With Jacksonville Fashion Week just around the corner (March 27-30th). I thought I’d share a little blog about kids and fashion. My munchkin will be walking the runway for the first time in her three years. I couldn’t be more excited to see her follow in Momma’s footsteps, though I’d say I’m a far cry from a “stage mom”.
In my career as an actress, model, photographer, and mom, one of the most common questions I get is “How do I get my kid in the business?” Perhaps you are one of those parents with the child whose cherubic grin turns heads wherever you go. If so this blog may answer a few of your questions.
1. Where do I start?
Professional photos. This is a test of your child’s ability to perform. They may do well for your iPhone but you will know if they show up and cooperate with a stranger if they even have the ability to do well on a set somewhere for a commercial or magazine. It kills two birds with one stone really, as having the professional images will set them up for securing an agent (make sure you secure a photographer who shoots specifically for commercial purposes, otherwise you just have some pretty but useless images).
2. How do I get them on commercials and in magazines?
Secure an agent. Once you have a few professional head shots or lifestyle images you can then submit them to agencies. Different agents take different styles of submissions. Most are on the digital bandwagon now but there are still a few stragglers out there who may require a physical submission mailed in. They will tell you on their websites what and how to submit. Follow these to a T. Many times they will toss your submission if you don’t follow the instructions. They give these instructions so they can field submissions with efficiency. If you make it more difficult for them, they will pass you by.
3. How do I find an agent?
There are several ways you can find an agent. My suggestion would be to ask around. If you know someone whose child is in the industry ask him or her whom he or she are with. Here are a few I personally recommend that represent children.
www.premiermodelsandtalent.com – local to Jacksonville
www.thediamondagency.com – based in Orlando
Things to Keep in Mind
Many people fall into the trap of paying for a big program. This is entirely unnecessary. Though classes and workshops may help to benefit your little star, a big expensive program is most likely not going to deliver what it promises. Legitimate agencies generally do not make you go through classes but they may suggest you get photographs, take workshops, or require online posting fees to advertise talent via web, print, and email campaigns.
2. Photos are an ongoing investment
Because children grow so quickly you will be having their images shot often. Sometimes agents will only request them a few times a year with digitals you shoot in between sent over for more up to date reference. You must be willing to keep their photographs current.
3. Travel is inevitable
If you live in Jacksonville, keep in mind; this is not a market that produces work for children often. This means you will be traveling to Orlando, Miami, Tampa, and possibly up to Atlanta for castings, auditions, and bookings. If your child does not travel well, you may want to wait until they show signs of really pursuing this business. The same goes if you simply can’t commit the time to taking them. It is not unusual to travel for a casting, a call back, and then a booking.
4. Making money is for the long game
You are not going to fund your child’s college fund with them modeling and acting now, unless you are going to L.A. or New York. Jobs you may secure in this region will pay in the hundreds and at most in the thousands. Your child will serve to earn more with time and experience.
Personally, my little model was represented for the first two and a half years of her life through an agency that picked me up when I was pregnant. I shot with American Baby twice during my representation with them, however she didn’t book anything and I refused to drive her to Miami for jobs that only paid a few hundred dollars. For this reason they dropped us. Now we just do it for fun. She has been in at least one commercial with me, models for my lens all the time, and will walk for JFW as one of the children representing Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital. We do it for fun and have decided to let her choose if it’s an industry she wants to pursue or not.
For all of you looking for great head shots for your up and coming star, check us out at www.journeyphotography.com.
I’ll see you in the movies!