This one is for the kids and probably a few moms . It doesn’t have much to do with being an agent and doesn’t offer helpful tips in the industry. This is more for the tween , teen , or even mom facing insecurities while flipping through the “ pages “ of social media .
For those of you not aware I have a 14 year old daughter. I have an 11 year old son as well but he hasn’t yet had to face the pressures of perfection due to Instagram , Facebook , Snapchat etc. I got inspired this morning as I was on Instagram and saw an old friends feed come up . She was once a pretty big model in the industry . She now has kids and makes a small living being an influencer. She also has this magical way of making her life look like perfection to all of us watching. I only bring her up because I know her. I know her life isn’t perfect like the rest of us. What I also know is she was a paid model . This mom was paid to know her best angles. She knows all the industry secrets on how to make her nose look great from just the right angle, how to make her legs look strong, lean ,and long , how to laugh so it looks natural and effortless, how to suck in her stomach just enough to make it look natural , and even how to take her thinner figure and make it look a little curvier in all the right places. I say this because your children and my children are watching her wanting to be her. She has a gorgeous home and a seemingly perfect life. What isn’t posted is credit card debt , saggy boobies from breastfeeding , arguments with her hubby, and unflattering double chin photos . You get to see a perfect face , body , family , house , and life.
Hey you ! Yes you! The one scrolling through insta wishing you had that life . I’m here to tell you it’s not real . Knowing what I know about the industry I think It’s important for me talk about the pressures of perfection. If it helps one child , one mom, one person then it’s worth it. So when you go from page to page and see these gorgeous beings know this … 99% of them are or were industry models . All the you tubers , Instagram models , tick tock kids. They all were models and or actors . They know how to move , pose , and act all just perfectly to make you watch . I have a trained eye I can see thinks you can’t and I know when someone is acting . I watched 3 different YouTube videos of famous YouTube couples playing pranks on each other yesterday . Whether it was pretending they cheated on the other one , pretending they were pregnant, pretending they gave their girlfriend / boyfriend money for a shopping spree. ALL OF IT WAS ACTING . NONE OF IT WAS REAL. Remember they are actors they are paid to pretend and to make you think it’s real . I watched this one couple prank each other pretending they cheated on the other one. The girl took her engagement ring off and got all mad. I read comment after comment of fans feeling bad for her or mad at her fiancé for pranking her. However , I watched this and saw a great acting performance. My daughter saw something totally different . That’s what they are paid for . To entertain you . To make you think all of this is real. Real life isn’t perfect. Real life isn’t made up of the perfect angle. My daughter has watched video after video. She has convinced herself her “ perfect nose “ needs a nose job, her but isn’t big enough , and she wishes to be more like what she sees on Tik Tock . In reality how long can a teen or 20 year old be a Tick Tock star ? What comes next ? What happens when the money runs dry when someone newer or younger comes around . What happens when their “ look “ isn’t in anymore. What’s left is who you are as a person and the real life you created . And are you happy ? I personally took all social media off my daughters phone . FYI I’m NOT a strict parent at all! I just wanted her to love herself without a filter and without comparing her life to someone else’s. I can tell you she’s much happier for it.
This insecurity isn’t just apparent in kids it’s also in adults. One month of watching these accounts and I wanted a tummy tuck , lip injections , fillers, and even a nose job. I NEVER WANTED A NOSE JOB IN MY WHOLE LIFE. I see pregnant moms who had a baby and in 30 days are posting bikini photos of their perfect body before and after . Like what the hell ? I can’t even give birth and gain pregnancy weight any more ? Now gaining pregnant weight is taboo? How can we ever live up to all this pressure. The truth is we don’t ! We turn it off! We live in the present of our own little lives as imperfectly perfect as they are. We learn to look at our faces without a filter and we are grateful for our health and the gifts we are given. We don’t know what’s happening behind closed doors in all these influencers lives and without knowing their truth we can’t honestly want what they have can we ? We don’t have all the pieces to the puzzle . My suggestion is … get rid of it! Take it out of their hands until they are old enough to know the reality that what they see and hear is not reality after all .
They say when life hands you lemons make lemonade right ? With this crazy pandemic it’s the perfect time now that everyone is bored to update sizes ! Ok so it’s not quite lemonade but it’s lemons with a little sugar on top lol!
