Social Media VS Real life

Social Media VS Real life

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 .

When life gives you lemons 🍋

When life gives you lemons 🍋

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 🍋!

10 Things you wish you knew when starting your industry journey

10 Things you wish you knew when starting your industry journey

As an Agent ( especially one that is big on education) I tend to think my parents have all the tools they need for the business. Over the years I have realized there is a lot of useful info parents of kids in the business have too that can help guide someone new. Sometimes even better info than I might be able to offer because it’s from a parents perspective.

So what better way to give all the newer kids and parents out there an inside look into the modeling world than from an experienced parents perspective . So I asked a bunch of my moms “ if there was one or more things you know about the business that you wish you knew from the beginning , what would it be and why?” These are their responses . I hope this helps anyone new in the business become more prepared. I know it was pretty eye opening for me 🙂

  1. Debbie says “ When gabby showed interest I had no idea where to go. What kind of pictures did she need. Could i use a regular camera? I would think most parents don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars for a maybe. We were lucky I have a friend who is a photographer But they still weren’t right. It was enough to get her signed but now I see a huge difference from that and what she gets now. There is a huge difference from you taking a picture and having a professional take them. Find out what your agents looking for in the pictures and get them done !
  2. Shannon says “ In size and out of size. I have so many people ask me about getting their child into the industry when they are around 18 months. So when is a good time to start and also to expect down times and busy times. Most babies are in size from 0-12 months but then out of size from 12 months to 3 years old. When they become 3 things start picking up again. I also noticed a lot of older babies that were small for their age booking more. And Big babies don’t usually get booked. You may not want to say it that way (I’m brutally Blunt) LOL. But being a baby in the 99th percentile for weight is not good for baby modeling. You would obviously know more about this than I would but that was the first thing I noticed on set. Also, it doesn’t matter how cute your baby is, they need to be well behaved and can easily go with other people. If they cry every time mom leaves, don’t bother. So Rider was always in the 25th percentile for growth. He wore size 6 months when he was 10 months. He’s 4 now and still in 3t. Anyway, with babies, many are bigger and may wear size 12-18 months when they are 6 months old. Older babies can do more, sit up, crawl etc. So they are more likely to book a 10 month old who can wear 6 months than a 5 month old who can’t do those things yet.”
  3. Alicia says “ I had to learn to not take it personal when your kid isn’t booked from a casting. I use feel like I did something wrong like, not choosing the perfect outfit or maybe her hair wasn’t perfect. Or maybe she didn’t smile enough lol I had all the anxiety while she was just having fun 🙃”
  4. Melissa says “ In my case. Avoid over paying and enrolling your child in Talent Search companies like Barbizon, Talent Auditions. They charge over 3K in classes that are not real classes. They just want you to pay for overpriced headshots, acting and modeling classes. If I knew you could just go directly to an Agency and send your child pictures. I would it have save a lot of money and then been able to invest in real acting classes and photo sessions. 💯”
  5. Jennifer says “ I wish I knew before how fast the castings are done, meaning you can get a call to be somewhere in 1 day. To always be on your toes when it’s time for a casting. It’s hard to plan but when they’re younger and home with you it’s easier. “
  6. Amanda says “ 1) a photographer can make or break you. Sometimes people want to go the cheaper route but that’s not going to benefit you in the long run. You’ll end up needing new photos anyway and spending double what you needed to. It’s an investment. Nothing can guarantee you jobs but good photos will definitely put you in the forefront over bad photos. Also – you get what you pay for 2) when you ask for quick cellphone photos at the house it’s imperative you do them correct and you’ve put out examples. No distractions – accessories good background etc. a quick digital needs to look as professional as possible❤️❤️”
  7. Lindsay “ Something I wish we knew when we first started was how short notice you can be given for castings, self tapes or bookings. You aren’t generally given much notice or time to clear your schedule or find a sitter, etc. The casting can be anywhere from Miami to Tampa (that I know of). Luckily our personal work schedule works great for this business because one parent is always home with the girls and we are almost always available and do our best to make that short notice work. But with bookings, sometimes trying to find a sitter for the other sibling can be a challenge with short notice. Family Self Tapes are also difficult for us. We would love to be considered for family jobs, but we are together as a family once every 3rd day, so when we are given only 24 hrs at times to submit a family tape, that is most likely not going to be the day we are both off together and can’t possibly submit. “
  8. Tessa says “ I wish I had known that although I was allowed to be onset my opinion wasn’t. I remember the first time I was on set, I was singing,dancing, and playing peek-a-boo with my baby until the stylist asked me politely to basically to stop being annoying. I mean I was totally annoying. They have an entire staff dedicated to making the kids happy. A mom who is too involved just stresses everyone out, including the child. Now I look for a spot where kids can’t see me, but I can see them. I get to enjoy the process, not stress out and watch the magic happen. If they need you they 100% will tell you!
  9. Maria says “ So having multiple kids in the biz is crazy stressful. I wish I had known that just because my kid is beautiful and their siblings love being in the spotlight, it doesn’t mean that they do too.I don’t push them to do jobs anymore. It stresses out my son, and he starts turning into another kid on set. I get stressed, the crew gets stressed, and by the end of the day I feel defeated. It’s not worth it anymore, and just not fair for my kid. Know when to let go, and when to sign up for soccer classes instead. Lol !
  10. Angie says “If your child wants to be an actor 1000000% sign them up for acting classes! It taught my kids how to audition like pros, and how to overcome their stage fright. There are so many kids who are auditioning for the exact same role, and a lot of the time have a similar look to your child. It so important to have an edge over some of the other kids. Practice totally makes perfect when it comes to acting.My kids wake up so happy on acting class days!

