A few tips on Child Modelling

My three boys belong to a child model agency and have been signed up to Scallywags agency since last November. Jak my eldest who is 10 years old did some modelling work for the same agency when he was 4 years old but when he was 6 i decided not to sign him back up. Jak has done work for Tesco, Nickelodeon, Comic Relief does the apprentice, on line clothes catalogue and just recently Call the Midwife. Joseph has done Tesco, Thomas the tank engine, Virgin Money, Priddy books and ELC for Nick Jr. Oliver my youngest is on the latest Cow & Gate Commercial. I am no professional in the matter but i have been approached by a few people with some questions about getting their children into modelling so i thought i would write down some of my thoughts and experiences to share with you all.

1. All agencies are different if you want to know what agency to join your little ones up for make sure you do some research, look the company up on the internet, speak to people who are already signed up to the agency and ask them for advice, find there Facebook and twitter pages and read through them and contact some of the big companies like Argos, Next and Mothercare and enquire what agency they use.

2. Most agencies charge a yearly prescription to cover their costs and to represent your child. They will take a percentage of what your child earns aswell which is normally about 25%.

3, Once your child has been on a job do not expect a payment within the month, sometimes this can take up to three months to come through. Don’t forget the agency has to wait for payment from the client before paying your child.

4. You should have a bank account set up for your child so the cheque can be placed into their account as it will be made out to them.

5. Once you have found an agency and you sign up to them, don’t be too upset that you don’t receive a phone call from them about a job as some children hit off quicker than others. Modelling is a harsh job sometimes and the client know what they are looking for so if your child is 154cm high and they want a child that is 145cm then your child will not be out forward for the job.

6. You normally receive a call the day before an audition, we have received calls from the agency as late as 5pm for an audition that is scheduled for the next day. You will have to give the agency a yes or no on whether or not you can attend ASAP. All of the auditions we have attended are in London but they are all over the UK. It has been known that some children have been called into to an audition on the same day.

7. When at an audition it may simply involve a photo being taken, others will involve some acting and dialogue. Sometimes you will receive part of the script they want them to read the day before others they will hand them out when you arrive at the audition. At all auditions clients will expect confidence and enthusiasm. Gaining any level of success involves commitment and patience. My boys have been to quite a few auditions and have not been booked onto the job. Your child needs to be confident and not fazed at not being picked. I always tell my boys that they should look at it as experience and always have fun and enjoy what they are doing, the day that they say that they are not enjoying themselves i shall cancel their subscriptions.

8. In most cases of an audition you will not be allowed in the room with them, the client wants to see how your child behaves without you around. Even on a casting i don’t think i have ever been in the same room with the boys, i sometimes have to take a peek through a window without anyone noticing.

9. Don’t expect a call straight away informing you that your child has been booked on to the job, it can mostly take a couple of days to hear from the agency. If i havent heard anything in 3 days then i take it as they wasnt successful although that said Joseph did attend an audition and we received the call three weeks later.

10. Once you are booked onto a job, travel may be organised for you or you may have to find the way there yourself. Some shoots may ask you to take a selection of clothing with you. I always pack a few of their toys and books, expect to sit around for a while so this keeps them busy and not getting in the way. On most jobs food and drink will be supplied but it’s always a good idea to take a few snacks with you. Some jobs can be over within a couple of hours and some can last up to 6 hours, it all depends. Depending on your child’s age there is a limited amount of time they can be kept on set.

11. Try your best not to arrive late for a job or audition and if you are running late it’s best to let the agency of client know ASAP. The child is not the only one representing the agency, you are aswell so make sure that you are all on your best behaviour lol.

12. Once your child has been selected for a job they will need a performance licence, you will get this from your local children’s authority. To get a performance licence set up you will need a doctor’s certificate to say that your child is ok and fit enough to be in front of lights etc, a school letter saying they will be allowed time off of school both of these certificates need to be signed and stamped for approval. (Doctors charge for the certificate and they last for 6 months, we pay £20!) you will also need two passport photos of the child. There will be a form that you the parent will sign as well and fill out the child’s details on.
These licences can take my thing up to two weeks to come through, you will receive your copy in the post.

13. On some jobs there is a chaperone fee paid to the parent to take their child to a shoot but sometimes there is a paid chaperone who are there to look out for your child.

14. Once with an agency and your child hasn’t received any auditions or castings don’t be scared to contact the agencies office and enquire why your child isn’t getting picked, it may be the case that you need to update your photos on the website. The agency work for YOU! We rely on them to circulate our child’s photos.

15. Update the agency every couple of months with your child’s measurements and hair type, if you go on holiday inform them so that they know you are not available for any jobs, if you child loses their teeth keep them up to date with where and how many.
If your child belongs to a theatre group or any type of club let the agency know what their talent is and keep them up to date with any certificates they receive.

16. Fees for jobs varies depending on what the agency have agreed with the client prior to a booking. Some jobs are paid hourly and some are per day, some times there are usage fees on top of their rates but you should be told what the child will be receiving before the job.

17. If your child is succesful for a casting, don’t be disheartened to find that after sitting around for a few hours that they are not used on the day, sometimes clients like to have back up children. Also if your child is filmed or photographed not all the time do they make it into the media. Joseph has been back up for one job before and we just sat around eating and playing then we was sent home after 5 hours, just look at it as a day out and experience.

It’s all about having fun and the moment that any of my boys tell me that they are no longer enjoying it then it will be stopped. The boys love to attend auditions and castings and never get upset or disheartened when they are not picked, they look at it as fun and they get to meet many new people and most of the time it’s about making friends to them. When the boys get offered a job i give them the option if they want to attend or not, we have only ever turned two down and that was because for one we was away and the other jak had plans and chose to carry on with them instead of attending the job. I like to keep a diary of all of what they have been up to so i collect, magazines, print outs from the internet and record anything that is on the television.

Hope i have answered most questions but if you would like to know anything else please contact me and i will try my best to help you the best i can in anyway whatsoever.

Thank you for reading