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You don't have to have an agent,  but if you want your child to have a better chance at getting castings or auditions, you really will need to consider getting one.       

Agents are usually the front line of professionals who the casting director will go to, to fill a part that they have available. This means  that they have more work offered through them than you could possibly ever find by scouring through all the papers. Much of their work, isn't in fact, available to the general public at all. BUT being on an agents books, will NOT guarantee your child any work - it only puts him in a position to be seen by people looking to cast a child. So before you decide, read on...

What does an Agent do?

The basic work of an agent is to promote your child and put them into a position where s/he will be noticed. When you join an Agency, your childs photograph will be put into their directory and then circulated around to the Agency's clients. Different Agencies will have slightly different clients. Some will be geared towards photographic modelling, others towards theatre. Some do both, but may not have a great coverage of either.

When clients are looking to fill a part they may look through several directories, and will then contact the Agent(s). Sometimes they simply ask the Agent to recommend some children. The Agent will submit the children he feels fit the description, and then the client will pick out of those. He gives the Agent the names of the children he would like to see,and the details of the casting dates and times. The agent will then contact the parents to give them the information, and to confirm their attendance. Often with a casting, the notice will be short, I have known  as little as 2 hours before now! Sometimes a specific sort of dress code will be asked for, so the Agent will let you know.

If your child gets a recall, this will be arranged through your Agent and when your child gets ofered a part, he will let you know, and will pass your detais onto the employer. He may also pass on to you, the details of rehearsals, filming, and licence application, but often the employer will deal with you directly to save time. All pay is directed through your Agent, and he will take his %, and the VAT payable on that, out of the money before issuing your child with his/her earnings.

How do I get an Agent?

Lists of Agents who represent children are available in several areas, your local library, the internet, some specialist publications (the Spotlight publication, 'Contacts' is widely recommended) and some at the end of this page! You may have an agent attached to your local drama school/group (if you have one) or you may find yourself in a positon where one will be recommended to you. Once you have some contact numbers, you can ring around to find out any information  to see if any of them have spaces on their books. You do not need to get a portfolio of pictures done of your child. Most agencies will  simply ask you to write a letter with details of  your child including a clear receint photograph. Be careful of agents eager for your money at the start, those who hide their addresses, those promising to get work for your child (none can guarantee work!), or those using PO boxes. They may not be reputable. Also note that a really good Agency doesn't advertise...they don't have to!

When agents receive applications, up to 75% will be rejected at the start. Places are limited on most good agents books.They will need to be sure that the people they represent, do actually HAVE a real chance of getting work, and that they don't have too many children all looking the same. Although your child may be very attractive or talented, it is the agents knowledge of the work that is available, that enables them to know what type of look may get work. Their own reputation is at stake when they send people for work, so they have to be sure to pick a selection that they feel is right for their agency. Consider this - would you be happy parting with £100+ if your child doesn't have a hope of EVER getting a job?

If they like the pictures submitted, they may want to meet the child to assess their personality (not in the case of babies, (who can asses the personality of a baby!)...it will be You they are judging!). In this instance, they may ask your child to go through a whole audition process, or they might simply like to have a chat - be aware that some agencies ask for a fee for this! They are hoping to see a child with their own desire, confidence, and enthusiasm, who is not uncomfortable or embarassed and enjoys being the centre of attention! At this point you yourself should be able to assess the Agency. Ask to see their directory, see how long they have been running for, speak about their clients and successes in getting children work (although they could say anything here. It would be wise to check with some casting directors too),- and you should be able to see for yourself if the phones are ringing and work is in progress. It is a good agency if they are busy, have been going for some years, and have come recommended - try phoning theatre production companies, magazines, Casting Directors, TV studios etc. to see who they use most often. If you are both satisfied with each other, only then  should you sign, and part with some money...

