the agent. The parents unprofessionalism effected every child that could have worked for that client in the future if that client now won’t work with that agency . I understand that this is a hobby for you. Something fun you do with your child. However, your agent works their tush off 7 days a week to make these clients happy so they continue to work with their agency. One child not being available for a hold that was previously confirmed can jeopardize everything that agent worked so hard for!
Remember if you are put on hold that means you do not travel or do anything that would compromise you being available for your potential booking. If you are wanting to travel and you have not heard from your agent please email your agent letting him/her know that your wanting to make plans and to politely ask the client if your child is still on hold or if he / she can be released BEFORE YOU MAKE PLANS DURING YOUR HOLD DATE. If another client wants to book your child during your hold date it is your responsibility to let your agent know you are already on hold with another client. The agent will then check on your hold and see if the client is going to book or release your child. If the client releases your child and later changes their mind and wants to book your child the fault now lies in their hands not your agents and no one can get penalized.
So please Remember : if you’re on hold and confirmed the dates you MUST BE AVAILABLE ALL DATES YOU CLEARED unless you email your agent asking for permission to release a day or your hold entirely.
As an Agent ( especially one that is big on education) I tend to think my parents have all the tools they need for the business. Over the years I have realized there is a lot of useful info parents of kids in the business have too that can help guide someone new. Sometimes even better info than I might be able to offer because it’s from a parents perspective.
So what better way to give all the newer kids and parents out there an inside look into the modeling world than from an experienced parents perspective . So I asked a bunch of my moms “ if there was one or more things you know about the business that you wish you knew from the beginning , what would it be and why?” These are their responses . I hope this helps anyone new in the business become more prepared. I know it was pretty eye opening for me 🙂
Debbie says “ When gabby showed interest I had no idea where to go. What kind of pictures did she need. Could i use a regular camera? I would think most parents don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars for a maybe. We were lucky I have a friend who is a photographer But they still weren’t right. It was enough to get her signed but now I see a huge difference from that and what she gets now. There is a huge difference from you taking a picture and having a professional take them. Find out what your agents looking for in the pictures and get them done !
Shannon says “ In size and out of size. I have so many people ask me about getting their child into the industry when they are around 18 months. So when is a good time to start and also to expect down times and busy times. Most babies are in size from 0-12 months but then out of size from 12 months to 3 years old. When they become 3 things start picking up again. I also noticed a lot of older babies that were small for their age booking more. And Big babies don’t usually get booked. You may not want to say it that way (I’m brutally Blunt) LOL. But being a baby in the 99th percentile for weight is not good for baby modeling. You would obviously know more about this than I would but that was the first thing I noticed on set. Also, it doesn’t matter how cute your baby is, they need to be well behaved and can easily go with other people. If they cry every time mom leaves, don’t bother. So Rider was always in the 25th percentile for growth. He wore size 6 months when he was 10 months. He’s 4 now and still in 3t. Anyway, with babies, many are bigger and may wear size 12-18 months when they are 6 months old. Older babies can do more, sit up, crawl etc. So they are more likely to book a 10 month old who can wear 6 months than a 5 month old who can’t do those things yet.”
