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!

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 .

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.” 

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.

The Art Of Letting Go

The Art Of Letting Go

A blog entry by Sprout Kids Agency owner Shaina Miller on how, when, and If to let go.

About 2 weeks ago it was one of my least favorite days….REMOVAL day.

During off season before a new season begins I typically go through my talent and determine which kids I’m keeping for another season and which kids I need to remove. This is one of the most dreaded weeks.

Honestly, there is no easy way to tell a parent their child didn’t make the cut. I hate this part of my job with a passion and typically I don’t talk about it.

I read Brandis Ohlsson’s ( from Ohlsson Models ) post in regards to this and it was EVERYTHING! It inspired me to blog about it myself in hopes that you guys can understand as Agents we are people too.

We don’t want to hurt anyone and we really truly wish you the best when we say goodbye . My poor assistant Emily had sweaty palms and an increased heart rate when I told her I was emailing a few parents to remove their kids from the system. She literally said “ Can’t we just remove them and not say anything? “ half joking of course. She says this for two reasons.

1. She truly feels for these families the way I do. We are rooting for your child every day since we sign them ,we want you to succeed , and nothing hurts us more than when it just doesn’t work out.

2. Social media . I have a big love hate relationship with social media and one of my biggest faults with the internet is when I’m simply doing my job and I upset a parent by releasing their child which causes them to leave me negative reviews.

Believe me, I don’t want to release your child, I want them to work. I want them to thrive in my agency but sometimes a child just doesn’t fit. Instead of holding on for dear life to avoid a bad review and hurt feelings it’s only fair to give you a chance to pursue other options. I’m only trying to be fair to you and your child.

Sometimes I have a child in my system that goes through a dead season. The industry changes every year and the type of kids clients are looking for varies from season to season. So,I could have a kid that goes through a dry spell but I realize it’s just the industry right now and it’s not permanent. When I believe that’s the case I will talk to the parent telling them “ not to quit and don’t be discouraged your time will come”. I mean this when I say it. I have watched kids go 2-3 years with very minimal bookings and the next season become a booking machine. It’s the nature of the business it always comes in waves.

I just want you to remember as Agents we are human too, we have feelings, we understand your frustrations and we never want to say goodbye to a talent. Remember that before ego forces you to leave a bad review or you get angry we let you go. We truly wish you the best . After all when you succeed we succeed.

How does an agency ACTUALLY work ?

How does an agency ACTUALLY work ?

I realize some of the parents reading my blogs have never had your child in the modeling industry but your curious about the process. The information that is out there is great, but times have changed. There is so much contradicting information, and it becomes a bit too much to process. Here is my simplified guide on how an agency actually works, with no extra fluff, and no scare tactics. This is the honest truth on how an agency really works.

When do I pay?

The Manning Family for Vineyard Vines at Target

I’m happy to help you decide if the industry is for you. I often get emails asking if there is a cost to join my agency , or asking me to represent a child that I haven’t seen, or what exactly am I looking for in a child ? As a whole most LEGIT agencies follow a similar format. There are some minor differences but if your submitting to a reputable agency you shouldn’t EVER have to pay a fee upfront. If an agent is requesting up front payment, you need to contact other agencies. This is not the norm. As an agency we can never guarantee your child is going to book a job. We generally have a good idea of what kids have a high probability of working but in the end it is the client ( Target , Carter’s , Old Navy etc. ) who picks the child for their campaign NOT the agent. We can only do our job by submitting your child when we believe they are the right fit for the job. Everything that happens past the point of submission is completely up to the Client and Casting director (so please don’t get mad at us if your child ultimately does not book), Because agents can’t guarantee your child is going to book a job agents typically don’t take a fee upfront. Where we make our money is from commission. We only get paid, if your child gets paid. If a child books a job we take a commission from that job. Commissions can range according to agency but they are typically between 10% union jobs (SAG- the jobs everyone wants) to 20% non union jobs ( Most Print jobs). When you sign your paperwork with an agency you should be advised of the commission structure of that agency. MAKE SURE YOU READ WHAT YOU ARE SIGNING. I haven’t seen an agency take more than 20% so I would say 20% is the “norm” in the industry. The commission is taken out from your child’s check at the time they are paid. So again nothing is coming out of your pocket in advance. Payments are made AFTER the client pays the agency. So if you have to cover any expenses (travel, lodging, outfits) at the time of the booking, take that into consideration as well.

