This one is for the kids and probably a few moms . It doesn’t have much to do with being an agent and doesn’t offer helpful tips in the industry. This is more for the tween , teen , or even mom facing insecurities while flipping through the “ pages “ of social media .
For those of you not aware I have a 14 year old daughter. I have an 11 year old son as well but he hasn’t yet had to face the pressures of perfection due to Instagram , Facebook , Snapchat etc. I got inspired this morning as I was on Instagram and saw an old friends feed come up . She was once a pretty big model in the industry . She now has kids and makes a small living being an influencer. She also has this magical way of making her life look like perfection to all of us watching. I only bring her up because I know her. I know her life isn’t perfect like the rest of us. What I also know is she was a paid model . This mom was paid to know her best angles. She knows all the industry secrets on how to make her nose look great from just the right angle, how to make her legs look strong, lean ,and long , how to laugh so it looks natural and effortless, how to suck in her stomach just enough to make it look natural , and even how to take her thinner figure and make it look a little curvier in all the right places. I say this because your children and my children are watching her wanting to be her. She has a gorgeous home and a seemingly perfect life. What isn’t posted is credit card debt , saggy boobies from breastfeeding , arguments with her hubby, and unflattering double chin photos . You get to see a perfect face , body , family , house , and life.
Hey you ! Yes you! The one scrolling through insta wishing you had that life . I’m here to tell you it’s not real . Knowing what I know about the industry I think It’s important for me talk about the pressures of perfection. If it helps one child , one mom, one person then it’s worth it. So when you go from page to page and see these gorgeous beings know this … 99% of them are or were industry models . All the you tubers , Instagram models , tick tock kids. They all were models and or actors . They know how to move , pose , and act all just perfectly to make you watch . I have a trained eye I can see thinks you can’t and I know when someone is acting . I watched 3 different YouTube videos of famous YouTube couples playing pranks on each other yesterday . Whether it was pretending they cheated on the other one , pretending they were pregnant, pretending they gave their girlfriend / boyfriend money for a shopping spree. ALL OF IT WAS ACTING . NONE OF IT WAS REAL. Remember they are actors they are paid to pretend and to make you think it’s real . I watched this one couple prank each other pretending they cheated on the other one. The girl took her engagement ring off and got all mad. I read comment after comment of fans feeling bad for her or mad at her fiancé for pranking her. However , I watched this and saw a great acting performance. My daughter saw something totally different . That’s what they are paid for . To entertain you . To make you think all of this is real. Real life isn’t perfect. Real life isn’t made up of the perfect angle. My daughter has watched video after video. She has convinced herself her “ perfect nose “ needs a nose job, her but isn’t big enough , and she wishes to be more like what she sees on Tik Tock . In reality how long can a teen or 20 year old be a Tick Tock star ? What comes next ? What happens when the money runs dry when someone newer or younger comes around . What happens when their “ look “ isn’t in anymore. What’s left is who you are as a person and the real life you created . And are you happy ? I personally took all social media off my daughters phone . FYI I’m NOT a strict parent at all! I just wanted her to love herself without a filter and without comparing her life to someone else’s. I can tell you she’s much happier for it.
This insecurity isn’t just apparent in kids it’s also in adults. One month of watching these accounts and I wanted a tummy tuck , lip injections , fillers, and even a nose job. I NEVER WANTED A NOSE JOB IN MY WHOLE LIFE. I see pregnant moms who had a baby and in 30 days are posting bikini photos of their perfect body before and after . Like what the hell ? I can’t even give birth and gain pregnancy weight any more ? Now gaining pregnant weight is taboo? How can we ever live up to all this pressure. The truth is we don’t ! We turn it off! We live in the present of our own little lives as imperfectly perfect as they are. We learn to look at our faces without a filter and we are grateful for our health and the gifts we are given. We don’t know what’s happening behind closed doors in all these influencers lives and without knowing their truth we can’t honestly want what they have can we ? We don’t have all the pieces to the puzzle . My suggestion is … get rid of it! Take it out of their hands until they are old enough to know the reality that what they see and hear is not reality after all .
