Have you ever heard the saying ‘behind every great actor, there’s a great agent’? Probably not because we just made it up! But even so, there’s more than an element of truth to that statement. Check out pretty much every Oscar winner’s acceptance speech and aside from family and co-stars, the one person every single actor thanks is their agent. And there’s a very good reason for that.
But before we talk about why it is important to have an agent, let’s first get one thing straight — yes, it is possible to become a child actor or model without an agent. Anyone that tells you otherwise is probably trying to get you to sign on a dotted line somewhere so they can collect your child’s membership fees.
However, while it is possible to work in the industry without an agent, it’s not something that we would recommend.
An agent knows the industry
We can’t stress enough just how beneficial it is to have someone on your team who understands the ins and outs of the industry. Sure, you’ll pick things up as you go along, but when your child’s career is just getting off the ground, having someone who can guide you through the industry and make sure you understand your responsibilities and options is worth its weight in gold.
It saves YOU time
And by you we mean you as a parent or guardian. You see, believe it or not, you are now your child’s manager. Yes, that’s right, you are the chauffeur, acting/modelling coach, chaperone, accountant, and chief cheerleader all rolled into one. It might seem a bit daunting at first and that’s mainly because handling all of those things on top of your usual job as a parent can be extremely time-consuming.
Now, imagine you have to do all of that while also looking for acting or modelling opportunities for your child or teen. That means trawling the acting and modelling forums and basically being on the lookout 24/7 for any potential roles or jobs. Not exactly what you would consider a career calling, right?
At least when you have an agent, you can forget about looking for opportunities and focus more on your child and helping them improve their skills and supporting their efforts. There’s no getting away from being the chauffeur though, that one’s totally on you.
You gain access to their network
Can you imagine how many photographers, casting directors, hair and makeup artists, and other industry people an agent will get to know during their career? Let’s just say it’s a lot… like really a LOT.
If you were to start networking today and collect business cards and phone numbers of every industry professional you meet, it would take you years to catch up with an agent. And that’s before we even begin to talk about the relationships an agent has built with these people.
But once you sign up with a good agent, your child has instant access to that wonderful network and more often than not, this means better opportunities. And speaking of which…
An agent gets better work opportunities
There are two reasons why an agent can get your child or teen better opportunities. First is the fact that if you have chosen the right one, your agent should have a solid reputation for providing casting directors and photographers with talented kids who work hard and have tons of potential. And with that huge network of industry contacts, your agent will likely be one of the first ports of call for those looking for child models and actors.
Second is the fact that casting directors usually prefer to go through a kids talent agency first before releasing a modelling or acting brief to the general public. This is because, as we mentioned above, a reputable agent should be able to find the right kid for the job. But it’s also because it’s so much easier to have an agent compile a list of suitable children instead of having inexperienced or unsuitable children apply through a public forum.
We’ve seen this in action here at Bubblegum when a casting director will come to us and us alone with a brief for an acting or modelling job. If we fill that role successfully from the kids on our books, that brief is never released to the public. So it really is true, an agent can get your child better opportunities.
They know your strengths and weaknesses
Aside from those better work opportunities, this is the one benefit that is quite possibly the best of the bunch. Remember what we just said about a kids talent agency recommending ‘suitable children’ for a role? While this is great for the casting director, it’s also just as beneficial for the child actor or model in question.
You see, when a child who is clearly unsuitable for a role arrives at an audition or casting call, it’s a waste of everyone’s time. Your child won’t get the role and the casting director will be frustrated that an unsuitable child made it through to the audition.
Before we go any further let’s just explain that unsuitable simply means a child that doesn’t fit the requirements of the brief. For example, if a casting director is looking for a red-haired girl and a blonde-haired boy shows up, it’s just not gonna work out.
The same can also be said for kids who perhaps aren’t quite ready for speaking roles or those who can’t quite yet manage their modelling poses. These kids might be great for some roles but unsuitable for others. An agent will understand these strengths and weaknesses and make sure that your child or teen is only put forward for a job that they can handle.
Just remember that an agent can only do so much. No matter how good they are at finding those golden opportunities, it’s up to your child or teen to do the hard work of impressing the casting director and acing that audition.
If your child or teen is interested in becoming a model or actor and you’re in the market for an agent, then we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to
get in touch with us today or you can go ahead and apply to join the Bubblegum family. We can’t wait to hear from you!