If you thought entering the modeling world was challenging, entering it as the parent of an aspiring child model is even more harrowing simply because you’re dealing with the safety and welfare of a minor.
While much of the info listed below is going to be the same as the previous blog post I did about how to Choose the Right Modeling Agency for You, there are a few differences and additional things I want to point out to parents specifically, which is why I decided to do a post on this subject by itself instead of lumping it together with the other one.
And if I didn’t include something on here that is on the other post, it’s not because it doesn’t apply–it’s mostly because I didn’t want this post to be longer than it already is, haha.
So let’s jump into it!
MAKE SURE THE AGENCY REPRESENTS KIDS
Not all agencies are created equal so it’s important to check the website to first determine whether an agency even works with kids.
For the ones that do, make your way to the part of the site that talks about how to submit your child for representation. Some agency sites have a “Submission” or “Join Us” page or may house this content on the Contact page, About Us section or mention guidelines/methods for submission on the FAQ page. Take some time to navigate the site overall and it should be relatively easy to locate this info.
Don’t forget to take note of the age ranges represented. If your child is closer to the maximum age listed, still submit. It will be the agency’s call whether or not that will make a difference. Never just assume your child doesn’t meet the requirement and skip out.
MODELING AGENCY OR TALENT AGENCY?
The great thing about child models is that they’re super marketable. Does your child want to act as well as model? Then you should be seeking the services of a Talent Agency and not a Modeling Agency.
Signing with a Talent Agency will kill two birds with one stone because these types of agencies represent both models and actors. That means one contract, one set of commission and one agency to work with instead of two.
Don’t get sidetracked by the agency names, btw. Sometimes agencies don’t use the word “Talent” in their names but do represent both actors and models. When doing online research for local agencies, check them all out and chances are you’ll find that the ones that look like they only work with models may actually be talent agencies with other divisions.
Be thorough and leave no stone unturned when putting together a list of agencies to submit your child to.
LOOK AT THE ROSTER
Many agency websites that represent kids have photo galleries where you can view the current talent on the roster. It doesn’t hurt to take a few moments to check out what ages and looks made the cut.
Do you see a lot of kids with a similar “look” as your child or not as many, if at all? These are things to take note of when you submit your child’s photos and info and especially if you get invited to an interview with the agency.
Other agencies keep their child talent photos private and only allow them to be viewed by permission or request. This doesn’t mean there’s something fishy or that the agencies that make child models’ photos public are suspicious. It’s up to each agency which approach they’ll choose.
LOCATION IS KEY
Similar to grown up models, parents of child models will want to consider starting local with agencies instead of jumping the gun and applying to places out-of-state or that are over 2 hours away by car.
Remember: attending castings, go-sees and auditions when being represented are not paid so should your child get signed, the day-to-day routine of getting them to and from will eventually take a toll on your wallet. Staying local keeps these expenses to a minimum.
Even if you believe in your child enough to hop on a plane and go to where the opportunities are, unless the opportunity is an actual paid booking they’ve received through their agency, any costs related to airfare, lodging and transportation will be your responsibility as well.
Starting off with a local agency will still get your child into the industry and as their career progresses, you can then opt to either move on to a larger agency or consider relocating to a new market if things really seem to be taking off and you feel it is in your child’s best interest.
KEEP IT IN PERSPECTIVE WITH PHOTOS
One of the easiest ways to know if an agency is reputable or not is when it comes to their submissions for child models.
I say this because of the many hundreds of agency websites I’ve reviewed over the years, the ones dealing with kid models always drive home the fact that non professional digital snapshots are preferred for submission because not only does it give them an accurate representation of what your child currently looks like, kids grow up. Fast. And that means they only have a certain window of time where they’ll match whatever photos are taken of them.
When you’re submitting to agencies directly, stick with non professional digital snapshots unless an agency specifically requests professional images. Sometimes this happens when agencies prefer to only work with established and experienced models. However, I mainly see this with adult models and not so much with kids but that’s not to say it doesn’t happen. Just a small mental note to keep in mind.
Have you already taken the initiative and gotten professional images for your child to submit? Then by all means, use them. Agencies are more than happy to check them out but it also helps to have digital snapshots as well. For parents who have never gotten professional photos of their child done, stick to the digital snapshots for now and once a contract is on the table, it will be the agency’s job to guide you through the process of setting up those professional test shoots.
Now when it comes to interviewing with the agency in person, that’s a slightly different conversation when it comes to what kind of photos to use moving forward. Once your child is signed, they WILL need professional headshots and other images to create their portfolio. Which leads to the next important point…