They say when life hands you lemons make lemonade right ? With this crazy pandemic it’s the perfect time now that everyone is bored to update sizes ! Ok so it’s not quite lemonade but it’s lemons with a little sugar on top lol!
Did you know when a client is looking for a child nine times out of ten they are requesting a certain height not age . Unless it’s a commercial or film . When it’s print they are always casting by size. I know I tell all my kids how important it is to update sizes but I think it’s important to realize just how crucial it actually is . Most of you live probably 30 minutes or more from your casting location . You take your whole day preparing for a casting. Dressing your child , driving down , paying for parking , and sitting to wait for your turn . Do you want to spend a whole day preparing for a casting to be turned away ? Do you want your agent to be upset with you because the client called asking why Johnny showed up to their casting and is 3 inches too tall . Probably not .
Taking 3 minutes of your day to update your child will save you hours of wasted time by showing up to a casting your child wasn’t in size for . I realize a lot of you think “ hey what’s an extra two or three inches ?” An extra two to three inches means a lot to a brand that wants their jeans to perfectly fit a child’s length and your child looks like they are waiting for a flood to arrive .
I get it ! Your excited and you don’t want your child to miss a potential opportunity. However , you risk a lot more by having the wrong sizes in the system . You also risk not being casted for something your child fits perfectly. Sizes matter guys ! Having the correct sizes in the system gives me a smile from ear to ear ( it’s like Christmas) . So take this time where we are all not doing much to log into your agents site and update. Now for my lemonade 🍋!
As an Agent ( especially one that is big on education) I tend to think my parents have all the tools they need for the business. Over the years I have realized there is a lot of useful info parents of kids in the business have too that can help guide someone new. Sometimes even better info than I might be able to offer because it’s from a parents perspective.
So what better way to give all the newer kids and parents out there an inside look into the modeling world than from an experienced parents perspective . So I asked a bunch of my moms “ if there was one or more things you know about the business that you wish you knew from the beginning , what would it be and why?” These are their responses . I hope this helps anyone new in the business become more prepared. I know it was pretty eye opening for me 🙂
Debbie says “ When gabby showed interest I had no idea where to go. What kind of pictures did she need. Could i use a regular camera? I would think most parents don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars for a maybe. We were lucky I have a friend who is a photographer But they still weren’t right. It was enough to get her signed but now I see a huge difference from that and what she gets now. There is a huge difference from you taking a picture and having a professional take them. Find out what your agents looking for in the pictures and get them done !
Shannon says “ In size and out of size. I have so many people ask me about getting their child into the industry when they are around 18 months. So when is a good time to start and also to expect down times and busy times. Most babies are in size from 0-12 months but then out of size from 12 months to 3 years old. When they become 3 things start picking up again. I also noticed a lot of older babies that were small for their age booking more. And Big babies don’t usually get booked. You may not want to say it that way (I’m brutally Blunt) LOL. But being a baby in the 99th percentile for weight is not good for baby modeling. You would obviously know more about this than I would but that was the first thing I noticed on set. Also, it doesn’t matter how cute your baby is, they need to be well behaved and can easily go with other people. If they cry every time mom leaves, don’t bother. So Rider was always in the 25th percentile for growth. He wore size 6 months when he was 10 months. He’s 4 now and still in 3t. Anyway, with babies, many are bigger and may wear size 12-18 months when they are 6 months old. Older babies can do more, sit up, crawl etc. So they are more likely to book a 10 month old who can wear 6 months than a 5 month old who can’t do those things yet.”
