So you’re sitting on the bus, and you pass a billboard with a cute kid rocking their new Adidas shoes, and you think to yourself ‘my kid could do that.’ And you know what, you could be right. Every kid on the planet could do it, but not every kid gets the chance to do so, and that’s where mums and dads and of course a talent agency can help.
But there are so many to choose from (talent agencies, not mums and dads!) and pretty much all of them promise to make your child a star, so how do you choose? And when you do choose, how do you manage your relationship with your kid’s agent?
Well, we’re glad you asked because it’s something that we happen to know quite a lot about. So here are a few quick tips for choosing and working with a kids’ talent agency.
Do your homework
If you’re lucky enough to have some friends whose kids have done a little modelling, then you can simply ask for recommendations. They’ll let you know the ins and outs of working with a particular agency and whether or not they thought it was a worthwhile experience.
While this is a great place to start, we still recommend that you do a little more digging. Check out online reviews, ask friends of friends, or even reach out on social media to see if anyone in your network has had any dealings with a particular agency.
You should also have a look at the brands and companies that any recommended agencies have worked with before as this gives you a good idea of how successful they are at landing major roles for their models.
And once you have one or two recommendations that you’re happy with it’s time to make some calls.
Ask the right questions
Whether you’re on the phone or meeting with an agent in person, you’re going to want to ask a few questions. It’s a good idea to have these written down because, as any busy parent can attest, it’s so easy to forget.
Sign up fees
First off make sure that you understand exactly how much it will cost you to sign up with an agency. Some agencies charge a fee while others don’t, but free doesn’t necessarily mean better or even free for that matter.
Agency fees may include coaching or a professional photo shoot for your child’s portfolio (something we offer at Bubblegum Casting) so make sure you’re crystal clear on what’s included.
If the agency doesn’t charge a fee to sign up, then it’s quite likely that they’ll expect you to pay them for those portfolio shots or recommend that you get some done. This alone can cost you quite a bit of money, and while we’re on the subject…
Okay so you’ve already asked whether they’re included in the fee but if not, you’ll need to ask where you can get this done and how often the agency requires new and updated shots. Again if your agency handles this, then it’s no issue but if not then you could end up shelling out for new photos once a year or even every six months depending on your child’s age.
The agency’s cut
Every children’s talent agency survives by taking a percentage of any modelling fees. And that percentage could be anywhere from 10% up to 20% depending on the work involved. If an agency wants to take more, then it’s time to look elsewhere.
Once you’ve signed up
Now that you’re all signed up you can just sit back and wait for the jobs to roll in, right? Well, sort of.
Ask your agent if you can see where your child’s photos are available for clients to browse and make sure that you’re happy with the shots. There’s no need to be too picky about clothing or backgrounds, just make sure that you feel the photo is a good representation of your child. If nothing else, this will put your mind at ease.
Your child’s agent will be in touch with you when a suitable opportunity comes up, and they are needed for an audition or casting. They won’t call you every time they put your child forward for a role or modelling job so don’t worry if you don’t hear from them very often.
If you’ve chosen the right agency (you know that’s Bubblegum, right?), then they will be working tirelessly to make sure that your child has the best chance of landing a role.
If you’re feeling a little worried about a lack of opportunities, just give your agent a call and ask them how things are going. However, we will warn you that you will need to be very patient. Sometimes it just takes a little time to find the right job for your child.
Going to auditions/castings
When your kid gets a chance to audition you can ask if there are any travel expenses offered. It might not be much but every little helps.
If you’re lucky, the casting director might be flexible on time and your child won’t have to miss classes very often. But bear in mind that when it comes to shooting, they will likely have to take some time off. Don’t worry though; your child can still become a star without skipping too much school.
Once your child has had their chance to audition it’s time to play the waiting game. This can be the toughest part of the entire process for parents as they find themselves waiting on calls or that message received ‘ping’ from their phone. Casting can take time so the better you get at being patient, the more relaxed you’ll feel.
The casting director will only contact your child’s agent if they land the role and when that happens, it’s time to celebrate.
Going to shoots
A kids’ talent agency is responsible for securing any permits your child needs to work, and they will then need the school to sign off on it. Once this is done, you’ll be ready for the off.
Your agent will tell you what you need to bring and if your child needs any particular clothing. They will also help arrange transport if needed and will sometimes come along to the shoot with you. You should have your travel expenses covered so make sure you ask your agent about that beforehand.
Now we get down to the all-important subject of payment, and this is where a lot of parents (and some kids) find themselves a little surprised so pay close attention.
It is extremely rare for a model to receive payment on the spot or even the day after a shoot. This only happens with very small clients and low-paying jobs, and even then, it’s super rare.
Typically, the client pays the talent agency and then once they take their percentage the model receives their payment. When an agency receives the money they are usually quick to pay the model but (and it’s a pretty big but) clients can take quite some time to get their end of things rolling.
In fact, in some cases, it can be 90 days after the shoot before the model receives their payment. When parents hear about such long payment terms, they often wonder if an agency is somehow trying to pull a fast one by hanging onto their money for as long as possible. There’s no need to worry though, payment terms such as these are very common in the industry.
Remember what we said earlier about patience? Yeah, you’re going to need plenty of it in this industry.
That’s it for now! Hopefully, you have a better understanding of how to work with a kids’ talent agency and whether or not it’s the right move for you and your child.
If you happen to be on the lookout for a reputable agency then you know who to call, right? At Bubblegum Casting, we charge a yearly fee to join the agency, and that includes a professional photo session for each of our models. We also keep our talent list at a moderate size so we can dedicate as much of our time as possible to each and every one of our models. Sound good? Then get in touch and apply now.