“I give up !!” I read this in a moms group for child models the other day. This mom was clearly over it. Over the business , over her child not booking , over it all . I’m not sure who she was , who her child was, or what exactly threw her over the edge? But I get it ! A whole group of parents encouraged her not to quit and told her this moment will pass … but will it ?
You see that’s the question so many of you don’t ask yourselves. Is this business right for my child or am I just trying to push a round peg into a square box? Let me start by saying “I feel ya”. Not long ago I was in your shoes too. My daughter modeled. She worked a lot as a baby. She was super easy , happy , and had these Shirley Temple curls that clients loved. Once she turned about six years old things slowed down. I needed to honestly ask myself was it everyone else or was my child no longer what they were looking for . That’s the hard part… excepting it’s time to move on.
I came to the realization modeling wasn’t in our cards anymore and we moved on to another hobby. I gotta be honest it was a bit rejuvenating to walk away. When I did I realized just how obsessive I got about something that really was just a fun hobby for my kid. It was kinda neat to truly look at the industry from an outside perspective without taking it so personally because it was my own child. I seriously have contemplated letting every parent work for me for a week just so they can see things through my eyes. Sometimes I think it’s like looking at earth through an astronauts eyes an realizing how small we are if that makes sense. I just think sometimes stepping away isn’t a bad idea. It doesn’t mean you can’t come back but I assure you that you’ll come back with a new set of eyes. Here is what I can say . If things have slowed down for your child be honest with yourself. Is this right for our child ? Am I holding on for dear life for my child or is this for me ? If it is for your child you also need to be honest with the idea that there’s a chance your child isn’t right for this business. If you are really truly unsure you can ask your agent to be honest with you. Just make sure when you ask you are going to get an honest answer and be prepared for it. Not every kid is meant for this just like every kid isn’t going to be the next Michael Jordan. Take it as it comes , enjoy the process , and know when to walk away
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.
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.”
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 forTaylor Swiftso 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!
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 .
A blog post on how to be a “Model mom” by Sprout Kids Agency owner, Shaina Miller.
Let’s talk about behavior on set. Not just your kids’ behavior but there are also do’s and dont’s for parents on set as well. Let’s touch upon this .
So your child just booked a job, you arrive at the location, you’re in the holding area, there are producers and directors on set. What is appropriate? Do you talk to them? Introduce yourself? If you have a toddler do you help the photographer? The short answer to all of this is a firm no.
Every once in a while I might get a call from production about a parent on set. What’s even worse is when I get a call and that child is sent home due to a parent’s behavior on set. Please don’t be that parent .
When your child’s booked on a job your one and only job is to get them to the location. You are their driver and that’s it. Being invisible is always best unless you’re specifically asked a question or asked for help. I would advise to never talk to the director or producer unless they come to you and ask you a question. Remember it’s your child they booked on the job, not the parent. They are shooting these campaigns every month or more and they have parents trying to “suck up “ to them on a daily basis and believe me, they don’t like it .
I have been on the production side of this industry and there is nothing better than parents that mind their own business, reads a book or does some work while their child is on set.
Now, what if you have a toddler that’s “misbehaving” on set. Simple answer is let production handle it unless they ask for your help. There will be times where in your mind your child is being rambunctious or misbehaving but a director or photographer is loving it. I have had a lot of moms jump in while I’m shooting and try to tell their child to stop doing whatever it was they were doing, I was absolutely loving what the child was doing and in turn the parent ruined the whole shot. So what you might perceive as being a problem a photographer might love. So the best thing to do when they take your child on set is say “hi my name is … and if you need me for anything I’m right here“, hand your child to them and if they need you they will come get you. Never leave your child on set alone without you there unless you’re running a quick errand. Directors are not babysitters.
With that being said, sometimes your child might have to wait to be called on set . Waiting could range from ten minutes to several hours. Always bring something to keep your child busy while they wait on set. We never know the wait time so bringing games, quiet toys, and even some snacks are always a good option.
