The pain of a cancelled booking.

The pain of a cancelled booking.

Your child was cancelled on a shoot !!! I know it’s like a stab to the heart believe me I do .

Let me assure you it hurts me to tell you as much as it hurts you to hear the news. Telling a parent their child was cancelled is one of the absolute worst parts of my job. I dread the phone call like the plague . The disappointment in your voice , the hurt it’s going to cause your child , and the anticipation that I might get blamed for what’s out of my control . None of it feels good but it unfortunately comes with the territory .

Whether your child is cancelled because of bad behavior or because the client just no longer needs your child there is never a good way to tell someone their kid wasn’t picked. The younger talent , in most cases don’t understand one way or another , and the parents ego is what’s most affected, But when it’s an older child it makes it that much worse. They get excited for the shoot and now they are let down and it can be really discouraging for the parent to have to break the news. No one wants to have to hurt their child. I’m in this business to make dreams not break dreams and I don’t ever want to be the bearer of bad news. Sometimes it’s inevitable. Let me be the first to tell you that before I called you I already did everything I could to try to change the clients mind. So if I’m calling you it’s the final outcome and there is nothing more that I can do . Our jobs as agents are to book the kids the clients ask for so if they cancel your child please don’t blame your agent it’s really out of our hands.

As far as cancellation fees go, it can be a touchy subject. If a child misbehaves on set I would never ask for a cancellation fee as an Agent. It’s not the clients fault your child misbehaved and they most likely have to hustle to figure out what they are going to do next. Remember this is a business with deadlines , budgets, and expectations. If your child isn’t meeting the expectations of the client they need to let your child go. Always present yourself with class and take it as a learning experience for your child to teach them proper set etiquette. If your child was cancelled the night before a shoot it would be customary to ask for a cancellation fee. This of course is at the Agents discretion as it can complicate a relationship with the Agent and client and we don’t want to potentially lose a client over one cancellation fee. Typically the Agency m knows which clients would be open to cancellation fees and which wouldn’t. Try to put yourself in your agents shoes. We always want to defend our kids but if we don’t have a leg to stand on and if it couldn’t potentially destroy a client /agent relationship we will avoid that at all costs.

All in all we don’t ever want to make the “ cancellation phone call “ but know when we do we are hurting right there with you. Please try to be understanding at these moments as it’s really one of the worst parts of what we do !

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Sprout en Español

Sprout en Español

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.

Que buscamos?

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.

Como Aplicar

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.

What do you do when you’ve been dying for a chance to be seen but you aren’t available all the dates?!

What do you do when you’ve been dying for a chance to be seen but you aren’t available all the dates?!

Lately we have had so many parents turn down AH MAZING potential castings/bookings, which is a H U G E no no. While we have been digging deeper to find out why our talent has been turning down jobs we found that most of not all turned down opportunities could be worked out. Want to have your cake, and eat it too? Here’s how.

Availability check: what does it mean?

So your agent just let you know a client reached out and wants to check if your child’s available December 11-14 ( for example). Your only available the 13th and the 14 do you decline ? Do you confirm ? What are your next steps ?

First things first, Let your agent know your available! Nope just because not all dates work, it doesn’t mean we can’t let the client know.

Here is what we recommend saying. “ Hey agents name, We are available just 2 of the 4 days. Can you check with the client if that’s ok?”

That’s it! It’s never good to decline an availability check as a lot do turn into bookings. Most agents get really frustrated if all they hear is not available, we rather work around a schedule then hear no.

The same goes for a client.As long as your up front with the client,if they like your child they will work around their schedule to fit your child in to their shoot . So it’s a win win . Just make sure you let us know know any known conflicts before you are booked.

Wanna know what you shouldn’t say when an agent is doing an availability check?

What time ? What location ? Or a million questions!

Argghhh it just drives me mad even typing the words lol . 🙈

99% of the time when we are asking availability the only info we know is the dates. If we have any additional info (rates, location, etc.) we almost always include it. We don’t ever hold information from talent if we have it.

Another reason to keep your response short and to the point is, We are also on a time crunch getting this info back to the client as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Think of it this way,

a client isn’t going to have their schedule ready before they book the kids they want so most likely they won’t have a time yet .

All your Agent is trying to find out is … is your child available the said dates. Yes or no.

This is also another reason why sometimes agent get a bad rep, we aren’t trying to be short, we just have to be. When we are clearing hundreds of kids.

Nothing takes more time than trying to get everyone cleared, and a project perfect for a client.

Do your part in making this process smooth, and we promise we will do our best in getting you in front of our clients!

Sunny side up please!

The entitled model mommy

13 years in this business has taught me a lot . It’s taught me humility, gratitude, and patience in particular . Some days I have more patience than others I must admit .

Most of all I have watched the tides change . I have watched kids go from booking nothing to being a super star booker. I have watched super star bookers dry up and just completely stop booking.My point is everyone has their time in the sun but with it comes the shade . You can be on the highest of highs for one year and the next season it can call come crashing down.

My point in saying this is we have all seen the kids that go into the business and magically start booking right away.

The parents go from being the humble grateful parents to the entitled parents in about two seconds flat.

