Kids talent agencies 101

Kids talent agencies will help your child get acting auditions and book acting jobs. Read on to learn all you need to know to get a good kid talent agent. Here’s what you’ll find on this page:

1) How to submit to talent agencies for kids

2) How to prepare for interviews at child talent agencies

3) How to stay away from acting agency scams

4) How to maintain a good working relationship with your kid’s talent agent so he can succeed in his acting career

1) How to Get Noticed and Submit to Kids Talent Agencies

The best way to start your search for a children acting agent is your child’s acting coach and other parents in his/her acting class. If you can get a referral from a casting director or other industry professional, that’s even better, of course, but a simple recommendation from another parent can provide you with the introduction you need to make a first contact with a kids talent agency, plus you’ll stay clear of scams that way.

If you don’t know anyone who can recommend a good child talent agency, do a “mailing”. Get a list of legitimate kids talent agencies in your area and send out your kid’s headshot and resume, along with a cover letter.

Make your own Labels
A lot of acting websites sell agency labels you just have to print to make your mailings. Although this can seem like a big time saver at first, it’s usually not a good idea. You really need to buy a publication with detailed agency listings like Ross Reports or The Right Agent and spend the time to research which acting agencies are looking for kids and which agents are currently in charge of the children department. This information is time sensitive and labels can be out of date or not addressed to the right agent. For more on how to find kids talent agency listings, visit our kids modeling page.

Agent showcases are another great way to find kids talent agencies to represent your child. Also known as “industry scene nights”, showcases are when agents (and sometimes casting directors) come to watch actors showcase their talents in rehearsed scenes and monologues. They usually receive a packet beforehand with the picture and resume of each child so they can easily call them in for an interview if they like their performance. Showcases are particularly effective for young actors because talent agents are willing to look at beginners when it comes to children.

2) How to Prepare for Interviews at Kids Talent Agencies

You’ve called a child acting agent another parent recommended… You’ve done a mailing of your kid’s picture and resume to children acting agencies in town…Your kid actor has been in an agent showcase…

Now the phone rings. You’ve got a meeting with a Child Talent Agency!

Below are a few tips to prepare for the interview:

  • First, make sure you write down the name of the agent(s) you will be meeting. Also ask over the phone if your child will be doing a cold reading or needs to prepare a kids’ monologue. The least surprises, the more comfortable and self-confident your child will feel.
  • Plan to bring along a few kid headshots and resumes, along with contact sheets from the photographer if you have them (this way, if the agent doesn’t like your pictures, you can provide him with other choices).
  • Prepare a list of questions you’ll need the answers to before deciding if this is the right agent for your kid. To get started, watch this short video where Mae Ross, owner of 3-2-1 Talent Showcase Acting Studios, shares some good questions to ask kids talent agencies.

What kind of questions will kids acting agents ask my child during the interview?

It really depends on his/her age. If they are older, they may be asked questions about what kind of roles they want to play or be asked to describe their best acting experience. If they are young, they may get a question as simple as, “How’s school?” or “So, you like to play soccer?” if that is listed as a special skill on their resume. Either way, they’ll do best if they’re spontaneous, so don’t feel you have to prepare with them. As a parent, you may be asked about your level of commitment to the demands of your child’s acting career, so that’s one thing you may want to think about. And make sure you know what the talent agent expects from you.

3) Choosing the right Kids Talent Agency for your Child

When you are trying to decide if you should sign with a particular kids talent agency, think about the size of the agency. There are advantages and disadvantages to both big and small acting agencies. A bigger agency will have more access to auditions, but if they have a lot of clients, your child could get lost in the shuffle. A smaller agency may have less clout with casting directors, but they may work harder to get your child seen.

If a child acting agent represents a lot of kids, ask them how many young clients they have who are the same type. For example, if your child is a redhead and the agent doesn’t represent any other redheads in his age range, that’s good.

Another thing you’ll want to take under consideration is if you feel a kids’ talent agent is on the same page as you are about the types of auditions and roles your child should be getting.

Most importantly, before you sign with any agent, you’ll want to make sure they’re legitimate. Find out if they are a SAG agency or a member of the Association of Talent Agents (ATA). These agencies abide by a set of strict guidelines.

Kids talent agencies should never ask you to pay money to represent you or to promote you. They should never require that you get kid headshots from a particular photographer or that you sign up for a particular kid acting class. Any agent that requires that you disburse money in any way is not a legitimate one. Not only will you waste your money, your child will not get access to quality children auditions because these child agents are not respected in the business. Legitimate kids talent agencies make money on commissions only. When your child books an acting job, the agent gets a 10% commission. You shouldn’t have to pay them anything.

There are a lot of unscrupulous people out there who make promises of fame to parents only to get to their wallet. In the video below, Talent to Go acting coaches Judy Kain and Pat Tallman offer a few tips on how to stay clear of these scams.

4) How to Have a Successful Working Relationship with your Kid’s Agent

Signing with a kids talent agency will take your child’s acting career to the next step. To get the best out of that relationship, keep in touch with his/her agent regularly: make sure they have plenty of up-to-date pictures and resumes, call in to ask feedback on an important audition or just stop by to say hi. Watch the video below where showcase producer Mae Ross shares a good tip on how to keep your child in the forefront of his agent’s mind.

I hope all these tips on kids talent agencies help you find the right acting agent for your child. For more information, read about how adult actors get acting agents or read this interview about kids talent agencies in the April issue of our newsletter.

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