While you’re waiting you typically meet other “model moms”, this seems to be gossip hour. Again this is not the time for you to brag about your child’s bookings, bad mouth other agencies, or find out all the industry gossip. Set is a professional environment and in turn everyone on set should act accordingly. Every day I receive calls from moms I work with about what so and so’s mom said on set. Remember you never know who’s listening and 95% of the “advice” you’re receiving is probably inaccurate. Johnny’s mom is bragging about her booking and your son wasn’t called?? Now you’re upset at your agent. In reality Johnny has brown eyes and your son has blue and the director wanted a boy to look like a dad with brown eyes,which is why your child wasn’t called. Magically that was left out when Johnny’s mom told you about his amazing booking. Moms love to make other moms squirm, they love to brag about their kids, and it’s easy to feel jealous or upset. Please don’t use a booking as a time to gossip.
If you have other children DO NOT BRING THEM ON SET UNLESS YOU HAVE ASKED AHEAD OF TIME. This is a big no no! If you have no other choice but to bring another child you must let your agent know so they can advise the client. It is frowned upon in the industry to bring anyone other than yourself and your child on set. This also means one parent and the child. Both parents, grandparents, in-laws, or aunts and uncles should never be on set, it should only be the person driving the child and the child. The less noise and distractions the better.
Now what happens if your child loses a tooth, scratches their face, gets a rash? Or you’re booked as a parent on set and there is something that in some way might affect the shoot or the client booking yourself or your child? What do you do? You call your agent. It’s better to be safe than sorry. It’s never fun to lose a booking but it’s always worse to lose a client altogether. If an agent loses a client because you failed to disclose something that might affect the shoot this could mean the end of your relationship with your agent. And you not just lost the job for yourself but for all the other families as well. So please be considerate and mindful of all the effort that goes into a production. Honesty is always the best policy and it’s always appreciated.
I hope this helps answer some questions and helps us all have a better on set experience .
Do you work ? If not does your husband , wife , aunt , uncle, or friend ? I’m sure someone in your household works or you wouldn’t be able to pay for the internet to read this blog. Would that person work all day out of the kindness of their own heart? Would they work 6, 8, or 12 hours for no paycheck ? Would you ? Probably not. Neither should your child! This industry has taken a turn. In a lot of ways it’s been for the better but in one way it’s taken a nose dive! Social media clients, small brands who mainly operate on FB and IG expecting your child to work for free. This subject is one that makes fire come out of my ears!! I realize all of you want your child to grow their following, but is it worth ruining the industry ? Is it worth doing this one shoot if it causes the client to hire kids for free instead of paying them? This was unheard of years ago ! A child that was a signed model would never shoot for free ! It just wasn’t an option . Let’s not forget your child has value just as you do. Your time is valuable and so is theirs. Think of your little model as a brand. They are a professional child model , they have experience , the look, the following . All of that has value and should not come free of charge. Did the photographer get paid? Did the stylist ? Did the makeup artist ? You bet your but they did! So why should your child who does all the work make nothing in return ?? The simple answer is they shouldn’t !
Let me explain it this way. If there are 10 clients that come to Florida and they have a clothing line they want to shoot, typically they hire a photographer, hair and makeup artist , stylist , some times art director , and always models. The shoot wouldn’t work without the full team right ? So typically they would pay each member of the team and if they couldn’t afford to they might postpone the shoot for a time when their budget is higher . So let’s say they hired 5 kids at $500 a day plus agency fee. Now the child made their money and it was worth their time to take off school or a potential play date with a friend. The agency was able to make a fee and help keep their doors open and so did the rest of the team. Now times that by 10 clients a year. That’s a significant amount of money lost for the children and the Agencies . This is on 10 clients and we all know their are thousand upon thousands doing this! The industry is losing and your child is losing! All for what ? A couple followers if your lucky.
My thoughts are this. If you want a child to work for your campaign for free you can hire a friends child or a child playing at the park. If you want a certain esthetic for your line which entails a professional child model than you need to budget for it. That simple! Again , you wouldn’t work for free and neither should a child. Let’s not forget the element of burning your child out either. I mean if I photograph 5 or more kids a day I’m tired and I get burnt out just like anyone would. So does your child! Do you want to run the risk of them getting burnt out on the industry because of a few free shoots?