Did you know when a client is looking for a child nine times out of ten they are requesting a certain height not age . Unless it’s a commercial or film . When it’s print they are always casting by size. I know I tell all my kids how important it is to update sizes but I think it’s important to realize just how crucial it actually is . Most of you live probably 30 minutes or more from your casting location . You take your whole day preparing for a casting. Dressing your child , driving down , paying for parking , and sitting to wait for your turn . Do you want to spend a whole day preparing for a casting to be turned away ? Do you want your agent to be upset with you because the client called asking why Johnny showed up to their casting and is 3 inches too tall . Probably not .
Taking 3 minutes of your day to update your child will save you hours of wasted time by showing up to a casting your child wasn’t in size for . I realize a lot of you think “ hey what’s an extra two or three inches ?” An extra two to three inches means a lot to a brand that wants their jeans to perfectly fit a child’s length and your child looks like they are waiting for a flood to arrive .
I get it ! Your excited and you don’t want your child to miss a potential opportunity. However , you risk a lot more by having the wrong sizes in the system . You also risk not being casted for something your child fits perfectly. Sizes matter guys ! Having the correct sizes in the system gives me a smile from ear to ear ( it’s like Christmas) . So take this time where we are all not doing much to log into your agents site and update. Now for my lemonade 🍋!
As an Agent ( especially one that is big on education) I tend to think my parents have all the tools they need for the business. Over the years I have realized there is a lot of useful info parents of kids in the business have too that can help guide someone new. Sometimes even better info than I might be able to offer because it’s from a parents perspective.
So what better way to give all the newer kids and parents out there an inside look into the modeling world than from an experienced parents perspective . So I asked a bunch of my moms “ if there was one or more things you know about the business that you wish you knew from the beginning , what would it be and why?” These are their responses . I hope this helps anyone new in the business become more prepared. I know it was pretty eye opening for me 🙂
Debbie says “ When gabby showed interest I had no idea where to go. What kind of pictures did she need. Could i use a regular camera? I would think most parents don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars for a maybe. We were lucky I have a friend who is a photographer But they still weren’t right. It was enough to get her signed but now I see a huge difference from that and what she gets now. There is a huge difference from you taking a picture and having a professional take them. Find out what your agents looking for in the pictures and get them done !
Shannon says “ In size and out of size. I have so many people ask me about getting their child into the industry when they are around 18 months. So when is a good time to start and also to expect down times and busy times. Most babies are in size from 0-12 months but then out of size from 12 months to 3 years old. When they become 3 things start picking up again. I also noticed a lot of older babies that were small for their age booking more. And Big babies don’t usually get booked. You may not want to say it that way (I’m brutally Blunt) LOL. But being a baby in the 99th percentile for weight is not good for baby modeling. You would obviously know more about this than I would but that was the first thing I noticed on set. Also, it doesn’t matter how cute your baby is, they need to be well behaved and can easily go with other people. If they cry every time mom leaves, don’t bother. So Rider was always in the 25th percentile for growth. He wore size 6 months when he was 10 months. He’s 4 now and still in 3t. Anyway, with babies, many are bigger and may wear size 12-18 months when they are 6 months old. Older babies can do more, sit up, crawl etc. So they are more likely to book a 10 month old who can wear 6 months than a 5 month old who can’t do those things yet.”