Alicia says “ I had to learn to not take it personal when your kid isn’t booked from a casting. I use feel like I did something wrong like, not choosing the perfect outfit or maybe her hair wasn’t perfect. Or maybe she didn’t smile enough lol I had all the anxiety while she was just having fun 🙃”
Melissa says “ In my case. Avoid over paying and enrolling your child in Talent Search companies like Barbizon, Talent Auditions. They charge over 3K in classes that are not real classes. They just want you to pay for overpriced headshots, acting and modeling classes. If I knew you could just go directly to an Agency and send your child pictures. I would it have save a lot of money and then been able to invest in real acting classes and photo sessions. 💯”
Jennifer says “ I wish I knew before how fast the castings are done, meaning you can get a call to be somewhere in 1 day. To always be on your toes when it’s time for a casting. It’s hard to plan but when they’re younger and home with you it’s easier. “
Amanda says “ 1) a photographer can make or break you. Sometimes people want to go the cheaper route but that’s not going to benefit you in the long run. You’ll end up needing new photos anyway and spending double what you needed to. It’s an investment. Nothing can guarantee you jobs but good photos will definitely put you in the forefront over bad photos. Also – you get what you pay for 2) when you ask for quick cellphone photos at the house it’s imperative you do them correct and you’ve put out examples. No distractions – accessories good background etc. a quick digital needs to look as professional as possible❤️❤️”
Lindsay “ Something I wish we knew when we first started was how short notice you can be given for castings, self tapes or bookings. You aren’t generally given much notice or time to clear your schedule or find a sitter, etc. The casting can be anywhere from Miami to Tampa (that I know of). Luckily our personal work schedule works great for this business because one parent is always home with the girls and we are almost always available and do our best to make that short notice work. But with bookings, sometimes trying to find a sitter for the other sibling can be a challenge with short notice. Family Self Tapes are also difficult for us. We would love to be considered for family jobs, but we are together as a family once every 3rd day, so when we are given only 24 hrs at times to submit a family tape, that is most likely not going to be the day we are both off together and can’t possibly submit. “
Tessa says “ I wish I had known that although I was allowed to be onset my opinion wasn’t. I remember the first time I was on set, I was singing,dancing, and playing peek-a-boo with my baby until the stylist asked me politely to basically to stop being annoying. I mean I was totally annoying. They have an entire staff dedicated to making the kids happy. A mom who is too involved just stresses everyone out, including the child. Now I look for a spot where kids can’t see me, but I can see them. I get to enjoy the process, not stress out and watch the magic happen. If they need you they 100% will tell you!
Maria says “ So having multiple kids in the biz is crazy stressful. I wish I had known that just because my kid is beautiful and their siblings love being in the spotlight, it doesn’t mean that they do too.I don’t push them to do jobs anymore. It stresses out my son, and he starts turning into another kid on set. I get stressed, the crew gets stressed, and by the end of the day I feel defeated. It’s not worth it anymore, and just not fair for my kid. Know when to let go, and when to sign up for soccer classes instead. Lol !
Angie says “If your child wants to be an actor 1000000% sign them up for acting classes! It taught my kids how to audition like pros, and how to overcome their stage fright. There are so many kids who are auditioning for the exact same role, and a lot of the time have a similar look to your child. It so important to have an edge over some of the other kids. Practice totally makes perfect when it comes to acting.My kids wake up so happy on acting class days!
One of the topics most of my parents are concerned about when deciding to try out the modeling and talent industry is the fear of rejection . They don’t want to destroy their child’s self esteem as we all know this industry can be filled with a lot more “No’s” than “ yes’s”. Totally understandable ! I get it ! These are our children we are talking about and the last thing we want is for them to hurt .
Here is the thing . I have noticed over the last 13 years in the industry that the parents tend to care more than the kids do in regards to booking a job . Kids tend to go to a casting and forget it. All the while the parents tend to be the ones loosing sleep wondering if their child will be picked. Kids have this way of being in the moment. If it’s not happening now they are not really thinking about it. Which can be a really great thing in this business.
The truth is … do you really want your child to book every job? Can you imagine the monster that would create ? You don’t want the opposite effect with a child that books every job and doesn’t learn humility right ? I truly believe you need to hear a few “No’s” so you can really appreciate when you hear a “yes”. There is nothing worse to an agent than when a kid books everything and a parent doesn’t seem excited or grateful because it is expected. We get so excited to call you and tell you about your booking and we want you to be just as excited if not more than we are.