I know next I’m going to hear… “ but what about the smaller clothing lines that don’t have a budget for models?” My simple answer is wait until you have the budget like the good old days where you had to grow a business for it to be successful. Just this week I shot a brand new clothing line they had a limited budget and I knew that, but instead of having them go to another photographer and not pay the kids I gave them a starter rate for new clients and they got a full shoot with models for a very reasonable price. I would rather do this then ruin the industry. For smaller brands there is also the option to photograph a few of your favorite pieces on models and the rest on mannequins to save some money. There are plenty of options but everyone wants something for nothing, and we are prepared to give it to them .
Please guys help me help you ! Let’s start a MY KID WILL NOT WORK FOR FREE REVOLUTION!! If we join together we can fix this!
“When we stand up for what we believe in—for what’s right—there is always a chance that we risk the very things we fight for: our safety, our lives, our freedom. But if we stand down, the risk is definite.”
We all come from different walks of life. Each of us experience life differently. As model moms it’s easy to get blinded by the glam and the flashing lights. At the end of the day we are all just moms who want the best for our kids.
This blog is about two very special Sprout Kids Agency moms who are sharing their journey and experience with our readers.
Meet Kirsten !
Mom to Sprout Kids Mia, and Jadon
I’d never considered the modeling industry for my children , ages 10 and 12, until someone approached us and mentioned they might be a good fit.
Of course I was skeptical but I decided to do my research to determine if this was a great opportunity.After signing with an agency and shooting some incredible campaigns, we’ve learned many lessons: from how to choose and partner with an agency, the ins and outs of the business and how to best prepare. Modeling and acting can be an incredibly rewarding experience for your children. It can serve as a great confidence booster for kids and the industry allows for an amazing opportunity to meet new people. We’ve enjoyed our time, my kids have blossomed and we are so grateful to be aligned with an agency who supports our children’s goals and values. Child modeling and acting isn’t for everyone but if you do your research , ask questions and remember to have fun it can be a wonderful experience !
Mom to Sprout Kids Amaya and Lilah
I am a teacher and learning to be a newborn photographer. I am also a momager to my two girls, Amaya and Lilah. Amaya is a gymnast and Lilah plays tennis and dances and they both love to model and act
What did you look for in an agency?
Kirstin: First and foremost I was looking for someone who had integrity and a great reputation. Someone my family would be proud to align with. I also looked for someone who was willing to take the time to educate us about the industry to ensure we had a positive experience. Lastly , we looked for someone who valued diversity, someone who understood the needs of their talent and respected those needs.
Stacey: Competency, knowledge, trust and that the agency has my kids best interest at heart.
What should parents expect from their agent?
Kirstin:I believe parents should expect a partnership that includes clear and honest communication. The news might not always be positive and it’s important to find an agent who is willing to communicate both good and bad.Kirstin:
Stacey: Expect what you put into your agency is what you’ll get out of it. It’s a team effort.
What tips do you have to help new parents have a good working relationship with their agent?
Kirstin: What tips do you have to help new parents have a good working relationship with their agent?
Stacey: always be transparent with your agent. Make a concerted effort to get to as many castings as you can. Respond to your agent quickly because clients are waiting for agencies when they have to wait for a response from the talent. Always keep resumes and stats everything up to date. Put in the effort. Once your agent sees that, she will do the same for your child. It takes equal effort from the agent and talent to make your child successful in this industry.
How did you first get your child into Modeling/acting?
Kirstin: My daughter is a competitive skimboarder and spends most of her free time at the beach. While on the beach one day we were approached by a mom in the industry who mentioned that it might be a good opportunity for our daughter. Of course , we were skeptical but after researching their agency and digging a little deeper we decided to take the leap and submit our daughter. It happened rather organically.
Stacey: My friend had her baby modeling and so I sent Amaya’s picture to the manager at the time and that kicked off her career. Lilah followed Stacey:
What surprised you most about the industry?