Alicia says “ I had to learn to not take it personal when your kid isn’t booked from a casting. I use feel like I did something wrong like, not choosing the perfect outfit or maybe her hair wasn’t perfect. Or maybe she didn’t smile enough lol I had all the anxiety while she was just having fun 🙃”
Melissa says “ In my case. Avoid over paying and enrolling your child in Talent Search companies like Barbizon, Talent Auditions. They charge over 3K in classes that are not real classes. They just want you to pay for overpriced headshots, acting and modeling classes. If I knew you could just go directly to an Agency and send your child pictures. I would it have save a lot of money and then been able to invest in real acting classes and photo sessions. 💯”
Jennifer says “ I wish I knew before how fast the castings are done, meaning you can get a call to be somewhere in 1 day. To always be on your toes when it’s time for a casting. It’s hard to plan but when they’re younger and home with you it’s easier. “
Amanda says “ 1) a photographer can make or break you. Sometimes people want to go the cheaper route but that’s not going to benefit you in the long run. You’ll end up needing new photos anyway and spending double what you needed to. It’s an investment. Nothing can guarantee you jobs but good photos will definitely put you in the forefront over bad photos. Also – you get what you pay for 2) when you ask for quick cellphone photos at the house it’s imperative you do them correct and you’ve put out examples. No distractions – accessories good background etc. a quick digital needs to look as professional as possible❤️❤️”
Lindsay “ Something I wish we knew when we first started was how short notice you can be given for castings, self tapes or bookings. You aren’t generally given much notice or time to clear your schedule or find a sitter, etc. The casting can be anywhere from Miami to Tampa (that I know of). Luckily our personal work schedule works great for this business because one parent is always home with the girls and we are almost always available and do our best to make that short notice work. But with bookings, sometimes trying to find a sitter for the other sibling can be a challenge with short notice. Family Self Tapes are also difficult for us. We would love to be considered for family jobs, but we are together as a family once every 3rd day, so when we are given only 24 hrs at times to submit a family tape, that is most likely not going to be the day we are both off together and can’t possibly submit. “
Tessa says “ I wish I had known that although I was allowed to be onset my opinion wasn’t. I remember the first time I was on set, I was singing,dancing, and playing peek-a-boo with my baby until the stylist asked me politely to basically to stop being annoying. I mean I was totally annoying. They have an entire staff dedicated to making the kids happy. A mom who is too involved just stresses everyone out, including the child. Now I look for a spot where kids can’t see me, but I can see them. I get to enjoy the process, not stress out and watch the magic happen. If they need you they 100% will tell you!
Maria says “ So having multiple kids in the biz is crazy stressful. I wish I had known that just because my kid is beautiful and their siblings love being in the spotlight, it doesn’t mean that they do too.I don’t push them to do jobs anymore. It stresses out my son, and he starts turning into another kid on set. I get stressed, the crew gets stressed, and by the end of the day I feel defeated. It’s not worth it anymore, and just not fair for my kid. Know when to let go, and when to sign up for soccer classes instead. Lol !
Angie says “If your child wants to be an actor 1000000% sign them up for acting classes! It taught my kids how to audition like pros, and how to overcome their stage fright. There are so many kids who are auditioning for the exact same role, and a lot of the time have a similar look to your child. It so important to have an edge over some of the other kids. Practice totally makes perfect when it comes to acting.My kids wake up so happy on acting class days!
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 !
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.
Do you work ? If not does your husband , wife , aunt , uncle, or friend ? I’m sure someone in your household works or you wouldn’t be able to pay for the internet to read this blog. Would that person work all day out of the kindness of their own heart? Would they work 6, 8, or 12 hours for no paycheck ? Would you ? Probably not. Neither should your child! This industry has taken a turn. In a lot of ways it’s been for the better but in one way it’s taken a nose dive! Social media clients, small brands who mainly operate on FB and IG expecting your child to work for free. This subject is one that makes fire come out of my ears!! I realize all of you want your child to grow their following, but is it worth ruining the industry ? Is it worth doing this one shoot if it causes the client to hire kids for free instead of paying them? This was unheard of years ago ! A child that was a signed model would never shoot for free ! It just wasn’t an option . Let’s not forget your child has value just as you do. Your time is valuable and so is theirs. Think of your little model as a brand. They are a professional child model , they have experience , the look, the following . All of that has value and should not come free of charge. Did the photographer get paid? Did the stylist ? Did the makeup artist ? You bet your but they did! So why should your child who does all the work make nothing in return ?? The simple answer is they shouldn’t !
Let me explain it this way. If there are 10 clients that come to Florida and they have a clothing line they want to shoot, typically they hire a photographer, hair and makeup artist , stylist , some times art director , and always models. The shoot wouldn’t work without the full team right ? So typically they would pay each member of the team and if they couldn’t afford to they might postpone the shoot for a time when their budget is higher . So let’s say they hired 5 kids at $500 a day plus agency fee. Now the child made their money and it was worth their time to take off school or a potential play date with a friend. The agency was able to make a fee and help keep their doors open and so did the rest of the team. Now times that by 10 clients a year. That’s a significant amount of money lost for the children and the Agencies . This is on 10 clients and we all know their are thousand upon thousands doing this! The industry is losing and your child is losing! All for what ? A couple followers if your lucky.