Alicia says “ I had to learn to not take it personal when your kid isn’t booked from a casting. I use feel like I did something wrong like, not choosing the perfect outfit or maybe her hair wasn’t perfect. Or maybe she didn’t smile enough lol I had all the anxiety while she was just having fun 🙃”
Melissa says “ In my case. Avoid over paying and enrolling your child in Talent Search companies like Barbizon, Talent Auditions. They charge over 3K in classes that are not real classes. They just want you to pay for overpriced headshots, acting and modeling classes. If I knew you could just go directly to an Agency and send your child pictures. I would it have save a lot of money and then been able to invest in real acting classes and photo sessions. 💯”
Jennifer says “ I wish I knew before how fast the castings are done, meaning you can get a call to be somewhere in 1 day. To always be on your toes when it’s time for a casting. It’s hard to plan but when they’re younger and home with you it’s easier. “
Amanda says “ 1) a photographer can make or break you. Sometimes people want to go the cheaper route but that’s not going to benefit you in the long run. You’ll end up needing new photos anyway and spending double what you needed to. It’s an investment. Nothing can guarantee you jobs but good photos will definitely put you in the forefront over bad photos. Also – you get what you pay for 2) when you ask for quick cellphone photos at the house it’s imperative you do them correct and you’ve put out examples. No distractions – accessories good background etc. a quick digital needs to look as professional as possible❤️❤️”
Lindsay “ Something I wish we knew when we first started was how short notice you can be given for castings, self tapes or bookings. You aren’t generally given much notice or time to clear your schedule or find a sitter, etc. The casting can be anywhere from Miami to Tampa (that I know of). Luckily our personal work schedule works great for this business because one parent is always home with the girls and we are almost always available and do our best to make that short notice work. But with bookings, sometimes trying to find a sitter for the other sibling can be a challenge with short notice. Family Self Tapes are also difficult for us. We would love to be considered for family jobs, but we are together as a family once every 3rd day, so when we are given only 24 hrs at times to submit a family tape, that is most likely not going to be the day we are both off together and can’t possibly submit. “
Tessa says “ I wish I had known that although I was allowed to be onset my opinion wasn’t. I remember the first time I was on set, I was singing,dancing, and playing peek-a-boo with my baby until the stylist asked me politely to basically to stop being annoying. I mean I was totally annoying. They have an entire staff dedicated to making the kids happy. A mom who is too involved just stresses everyone out, including the child. Now I look for a spot where kids can’t see me, but I can see them. I get to enjoy the process, not stress out and watch the magic happen. If they need you they 100% will tell you!
Maria says “ So having multiple kids in the biz is crazy stressful. I wish I had known that just because my kid is beautiful and their siblings love being in the spotlight, it doesn’t mean that they do too.I don’t push them to do jobs anymore. It stresses out my son, and he starts turning into another kid on set. I get stressed, the crew gets stressed, and by the end of the day I feel defeated. It’s not worth it anymore, and just not fair for my kid. Know when to let go, and when to sign up for soccer classes instead. Lol !
Angie says “If your child wants to be an actor 1000000% sign them up for acting classes! It taught my kids how to audition like pros, and how to overcome their stage fright. There are so many kids who are auditioning for the exact same role, and a lot of the time have a similar look to your child. It so important to have an edge over some of the other kids. Practice totally makes perfect when it comes to acting.My kids wake up so happy on acting class days!
One of the topics most of my parents are concerned about when deciding to try out the modeling and talent industry is the fear of rejection . They don’t want to destroy their child’s self esteem as we all know this industry can be filled with a lot more “No’s” than “ yes’s”. Totally understandable ! I get it ! These are our children we are talking about and the last thing we want is for them to hurt .
Here is the thing . I have noticed over the last 13 years in the industry that the parents tend to care more than the kids do in regards to booking a job . Kids tend to go to a casting and forget it. All the while the parents tend to be the ones loosing sleep wondering if their child will be picked. Kids have this way of being in the moment. If it’s not happening now they are not really thinking about it. Which can be a really great thing in this business.
The truth is … do you really want your child to book every job? Can you imagine the monster that would create ? You don’t want the opposite effect with a child that books every job and doesn’t learn humility right ? I truly believe you need to hear a few “No’s” so you can really appreciate when you hear a “yes”. There is nothing worse to an agent than when a kid books everything and a parent doesn’t seem excited or grateful because it is expected. We get so excited to call you and tell you about your booking and we want you to be just as excited if not more than we are.
If you do happen to have a child that’s a bit more on the sensitive side ,the best approach is one from the very start . As soon as they are mature enough to understand explain that there are several kids that audition, all the kids deserve it , but the director can only choose one or so . Explain to your child that it doesn’t mean your not great but they might want a child a certain age , height , or a child that matches a “parent “ exactly . I would also recommend not bringing it up again after the audition. Like I said most kids have a short attention span and will forget 20 minutes after leaving the audition.
Rejection is part of human nature . Whether it’s a job , partner , friend , sport , or this industry , it comes with the territory of life. It makes for a well rounded individual. I realize we all want to shelter our kids from rejection as it’s part of our nature as parents to protect our kids from any pain . Remember you want the victory to mean something and it can’t mean something without a few bumps in the road . I promise you , you feel the bumps more than your children do . I also promise it will mean that much more when they do finally get the job.