Kristin: One of the biggest surprises wasn’t how quickly things move. One day you are sitting on the beach, the next day you have to be at a casting. Clients are working around tight deadlines , travel schedules and even the weather, so when they need you there often isn’t a lot of time to prepare, you just have to go with the flow !
Stacey: Most things are very last minute so we have to be extremely flexible
How did you prepare your child for this industry?
Kirstin: I think one of the best ways to prepare your child for the industry is to be open and honest. Rejection is a part of the industry but it has no relation to their value. We talk a lot about this not being a sport , you don’t win or lose, but you do get to have fun.
Stacey: They were babies when they started, but as they got older, I just follow their lead. Whenever they’d ask me questions, I’d answer them. I didn’t want to give them more industry info than they were ready to understand.
What advice would you give new parents looking to get their children into the industry?
Kirstin: My advice for any new parent is to research your agent, make sure you click. They are your business partner and will play a big role in your child’s life, it’s important that you feel comfortable. Also, be realistic, there are tons of adorable kids, yours included, but don’t expect overnight success. If your child books one job a year , that is one job more than many kids. Also, have fun and don’t take it to seriously. There are many ups and downs with this business , keeping a positive attitude is critical.
Stacey: Make sure you are flexible and that your child if they want to do it. It is a big time commitment so be prepared to invest a lot of time into the industry because what you put in is what you get out of it . Most importantly, find an agency that you can trust. But, don’t just jump on the first one that gives you an offer, do some research and then go with your instinct as to which one will be the best one for your child.
What lessons have you learned?
Kirstin: We’ve learned many lessons. The biggest one is that I personally play a big role in my child’s success. I do this by supporting my agent with things like , being responsive , showing up on time and having willingness to adjust our schedule. I think in the beginning I didn’t understand how critical my role was, but by understanding the bigger picture I now know how I can best support everyone. Also, never compare always celebrate. A booking for another child does not mean a loss for yours.
Stacey:Patience, how to handle rejection, and to teach your kids to be humble and grateful for every opportunity that comes their way. Even if you don’t get one opportunity you may have wanted, there may be something just around the corner even better!
What has been the most rewarding about this industry?
Kirsten: This industry can be so rewarding. My daughter and son have both become more confident and willing to try new things. They are excited to meet new people. They have also become more mature ,understanding that being professional, polite and kind always wins.
Stacey: Building relationships with so many amazing people. Traveling to fun locations. It has also been a joy to see confidence my kids have gained from being a part of this industry which translates into all aspects of their life.Stacey:
What was your initial investment, if any?
Kirstin: The biggest investment we made was quality headshots. Headshots matter ! It’s not a huge financial investment but it was critical for us to get started. Finding a photographer who can captured our child’s personality did wonders to launch her career.
Stacey: Headshots and Casting Networks Subscription
Supporting your child
How much time can new parents expect to dedicate?
Kirstin: The time commitment really varies. Some weeks/ months are very busy with castings others are quite. I think the best thing to remember is always be ready.
Stacey: It varies. During the busy months, there can be several castings per week and sometimes more than one in the same day. Then, if your child books it, you can expect to be at the booking anywhere from 2-10 hours. It all varies so much depending on the project.Stacey:
How do you help your child handle rejection?
Kirstin: Rejection is definitely a big part of this business. We are very honest with them and always remind them that it has nothing to do with who they are.
Stacey: They understand that rejection comes with this industry and if they know they are constantly striving to improve their acting skills, showing up to as many castings as possible, and always doing their best, the rest is out of their hands. They also understand that often times, they may be “on hold” or had a callback which they find out they didn’t book and have the knowledge that it simply could come down to matching a family together or looking for a particular ethnicity. I also always tell them that when one door closes, another one opens.
What role does social media play for your child?
Kirstin: Social media has served as a great way to meet other families. We definitely don’t take it too seriously. I manage their accounts, they are too young.Kirstin:
Stacey: We have an Instagram page @amaya_lilah_sistermodels and we try to actively post on it as much as possible. But, we are still in the beginning stages of understanding the social media world in relation to the modeling and acting industry.
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.
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