If you do happen to have a child that’s a bit more on the sensitive side ,the best approach is one from the very start . As soon as they are mature enough to understand explain that there are several kids that audition, all the kids deserve it , but the director can only choose one or so . Explain to your child that it doesn’t mean your not great but they might want a child a certain age , height , or a child that matches a “parent “ exactly . I would also recommend not bringing it up again after the audition. Like I said most kids have a short attention span and will forget 20 minutes after leaving the audition.
Rejection is part of human nature . Whether it’s a job , partner , friend , sport , or this industry , it comes with the territory of life. It makes for a well rounded individual. I realize we all want to shelter our kids from rejection as it’s part of our nature as parents to protect our kids from any pain . Remember you want the victory to mean something and it can’t mean something without a few bumps in the road . I promise you , you feel the bumps more than your children do . I also promise it will mean that much more when they do finally get the job.
I understand as parents we worry and that’s ok. My greatest advice is to forget the audition as soon as you walk out the door and your child will too. They are not as fragile as we think they are and you’re making a stronger individual in the long run .
For months there was a huge unknown regarding the entertainment industry. All the major industry hubs were at a standstill due to Covid-19. Directors, Agents, Producers, Creatives, Actors, Casting Directors, (just to name a few )were left with no answers as to when they would ever receive a paycheck. Even worse how would the industry would ever continue. Could things ever go back to normal? As of now everyone is adapting to our new normal. Even with so much uncertainty, we are still as an industry getting more and more emails from parents concerned they are missing out on the next big gig. We can’t guarantee that you will be as busy as before, we have no way in knowing when or how often castings will be coming in. We can guarantee that everyone who fits the project specs is being submitted. It is ultimately up to the Clients, and Casting Directors as to who will be seen, and selected. Virtual Casting’s are beginning to come in via Skype, and Zoom. We are having more Direct Bookings than usual. Safety precautions are in place, and Waivers are being signed. Not everyone is comfortable working while Covid-19 is still a threat. So make sure if you are not, you block-out all your dates until you are. This is such a new territory for all the working pieces of a production. If you think organizing a shoot was tough before, just imagine now. So let’s increase your chances of being asked to audition, while helping everyone involved in the casting and selection process easier. Here is our blog on how to dominate at Virtual Castings!
A constant theme in our blogs! Headshots, headshots headshots. This is the most important when you are looking to be noticed, even more so now than ever before. Casting Directors and production companies are almost exclusively relying on Virtual and Direct bookings. If you want to stand out, you simply cannot have a photo you took on a cellphone 2 years ago in a dimly lit bathroom. Photographers are starting to do headshot sessions. Start making your appointments! Contact your agency for a list of their recommend photographers. Stats
UPDATE YOUR STATS! This shouldn’t be something your agency has to remind you about. It is your job to keep up with any changes in height and sizes. With so many direct bookings happening, clients are relying on sizes being accurate. You can’t be upset if your child isn’t booking if they are 7 years old, and their profile says they are wearing a 4t, 32 inches tall, and in a size 5 shoe. Clients get so upset if they direct book a kid based off of their stats and end up being a completely different size. It makes your agent look bad, and you probably ruined your chance of ever being booked by that client again.