How to reject rejection!

How to reject rejection!

How to reject rejection :

One of the topics most of my parents are concerned about when deciding to try out the modeling and talent industry is the fear of rejection . They don’t want to destroy their child’s self esteem as we all know this industry can be filled with a lot more “No’s” than “ yes’s”. Totally understandable ! I get it ! These are our children we are talking about and the last thing we want is for them to hurt .

Here is the thing . I have noticed over the last 13 years in the industry that the parents tend to care more than the kids do in regards to booking a job . Kids tend to go to a casting and forget it. All the while the parents tend to be the ones loosing sleep wondering if their child will be picked. Kids have this way of being in the moment. If it’s not happening now they are not really thinking about it. Which can be a really great thing in this business.

The truth is … do you really want your child to book every job? Can you imagine the monster that would create ? You don’t want the opposite effect with a child that books every job and doesn’t learn humility right ? I truly believe you need to hear a few “No’s” so you can really appreciate when you hear a “yes”. There is nothing worse to an agent than when a kid books everything and a parent doesn’t seem excited or grateful because it is expected. We get so excited to call you and tell you about your booking and we want you to be just as excited if not more than we are.

If you do happen to have a child that’s a bit more on the sensitive side ,the best approach is one from the very start . As soon as they are mature enough to understand explain that there are several kids that audition, all the kids deserve it , but the director can only choose one or so . Explain to your child that it doesn’t mean your not great but they might want a child a certain age , height , or a child that matches a “parent “ exactly . I would also recommend not bringing it up again after the audition. Like I said most kids have a short attention span and will forget 20 minutes after leaving the audition.

Rejection is part of human nature . Whether it’s a job , partner , friend , sport , or this industry , it comes with the territory of life. It makes for a well rounded individual. I realize we all want to shelter our kids from rejection as it’s part of our nature as parents to protect our kids from any pain . Remember you want the victory to mean something and it can’t mean something without a few bumps in the road . I promise you , you feel the bumps more than your children do . I also promise it will mean that much more when they do finally get the job.

I understand as parents we worry and that’s ok. My greatest advice is to forget the audition as soon as you walk out the door and your child will too. They are not as fragile as we think they are and you’re making a stronger individual in the long run .

How to increase your chances of booking during Covid-19?

How to increase your chances of booking during Covid-19?

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!


Headshots

Check out our blog on headshots!


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:


Backdrop
Blue is industry standard for Self-tapes, and Videos while white is more standard for Print. Determine which is your niche and buy accordingly.
Superior Seamless Photography Background Paper, 11 Royal Blue (53 inches Wide x 18 feet Long) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078P6T3TN/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_nL73Eb68BGMPY
Huamei Seamless Photography Background Paper, Photo Backdrop Paper (4.4×16 Feet, Arctic White) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FD2P4FW/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_6L73EbAYJZYYN
Backdrop Stand-
Emart 8.5 x 10 ft Photo Backdrop Stand, Adjustable Photography Muslin Background Support System Stand for Photo Video Studio https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FY4TVKH/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_NM73EbEWPCD9J

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.

