Ask any casting agent why they got into the business, and quite often you’ll hear great stories about mums or dads of child models who sort of fell into the industry. You might even hear the odd tale of a child model-turned agent, but for our managing director Adam Jacobs, his story is a little more personal and something of a family legacy. We’ll let Adam take it from here.
First things first, let me just say that taking over as managing director of Bubblegum Casting was one of the best decisions of my career. And trust me, I’ve had a pretty ‘interesting’ career to date. One that has encompassed everything from owning a mail order sock subscription company (yes, people do buy that many socks) to overseeing digital marketing campaigns for some of the country’s biggest banks. But unsurprisingly, Bubblegum Casting has been the single most enjoyable job I have ever taken on, and I can’t see anything topping it.
Spending every day with awesome kids, talking to their eager parents about the steps they need to take to make the most out of their fledgling careers, and pretty much just having fun is the best job you can get.
I love meeting with teens eager to make their mark in the industry, and learning what it is that makes them tick. I have so much fun with the younger kids when they pop into the office for a chat or to get their portfolio shots done. And don’t get me started on the cuteness of babies or I’ll be here all day.
For me though, there’s a little more to it than seeing the happy faces of our talented kids in national magazines or on TV. You see Bubblegum Casting is a bit of a Jacobs family legacy.
What many of you likely don’t know is that my younger sister Jessica was one of the agency’s biggest stars before she passed away in 2008. Jessie was with the agency from the age of 7, and so you could say that the Jacobs family was heavily involved in Bubblegum Casting for quite some time.
So when I found myself in a position to invest in the agency, the decision was a no-brainer. Here was the chance of a lifetime to work in an amazing job and to do something in honour of my little sis. Of course, I was in.
Now I get to spend every day working with fantastic kids who want to be just like Jessica. Kids who want to model or act, and dream of someday having their own TV show or starring in a movie.
But while the job is incredibly fulfilling, there’s one aspect of it that I can’t get used to and never will; I hate disappointing kids (or mums and dads for that matter).
Now, I’m not a candy thief or the guy who won’t share the office toys with the kids. We’re talking about a different kind of disappointment; we’re talking about rejection or a lack of opportunities.
At Bubblegum Casting, we are very selective about the kids and parents we choose to work with. A few weeks ago, when we talked about what an agency looks for in baby models, we mentioned that we sometimes turn down the opportunity to sign kids if we’re not a good fit, and that is absolutely true.
While other agencies may prefer to have a larger pool of talent, we prefer to limit our numbers so we can offer a more personal service to each and every one of our kids.
But even though we select the kids we feel have great potential, it often takes time before they get their first opportunity to shine in front of the camera. And even when that first opportunity comes along, there’s no guarantee that the next one will be just around the corner.
Unfortunately, this is how the industry works, and it kills me to see kids not getting their chance even when I know that they would be awesome for a shoot or a role. Casting directors and even marketing execs are often looking for one thing and one thing only, and any of our kids that don’t fit the bill, aren’t chosen. It’s as simple as that.
However, this doesn’t mean that we sit around Bubblegum HQ all day twiddling our thumbs waiting for something to happen. If we did that, then none of our talented kids would get any work at all.
We spend a lot of our time searching for suitable opportunities, staying in constant contact with the shakers and movers in the industry. So even though your child may not be getting their chance right now, we’re trying our best to make it happen as soon as possible.
One thing I will say though is that parents (and older kids) need to be patient. Your time will come, but even the biggest child models and stars sometimes go months on end without work. If I could somehow guarantee a steady stream of work for every one of our models and actors, then I would. But as I said earlier, this is the nature of the business, and yes, it drives me nuts.
Having said that, when it comes off, and one of our little stars-in-the-making gets their opportunity, it’s so rewarding. When we hand parents a copy of their child’s first catalogue, or we all sit down to watch their TV commercial for the first time … wow! There’s no greater feeling.
Yes, the work can be tough from time to time, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Best job ever?
You better believe it.
If you’d like the opportunity to join the Bubblegum family, then apply now and we’ll be in touch just as soon as we can. We might even get Adam to share the office candy when you come in for a chat!