How to submit

As far as the submission process goes, all agencies should have a submission form on their website . Sprouts is in the “grow with us “ tab under the info button on our website. There is a form where you submit your child’s photos and your contact info. Please check an agencies website before you call or contact them for how to submit. An agents phone is constantly going off, email alerts are buzzing by the second. You do not want your first impression with an agent to be the wrong impression. Follow the agents specific instructions on how to submit. As a general rule DO NOT SUBMIT VIA SOCIAL MEDIA. If you DM me via social media I’m going to direct you to my website to submit, if I have time. There are times when simply there are not enough hands to respond to social media inquiries. Most agencies do not prefer being contacted via social media for representation and it’s easy for your message to be lost in the internet world. Calling on the phone describing your child to me is also not the best way to get your child signed. I cannot sign a child I have never met or seen and again it’s very time consuming answering these types of calls throughout the day. Please just take the time to check the agents website for their submission process. Most agencies will only get back to you if they are interested in possibly representing your child and setting up a meeting. We do not respond to submissions if we are not interested in meeting your child. No one likes to hear that your child is not the right fit for an agency, and it’s even harder being the person to deliver that news. Generally no response is a response. All children are beautiful, and amazing in their own way. Not every child is going to be the next star. Which brings me to my next topic.

What am I looking for ?

Sprouts Jennesa for Primark

That is such a broad question. I’m not looking for a certain ethnicity , hair color , or eye color. There is just something about a kid that grabs my attention. I’m not always sure what it is but there is something. It’s the “IT “ factor. The first step is submitting a photo. Some agencies require your child to take professional photos to even be considered. This is at the discretion of the agency. I have recommended photographers that I like to use as do most agencies. Please read my prior blog post about headshots for further info on the importance of great headshots. Once I have seen your child’s photo and or a resume if they have one I decide if that child would be a good fit for Sprout. That is why it is so important to submit photos that show your child in their best light. No topless photos, babies in just diapers, photos of your child eating, photos of your child on the toliet etc. As silly as this seems, you have no idea how many crazy submission stories we have. Once again, make sure that these are photos that make your child look their best, and not overly posed. If I feel they would be a good fit I set up a meeting to meet the child in person. I never represent a child I haven’t seen in person .This is my policy and doesn’t pertain to all agencies. In my opinion I can’t in good conscience recommend a child to a client I haven’t met so I always meet the child in person. This helps me determine where the child belongs in the agency. Some kids are a better fit for print,some are a better fit for tv, and some are great for both TV and print but without meeting your child I can’t determine the best way to represent your child. Our agents have a special gift in really seeing the potential of a child just by having a conversation with them. Once we see where the child belongs, we give them the tools they need to further their career, and skill level. If I was a parent looking for representation I would only work with an agency or manager that has an interest in meeting my child as I don’t feel they could be properly represented without a formal introduction. If they don’t know who exactly your child is, and what they are capable of, then how are they submitting them properly? Make sure if you haven’t yet, meet your agent!

What happens after your child is signed ?

After we sign a child they are registered into our system(s). The sign-up process is usually lengthy, and there are steps you need to make sure you take quickly. Agencies move very fast, you want to make sure you turn everything in at a timely manner, and not forgotten. If you don’t have headshots right away, schedule them. A good headshot photographer books months in advance. Once the contracts are signed, the profiles are created, the stats are entered, the headshots are uploaded, you are finally ready to be submitted. Usually clients know exactly what they are looking for. They will send us a breakdown for each role, and what specifically each child needs to be/have. They will send us some thing like “looking for a 5 year old boy, with dark eyes, hispanic, that can ride a bike” then submit the children that fit what the client is looking for. After all the kids that the clients request are submitted the client or casting director picks the children they would like to see in person . Your child attends the casting , they take a quick snap shot or video if it’s a commercial , they might ask a few questions , or might fit the child in clothing. After the casting is over the client picks the children they would like to book for their job. At times their are callbacks or holds, but thats something I can explain at another time. Clients contact the agency once they have made their final decision and we contact you to book your child. Sometimes clients will ask you to bring wardrobe choices, or has special requests. So if they are booked, make sure you are able and ready to accommodate last minute requests. Most of this business happens on short notice. If you can not work with last minute castings, and bookings you might want to rethink getting representation. Nothing makes an agent more upset than talent who make us look bad with a client because they cannot make a booking. So make sure you go to your booking on time, have fun, and enjoy the experience. Once you have completed a booking you can expect a check around 90 days, sometimes sooner, sometimes later. The agency will take out the commission for you, so there is no extra work required.