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.

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!

How to choose your agent ? And when to break up with them .

How to choose your agent ? And when to break up with them .

A Blog post by Sprout Kids Agency Miami owner Shaina Miller

Let’s be honest . Your kids amazing right ? Well of course you would say yes…. well at least I hope you did . Does your agent think your child’s amazing ? Now that’s the question you want answered. In an industry filled with options how you choose the agent that’s right for you, how you know when your agent is no longer a good fit and how you break up amicably? Are extremely important.

Choosing an Agent

Like I said you have multiple options when looking for a good agent to represent your child but let’s remember an agent has thousands of options when looking for kids. The ratio of agent to talent is enormous. Not all agents are created equally. Just like humans each agent specializes, or is more versed in certain areas/ So what makes a good fit ? There is one question you need to ask yourself when you meet an Agent “did this agency feel excited about representing my child and do they seem to believe in my child ?” That is the most important question! If you left the agency feeling like the agency was super excited about your child then chances are it’s a good fit . If you left feeling kind of eh

😕

then I would continue your search . There are a lot of great Agency’s out there but that doesn’t mean they are great for YOU. What might work for one child might not work for another. That doesn’t mean that the agent is bad, it just means they just may not be able to give you the same experience as an agent who is over the moon ecstatic about repping your kid(s).

Now let’s say your already signed by an Agent. How do you determine if that agent is good for you . Does your Agent believe in your child ? Answering that question also requires a bit of realism. I’m going to be 100% honest here so hold your horses!

Every agent has their favorites. I’m sorry but it’s just true. What many parents don’t understand is as much as we love you this is still a business and if an Agent is given a limited amount of spots on a casting they will always pick there “go to’s “ first. These are a small handful of about 30 kids in various sizes that tend to book the majority of jobs. We still have bills to pay and a company to run so we will always include those kids on castings. You have to be realistic when it comes to your child not every child is going to be a top pick, but you should always be called on more castings than your not. I had a realization this weekend while watching my son play in his hockey tournament over the weekend. It’s his first year on the travel team . There are players that have played since they were 3 years old and here is my son only playing for 2 years total. I was getting a little frustrated the coach didn’t play him as often as the other kids. Then reality hit. If I was the coach would I play him as much as the others… no I probably wouldn’t . The other players were more experienced and the truth is until he gets on their level the coach is going to do what he can to insure the team wins. So it might take a season or two for him to prove he’s worthy but he made the team and now it’s up to us to put in the effort so he gets played more. Which means private lessons , group lessons, and lots of practice. This industry is the same. As Agents we are going to play the kids that have the highest probability of “winning “ the role. If your child isn’t on the “A TEAM “ then it’s now up to you to ask your Agent what your child can do to improve. Let’s also remember every child isn’t the next Brad Pit or Angelina Jolie , in other words not everyone is made to be a star. All I can say is enjoy the moment . If your child books a job relish in it. If they don’t that’s ok too. If you truly with your whole heart believe this is what your child is made for then make sure your agent has that same belief. Just because they are the top Agent in your area doesn’t mean they are the top for you. You will feel it in your gut.

Time to say goodbye.

Now let’s say it’s time to breakup. This is never fun but it’s part of the process. If you honestly believe your child isn’t a good fit then the best thing to do is send an honest email to your Agent. I would NEVER tell your Agency where your moving to as that just opens the door to hurt feelings. The truth is as much as we don’t what to get hurt we are still human ( I think you guys forget that a lot ) so telling us your breaking up with us will sting , but saying your breaking up with us for another agency is like a stab in the heart . Just be mindful don’t let the other Agency instantly post on social media they are now representing your child. Remember this new relationship might not work out so it’s always good to keep the doors open . The grass isn’t always greener .

Remember as agents we are not miracle workers and we have limited power as to who is chosen by clients . Keeping your agent updated on your child and any classes they might be taking is always a sure way to be an agents top choice .

How much is your child worth?

How much is your child worth?

Can I ask you something ?