I understand as parents we worry and that’s ok. My greatest advice is to forget the audition as soon as you walk out the door and your child will too. They are not as fragile as we think they are and you’re making a stronger individual in the long run .
Cómo convertir el sueño de tu hijo en realidad: actores y modelos infantiles de habla Hispana
Guía para principiantes Por donde sea que miremos, hay anuncios y comerciales promocionando algún producto o servicio. Si prestas atención a los carteles publicitarios que inundan las calles o a los comerciales de televisión, te darás cuenta que hay una enormidad de niños actores y modelos que trabajan en estas campañas.
Si estás leyendo este blog, seguramente quieres saber cómo hacer para que tu hijo ingrese en el medio y se convierta en la cara de una de estas empresas. Aunque puede parecer un sueño inalcanzable, la realidad es que si tienes un chiquito extrovertido y talentoso que le gusta actuar acá en el sur de la Florida existen muchas oportunidades de trabajo siempre y cuando logres meterlo en una buena agencia que lo represente.
Si tu chiquito además habla español fluido entonces tiene aún más posibilidades de triunfar ya que son cada vez más los clientes que buscan talentos infantiles latinos (de entre 5 y 12 años) con buen dominio del idioma.
Es por esto que Sprout Kids Agency, la principal agencia de talento infantil del Sur de la Florida ha decidido expandirse con la apertura de Sprout en Español, un sector que cuenta exclusivamente con niños y familias latinas.
Sprout no busca niños ni familias perfectas, sino personas talentosas y reales que representen la diversidad del mundo en el que vivimos. Así que si tu hijo o hija siempre soñó con estar frente a las cámaras no dudes en mandar su aplicación y recuerda que muchas empresas como Disney buscan familias reales para sus comerciales. Así que esto se podría convertir en un gran negocio para toda la familia.
Te estarás preguntando: “¿ dónde y cómo aplico?”. Tranquilo que es muy sencillo siguiendo nuestra guía.
Primer Paso: Busca en internet una agencia en tu ciudad o en alguna ciudad vecina que te guste. Mira su página web y redes sociales para conocer bien sus trabajos anteriores, cuales son las marcas con las que ha trabajado y qué tipo de niños representa.
Segundo Paso: Envía tu aplicación. Si quieres formar parte de Sprout en Español ingresa a www.sproutkidsagency.com. Ahi llenas el formulario y en aproximadamente una semana estarás recibiendo una respuesta si estamos interesados en trabajar contigo. Si no fuiste contactado, puedes volver a mandar tu aplicación con nuevas fotos para ser considerado nuevamente. No se aceptan solicitudes por Instagram ni facebook.
Tomate el tiempo de mirar la página web. No sólo para conocernos en cuanto a experiencia y trabajos, sino también para asegurarte de que somos lo que buscas para representar a tu hijo.
So you are interested in submitting your child to an agent?
What’s the best way to go about it?
Let me start by saying that I do not accept social media submissions. I also cannot represent a child based on your description of them over the phone.
We need photos, even if they are not professional, in order to get a feel for your child. Every day I receive at least a DOZEN of DM’s on Instagram and Facebook, combined with countless phone calls telling me all about your gorgeous children.
When I see DM’s on Instagram my first thought is… this parent hasn’t even been to my website, let alone read my bio.
You’re submitting your child to someone and you didn’t take the time to look at what I’m all about?
Our agency specifically spends so much time educating, and writing these blogs.
Almost always, and I’m saying almost so no one comes back to say it’s not true lol, all the questions that are asked in the DM’s are answered in our blog.
The majority, if not all agencies have a submission process on their website.
It’s so important to take the time and follow directions, so that you aren’t overlooked because you annoyed the agency before even getting a proper chance. Submitting on social media is a sure fire way to get your child overlooked as 9 times out of 10 we won’t go to your child’s Instagram profile.
How to submit
So take a pause if you haven’t checked out our website, and then come back here if you think we are the right fit for you.
Sprout’s submission form is under the Info. tab and you simply click “Grow With Us” .
That’s it, super easy right?
Once we receive your application it takes about a week for us to get back to you IF we are interested. We have been receiving an influx of applications lately, so please be patient. If we do not respond in a week, you are always welcome to take new photos and resubmit.