My thoughts are this. If you want a child to work for your campaign for free you can hire a friends child or a child playing at the park. If you want a certain esthetic for your line which entails a professional child model than you need to budget for it. That simple! Again , you wouldn’t work for free and neither should a child. Let’s not forget the element of burning your child out either. I mean if I photograph 5 or more kids a day I’m tired and I get burnt out just like anyone would. So does your child! Do you want to run the risk of them getting burnt out on the industry because of a few free shoots?
I know next I’m going to hear… “ but what about the smaller clothing lines that don’t have a budget for models?” My simple answer is wait until you have the budget like the good old days where you had to grow a business for it to be successful. Just this week I shot a brand new clothing line they had a limited budget and I knew that, but instead of having them go to another photographer and not pay the kids I gave them a starter rate for new clients and they got a full shoot with models for a very reasonable price. I would rather do this then ruin the industry. For smaller brands there is also the option to photograph a few of your favorite pieces on models and the rest on mannequins to save some money. There are plenty of options but everyone wants something for nothing, and we are prepared to give it to them .
Please guys help me help you ! Let’s start a MY KID WILL NOT WORK FOR FREE REVOLUTION!! If we join together we can fix this!
“When we stand up for what we believe in—for what’s right—there is always a chance that we risk the very things we fight for: our safety, our lives, our freedom. But if we stand down, the risk is definite.”
We all come from different walks of life. Each of us experience life differently. As model moms it’s easy to get blinded by the glam and the flashing lights. At the end of the day we are all just moms who want the best for our kids.
This blog is about two very special Sprout Kids Agency moms who are sharing their journey and experience with our readers.
Meet Kirsten !
Mom to Sprout Kids Mia, and Jadon
I’d never considered the modeling industry for my children , ages 10 and 12, until someone approached us and mentioned they might be a good fit.
Of course I was skeptical but I decided to do my research to determine if this was a great opportunity.After signing with an agency and shooting some incredible campaigns, we’ve learned many lessons: from how to choose and partner with an agency, the ins and outs of the business and how to best prepare. Modeling and acting can be an incredibly rewarding experience for your children. It can serve as a great confidence booster for kids and the industry allows for an amazing opportunity to meet new people. We’ve enjoyed our time, my kids have blossomed and we are so grateful to be aligned with an agency who supports our children’s goals and values. Child modeling and acting isn’t for everyone but if you do your research , ask questions and remember to have fun it can be a wonderful experience !
Mom to Sprout Kids Amaya and Lilah
I am a teacher and learning to be a newborn photographer. I am also a momager to my two girls, Amaya and Lilah. Amaya is a gymnast and Lilah plays tennis and dances and they both love to model and act
What did you look for in an agency?
Kirstin: First and foremost I was looking for someone who had integrity and a great reputation. Someone my family would be proud to align with. I also looked for someone who was willing to take the time to educate us about the industry to ensure we had a positive experience. Lastly , we looked for someone who valued diversity, someone who understood the needs of their talent and respected those needs.
Stacey: Competency, knowledge, trust and that the agency has my kids best interest at heart.
What should parents expect from their agent?
Kirstin:I believe parents should expect a partnership that includes clear and honest communication. The news might not always be positive and it’s important to find an agent who is willing to communicate both good and bad.Kirstin:
Stacey: Expect what you put into your agency is what you’ll get out of it. It’s a team effort.
What tips do you have to help new parents have a good working relationship with their agent?
Kirstin: What tips do you have to help new parents have a good working relationship with their agent?
Stacey: always be transparent with your agent. Make a concerted effort to get to as many castings as you can. Respond to your agent quickly because clients are waiting for agencies when they have to wait for a response from the talent. Always keep resumes and stats everything up to date. Put in the effort. Once your agent sees that, she will do the same for your child. It takes equal effort from the agent and talent to make your child successful in this industry.
How did you first get your child into Modeling/acting?
Kirstin: My daughter is a competitive skimboarder and spends most of her free time at the beach. While on the beach one day we were approached by a mom in the industry who mentioned that it might be a good opportunity for our daughter. Of course , we were skeptical but after researching their agency and digging a little deeper we decided to take the leap and submit our daughter. It happened rather organically.