Separating Fact from Fiction

Sprouts Kids Agencies Mia and AJ for Carters

I think there is this common misconception that child modeling can be sexy, very serious, or the child is layered in makeup. People tend to compare it to how superficial the adult modeling/entertainment industry is at times. This is NOT the case, with kids. In most ads there is little to no makeup on the children. If makeup is used, its just to smooth the child’s complexion. The kids are never dressed sexy or inappropriate. Most of the time when you see ads of kids looking ridiculously happy, its because they are. Their are crew members whose only job is to make sure the kids are having the best day ever! Our clients range from Target, Carters, Old Navy, Children’s Place, J Crew, Pottery Barn Kids, Gap Kids, Disney, Nickelodeon, and many more. These are all fun happy kids conscious brands letting kids just be kids. Professional agencies will never allow a parent or child be put in an inappropriate situation. The children’s modeling and talent industry should be a fun experience for you as a parent, and especially your child(ren).

I hope this has helped you further understand the industry, and serves as a guide in helping you decide if this is something you would like to pursue, or continue pursuing!

Be sure to subscribe to all our social media profiles for the latest news, and information!

Sprout Spotlight: An inside look with Top Miami Casting Director Carlos Rojas of Universal Casting Miami

Sprout Spotlight: An inside look with Top Miami Casting Director Carlos Rojas of Universal Casting Miami

We had such a great response from our last post that we could not delay this one any longer.

If you ask anyone in the Miami entertainment scene, they have heard of Universal Casting.

Universal casting is definitely a leader in casting offices in South Florida.

Casting Director Carlos Rojas, and his partners are definitely doing something right.

They have casted some of the biggest projects to reach South and Central Florida.

Not only do they cast, they also offer training at their sister company Universal Acting.

Universal acting Classes are led by industry professionals/educators and provide students with comprehensive curriculum and programs.

They have locations in Fort Lauderdale, and Miami.

Who is Carlos Rojas?

“Today, Carlos is proudly one of the three managing partners of Universal Casting. Since the day they opened their doors, Ginger Wortley, Eva Edlund-Borges and Carlos Rojas set out to change the face of casting on Miami Beach. Remarkably – this innovative team of individuals joined forces just six years ago. Yet today the trio own and operate the leading casting facility that services countless clients from around the world. Their high tech casting options, teleconferencing capabilities, production offices and access to an extensive talent pool has allowed them to be a driving force for some of the most exciting, humor-filled and emotional projects casted in Florida. The Universal crew makes sure that all talent are comfortable and prepared before the camera goes on and it shows. Clients know that every assignment awarded to Universal Casting will afford them with top notch talent and a friendly yet professional working environment. On any given day you can flip on the TV and find some project they helped create. The future holds endless possibilities for this clever group as they forge forward seeking out and cultivating innovative ways to make the industry grow and prosper.

Carlos Rojas has raised the standards within the casting community and it is no longer business as usual. For his competitors…Carlos Rojas – the funny boy from Colombia is no laughing matter. “

Which is your favorite project to date? What made it impactful for you?  

“Any Given Sunday / Directed by Oliver Stone /Starring Al Pacino and other great actors – First major Feature Film.”

What makes the kids that you select to been seen stand out?What is it that you typically look for? ( A solid headshot, an impressive resume? is there a “look you go for”)

“First it takes a great professional photo to catch your eye. The “look” depends on the specs given to us by our clients. A solid resume can definitely help you get seen. Each project varies – sometimes we pick who will be seen – others the client does. When we pick – we stick closely to the story boards, concept, skill set and character breakdown requested by the client.”

