Ever since Aiden got his first audition, I have had several people ask me “How did you go about it?” I am not an expert on this topic by any means, and my son has only done one job so far, but I am glad to share the little knowledge that I have with anyone who is interested. This post will explain how to find a reputable model or talent agency to represent your child.
Aiden is currently signed with Zuri Model and Talent, and they have offices in Los Angeles, CA and New York, NY.
I did a lot of research about agencies prior to submitting Aiden. I actually submitted him to several of them but I was told that they were full and were not interested in representing him. The good thing is, needs always change, and you can always re-submit every 3 months to 6 months. Aiden has always been a natural for the camera from a very young age, so finding photos to submit were quite easy.
After several people suggested it, I decided to submit him. I thought to myself, why not, I have nothing to loose after all. All the agencies including Zuri Model and Talent actually responded with an email that they didn’t have any need for children his age at that time. I thought to myself, no biggie. About 6 months later I tried again and was quite shocked when I received this email below from Zuri Model and Talent.
Aiden has been to several auditions and old Navy was the first job he booked. At the time we lived about a 2.5Hr drive from Hollywood, and I made sure to commit to taking him each time he had an audition. I didn’t expect anything from him or the audition, I just wanted him to enjoy whatever he was doing.
I have been to auditions and seen parents yell at their children for not doing well; children as young as 2-3 year olds. I always thought that was absolutely terrible and I honestly feel so bad for those children. A child should never feel pressured to do anything they don’t want to do, and a child should never be made to feel bad for not performing well. Encouragement is KEY. The minute Aiden tells me “Mom, I don’t want want to do this anymore,” is the minute we will stop. I am just here to guide him through anything and everything he shows interest in. Basically, I am following his lead just like I do with every other activity he engages himself in.
Below are few things you should know about finding a reputable agent to represent your child:
- Anyone or any agency that asks you to pay any fees upfront is a SCAM!!
- You should not pay for anything. Not for a membership, not even for photos or head shots. Any agency that represents your child will only get paid, when your child gets paid. When you sign a contract with them, they will tell you how much of a percentage they will take for union and non-union jobs. That percentage will only be taken when your child gets a job and gets paid. Please beware of those companies that set up at the mall and try to lure you in. They tell you that they can represent your child, get your hopes up and then at the end of the day, they ask for a hefty sign up fee. They are definitely FAKE!
- There is no need to waste money an expensive photo shoot
- All of Aiden’s photos that I submitted were taken by myself or my husband. You can absolutely get by without professional photos. You just want to make sure that you take clear photos in natural lighting. No make up, no head bands or hats, making sure that your child’s face can be seen clearly. Also, make sure that the photos are very recent, and that your child looks as close to the head-shots or photos as possible. You will need about 3 to 4 photos including head shots (with a smile and without a smile) and full body as well.
- Do your research
- Prior to submitting do your research and make sure that the agency you are submitting to will be a good fit you and your child. In my next blog post I will have all the agencies that I know outlined, so all you have to do is click on their website and get a feel of each one. It is always a plus if the agency is SAG (Screen Actor Guild) franchised and/or a member of AFTRA (The American Federation of Television and Radio Artist).
- Submit to as many agencies as you want
- There is no limit on how many agencies you can submit your child to. I personally think it is better to submit to as many as you can. Thereby increasing your child’s chances of success. You have absolutely nothing to loose. For some of the agencies, it is as simple an upload online; whereas others, you may have to print photos and mail it to them. Also, most of the agencies will allow you to submit every 3 to 6 months, so make sure you keep up if your child does not get accepted the first time.
- Do not let other peoples misconceptions influence your decision to submit your child
- I’ve had people tell me I was going to raise and entitled brat who won’t focus in school and won’t amount to anything because that’s all he’ll be thinking about. (Btw, Aiden is not in school and won’t be anytime soon. Click here to read more about our home preschool adventures). I’ve also had someone tell me that I am making my child work and that I am a bad parent for doing that. If you watch this video of YouTube, you’ll see how much he enjoyed his first gig it and none of it was considered work to him. I have als0 had people tell me that they would rather their child enjoy their childhood than model and miss out on it. If you know Aiden, you know he is absolutely not missing out on his childhood. Just take a look at the Travel section of my blog.
- Be ready to commit
- Some weeks your child may not get an audition at all, and some weeks your child may even have two auditions in one week. It is important that you understand the commitment and you are ready to take it on. Agents will not want to keep your child on their roster if you can’t make it to auditions. I also know that some agencies have a restriction on location, meaning they may only want to represent children who are within a certain mile radius. Remember, they get paid only when your child books a job and gets paid as well. Also remember that sometimes you may spend only 15 minutes at an audition, or as much as 4 hours. We did a Pampers audition and were there for over 3hrs, what seemed like eternity. The good thing is, there were other kids his age and Moms so it was more like a play-date so we had a good time.
- Be a realist
- It doesn’t take one gig to become a millionaire or super star. So be very realistic, especially of pay expectations. You will be surprised that some jobs do not pay as much as you think. You will be even more surprised at how much is taken out in taxes. When Aiden received his check, my husband and I were like “Whattttttttttt.” Our dear Uncle Sam had his hit check before we even saw it, and had snatched as much as he could. Again, we didn’t go into this for the money, so it did not matter much. Even though he did not understand the numbers, he was excited to deposit a check with his name on it at the bank. It is like getting paid for something you are already doing, taking photos. So it was only just an added bonus.
- If at first you don’t succeed
- Just like the song goes, “:If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again, try again. Your child may not have been accepted by any agency, and that’s okay. The first time I submitted Aiden and no agent was interested, it didn’t bother me one bit. It wasn’t something I was focused on. It was more like, if it happens, “Yay,” and if it doesn’t “No big deal.” After all, it didn’t cost me anything, and I didn’t loose anything. My advice to you is, if you really want it, you can make it happen for your child. Giving up is not an option. Or if you get an agent, but are not able to book any job again don’t give up. It took Aiden a few auditions before he was able to book Old Navy.
- Let your child have fun
- Please do not ever pressure your child into do anything they don’t want to do. Do not live your dreams through your child. The minute Aiden tells me he is done, is the day that we will be done. I have been to auditions and have seen parents scold their children, be rough with them and give them a terrible look of disappointment for not booking a role. That should never happen. You should be able to encourage your children, lift them up, build them, give them the confidence they need, and support their dreams as well. I remember taking Aiden to an audition and was missing his cousin so much so that his answer to every questions was “Ethan this and Ethan that.” Lol. I personally thought it was quite funny, and made some time for him to visit his cousin the next day.
I hope you were able to learn a thing or two from my experiences. I am still working on the agency list and should have it shortly. Until then please feel free to ask me any questions you may have using the contact me box or via any of the social media icons. Also please don’t forget to share this post if you found it useful to you.