Stacey: My friend had her baby modeling and so I sent Amaya’s picture to the manager at the time and that kicked off her career. Lilah followed Stacey:
What surprised you most about the industry?
Kristin: One of the biggest surprises wasn’t how quickly things move. One day you are sitting on the beach, the next day you have to be at a casting. Clients are working around tight deadlines , travel schedules and even the weather, so when they need you there often isn’t a lot of time to prepare, you just have to go with the flow !
Stacey: Most things are very last minute so we have to be extremely flexible
How did you prepare your child for this industry?
Kirstin: I think one of the best ways to prepare your child for the industry is to be open and honest. Rejection is a part of the industry but it has no relation to their value. We talk a lot about this not being a sport , you don’t win or lose, but you do get to have fun.
Stacey: They were babies when they started, but as they got older, I just follow their lead. Whenever they’d ask me questions, I’d answer them. I didn’t want to give them more industry info than they were ready to understand.
What advice would you give new parents looking to get their children into the industry?
Kirstin: My advice for any new parent is to research your agent, make sure you click. They are your business partner and will play a big role in your child’s life, it’s important that you feel comfortable. Also, be realistic, there are tons of adorable kids, yours included, but don’t expect overnight success. If your child books one job a year , that is one job more than many kids. Also, have fun and don’t take it to seriously. There are many ups and downs with this business , keeping a positive attitude is critical.
Stacey: Make sure you are flexible and that your child if they want to do it. It is a big time commitment so be prepared to invest a lot of time into the industry because what you put in is what you get out of it . Most importantly, find an agency that you can trust. But, don’t just jump on the first one that gives you an offer, do some research and then go with your instinct as to which one will be the best one for your child.
What lessons have you learned?
Kirstin: We’ve learned many lessons. The biggest one is that I personally play a big role in my child’s success. I do this by supporting my agent with things like , being responsive , showing up on time and having willingness to adjust our schedule. I think in the beginning I didn’t understand how critical my role was, but by understanding the bigger picture I now know how I can best support everyone. Also, never compare always celebrate. A booking for another child does not mean a loss for yours.
Stacey:Patience, how to handle rejection, and to teach your kids to be humble and grateful for every opportunity that comes their way. Even if you don’t get one opportunity you may have wanted, there may be something just around the corner even better!
What has been the most rewarding about this industry?
Kirsten: This industry can be so rewarding. My daughter and son have both become more confident and willing to try new things. They are excited to meet new people. They have also become more mature ,understanding that being professional, polite and kind always wins.
Stacey: Building relationships with so many amazing people. Traveling to fun locations. It has also been a joy to see confidence my kids have gained from being a part of this industry which translates into all aspects of their life.Stacey:
What was your initial investment, if any?
Kirstin: The biggest investment we made was quality headshots. Headshots matter ! It’s not a huge financial investment but it was critical for us to get started. Finding a photographer who can captured our child’s personality did wonders to launch her career.
Stacey: Headshots and Casting Networks Subscription
Supporting your child
How much time can new parents expect to dedicate?
Kirstin: The time commitment really varies. Some weeks/ months are very busy with castings others are quite. I think the best thing to remember is always be ready.
Stacey: It varies. During the busy months, there can be several castings per week and sometimes more than one in the same day. Then, if your child books it, you can expect to be at the booking anywhere from 2-10 hours. It all varies so much depending on the project.Stacey:
How do you help your child handle rejection?
Kirstin: Rejection is definitely a big part of this business. We are very honest with them and always remind them that it has nothing to do with who they are.
Stacey: They understand that rejection comes with this industry and if they know they are constantly striving to improve their acting skills, showing up to as many castings as possible, and always doing their best, the rest is out of their hands. They also understand that often times, they may be “on hold” or had a callback which they find out they didn’t book and have the knowledge that it simply could come down to matching a family together or looking for a particular ethnicity. I also always tell them that when one door closes, another one opens.
What role does social media play for your child?
Kirstin: Social media has served as a great way to meet other families. We definitely don’t take it too seriously. I manage their accounts, they are too young.Kirstin:
Stacey: We have an Instagram page @amaya_lilah_sistermodels and we try to actively post on it as much as possible. But, we are still in the beginning stages of understanding the social media world in relation to the modeling and acting industry.