Please take the time to explore an agent’s website and find out a little about them and what their submission process is before you call or use social media to connect.
Not only because it’s important to show you know how to follow directions, but you need to make sure this agent is the right fit for you. Picking an agent shouldn’t be taken lightly and we encourage you to take the time to do your research. Find out everything you can online before reaching out so you are as informed as you can be.
Agents are busy bees 🐝. We are navigating hundreds of parents, clients, talent, billing, social media, and let’s not forget, our own families.
I’ve said it before, every time I’m so proud I’ve clear out my emails a new stampede of emails come through.
It’s just like the scene out of the Bruce Almighty movie.
When the phone rings countless times a day with a parent on the other line ready to tell us all about their child, it takes time out of our hectic schedules to explain that you just need to go to the website.
This is not us being rude, we love that everyone is so enthusiastic about joining.
As we always say, this is a co-working relationship. If you do your part, our job is soooo much easier! Let’s create a solid foundation for your child, and start this off the right way.
Show us that you’re an informed parent who takes this business seriously.
The other day we talked about how to let go of modeling if it wasn’t a good fit for your child, but we still haven’t talked about how to let go when you are waiting to hear back from a casting. No one talks about the anxiety that comes after the casting. The anxiety that takes over until you hear something, or in this industry: see another industry mom blast it on instagram. You bet your bottom dollar if a Stage 5 momager books it (not her kid, this is personal lol ) she will have created her own booked graphic, and post that sucker faster than you can refresh your email.
No one prepares you for the silence. In the beginning, you ASSume that you are owed an answer. Quickly you learn that no answer, is an answer. No answer, is a no. It’s a rejection, a rejection that you are SO not prepared for. Each client is different, and their procedures are different. I’ve been to castings and got a phone call my kids booked the job before I even got home. That has happened 1 time in about 5 years. Some clients book day by day for a 2 week campaign, and don’t even give you 24 hour notice if they do happen to book it. Those are bad, and in South Florida, one of the most common. It’s all bad, until it’s good. Well, until it’s fantastic because you got that email with all the booking details. The email you have refreshed for without ceasing. Then it’s just cheek to cheek smiling for the rest of the day. A feeling that I at this moment, am going through it.
So here I am writing this blog at 7:00 am because I need to vent. Lord knows I needed to get this off my chest. My daughter auditioned for a huge role, probably the biggest role she has auditioned for in her entire life. I wont say career because ew ( I’m still not that mom). A role that will really change our lives for a while.
I have truly mastered the “art of letting go” when it comes to forgetting about pending jobs, the years of obsession are far behind me, or so I thought. I think this opportunity came, just to remind me I am not immune to industry mom struggles. Here I am being the mom I swore I wasn’t anymore.Refreshing my emails every 5 minutes, making sure the phone I love to leave dead is fully charged. It’s been 2 weeks of waiting, and for this role in particular, waiting is not my strong suit. I am SHOOKETH. The inability to plan ahead is torture.
I had actual nightmares last night about me getting a handwritten note that she didn’t book it. Side eye emoji… So if I don’t vent I may need to get more highlights to cover up the new greys. It is time to regain my composure and put back my crown of the Agent/Mom who knows better. How do I do that again?
The biggest and best advice that a veteran mom gave me when we were starting out was to go to each casting, and forget it ever happened. I always had that advice in the back of my mind prior to working for an agency.I tried for years to have that mindset, yet I still was equally obsessed while I waited to hear back each and every time. The transition of how I learned or accepted the fact that not every job will be booked: That not every client will get lost in the energy she exudes in her big bright honey eyes was easy after I understood the industry more in depth. Like I said In my last blog post, It kind of just came once I saw the other side of the business. However, my situation is far from ordinary. I don’t expect my blogs to be enough to completely alter your mindset. At this moment, I just need to remind MYSELF that it’s not that serious. So let’s dive in and hopefully I can help myself get out of this rut, while I help share some of my advice.
Your Agent has no control over who ends up actually booking.
Does your agency have favorites? Yes and no. We have kids who we know if we send have a higher probability of booking a job. The main reason Sprout Kids Agency has a policy of meeting every kid before signing is because we need to know who a kid REALLY is. Almost anyone can take a cute photo. However, a kid who has that little spark in their eye, and commands their presence in a room is not only going to just grab our attention: but usually grabs most industry professionals attention. There are kids who are absolutely stunning, and can make everyone’s jaw drop as soon as they enter a room. However, that same child freezes and clams up as soon as they are in a casting room filled with 20 people in front of their laptops, a big spot light, and an even bigger camera staring in their soul.
