There are a myriad of reasons that most agents really are adverse to working with young children. There is a book of child labor laws a mile thick, children s hours are very limited on a production set. Their limited hours directly affect their income, and that indirectly affects the Talent Agents income. Another important reason also is because young children change all the time, their pictures constantly need to be updated, this takes time and staff.
If a Talent Agent represents an adult in comparison, they do not time restrictions because of their age. Why then would an agent choose to work with a child, and not an adult? It is definitely a niche. There are agents also that specialize in Hispanic talent, Asian talent, etc.
Another reason…. an agent would not be dancing at the thought of having to educate a new parent to the entertainment industry…… New parents have a ton of questions, and require a lot of hand holding. This all takes time and energy, and takes an agent away from what they should be doing…booking jobs, and earning a commission ( 10-20%).
New parents also come into the Talent Agency with unreal expectations. They have been told at every mall that their baby/child should model or be on TV! Then the parent doesn’t get a sitcom their first month with the agency, and they are disappointed. They complain to the agent they are not going out enough. Unrealistic expectations are the parents worse enemy.
There is a lot to consider from the agents point of view!
We supply a VERY valuable service to Talent Agents and Managers!
How to Get Your Child an Entertainment Work Permit
In many states, before a child can start modeling or acting they must first have an Entertainment Work Permit. The original “Work Permit” must be carried at all times while working.
Things You’ll Need:
First you must obtain a form for the work permit. Each state has a different criteria you must follow but most allow you to download the form from the internet. Go to the Labor Board website for your state. Make sure the ending of the URL is a .gov to assure that you are in a legitimate state website. Search for entertainment work permit. A regular work permit for a child is different than an entertainment work permit.
Download and fill out the form. This will include taking the form to a doctor if your child is a baby, or to your child’s teacher. For the very first permit most states will require a copy of your child’s birth certificate.
Talk with your child’s teacher and explain to them what the entertainment work permit is. Find out if they will be able to sign it or if the principal will need to sign it. If it is the principal, then walk the form to the office and ask to schedule an appointment with the principal. More than likely the principal will not know what an entertainment work permit is and will need you to tell them about it.
Your child must be doing well in school. Their grades and attendance must be good. If they are having any trouble in any subject or have missed a lot of school, the principal or teacher may opt to not sign the permit or will sign it declaring that your child is not satisfactorily attending or progressing in school.
To expedite the process follow the guidelines on the form and make sure the form is complete. Do not go the Labor Board if it says to mail it in. This will not speed up the process and will only agitate the employees that you did not follow the rules.
Mail in the form and keep a copy for yourself. Do not forget to include a self-address STAMPED envelope, so that it can be mailed back to you. The form can take anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks to get depending on your state.
When you get the permit in the mail, make two copies. Keep the original and copy with you and one copy at home. The studio teacher will need to see the work permit and sign the back before your child can work.
- Your Talent Scout will assist you with all of this! Good Luck!………………………… 🙂
When you shoot photos of your kids for modeling please do the following to get the best pics you can.
1. Get down on their level, eye to eye
2. Have them smile at the camera making a connection
3. Simple colors, no neons, checks or crazy prints
4. No hats, sunglasses, or headbands
5. No one else in the photo, check the background also
6. Simple backgrounds that do NOT compete with the subject
7. If shooting outside, go in the shade and use a flash NO hard shadows, please. Make sure they’re not squinting from the sun either!
8. Clean face and brushed hair
9. No toys or dogs, cats etc… just the child!
10. Shoot from the waist up…
Your Talent Scout will assist you with your photos and finding those “winning” shots! The quality of your photos is everything in this business!
For parents who do NOT want to spend any money trying to get their child into modeling…If your child is 4 yrs. and above and books a union commercial….
Here is just one example of money you may have to fork out…
The current initiation for Screen Actors Guild fees are $2,277.00
If you have No earnings in a year, you only pay the base amount of…$116.00 2 payments of $58.00, that is after you pay the initial amount to join.
Once a member you will pay on earnings of
$1.00 to $200,00… 1.85% on your SAG earnings
$200,000 and above a different % applies
You will also be responsible for parking, pictures, any commercial workshops that your agent suggests, possibly ZED cards, and the charges for the casting sites that your agency uses.
Soooo, if you have no idea what it takes, or don’t want to spend a penny doing this, it’s probably not for you right now. Unfortunately, when your dealing with a brand spankin’ new young child with NO RESUME (CREDITS) or professional legal representation, there’s no easy, quick or free way into this!
AGENTS & MANAGERS DO NOT AND WILL NOT “PAY FOR EVERYTHING”.
Your child’s pics need to be simple, close-up shots of your child smiling at the camera, for child or baby modeling. Talent agents for children need photos to be simple, no hair ornaments, hats or sunglasses ( agents want to see the child only) You do NOT want grandma in the background watching her favorite soap opera. Go outside, and shoot from the waist up. Clothing should be colorful, but simple, no crazy prints that will take away from the child’s personality. Try to get the child/baby to connect with the camera, looking right directly at you.
Thanks to one of our fab moms!
Toddler Modeling – Baby and Child Modeling