Four steps from Chicago’s top agents on how to know when you, as a parent, are ready to obtain a kids talent agency for your child.
“There are many ways to be in the business. [Acting] can be a wonderful, creative outlet done with a local community theatre or by taking classes. If your child is interested in a career as a young performer, it takes a significant amount of time and commitment from the family to make it happen.“Dawn Gray, Gray Talent Group
WHAT EXACTLY IS AN AGENT?
ASC loves working with our young acting students and we want them to be as successful as possible. We are often asked, “How do I get my child representation with a kids talent agency? What does an agent do exactly?”
Having representation with a kids talent agency can ensure that you and your child are in the loop about acting jobs, as well as taken care of in the entertainment industry. A good agent works as your child’s representation and their advocate in what we call, “The Biz.”
An agent will submit your child’s headshot, resume and/ or reel to casting directors for any role(s) they feel your young actor is right for. If selected, the audition location, time slot, and materials to prepare will be sent, and your child will have the chance to audition! In the meantime, your agent will work their magic and negotiate contracts and compensation for the project. Lastly, with any booking, all agents take 10% of whatever your child earns from an acting job. This is standard practice in the acting industry. As a reminder, agencies should never charge a fee upfront.
HOW DO I FIND THE RIGHT AGENT?
The best way to find an agent (and decide if they are the best fit), is to do your research. Compile a list of the top talent agencies in your area and send your child’s professional materials (headshot, resume, invite for current show, etc) using the preferred method indicated on their website.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD IS READY?
“It‘s vital that parents consider whether they are ready to help their child navigate not just the entertainment industry specifically, but all the ins and outs of having a career and operating in professional settings- and if their child is ready for that right now.
If either the parent or the child feels unsure, there‘s nothing wrong with focusing on training, and revisiting professional work down the line.”Siobhan Reddy-Best, 10 Talent Agency
Though no age is required to obtain an agent, there should be a moment where the individual feels ready to take the leap from acting as a hobby to acting as a career. Thus, it’s important to consider both you and your child’s willingness to drop everything for the right audition or a role. The truth is, auditions are not easy to book, even with an agent and are often sporadic. Therefore, passion, drive, and time are just a few commitments necessary for this kind of work.
According to some of Chicago’s top talent agents, there are four steps that confirm a child actor- and parental support- is ready for an agent:
Your kid must want to work the most; they are not being pushed or forced into a career vision that isn’t their own.
“For me, it is most important that [the] child is the one with the desire to enter this business, and that the child’s desire is coming from a place of simply loving the art of acting as opposed to loving the industry itself.”Raquel Repka, The Rock Agency
“We want kids who love to act and are passionate about performing. We want the drive [for] acting to come from the young performer, not from their parent pushing them to do it.”– Dawn Gray, Gray Talent Group
2). The “It Factor”
Being outgoing is a plus, but not a necessity if your child conveys confidence, love, and aptitude for the work. In other words, they are able to hold a conversation, have an opinion on a project if asked, and perform while easily taking direction. Having the “wow factor” doesn’t mean bouncing off the walls; it represents the energy the individual brings to the room and/ or a scene.
“When registering young talent, I tend to gravitate to kids that are unique and have interests outside of acting/singing/dancing. Every child has their own unique gifts and passions. Share that with us rather than a list of plays and bookings.”– Laura Alexander, Talent X Alexander
3). Parental Guidance
“Parents need to remember that this is a business. Sure we want your child to have fun and enjoy this business but it is a business. Parents need to treat it as such. When we offer a spot on our roster, we expect that the child is flexible and available to do most self-tapes/ castings/ bookings– often without much notice. Kids over 7/8 years of age need to train consistently so they’re comfortable and ready to book. We want to register talent/ families that work as hard as we do! We provide great opportunities, but your hard work (and promptness) is going to get you booked!“– Laura Alexander, Talent X Alexander
“It’s important that parents be realistic about the commitment they’re making. I don’t just mean the time spent driving a young actor to & from classes or auditions, or helping them self-tape. I rely on parents to look over all auditions and help their young actor decide if a project is appropriate, and to communicate that with me. Once they book a role, a child actor must be accompanied by a parent/ guardian for all bookings. All of that takes time. Parents should consider carefully whether this is something that will work for their family, and communicate schedule limitations to both the child actor and potential agent.”– Siobhan Reddy-Best, 10 Talent Agency
“I hope parents have a clear understanding of their responsibilities. It is the role of a parent to manage their young performer’s schedule. To help them memorize auditions but NOT to be an acting coach. Most parents are not really qualified to be acting teachers and it impacts the end product.”– Dawn Gray, Gray Talent Group
Before obtaining an agent, your child may have several opportunities to audition and work, including open calls, extra work, etc. Of course, for a successful audition, acting classes and coaching are key. Thankfully, we have your child covered, whether it’s on-camera technique, movement classes or audition etiquette.
That said, parents should do their best to read up on industry news, trends and opportunities for their child.
“Training is important. I think doing theatre is also important. Theatre teaches kids how to create characters and develop them in a way classes can’t.– Dawn Gray, Gray Talent Group
“Starting a relationship with an agent is the beginning of their child’s career as a professional actor. Parents should do their best to educate themselves about the industry. From how auditions work and what types of projects are being filmed in their location, to what legal paperwork they’ll need in place in order for their child to work. [Additionally] the potential disruptions to your social life and schooling that an acting career can create – and communicate these to their child, and help them understand.”– Siobhan Reddy-Best, 10 Talent Agency
At Acting Studio Chicago, we emphatically believe in transparency and assisting our actors with as many resources as possible. If you think you and your child are ready for a kids talent agency explore our resources. Learn more about the business of being an actor here, and as always best of luck!