Certain jobs, call for certain kids. You may very well have the most captivating child, but if they can’t perform when it’s time. No matter how much an agent pushes for a child, they will go for someone who may not be as beautiful in your perspective; if that child still shines like they are running in the middle of a field of flowers on a perfect spring afternoon.
The worst thing you can do is blame your agent, and then send an email that you have written out of anger. Even worse is to continue blaming agents, and end up being a flip-flopper. A mom who changes agents, as much a mom with a newborn changes diapers.
Wait it out. Listen to your agents suggestions, get new headshots, have your child take classes if they are old enough, make sure they are in size for print (nb-12m, 3t, 5t, 8/9,10/12). If after one year of being fully dedicated, and your child hasn’t booked something then consider switching agents/take a break from the industry. Be real with yourself, and don’t force it if it is your dream not your child’s.
Side note: Don’t text your agent for updates, if they had an update they will share it as soon as they have it. There is no reason they would withhold information from you.
Castings are their job, bookings are the cherry on top.
Bookings are not promised, and shouldn’t be expected. They should be cherished. They are that much needed hug on a hard day. However, not all hard days are met with a hug.
There are usually thousands of kids that are scanned through when a client/casting director is looking through a casting site. Usually they look through kids who are all very similar in appearance. To even be chosen! to cast is an honor. To even be considered by an agency is an honor. Your child may be your superstar, but a superstar is nothing with an entitled attitude.
A client has a look in their head of who they want. If your child doesn’t match that look, their chances of booking or even being seen are much lower. That doesn’t mean that they won’t use your child on future projects. Each casting your child should go in with the same excitement and happiness that they did on their first casting. Clients/Casting Directors see everything, and notice everything at castings. If there is a kid that stands out, they will want to see them again. Each time they are seen is a chance to be used for something even greater. Take each chance you get and appreciate it. The same goes for a crappy attitude. It takes one disgruntled parent trash talking to another mom to never be seen again, or even dropped from your agency. Be humble, and be grateful. Use the resources your agent gives you. Once you approach this in a different light, more doors will open. That is the only thing I can promise you.
Let their talent do the talking
At the end of the day it comes down to everyone agreeing on their final choices. Usually the final choices have gone through 15-20 executives before getting approved, if not more. There are so many factors that will determine whom they choose. You need to be confident that your child is doing the best they can, and you need to never let your child in on any doubts you have. Build them up.If they aren’t up to par, get them the training. Be their number one supporter. If they do their very best, and give all their heart. They will be the perfect fit for the role that was meant for them. You don’t need to cover up any blemishes, or tuck in the extra 2 lbs they gained on summer break. You don’t need to be the mom that scolds them when no one is watching. The internal light that shines because you believe in them will be enough to hide any imperfections. Let their talent do the talking, and negotiating.
Today I am taking a bow, and fully accepting my life motto “ What is meant for you, will inevitably be yours. No one can take away what has been written for you. #Maktub”.
This industry has taken us to places I have never imagined. On plane rides to countries I have never before visited. It has given me friendships that otherwise would have never happened. As competitive as some parents are, I have met parents that are an essential part of my day to day life. It has given my kids an understanding of hard work and dedication at such a young age. My kids know that it’s not the person who is the best,or the most talented who gets what they want. It’s the person who never gives up. It’s the person who wants it with all their heart, and gives all their heart who will always come on top. So as I finish this post, I close my eyes. I say a little prayer, and let go. I’ll grab my phone, and I will refresh just one more time. If the curtain is meant to open for her, it will. I will watch her take a bow at the end, I will clap like no one has ever clapped. I will be proud, just as proud as I am now. I am proud of each and every audition, of each line learned, of each photoshoot finished with a smile. Take it in, breathe it in, enjoy each opportunity to be seen. Do not let the obsession of uncovering the unknown, dim the beauty of the experience. Let go, and take a bow.
“Let go of certainty. The opposite isn’t uncertainty. It’s openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides. The ultimate challenge is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never stop trying to learn and grow.”
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