How To Get Your Child Into Modelling or Acting
YOU know your child is a star, but how do you get the world to notice?
There are a number of steps to take that can help you to set your child up for a career on the silver screen, the gogglebox or the catwalk.
STEP 1: Does your child want to be a model or actor?
Obviously with babies or toddlers, it’s next to impossible to know if they want to be in front of the camera – but they will soon let you know if they don’t. Practise with your baby by spending firstly a solid five minutes a day with them posing, in costume or playing “pretend you are”. Very gradually Increase this up to half an hour but the second your child loses interest or starts to become distressed, stop immediately. If they are still keen to participate after the half hour sessions, then you know your baby or toddler will be comfortable in front of the cameras. Older children will be able to tell you if being in the spotlight is what they crave.
STEP 2: Prepare your child for what to expect.
Rejection is a sad reality of the business and not all auditions, casting calls and interviews will lead to jobs. Make sure your child understands that even if they aren’t chosen for a specific job, they still did a great job and there will be other opportunities. As a parent, it would seem natural to be defensive when your child is rejected however in most cases the casting director is looking for a certain mix of qualities and it’s most likely your child doesn’t have what they are looking for in that instance. It’s nothing personal against your child and it’s good to remember that and try to get that across – there’s always next time.
STEP 3: Create a portfolio, Showreel, Headshot and Curriculum Vitae.
It’s best to get a professional, reputable photographer to grab a headshot, showreel and short portfolio to start with. A showreel is a visual resume of sorts and is a short video presentation which will showcase your child’s acting, speaking, singing, dancing or presentation skills and should be kept to 60 to 90 seconds. Look to putting together a number of photos for the portfolio that show your child in different scenarios, costumes and poses. As the child gains experience, you can add to the portfolio and, of course, the CV. To begin with on the CV, list school or amateur dramatic achievements and any extra skills such as musical ability, dance or sport and replace them with more recent experiences as their career progresses.
STEP: Find a reputable modelling or casting agency.
Making sure you find an agency that will find suitable roles or modelling contracts for your child is not easy but a good place to start are agencies that are endorsed by the relevant artist’s unions. These groups will also ensure you are dealing with reputable agents and avoid the con-men and charlatans that plague many industries. In Australia, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) have a full list of agencies on their website, broken down into three major areas, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane/Gold Coast. Sydney and Melbourne have the most number of agencies, but not all on the lists, which are updated regularly are endorsed by the MEAA.
Do your homework and find out if the agent you choose is. You will also find a list of their clients on their websites and this will also help you to determine which agent is right for your child.
Find them here at www.meaa.org/download/nsw-agents-list, www.meaa.org/download/qld-agents-list or www.meaa.org/download/vic-agents-list.
Recommended Modelling and Casting Agencies in Australia include:
- Bettina Management (Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Gold Coast) – Open to children aged 3 months to 16 years. Their talent features in TV commercials, TV shows, film and catalogues, fashion parades, musical theatre, mini-series, productions, promotions and events.
- Munchkins Talent Agency (Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth) – Open to children from newborn to 16 years. Their talent features in photographic, film, theatre and TV work.
- Casting Kids (Victoria) – Open to children from newborn to 16 years. They are committed to promoting inclusion and diversity within the entertainment industry, representing children with all abilities including Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and limb differences.
- GIANT Junior (Sydney & Melbourne) – Open to children 6 months to 12 years. Their talent is featured in major fashion campaigns, runways and catwalk shows, photographic work (catalogues etc) and TV commercials.
- Bubblegum Casting (Sydney, Brisbane & Melbourne) – Open to children from 3 months to 18 years. Their talent is featured in modelling/photography assignments, TV commercials, films and TV productions, musical theatre, student films, live events, and voice over work.
- Bambini Talent Group (Sydney, Melbourne & Brisbane) – Open to children from 6 months to 17 years. Their talent is featured in catalogue and fashion shoots for major brands such as BONDS, Witchery and Disney Junior.
- Brats Models (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane) – Open to children from 6 months to 16 years. Their talent is featured in advertising, film and television projects Australia-wide.
- Showkidz Management (Melbourne & Sydney) – Open to children from newborn to 17 years. Their talent is featured in TV commercials, TV shows, films, musical theatre, opera, fashion shows and lots more.
- Bump Models (Sydney) – Open to children from newborn to 15 years (especially twins and triplets!) This agency encourages the whole family to get in on the act, even looking for pregnant mums to be models! It is Australia’s only Family Modelling Agency, working with some of the biggest names in TV, Fashion & Advertising.
- Mostly Kids (Nationwide) – Open for children from newborn to 17 years. Their talent features in TV commercials, parades, catalogues and stage productions.
- Screen Actors Australia (Melbourne) – This is a casting agency which runs fun acting workshops for children aged 3 to 12 years.
- Small Fry Modelling and Casting Agency (Melbourne) – Open to children from 2 to 18 years. Their talent features in television commercials, television series, films, drama, theatre, promotional videos, video clips, voice-overs, photographic advertising, and parades.
In the US, the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG – AFTRA) have agents who are franchised or non-franchised members of the guild and again, their lists are updated regularly.
Find them at www.sagaftra.org/contracts-industry-resources/professional-representatives/about-professional-representatives/sag.
In the UK, the Professional Managers’ Association (PMA) have more than 180 member agencies and the highest reputation amongst performing artists and other industry professionals. Download their list of agencies at www.thepma.com/?download-members-pdf=true.
At the end of the day, ensure being in the spotlight is something your child really wants to do, and respect their wishes if one day they decide to step back and pursue more mainstream careers.