Zoom/Skype Step 1: have your Skype and Zoom accounts created and ready to go. Simple as that lol. Some clients ask to have your Skype account listed one your Casting Networks profiles, so have that done before your agent even asks. “Your very own at home Casting Office” Some people don’t see this as important, but as an agency we believe it’s soooo important to have this upper hand. When you go into a casting office you almost always are in front of a backdrop, have bright lights in your face, and have a camera set up in a tripod (for video) , or a photographer on the floor getting the perfect angles. While it may be Virtually (pun not intended) impossible to recreate something it took casting professionals years to learn, and perfect… you can do our best to show them you take this seriously. Here is a list of our Virtual Casting must-haves:
Lighting We recommend a simple ring light. Most ring lights feature a built-in Tri-pod for your smart phone. You can add some box light for even more lighting but that’s entirely up to you! Neewer Ring Light Kit:18″/48cm Outer 55W 5500K Dimmable LED Ring Light, Light Stand, Carrying Bag for Camera,Smartphone,YouTube,Self-Portrait Shooting, Black, Model:10088612 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LXDNNBW/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_oO73EbH6SBA27 MOUNTDOG Softbox Lighting Kit 20″X28″ Professional Photography Photo Studio Light Equipment with 2pcs 95W E27 Socket 5500K Video Lighting Bulb for Filming Portraits Shoot https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07G3423NQ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_VO73Eb9H1XGF0 Mic- Being that we focus almost primarily on children, we know houses with kids get a little noisy. These microphones work great to cancel out any noise. Video Microphone with Adapter – Unidirectional On-Camera Microphone for iPhone – Directional Cardioid iPhone Microphone for Video Recording https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FDYXBQZ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_aQ73EbZ7JPCS6
Preparation/filming We always recommend ongoing training. Many coaches are offering virtual classes. Make sure to contact your agency for recommendations. Less is always more when it comes to what casting directors/ clients look for. Like we always say, if their are no character/wardrobe instructions, be as blank of a canvas as you can. Let your talent speak louder than your outfit. Simple everyday clean attire (no pj’s though lol ) is usually expected. Extremely light to no make-up. Camera should ALWAYS be horizontal when filming any video/ Skype/ Zoom unless specified. Sides- If you have sides. Have them memorized. It’s important to be engaged and not reading them off a paper. Make sure your reader also is prepared, and expressive. You should not make direct contact to the camera if preforming sides. You should look slightly off camera. Slate- Your slate should be at the front of your tape. Usually you include: Full name Age Height Location Agency Some projects will request specific information to be included.
Be on time! Always! If your Casting Director is not on time, be prepared the entire wait time as you would at an in person casting. Try to minimize any distractions and outside noise. Make sure you read notes for any props, or information you may need.
It’s going to take time for anyone in the industry to even imagine going back to normal, and until then it’s up to you to do your part in making the new normal, ok. It’s not ideal for anyone, but together we can create new opportunities, content, and memories. 2020 is definitely one for the books. By following our guide you will have a much higher chance in securing a spot in a Casting Directors book. Together we will get through this. We can’t wait to see your home office set ups! Be sure to tag us once you have yours complete.
Cómo convertir el sueño de tu hijo en realidad: actores y modelos infantiles de habla Hispana
Guía para principiantes Por donde sea que miremos, hay anuncios y comerciales promocionando algún producto o servicio. Si prestas atención a los carteles publicitarios que inundan las calles o a los comerciales de televisión, te darás cuenta que hay una enormidad de niños actores y modelos que trabajan en estas campañas.
Si estás leyendo este blog, seguramente quieres saber cómo hacer para que tu hijo ingrese en el medio y se convierta en la cara de una de estas empresas. Aunque puede parecer un sueño inalcanzable, la realidad es que si tienes un chiquito extrovertido y talentoso que le gusta actuar acá en el sur de la Florida existen muchas oportunidades de trabajo siempre y cuando logres meterlo en una buena agencia que lo represente.
Si tu chiquito además habla español fluido entonces tiene aún más posibilidades de triunfar ya que son cada vez más los clientes que buscan talentos infantiles latinos (de entre 5 y 12 años) con buen dominio del idioma.
Es por esto que Sprout Kids Agency, la principal agencia de talento infantil del Sur de la Florida ha decidido expandirse con la apertura de Sprout en Español, un sector que cuenta exclusivamente con niños y familias latinas.
Sprout no busca niños ni familias perfectas, sino personas talentosas y reales que representen la diversidad del mundo en el que vivimos. Así que si tu hijo o hija siempre soñó con estar frente a las cámaras no dudes en mandar su aplicación y recuerda que muchas empresas como Disney buscan familias reales para sus comerciales. Así que esto se podría convertir en un gran negocio para toda la familia.
