What to Look for in a Good Casting Agency
A child may have incredible acting or modelling skills, but without a good casting agency putting them forward for the right roles, they may never fulfil their potential. It’s true, despite what people may think, the right look and skills can only get you so far in this industry. So, you can trust us when we say that your choice of casting agency is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your child’s career.
However, making that choice isn’t quite as straightforward as it may seem.
At this point you’d expect us to list the many reasons why Bubblegum Casting is the perfect choice for your child’s modelling or acting career. And we’re not boasting when we say that there are plenty of great reasons to join us.
The thing is, you need to find the agency that’s the right fit for your child. Perhaps it’s Bubblegum, and then again, perhaps it’s not. Either way, we’re going to give you a little advice to help you make that decision for yourself.
Below we’ve listed a few of the most important things to look out for in a casting agency.
Look for diversity
So what do we mean by diversity? Well, for a start you’ll want the agency to have a diverse list of clients that they have worked with previously. Inevitably, newer agencies may have their first few clients from one industry such as lifestyle. However, a casting agency with a few more years of experience should have clients covering a broad spectrum of industries. This is a good thing because it means that this agency will likely have more opportunities for children of all ages.
Diversity in an agency can also refer to the type of work they book on a regular basis. Ideally, you’ll want your casting agency to have experience booking work for feature films, stage productions, TV shows, and modelling. It’s a bonus if they also handle some voice-over work too. Again, a casting agency that books a wide variety of work will have more opportunities for your child.
Last, but by no means least, the agency should have a good track record of booking work for both boys and girls from a variety of cultural backgrounds.
Beware the promise of work
Listen, we’re going to tell you right now that a promise or guarantee to find your child work is no promise at all. Unless the agent is also the casting director of a major production company, there’s no way that they can guarantee a child work.
If a casting agency makes such a promise, the chances are they’re not on the up and up. The agency itself has no way of knowing what work opportunities will come up over the course of the year. They also have no idea what requirements a particular job may have and to top it all off, they have no control over the final decision.
The only promise that a reputable casting agency should make is to do their best to put a child forward for any suitable opportunities. It’s something that we guarantee here at Bubblegum and it’s worked out quite well in the nearly four decades that we’ve been in the industry.
A desire to meet in person
Photos are great and videos even better, but no professional casting agency will sign a child to their books on the strength of an Instagram photo. Sure, a great snap might get an agent’s attention and may even get them on the phone to you. But they’ll really need to meet both parent and child in person before signing any contract.
The reason for this is that if the casting agent is good at their game (and they really should be) they’ll want to get a feel for the child’s personality and willingness to work. They might even turn down the opportunity to work with a child based on the child’s behaviour in the interview. It does happen!
This is why any casting agency that tries to sign you up over the phone, or worse – through social media, is an agency you should avoid. We hate to admit it, but there are agencies out there who are only interested in signing kids for the membership fees. It’s sad, but true.
Are they ready to invest?
A casting agency is only as successful as the talent on their books. That means that they should be ready to invest in the potential of your child. Acting workshops, portfolio shots included in your membership rates, modelling coaching sessions, expert advice from former child stars and models; these are the things that your agency should provide to make sure that your child has the best possible chance to succeed in the industry. And before you ask, yes, we provide all of those and more here at Bubblegum.
Talk to the agency about what kind of additional assistance and coaching they can offer your child. And don’t accept a vague promise of tips and advice. Ask for specific details of the services they provide and any cost that may be involved in addition to your yearly membership rates. Remember that at least some of this investment in your child’s potential should come at no cost to you.
They like children
You’d think that anyone working in the child modelling and acting industry would like children, right? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
When you arrive at that first meeting with a casting agent, you want to feel welcome from the moment you step through that door. You want to see the employees at the office smiling and making a genuine effort to make your child feel at home and comfortable. Sure, we can all have bad days, and there’s every chance the office will be pretty hectic. But when an agent meets your child, they should be friendly and welcoming. Nothing less will do.
We’ll just finish off by saying that if you get a bad vibe at any point during your initial interactions with a casting agency, then walk away. Remember that if you’re lucky, you and your child will spend a great deal of time with the agency and so everything must feel right. If you don’t click with the agent or your child doesn’t feel comfortable at the agency, say your farewells and keep looking. In time, you’ll find the right agency for your child.
Of course, you could just save yourself a lot of time and come along to one of our open casting events in Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane. We’re pretty sure we tick all the boxes above and if you think your child has a future in child acting or modelling, then we’d love to hear from you.