Our studio frequently gets calls from parents who are told by family, friends – even strangers, that their child could model. They ask ‘What should I do next?” Having worked in film, television and print* for many years, on both sides of the camera, there is much I am happy to share to make the process simpler and hopefully more satisfying for everyone involved.
First things first
We live in an age of visual bombardment with plenty of platforms for talent. But can your child do it? Will they want to spend the time, and will you want to spend the money, to get them started? Being judged for one’s looks and being able to perform on the spot isn’t easy. Let’s look at some of the issues facing parent and child as you move along the path towards modeling success.
Some basic questions to consider:
*Temperament – is your child/teenager shy or extroverted? They will be asked to perform on the spot in front of strangers without your help.
*Are they able to take direction from others in a new environment?
*If they are not of driving age, who will be available to chauffeur them to auditions, which rarely happen on the weekend or close by?
*For school age children, are you ok with them taking time out of school to go to an audition or a job?
Most top notch agencies are NOT schools (there are exceptions, but in those cases the school is an option, NOT a mandatory step for representation). An agent will accept your child/teenager because he or she feels they can get them work. If a talent doesn’t work, agencies don’t get paid. Simple economics.
You are expected to foot the bill for shoots (normally run $350-600 depending on the age of the child per session) and composite cards (think business card for talent – another perhaps $200-300 initial outlay depending on where you have them printed) to prepare your child so that the agency can effectively market them. The goal is to sign with someone that you feel you can trust to tell you the truth about your child’s potential. Someone that you feel will be excited to represent them and get them jobs. It’s a good idea to consider interviewing with at least two different agencies for comparison before making a commitment. Contracts, often exclusive, can last for up to a year depending on the agency so you want to be sure it’s a good fit.
Scheduling a consultation
If you think that you’d like to take the next step and aren’t ready to go to an agency quite yet, give me a call. I am available by appointment weekdays after school and occasionally on weekends. I am happy to answer any questions you have, or at least point you in the right direction if I can’t, and make recommendation about agencies that I know to be reputable. Our studio offers model test session that include hair/makeup and wardrobe consultation.
*Credits include acting in independent films and commercials, working behind the scenes for independent as well as major commercial films, and styling for both regional fashion photographers and television stations as well as film directors in Atlanta, New York and LA.