Have you finally decided to take your child’s acting hobby to new heights? In the acting industry, getting a talent agent is the way most aspiring actors book work and advance their careers. Talent agents greatly help you in keeping your acting career steady, and they have the connections to lead you to big personalities or projects. They get the casting breakdowns, submit talent to casting directors, and bring forth auditions.
So how do you find the perfect talent agent for your child actor to get that career kicking? Here’s a guide made short and simple. Skip some steps if your child has already accomplished them.
Finding a Talent Agent for Your Child Actor
New actors can’t get a talent agent right away. Talent agents and managers are beneficial once an actor has a good amount of experience under their belt and a fairly impressive résumé. Here’s how you pave the way for your child actor.
Enroll your child in acting classes.
If you think your child will be in it for the long haul, enroll them in acting classes. Like any profession, acting involves theory and practice. Additionally, outputs in acting classes will definitely look good on your child actor’s résumé. The class itself counts as training, and the mentor can count as a character reference. Moreover, you’ll definitely rack up important connections and industry knowledge by the end of training.
Look for local auditions.
By now, you probably know that certain cities in the world have a much bigger theater or film and television industry. However, these big cities are not only very competitive, but they’re also very expensive! So if you live in a smaller town, focus on saving money, learning about the business, and exploring local opportunities. Don’t move to a big city the moment you and your child decide to pursue the industry.
The easiest way to acquire credits for your child actor’s résumé is to look for local projects. Here’s an article detailing the places in your locality where you can find auditions for your child.
Prepare your child actor’s portfolio.
Putting together a good portfolio for your child can help them land that first role or that role they’ve always dreamed of. Once you think they’ve acquired notable credits under their belt—let’s say, 20 film projects—it’s about time you compile their best performances and create a portfolio. An acting portfolio consists of your child actor’s résumé, headshot, and a demo reel. A high-quality one will function as your child’s document that you can distribute to casting directors during or before auditions, to agencies for representation, or to productions for them to consider your child actor in future projects. It makes your child actor appear professional, serious, and hirable. You can even make it viewable on your child’s official website, if you’re planning to put one up, so you can widen their acting opportunities internationally.
It is often said, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” This reigns true in the world of acting. Become friends with other actors and industry professionals to get people be familiar with your child actor. Network with casting directors, managers, talent agencies, makeup artists, etc. You never know who you’re going to meet or if they’ll be able to help you with your child’s blossoming career. Stay in touch with them as you build your child actor’s résumé. If they’re impressed by your child’s personality and skill, they may be interested in working with your child down the line.
When you decide that it’s time to get an agent, do some research online about different agencies. Ask your child actor’s friends and parents, teachers, or anyone else you know in the industry for some recommendations of good agents. If they have any personal connections with good agents, ask them if they’d be able to refer you to them. You may also choose to get a copy of Backstage’s Call Sheet, which you can find at a local bookstore, or become a member of Backstage. This great resource lists all the talent agencies in New York and Los Angeles, along with each department within the company. Target those with a youth department and do research online for an email address.
However, you don’t just want any agent. You want a good one! Before you take a meeting with an agent in the larger markets, look them up on IMDb Pro. What kind of work are their clients doing? Is it the kind your child wants to do? Is it current? How successful are their clients? It’s better to hold out for a good agent than to sign with one who doesn’t have the clout or reputation to actually get your kid in the door to coveted auditions.
Warning: Regardless of where you live and the size of your market, no agent should ever ask for upfront fees or charge you any money whatsoever to represent your child. Talent agents only make money when your child does, and then they should only take their commission. Be wary of scams.
Once you’ve found a few that you think would be a good fit for you, submit your child’s acting portfolio with a cover letter explaining that you’re looking for an agent. In the major markets of LA and New York, it can be more challenging to find an agent who is willing to take the time to meet with you and your child. Sending your kid’s headshot and résumé with a cover letter is much less likely to yield any results, as most of the better agencies don’t consider unsolicited submissions. If you live outside of the major markets of Los Angeles and New York, it can be easier to find an agent who is willing to see your child for an audition to consider signing them for representation. This is because the competition for agents is less intense in these areas. The smaller markets also generally don’t differentiate between agents who represent kids versus adult actors or commercial versus theatrical (film and TV). This means you are more likely to find agents who simply represent all types of talent for all types of work.
Don’t give up.
We won’t lie. Securing an agent is hard. Agents get tons of headshots and résumés sent to them daily, so don’t be upset if you don’t hear back. You should submit your child’s portfolio to many different agents or agencies as this will increase their chances of getting a response. Also work on networking and building their portfolio and online following so that it becomes easier bit by bit.