Te estarás preguntando: “¿ dónde y cómo aplico?”. Tranquilo que es muy sencillo siguiendo nuestra guía.
Primer Paso: Busca en internet una agencia en tu ciudad o en alguna ciudad vecina que te guste. Mira su página web y redes sociales para conocer bien sus trabajos anteriores, cuales son las marcas con las que ha trabajado y qué tipo de niños representa.
Segundo Paso: Envía tu aplicación. Si quieres formar parte de Sprout en Español ingresa a www.sproutkidsagency.com. Ahi llenas el formulario y en aproximadamente una semana estarás recibiendo una respuesta si estamos interesados en trabajar contigo. Si no fuiste contactado, puedes volver a mandar tu aplicación con nuevas fotos para ser considerado nuevamente. No se aceptan solicitudes por Instagram ni facebook.
Tomate el tiempo de mirar la página web. No sólo para conocernos en cuanto a experiencia y trabajos, sino también para asegurarte de que somos lo que buscas para representar a tu hijo.
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.”
I realize some of the parents reading my blogs have never had your child in the modeling industry but your curious about the process. The information that is out there is great, but times have changed. There is so much contradicting information, and it becomes a bit too much to process. Here is my simplified guide on how an agency actually works, with no extra fluff, and no scare tactics. This is the honest truth on how an agency really works.
When do I pay?
I’m happy to help you decide if the industry is for you. I often get emails asking if there is a cost to join my agency , or asking me to represent a child that I haven’t seen, or what exactly am I looking for in a child ? As a whole most LEGIT agencies follow a similar format. There are some minor differences but if your submitting to a reputable agency you shouldn’t EVER have to pay a fee upfront. If an agent is requesting up front payment, you need to contact other agencies. This is not the norm. As an agency we can never guarantee your child is going to book a job. We generally have a good idea of what kids have a high probability of working but in the end it is the client ( Target , Carter’s , Old Navy etc. ) who picks the child for their campaign NOT the agent. We can only do our job by submitting your child when we believe they are the right fit for the job. Everything that happens past the point of submission is completely up to the Client and Casting director (so please don’t get mad at us if your child ultimately does not book), Because agents can’t guarantee your child is going to book a job agents typically don’t take a fee upfront. Where we make our money is from commission. We only get paid, if your child gets paid. If a child books a job we take a commission from that job. Commissions can range according to agency but they are typically between 10% union jobs (SAG- the jobs everyone wants) to 20% non union jobs ( Most Print jobs). When you sign your paperwork with an agency you should be advised of the commission structure of that agency. MAKE SURE YOU READ WHAT YOU ARE SIGNING. I haven’t seen an agency take more than 20% so I would say 20% is the “norm” in the industry. The commission is taken out from your child’s check at the time they are paid. So again nothing is coming out of your pocket in advance. Payments are made AFTER the client pays the agency. So if you have to cover any expenses (travel, lodging, outfits) at the time of the booking, take that into consideration as well.
How to submit
As far as the submission process goes, all agencies should have a submission form on their website . Sprouts is in the “grow with us “ tab under the info button on our website. There is a form where you submit your child’s photos and your contact info. Please check an agencies website before you call or contact them for how to submit. An agents phone is constantly going off, email alerts are buzzing by the second. You do not want your first impression with an agent to be the wrong impression. Follow the agents specific instructions on how to submit. As a general rule DO NOT SUBMIT VIA SOCIAL MEDIA. If you DM me via social media I’m going to direct you to my website to submit, if I have time. There are times when simply there are not enough hands to respond to social media inquiries. Most agencies do not prefer being contacted via social media for representation and it’s easy for your message to be lost in the internet world. Calling on the phone describing your child to me is also not the best way to get your child signed. I cannot sign a child I have never met or seen and again it’s very time consuming answering these types of calls throughout the day. Please just take the time to check the agents website for their submission process. Most agencies will only get back to you if they are interested in possibly representing your child and setting up a meeting. We do not respond to submissions if we are not interested in meeting your child. No one likes to hear that your child is not the right fit for an agency, and it’s even harder being the person to deliver that news. Generally no response is a response. All children are beautiful, and amazing in their own way. Not every child is going to be the next star. Which brings me to my next topic.