Do you work ? If not does your husband , wife , aunt , uncle, or friend ? I’m sure someone in your household works or you wouldn’t be able to pay for the internet to read this blog. Would that person work all day out of the kindness of their own heart? Would they work 6, 8, or 12 hours for no paycheck ? Would you ? Probably not. Neither should your child!
This industry has taken a turn. In a lot of ways it’s been for the better but in one way it’s taken a nose dive! Social media clients, small brands who mainly operate on FB and IG expecting your child to work for free. This subject is one that makes fire come out of my ears!! I realize all of you want your child to grow their following, but is it worth ruining the industry ? Is it worth doing this one shoot if it causes the client to hire kids for free instead of paying them? This was unheard of years ago ! A child that was a signed model would never shoot for free ! It just wasn’t an option .
Let’s not forget your child has value just as you do. Your time is valuable and so is theirs. Think of your little model as a brand. They are a professional child model , they have experience , the look, the following . All of that has value and should not come free of charge. Did the photographer get paid? Did the stylist ? Did the makeup artist ? You bet your but they did! So why should your child who does all the work make nothing in return ?? The simple answer is they shouldn’t !

Let me explain it this way. If there are 10 clients that come to Florida and they have a clothing line they want to shoot, typically they hire a photographer, hair and makeup artist , stylist , some times art director , and always models. The shoot wouldn’t work without the full team right ? So typically they would pay each member of the team and if they couldn’t afford to they might postpone the shoot for a time when their budget is higher . So let’s say they hired 5 kids at $500 a day plus agency fee. Now the child made their money and it was worth their time to take off school or a potential play date with a friend. The agency was able to make a fee and help keep their doors open and so did the rest of the team. Now times that by 10 clients a year. That’s a significant amount of money lost for the children and the Agencies . This is on 10 clients and we all know their are thousand upon thousands doing this! The industry is losing and your child is losing! All for what ? A couple followers if your lucky.

My thoughts are this. If you want a child to work for your campaign for free you can hire a friends child or a child playing at the park. If you want a certain esthetic for your line which entails a professional child model than you need to budget for it. That simple! Again , you wouldn’t work for free and neither should a child. Let’s not forget the element of burning your child out either. I mean if I photograph 5 or more kids a day I’m tired and I get burnt out just like anyone would. So does your child! Do you want to run the risk of them getting burnt out on the industry because of a few free shoots?

I know next I’m going to hear… “ but what about the smaller clothing lines that don’t have a budget for models?” My simple answer is wait until you have the budget like the good old days where you had to grow a business for it to be successful. Just this week I shot a brand new clothing line they had a limited budget and I knew that, but instead of having them go to another photographer and not pay the kids I gave them a starter rate for new clients and they got a full shoot with models for a very reasonable price. I would rather do this then ruin the industry. For smaller brands there is also the option to photograph a few of your favorite pieces on models and the rest on mannequins to save some money. There are plenty of options but everyone wants something for nothing, and we are prepared to give it to them .

Please guys help me help you ! Let’s start a MY KID WILL NOT WORK FOR FREE REVOLUTION!! If we join together we can fix this!

“When we stand up for what we believe in—for what’s right—there is always a chance that we risk the very things we fight for: our safety, our lives, our freedom. But if we stand down, the risk is definite.” 

From the outside looking in.

From the outside looking in.

How it all began

This blog series is dedicated to how a mom with kids in the industry understands not only the struggles of fellow moms but agents as well. It will serve as a guide to help navigate your journey in the entertainment industry with eyes that have seen both the parenting and agency side.

I wasn’t always a working mom. I was a mommy mom. I was the type of mom that only shared about my kids on Facebook (well, still do). I was all about my mommyhood and never strayed from my official “mom uniform”  of black compression leggings and a highly knotted mom bun. I’d tote my infant in his baby carrier and toddler in her way overpriced stroller to all the castings I received. I was a typical stay-at-home model mom: bored out of my mind, just looking forward to the next casting. 

Ok, to be honest , I was borderline obsessed! My manager even had her very own, very distinguishable ring/text tone, and you better believe those emails were marked as VIP. (Not that she really needed it because I refreshed my emails religiously every other minute.) I, too, was in a daze by the flash of all the photos taken of my “perfect” children. 