They start demanding more hours from clients, asking for booking times to be changed, or asking for full or half day rates to book their kids.

I have seen this time and time again and every time this becomes where the child peaks then takes a nose dive within the industry. Parents can be a child’s biggest sore thumb.

Don’t become too big for your own good that you stop being grateful for what you have been given. There are so many parents wishing to have the 2 hour booking your child was lucky enough to get and wouldn’t dream of asking for any type of accommodations. Remember your CHILD is making on an hourly bases about 10 times more than minimum wage for most adults. Have gratitude.

I realize many of you take off work for your kids to be involved in the industry , you move things around, and your other kids need to be picked up by family members or friends. Trust me I get it ! You made the choice to involve your child ( in turn yourself ) into the industry and with that comes some sacrifice.

With that sacrifice come a huge return. My son plays hockey he’s at the rink more than he’s home.

I pay way more money than I would like to for him to be involved ,and I spend way more time than I would like to at the hockey rink. It’s sacrifice.

We sacrifice as parents as much as time allows us for our kids. Unfortunately with hockey there is NO RETURN on my investment unless maybe god willing my son plays for the NHL one day and he can start paying MY bills woot woot lol !

This is one of those great hobbies that you can actually make more money than you invest.

Actually a lot more, And your lucky enough that your child has what it takes to be signed by an agent.

Remember about 1 out of every 150 kids that submit to me gets signed.

So it’s a privilege to be represented and should be treated as such.

Chances are your child’s day in the sun will come to an end and it will be on to something new. So enjoy it while it’s here, be grateful for every opportunity, and you can never thank your agent too much.

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

So you are interested in submitting your child to an agent?

What’s the best way to go about it?

Let me start by saying that I do not accept social media submissions. I also cannot represent a child based on your description of them over the phone.

We need photos, even if they are not professional, in order to get a feel for your child. Every day I receive at least a DOZEN of DM’s on Instagram and Facebook, combined with countless phone calls telling me all about your gorgeous children.

When I see DM’s on Instagram my first thought is… this parent hasn’t even been to my website, let alone read my bio.

You’re submitting your child to someone and you didn’t take the time to look at what I’m all about?

Our agency specifically spends so much time educating, and writing these blogs.

Almost always, and I’m saying almost so no one comes back to say it’s not true lol, all the questions that are asked in the DM’s are answered in our blog.

The majority, if not all agencies have a submission process on their website.

It’s so important to take the time and follow directions, so that you aren’t overlooked because you annoyed the agency before even getting a proper chance. Submitting on social media is a sure fire way to get your child overlooked as 9 times out of 10 we won’t go to your child’s Instagram profile.

How to submit

So take a pause if you haven’t checked out our website, and then come back here if you think we are the right fit for you.

Sprout’s submission form is under the Info. tab and you simply click “Grow With Us” .

That’s it, super easy right?

Once we receive your application it takes about a week for us to get back to you IF we are interested. We have been receiving an influx of applications lately, so please be patient. If we do not respond in a week, you are always welcome to take new photos and resubmit.

Please take the time to explore an agent’s website and find out a little about them and what their submission process is before you call or use social media to connect.

Not only because it’s important to show you know how to follow directions, but you need to make sure this agent is the right fit for you. Picking an agent shouldn’t be taken lightly and we encourage you to take the time to do your research. Find out everything you can online before reaching out so you are as informed as you can be.

Agents are busy bees 🐝. We are navigating hundreds of parents, clients, talent, billing, social media, and let’s not forget, our own families.

I’ve said it before, every time I’m so proud I’ve clear out my emails a new stampede of emails come through.

It’s just like the scene out of the Bruce Almighty movie.

When the phone rings countless times a day with a parent on the other line ready to tell us all about their child, it takes time out of our hectic schedules to explain that you just need to go to the website.

This is not us being rude, we love that everyone is so enthusiastic about joining.

As we always say, this is a co-working relationship. If you do your part, our job is soooo much easier! Let’s create a solid foundation for your child, and start this off the right way.

Show us that you’re an informed parent who takes this business seriously.

We will all be better off because of it!

Rising above the hate and negativity

Rising above the hate and negativity

Have you ever been to a casting and just felt some major evil eyes on your kid as soon as you walked in the door?  Have you ever felt like this industry is an arrow and your the bullseye?
While I am proud to say that Sprout Kids has some of the most unified and supportive parents I’ve ever come across, this is not standard. We do try to keep the peace, and stray away from any outside drama.

This is a field of mamas who are drama mamas and a business with a lot of jealousy attached to it. The second someone starts making moves, people start to notice, and then start to talk. In this industry Negative Nancys, and Bitter Bettys sipping on an extra strong doses of haterade are just waiting on the next person to contaminate with some bad juju. Again, their reasoning is how dare their kid not get every booking they casted for; Or how dare this agent change the status quo. We were all so comfortable the way it was, and I can’t always blame them. There can be a sense of superiority when you’ve been doing this for so long. To see a newcomer come in and try to steal the crown… it hurts. People notice and react. Some more gracefully than others. It just comes with the territory. The bigger the threat, the more people cannot handle it. Letting go of the throne isn’t easy for anyone.