What am I looking for ?
That is such a broad question. I’m not looking for a certain ethnicity , hair color , or eye color. There is just something about a kid that grabs my attention. I’m not always sure what it is but there is something. It’s the “IT “ factor. The first step is submitting a photo. Some agencies require your child to take professional photos to even be considered. This is at the discretion of the agency. I have recommended photographers that I like to use as do most agencies. Please read my prior blog post about headshots for further info on the importance of great headshots. Once I have seen your child’s photo and or a resume if they have one I decide if that child would be a good fit for Sprout. That is why it is so important to submit photos that show your child in their best light. No topless photos, babies in just diapers, photos of your child eating, photos of your child on the toliet etc. As silly as this seems, you have no idea how many crazy submission stories we have. Once again, make sure that these are photos that make your child look their best, and not overly posed. If I feel they would be a good fit I set up a meeting to meet the child in person. I never represent a child I haven’t seen in person .This is my policy and doesn’t pertain to all agencies. In my opinion I can’t in good conscience recommend a child to a client I haven’t met so I always meet the child in person. This helps me determine where the child belongs in the agency. Some kids are a better fit for print,some are a better fit for tv, and some are great for both TV and print but without meeting your child I can’t determine the best way to represent your child. Our agents have a special gift in really seeing the potential of a child just by having a conversation with them. Once we see where the child belongs, we give them the tools they need to further their career, and skill level. If I was a parent looking for representation I would only work with an agency or manager that has an interest in meeting my child as I don’t feel they could be properly represented without a formal introduction. If they don’t know who exactly your child is, and what they are capable of, then how are they submitting them properly? Make sure if you haven’t yet, meet your agent!
What happens after your child is signed ?
After we sign a child they are registered into our system(s). The sign-up process is usually lengthy, and there are steps you need to make sure you take quickly. Agencies move very fast, you want to make sure you turn everything in at a timely manner, and not forgotten. If you don’t have headshots right away, schedule them. A good headshot photographer books months in advance. Once the contracts are signed, the profiles are created, the stats are entered, the headshots are uploaded, you are finally ready to be submitted. Usually clients know exactly what they are looking for. They will send us a breakdown for each role, and what specifically each child needs to be/have. They will send us some thing like “looking for a 5 year old boy, with dark eyes, hispanic, that can ride a bike” then submit the children that fit what the client is looking for. After all the kids that the clients request are submitted the client or casting director picks the children they would like to see in person . Your child attends the casting , they take a quick snap shot or video if it’s a commercial , they might ask a few questions , or might fit the child in clothing. After the casting is over the client picks the children they would like to book for their job. At times their are callbacks or holds, but thats something I can explain at another time. Clients contact the agency once they have made their final decision and we contact you to book your child. Sometimes clients will ask you to bring wardrobe choices, or has special requests. So if they are booked, make sure you are able and ready to accommodate last minute requests. Most of this business happens on short notice. If you can not work with last minute castings, and bookings you might want to rethink getting representation. Nothing makes an agent more upset than talent who make us look bad with a client because they cannot make a booking. So make sure you go to your booking on time, have fun, and enjoy the experience. Once you have completed a booking you can expect a check around 90 days, sometimes sooner, sometimes later. The agency will take out the commission for you, so there is no extra work required.
Separating Fact from Fiction
I think there is this common misconception that child modeling can be sexy, very serious, or the child is layered in makeup. People tend to compare it to how superficial the adult modeling/entertainment industry is at times. This is NOT the case, with kids. In most ads there is little to no makeup on the children. If makeup is used, its just to smooth the child’s complexion. The kids are never dressed sexy or inappropriate. Most of the time when you see ads of kids looking ridiculously happy, its because they are. Their are crew members whose only job is to make sure the kids are having the best day ever! Our clients range from Target, Carters, Old Navy, Children’s Place, J Crew, Pottery Barn Kids, Gap Kids, Disney, Nickelodeon, and many more. These are all fun happy kids conscious brands letting kids just be kids. Professional agencies will never allow a parent or child be put in an inappropriate situation. The children’s modeling and talent industry should be a fun experience for you as a parent, and especially your child(ren).