Oh , they were perfect. God forbid someone try  to get me off my high horse and reject my child. I had my model mom bff’s on speed dial so that we could trash talk the stupid casting that “we didn’t want to go to anyway,” or the crazy casting directors, who obviously only wanted everyday kids, not my stunning child. Why else would they not pick me?!…. I mean… my kid.

In reality, I was an amateur. I was the mom who almost every mom in this business is in the beginning. The mom who just cannot handle the rejection as well as they thought they could. I used to think, “Oh, modeling will be just something else to do.” Then, it became everything!  

The hardest part in the modeling business is to accept it when someone rejects your “perfect child.” I think that any parent who doesn’t think that they have created a future legend should get an award. It is normal to think that way, but it doesn’t mean that everyone thinks that way. That’s the lesson I learned from rejection.

I think that if I never got a job in the industry, I would still be like every other mom lost in obsession. The mom that no one can stand. You know exactly who I am talking about: the mom with her kids’ headshots and resume neatly tucked into a leather (or pleather for the earth conscious mommy <3) portfolio, the mom who proudly calls herself a momager on her child’s instagram account (you know, the instagram with the paid followers), the mom who congratulates her own child on social media for her kid’s booking just to make other moms jealous #nothumblebrag (don’t do this by the way), the mom who talks way too much trying to get “in” with production but ultimately just ends up annoying the crap out of them. I promise I was totally getting to that point: the point where you think your kid is a star before he really is a star. Then, everything changed.

Everything that I thought I knew about the industry came crashing down within 24 hours of getting a job with THE top manager in all of South Florida and Orlando, who is now the owner of Sprout Kids Agency in Miami, FL. #Boss This was the same manager who I was positively sure hated my guts, up until the very second before I sent her THE message: the message that, unbeknownst to me, would change my life.

It was a typical day, I was sitting on the sofa scrolling on social media making sure no other agents or managers had posted new bookings. I had time for that, even if I swore I didn’t care. Out of the blue, on this completely ordinary day of my completely ordinary life, I heard that echoing loud obnoxious ring tone. Then, I got another, even before I could stop yelling at my kids to stop fighting. I always got nervous when I heard that tone; imagine two back to back. She was either really excited about something, or I must have pissed her off. 

I opened the email. Ok, she was mad, thankfully not at me. She was sending out instructions about a new agency she was working with and no one was listening. ( Little did I know, I would soon understand her frustration.) As I’m reading the emails, I get another alert. “CHECK YOUR EMAIL NOW!!” I can’t lie, she scared the crap out of me. Then, I got another all-caps message. When that 4th message came in, I got the BIGGEST urge to ask if she was ok, and it just wouldn’t go away.

 I wrote and rewrote THE message maybe 15 times. I am naturally shy and very awkward, always saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, so  the last thing that I wanted was to be the reason for another all-caps email. (I’d been there before, and I may have cried (she doesn’t remember this)… let’s just blame that on new mom emotions! She totally hated me…. or so I thought.) Once I finally mustered up the courage to send her THE text, I felt my soul leaping out of my body, and I now totally see this memory as an out of body experience, not even kidding. She texted me back almost instantly. She was at her breaking point, and I was too. I was tired of being just another mommy. I needed purpose, and she needed a helping hand she could trust. So that annoying ring tone rang, my heart was racing, but instead of being greeted by someone who I feared, I got a human that honestly put up with more than anyone should completely alone: to work with 13 agents, some not so nice agency owners, and hundreds of even more demanding parents. She held the weight of making sure everyone (hundreds of parents, 13 strict agents with their own agendas, and countless number of clients) was happy for 13 years, and it had become all-consuming, especially when the happiness of her kids, husband and most importantly her own expectations for joy had been met with disappointment.

In my head, I always thought, “How hard could it really be? I could do her job with my eyes closed.” #wrong SO wrong. I listened to her vent, and I offered to help her with all I could. I just didn’t think she would say yes. She did before I could even think about. She needed this, someone who would never let her down for the first time in years. For me, I somehow landed myself a job. As unexpected and organically as it could have happened, I didn’t even have time to call my husband and tell him. It was just meant to be, I didn’t just gain a job, I gained someone who I am so proud to know, someone, who I trust with my life. So did she. It was just the beginning of a beautiful and successful working relationship: Ying and Yang, Shake and Bake, Arnold and Danny.