When a project is submitted who picks the kids selected to be seen at the castings? is there a specific process?

“Each project varies – sometimes we pick who will be seen – others the client does. When we pick – we stick closely to the story boards, concept, skill set and character breakdown requested by the client.”

What is bad etiquette that prevents someone from being chosen?

“Bad attitudes, self entitlement, lack of humility, coming off as fake or not authentic, not knowing their place in the production hierarchy.”

What is your biggest casting pet peeve?

“When actors don’t listen to the directions that are given”

For kids interested in taking their career to the next level, what the biggest piece of advice you can offer them/their parents? 

“This is a business – treat it as one. Do your research – know who you are dealing with. Read everything you sign – become familiar with industry terms.”

What is your opinion on Social Media and how it is impacting the industry?

“Be careful what you post – clients are watching.”

What advice do you give to agencies in regards to their talent? How would you do it differently?

“Make sure you actually know your talent (what they currently look like – what they can and cannot do – talent level) Make sure they are prepared for auditions:
on time, prepare/memorize scripts/lines , learn to take directions.”

If you could work with any industry professional, or any client that you have not worked with before who would you work with?

“Casting Director Sarah Finn
Casting Director
Carla Hool”

What is your website? Do you have any social media accounts?

Universal Casting

Universal Casting Instagram

Universal Acting Instagram

Carlos Rojas Instagram

Universal Acting YouTube

Questions from our kids

We asked our talent what were some of their biggest questions, and we got the answers!

Do you keep talent in mind for other projects, if you were impressed by them?

“Yes.”

Feedback! If we provided a feedback form after an audition, would you be willing to offer input to the agency on a big audition?

“Yes,if time permits”

What are some auditioning (in-person and self-tape) mistakes you see over and over?

Talent coming in not prepared.”

We hope that you enjoyed this interview with Carlos as much as we did!

We want to thank Carlos for taking the time, and really offering us a new look inside the mind of a casting director.

Make sure you follow him on Instagram to stay up-to-date on his upcoming acting classes at Universal Acting!

Like and subscribe to get notifications for our weekly blog posts!

We have one more interview with another Top Casting Director that you will nit want to miss.

Sprout Spotlight: An inside look behind the casting camera.

Sprout Spotlight: An inside look behind the casting camera.

Q&A with top Casting Director Lori Wyman

Frequently asked questions of every mom in “The Biz”

As many of our readers know by now, we love to share information you can’t get anywhere else. We may not have all the answers, but we do try to get them. We have reached out to Top Miami Casting Director Lori Wyman with questions we get asked everyday. Questions we can typically only answer from an agencies perspective, thankfully today we can share the answers to the most frequently asked questions of parents with children in the modeling/acting/ entertainment world.



Who is Lori Wyman?

Lori S. Wyman, C.S.A., one of the most prominent Casting Directors in the southeast, has been casting films, television shows, and commercials in South Florida since 1979. Lori attended the University of Miami and she graduated with her Bachelors Degree in Speech and Communications and her minor in Education. Upon graduating from college, she aggressively pursued a casting career and immediately started working for ACT I Talent Agency. At the time, ACT I was the biggest talent agency in the State of Florida. Quickly building a reputation as one of the most outstanding talent agents in the business, she was asked by the company that was handling the Miami Vice casting if she would be one of their staff casting directors. While there, she worked on the Principal casting for “Miami Vice” during the 2nd and 3rd seasons. At the end of the 3rd season, she was approached by the producer of “Miami Vice” and asked to come work for them directly and head up their entire casting division. She did that for the duration of the series. When “Miami Vice” wrapped, she was immediately asked to head up the casting offices of the Burt Reynolds series, “BL Stryker” and to cast the Florida episodes of Stephen J. Cannell’s “21 Jumpstreet” and “Wiseguy.” Fast forward to the year 2012 and Lori obtained her Master’s degree from NSU in Interdisciplinary Arts with a concentration in Drama Therapy. She went after this degree in order to help actors overcome audition anxiety. Lori has cast some of the biggest projects in Florida. When you think the film industry and casting, Lori S. Wyman, CSA, always comes up. She is an 8 time Artios Award (Casting Society of America’s most prestigious casting award) nominee and a 2 time winner. She is also an Emmy nominee.

