Thursday, February 13, 2014

Want To Start Your Child's Modeling Career

So you've got a great-looking kid, and you know he should be a star! After all, he's cuter than the child on your box of diapers or cereal. But modeling is a lot of hard work, and carries the potential for a lot of disappointment. In order to guide your child into a successful and rewarding modeling career, and manage that career long-term, there are some things you should know, and some steps you should take.

Hollywood model
Take some pictures of your child. They do not need to be professional at first, but make sure they show him smiling, and are well-lit and in focus. He should be the only child in the shot, too. While you're taking pictures, assess whether your child likes the camera, how photogenic he is, and how cooperative he is at letting you get a good shot. If the shoot doesn't go well, modeling may not be for him.

If your child excels with your shoot, have the best photos printed in 4-by-6-inch or 5-by-7-inch size and put them in a photo album--later you can move to a real modeling portfolio. Choose at least one head shot, one full-length shot and an action shot or playful shot.

If you are not visiting agencies live, but emailing or mailing the pictures, be sure to include your child's name, age, height, clothing and shoe sizes. The agency may also want to know if she can read and if she is missing any teeth.

Research the modeling agencies in your area. If you don't know which ones are good, call the Better Business Bureau, or some local ad agencies or department stores to find out what agency they work with.

Call the modeling agencies, ask if they book jobs for children, and if so, how you can get in to see them. Some agencies have open call days which allow you to bring in your pictures. An agency does not charge you money up front; they take a percentage of the profits from the work they get for your child. However, some agencies ask for a small consultation fee of $25 to $75. If they ask for money to have a photographer shoot pictures of your child, a legitimate agency will be fine with you saying you'd rather use your own photographer. There also should not be any modeling classes offered if your child is very young. Choose an agency that you're comfortable with, that you feel is professional, and that can demonstrate it gets regular work for other child models in your kid's age range.

Talk with your child's agent about the agency's commission structure. It's not often that you can negotiate an agency's standard fees, which are generally about 15 percent to 20 percent of what your child earns. However, if your child has a look that is particularly desirable, they may make an exception for you. It doesn't hurt to ask.

Talk with the agent about her expectations of you as a parent and manager. Make sure you're both on the same page as to what kinds of jobs your child will or won't do, and how often he might be expected to work. If you're in a large city where a lot of advertising is produced, you may be expected to be available several times a week for castings or jobs. In a smaller city, it may only be a few times a month. Also make sure you are clear on what you can do for your child's career. Can you source out jobs yourself? Do haircuts need to be approved first? Are there certain skills your child needs to develop?

Communicate with your agency as to what your child's schedule is, and yours, and when you'll be available for castings and bookings. Decide whether you want to make your schedule flexible around your child's career, or whether other things in your life, like a job or your child's schooling, take more priority.

If scheduling is an issue because you work, talk to your boss about having a flexible schedule that allows you to leave if you need to take your child to a casting or booking. Castings and go-sees are somewhat flexible, because numerous children will be seen at different times, so your agency can book you based on your preferences. However, usually you are not able to negotiate times for a shoot. If you want your child to get the job, you may need to rearrange some things.

Build your child's portfolio by having a few professional photos taken of your child if required; some agencies will be fine with you using just the snapshots you took. If you do have professional photos taken, don't get a whole bunch of pictures taken on the same day in the same outfit. You want to have a variety of looks in your child's portfolio, so either change outfits several times in one shoot, or do a few shorter shoots with different photographers. This only has to be done at the beginning of your child's career. Photos or tear sheets from completed jobs will expand your child's portfolio.

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