I don’t think that any parent can fathom how draining this can be. I will not say that it is not rewarding, or that it doesn’t bring us great joy; it does. That is why we do this. We live to make kids smile and dreams come true. To be a part of such a magical journey, is just that: magical. However, we are not fairy godmothers, and no matter how hard we try and push a child, there will always be a mother who doesn’t think we did enough. 

Everyone thinks that they can do your job better. We have to deal with the know it all parents who “just want to offer some insight,” aka they want to tell us, “you don’t know what you are doing.” We do, and we are doing the best we can. If you want us to do better, then you can help! Follow directions, email and call us during business hours, go to your classes, keep on top of your casting sites, update your headshots without a reminder.

Agents and managers are notorious for leaving you on “read”, or not answering every question after you’ve emailed them 10 times. Let’s not even talk about the dreaded one letter response… K. I always thought she was just intentionally being mean, but I can promise you that your agent/manager does not hate you. They are just working so hard to make sure your child doesn’t miss an opportunity. Just imagine at least 500 talent/parents emailing and calling and texting you all day and night. Most parents don’t, but I have gotten daily texts at crazy hours( 3 am/ 12:30 am). The classic message starts with, “Sorry for the late text, but I had to message you now or I would forget.” What they really mean is #sorrynotsorry. 

I realized then that all the years of my child being represented by her, I didn’t ever before ask her about her. I didn’t ever care. That’s just the harsh reality. It makes me so sad that I could have ever been so blind. Working moms are moms, and they’re great ones who do whatever it takes to get things done… usually neglecting their own needs. I try now to be more conscious to never be that resentful person I was again. We are all humans just trying to make it through the day. Of course my kids’ careers matter, but it’s not an obsession anymore.

 I go to a casting, and I’m done. If they book, it’s a blessing, not a right. If they don’t book, it’s an opportunity to show off their skills. It doesn’t mean that the casting director is blind; it means they had a different vision already. If my kids don’t get requested and my friend’s kids do, I don’t secretly mope around all day sulking in my misery. I get genuinely happy that there are enough jobs for everyone. Once I changed my outlook, my karma started changing, and more doors opened up for my kids (all on their own, with no help from me) in different markets and here. 

The most important advice I can give a new mom, or veteran mom, is to be aware and not let rejection get to you. Life is so much greater than being obsessed with a booking. Remember the kids who did book the job wanted it just as badly as you did; they worked just as hard. Remember that your agent is human and forgets things or is just tired. Remember that the casting director is just trying to do their job and make the client happy. It is not personal, but you can be a personable person as you navigate on this journey. Let your child shine the way they were meant to, and everything that was meant to be for them will find them! Let them be who they want to be.

I can rant because I have done it, all of it. I really did. I assumed her phone was off when I was “just a mom” and I sent her an early morning message.The phones are never off, never on silent. Neither is your brain. Requests come in even when our brain just prays for one second, just one second of quiet. There are no weekends, no real vacations. This business never sleeps. We, just like you, refresh our emails religiously just to make sure we don’t miss a casting, so that you don’t miss an opportunity. We always have to be ready to jump on a computer and make sure that client has everything they need so that they keep coming back to us. You better believe that if we mess up, that client will not ever work with us again. That is the last thing we want, and not for selfish reasons. We try because all we want to do is make your child’s dreams come true, too. 

Here at Sprout Kids Agency, we work so hard because we are a family, and we care about your kids,too. We want nothing more than for your child to succeed. If it were up to us, every child would book, and there would be enough jobs for everyone, and everyone would be the perfect look for every client. Although we cannot guarantee that your child works, we do promise we will continue doing our very best to get them all the opportunities to be seen. We will continue to educate ourselves so that we can share the knowledge. We will be the difference. 

I am so blessed, and I say blessed and not lucky because it is so much more than luck to get to do something I am so passionate about. I get to make dreams come true everyday, and I get to do it with one of my favorite HUMAN beings that has ever walked the earth since the beginning of time. Shaina, for you, I am so grateful.

“There is nothing more prestigious than a beautiful soul painting the world with his or her vibrant colors. ” ~Bonnie Koury

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