All empires eventually fall, and to expect to be the greatest of the great forever and always is delusional. Change is necessary. It’s unrealistic to assume that your child possesses every quality for every booking every single time.  It’s unrealistic that in a world that’s forever changing that the industry won’t change with it. I’m a strong believer that everyone has a season, some do last longer than others. Some will not easily be defeated. If there is someone who is breaking boundaries, and catching the right attention, people with the wrong intention will try to knock you down behind your back. Some will smile in your face, and If you’re lucky they won’t. 

You must always be confident in who you are as a parent, a person, and your child’s abilities. My greatest advice in staying away from the negativity is to stay quiet. Keep it all  to yourself. Is your child on hold? Don’t spread it all over. Humble bragging only gives you more hate. Followers preying on their downfall. Succeed in silence. Is another Agency getting a little attention? That’s o.k., it doesn’t mean yours isn’t good. Be and lead by example. People will mock you, when in reality they want what you’ve got. They will laugh, and then try to imitate whatever it is you are doing. I always tell my kids: “There is only one you, and that, my dear, is your super power.”I could give someone every tool I had to create/discover on my own. I could give them the formula I used to open more doors… and they will never get the same result. Not because they aren’t great, but because everyone possesses their own unique greatness within them. They key is to discover, or in many of our cases, help our children discover their own greatness. This isn’t a competition of who books the most jobs in one season.  It’s not about being the greatest, and the only. There is far more greater things to be concerned with. For parents, It’s just a future memory your child will hold with them for the rest of their lives. Make the journey a beautiful one, a genuine one. Not one of an anxious parent complaining about gossip that will seem so minuscule when you look back 20 years from now. Be peace, be the difference.  

Any negativity, any closed door is just a detour to get you to the destination meant for you. Let those unexpected storms water your roots, not drown you. Even when you are the negative voice in your head, and in your child’s head always remember a rainbow of blessings awaits you. What is yours can never belong to someone else. ️

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

The industry : from the Sproutlings Perspective

The industry : from the Sproutlings Perspective
We’ve talked a lot about the inner workings of the business, the do’s, the don’ts etc. 
We thought it was about time to hear directly from the kids who are at the center of it all.  
We posed the same four questions to a few Sproutlings of all different ages to get their varying take on being in the industry.
You know what they say….OUT IF THE MOUTHS OF BABES!
Get to know Aria Blue (13) IG @therealariablue
Q: How long have you been acting/modeling?
A: Since I was about 7 so for more than half my life! My first job was for Taylor Swift so that was really exciting.
Q: Do you prefer acting or modeling?
A: Hmmnn. Well, they are really different. I like both but you get a little spoiled with modeling because of hair and makeup and all that. With acting you have to put in lots of work. There’s classes and self tapes and you have to understand that you probably won’t hear back on most of the bigger auditions you do. It’s exciting but it really is hard work.
Q: What would you tell a friend who wants to get into the industry?
A: I would tell them 2 things. You have to do what your team asks even if if you don’t feel like it because it is a business. I would also tell them to have fun and not to get discouraged if they aren’t getting jobs right away. It should be a cool experience and not something that stresses you out. We really are lucky to get to have these opportunities so you might as well enjoy it all.
Q: What’s the high and low of being in show biz?
A: The high is definitely all the friends you make, travel and craft services! The low is sometimes not getting a part that you really loved. Also, sometimes you are really busy and other times it’s like crickets!
Get to know Giada Rae (10) IG @giada_rae
Q: How long have you been acting/modeling?
A. It’s been just a little over a year now professionally and I love it. My first job was a Disney commercial.
Q: Do you prefer acting or modeling?
A. Well I really used to like modeling because of the clothes and stuff but now I like acting more because you get to be on set, meet more people and actually be interactive.
Q: What would you tell a friend who wants to get into the industry?
A. I would tell them it would be a really fun thing to do but you have to know if you want to concentrate on – acting or modeling or both. Acting is like a magic 8 ball – you shake it and you never really know what’s doing to happen. It’s like life, kinda random.
Q: What’s the high and low of being in show biz?
A. I’d have to say the best part is being on set. Every time I get on set I make new friends and I feel proud because I worked hard to get there.
Auditioning can be hard because they can be far away from your house and self tapes have to be done even if I’m tired or whatever. To be honest, I’m not a fan of auditioning but it’s totally worth it to get to the part I love which is being on set!
Get to know Daisy Flores (4) IG @justdaisy_
Q: How long have you been acting/modeling?
A. For like, a long time, like all day. Since I was a baby.
Q: Do you prefer acting or modeling?
A: I like to do commercials. I can play pretend with toys and I have so much fun.
Q: What would you tell a friend who wants to get into the industry?
A: You can’t be distracted. Pay attention and have fun. Take a nap.

Q: What’s the high and low of being in show biz?
A: Sometimes it takes a longggg time. I hate waiting. The best is when my friends see me on the TV!

We couldn’t have said it better kiddos: have fun, work hard, make friends and take naps!

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.” 


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!

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