Which is your favorite project to date? What made it impactful for you?

“HBO’s Recount was one of the most challenging yet favorite casting projects. The movie is about the 2000 presidential election. Many of the 80 Florida roles that Lori cast were not only to be good actors,but look like their real-life counterpart. It was a great experience for which Lori won her first Artios Award and was nominated for an Emmy.”

What makes the kids that you select to been seen stand out? What is it that you typically look for?

“At first we look at resumes to see if the child has any background. Then we bring them in to audition. We look for well behaved, memorized, professional kids. At first we look at resumes to see if the child has any background. Then we bring them in to audition. We look for well behaved, memorized, professional kids.”

When a project is submitted who picks the kids selected to be seen at the castings? Is there a specific process?

“The casting director will put the breakdown out for the characters they need. Once the agent submits the talent, then the CD decides who will come in and audition and ultimately who will be passed along to the producer and director. The producer and director collectively are the final decision.”

What is your funniest casting memory?

“Too long to write here, but there are many!!!”

What is bad etiquette that prevents someone from being chosen?

“In a nutshell, BAD etiquette is not being prepared for the audition, not having the materials (headshot and updated resume) not being on time for the casting.”

What is your biggest casting pet peeve?

“My BIGGEST pet peeve is actors coming to a casting and spending the time before the casting talking in the waiting room and disrupting everyone, when they should be going over their audition materials. “

For kids interested in taking their career to the next level, what the biggest piece of advice you can offer them/their parents?

“Keep studying, do theater, watch what the winners do! Make sure you have an Actor’s Access account and check it daily. Make sure your photos are up-to-date. Make sure you have a reputable agent and stay in touch with them.”

What is your opinion on Social Media and how it is impacting the industry? Do you take talents social media into account when casting them?

“Social Media has good and bad characteristics. The BAD – is when a disgruntled actor decides they want to vent about their agent, the casting director or a client. As a CD, if I see an actor attacking me on Social Media, I will not want them to come back into my office to audition. And rightly so! People tend to have “keyboard courage,” which can get them into a lot of trouble. The good aspects are that we may see people online and think how great they might be for our project. It is also a reminder to us that the actor is out there. I do not take into account how many followers an actor might have, but there are many other projects that do look favorably upon that.”

What advice do you give to agencies in regards to their talent? How would you do it differently?

“Dear Agents: PLEASE know your talent. Know what they can and cannot do. Please do not empty your files into all of my castings. I look to you to know your talent so that you can submit intelligently to me. If you continue to send me any actors who are not necessarily right for a role, then I eventually will not want to work with you anymore.”

If you could work with any industry professional, or any client that you have not worked with before who would you work with?

“Spielberg!!! Streep!!! Streisand!!!!”

What is your website? Do you have any social media accounts?

My website for actors

My Casting website

Follow me on Instagram

Questions from our kids

We asked our talent what were some of their biggest questions, and we got the answers!

Some of our Sproutlings at an Acting class hosted by Lori Wyman

Do you keep talent in mind for other projects, if you were impressed by them?

“I always keep talent in mind and I do remember them.”

Feedback! If we provided a feedback form after an audition, would you be willing to offer input to the agency on a big audition?

“It’s really hard to do after a long day of seeing dozens and dozens of actors. having said that, I would ask anyway!”

What are some auditioning mistakes you see over and over and what is the best way to avoid or overcome them?

“Not being memorized is a big one. In person, the actor has to hit it out of the park right away. Self taping, the actor can record multiple times before they get it right. In self taping, make sure the person reading with the actor is a good reader. PARENTS, if you are not an actor, please don’t try to coach your child or read with your child. Leave it to the hands of the professionals!!!”

A special thanks to Lori Wyman for taking the time and providing us with such useful information that we can share with our readers from not only in Miami/South Florida/Orlando, but really in any state/city.

Stay tuned for next weeks blog post featuring Carlos Rojas of Universal Casting Miami.

🌱If you like this post, please subscribe to our innovated blog, where we believe that educated talent is the best talent. Many more exciting, educational, and not-so-ordinary blogs to come.🌱