I hope this has helped you further understand the industry, and serves as a guide in helping you decide if this is something you would like to pursue, or continue pursuing!
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A little insight on the importance of having proper headshots from Sprout Kids Agency Miami owner, Shaina Miller.
Today, I want to talk about importance of having great photos on your profile. This is one of those things I hardly ever talk about. Reason being that I am a photographer and I am always overly cautious about not mixing my Agency and my photography. However, this week I received a project of kids from a New York Agency. As I looked through the project, I thought to myself WOW every child has an amazing portfolio. Not one of these kids has a snapshot their parent took, not one is dark and hard to see, not one was unbookable because of their photos. If I was a client I would be booking kids with this Agency all day!
Why would you not take the time to make sure your child’s profile is perfect ? Like any sport or hobby there is somewhat of an upfront cost. If your involved in hockey you need a stick , pads , ice time . If your child dances you pay for dance class , leotards , dance shoes. In modeling you pay for a proper headshot. The great news is, with that headshot you have the potential to earn back the money you spent and then some. What I can promise you is without a great portfolio your child will not book a fraction of the jobs they could have booked with a kick butt one!
The modeling world has changed. We have now entered the digital age. Years ago,when I was first in the industry you didn’t really need a professional photo as clients would hold “open castings.” There was no way to digitally send kids photos to a client. So, an Agent would either send a bunch of comp cards via snail mail to a client or the client would hold a giant “open casting.” Every child and their mother would show up, it would take hours to be seen , and 90% of the time your child wasn’t the right look the client was searching for. Now we are lucky enough to be able to digitally send your child’s portfolio to the client ahead of time . This makes for much smaller castings , kids are requested from their photos, and in turn your not waisting a day at a casting your child’s not the right fit for.
Today a great headshot is VITAL ! Your child will not be seen at a casting if their headshot does not stand out next to 50 others. YOUR HEADSHOT IS YOUR BUSINESS CARD. Take the time and do it right. I honestly believe you get what you pay for. If you want mediocre headshots for a value price you will be lucky to be requested on a mediocre amount of castings. If you invest once or twice a year on a great portfolio your number of request castings should greatly improve. Remember your child is being picked from their photos. If you don’t LOVE your child’s photo neither will the client. As an agent it’s hard to hear a parent complain about their child not getting as many castings as another child when the parent hasn’t done their part. I have heard time after time we will start with this photo and if he does well we will invest in a great headshot. This is backwards thinking. You can’t put your child in soccer and if he is doing ok then buy him cleats. He will never play to his full potential if he’s sliding all over the field. The same goes for our industry. Your child won’t play to his/her full potential without the proper materials. The good news is their is a chance for your child to make a return on your initial investment. How many other hobby’s can you say that about ?
What makes a great headshot ??? Great question lol! In my opinion the cleaner the better. No props , nothing distracting in the background, nothing distracting in the hair. The photo should be about your child and your child only. The best photographers use makeup artists that are great at making it look like there isn’t much makeup on. Remember, these are children and they need to look like children.
I believe the child should wear bright colors and the personality should show in a photo. I love a good serious look but clients are typically booking happy kids so you want your child to seem happy and easy to work with in their photo. See below examples:
A film headshot typically has a darker background and a more serious look to it and again nothing distracting in the photo. It’s all about your child. I would stay away from trees , flowers, or anything that can distract from your child. See below for an example:
There are a lot of great photographers out there. Always ask your agent who they recommend if your looking for guidance. I hope this helps. If you have any questions please comment on the post on Instagram and I will answer to the best of my ability .
“If your not going all the way, why go at all “ -Joe Namath