Agents List

What is Expected of YOU


When you sign on the dotted line you are signing a commitment. You are signing to say that you are available to get your child to a casting/job at short notice, and they will be expecting you to do just that - even if you have attended lots already, have gotten nowhere, and spent a small fortune in fares doing so. By the time you get the call to attend a casting, most of the arrangements have already been made. If you continually refuse to attend castings, you may find that your unreliability will stop any further calls. An agent does not want his clients to know he has unreliable people on his books. You will need to be dedicated, patient, reliable, flexible and committed in this business of supporting your child - and I am not just saying that to put you off - you DO!!

The responsibility is also on you, to let your agent know if there are any changes in the details that you origionally gave him. The more up-to-date and accurate you are, the better they can represent your child. If your baby starts to walk, if your child has a growth spurt or needs braces, also if you are going on holiday or unavailable. Everything that is relevant, needs to be passed on. It would be no good if your child was sent for a toothpaste advert, if he had lost his two top teeth a week ago!

Your Childs CV

You shouldn't usually need to compile a CV for your child. Your agent will do that as they go along,  for when they need to send one to a Casting Director. However sometimes there may be an occasion when you may like to have or even need one. For instance, for your own web page, if you decide to change agent, or if an opportunity has arised where you could give one out to someone asking for one. Sometimes the details held on a CV can even come in quite handy when you are at a casting and they want some details that happened 3 years ago! Compiling one shouldn't be hard, for an example, please follow the link at the end of this paragraph. Do remember that the details should be kept as up to date as you can to keep its validity

Sample CV

How much will it cost?


There are many people who often say that you shouldn't be paying anything to be on an agents books. These comments to are usually referring to adults agents, not the childrens ones. There is a slight difference. The adults in this profession (unless they are well established faces)will often have to do far more running around to have themselves noticed by photographers, directors, or casting people. The letters, phone calls, invites and photographs are all funded by the actor/model himself, as they make sure that they are constantly seen and remembered. Obviously it is considerably harder for a child to do that. The childs agent will often arrange the photographer, get the childs face seen by adding it to a directory, and then get it circulated and braught to the attention of his clients. 

For this, there is inevitably a cost. I have been quoted anything from nothing to £250. It will depend on a variety of things.  If the Agent provides the photographers, do you get given copies of the photos taken or do you have to pay for them seperately? Can you supply a photograph to match the agents desired standard? Do they have a directory that is circulated, and if so, to how many clients? Is your child represented 'off book' (your child does not appear in the directory, only on the Agents database) Is the agent a reputable one?  The more overheads incurred, the more you will be charged.

Your Agent will also take a % out of your childs earnings for his and his staffs' wages and incidental costs. On average, a childs agent will charge between 15-20%, but there are some that will go as low as 10% or as high as 25%, On top of that, your childs wage will also have 17.5%vat deduction, payable on the agents fees only.

All other incidentals, including fares to and from Castings or Auditions, clothes baught for an audition, or meals paid for while you are out, are paid by you. When a child is working, the production company may provide meals and refreshments, costume, or even the travel to and from work. You will be notified about this beforehand if that is the case.

A word about 'Spotlight'

This is a name that you will be coming across, and may well be wondering what it is. Quite simply, it is a publication that most casting directors will have on their easy reach shelf! It is basically, a directory with performers' photographs and details in, and has a very longstanding and good name in the industry. As well as the directory, they also have an interactive website. You are given a PIN (Personal Identification Number) and this enables you to view your childs details. A seperate PIN is given to your agent so that they can up-date your childs details instantly. (They may choose to give this to you as well). The interactive site enables casting directors the chance to search for children by colouring, height, age etc. 

As they are not an agency, any represented person can be put into Spotlight, (with their agents details, for contact), for a fee. There is a childrens directory now, and many agents are giving their children the option to be submitted into it, for the additional fee of (this year) £80. I know of people in it who have said that it hasn't given them any work, and I know of casting directors who swear that it is their bible. What is certain, is that it is another directory, and therefore a separate opportunity for your child to be seen. Visit their websight at www.spotlightcd.com for more information.

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