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Please note This page contains advice from a parent-to-parent network
in Berkeley, California. We do not have anyone who can answer questions about
your child's modeling career. Please see our Home Page from more info
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Has any one used City Model Management in San Francisco? Is this
business legitimate? I have a lot of reservations about this industry
but am interested and curious at the same time. This is for our daughter
who is in elementary school. I'd love to hear about other people's
experiences with this agency or others like this. We were told we only
had to pay for the photos and then were told by other people that we
should not have to pay for photos. Who to believe? Also - do kids get
paid to go to casting calls? Should I be worried about kids being
exploited?? I appreciate any feedback. thanks
I have never used City Model Management. We have, however, recently
signed a contract with Ford Models for our daughter. The only costs they
charge are $20/yr to use some online scheduling program, and $15/mo to
maintain our daughter's online portfolio. They did suggest a few
professional photographers to use, if we choose to do so, but by no
means was it required for forced. I think professional photographs are
useful for portfolios if you're serious about it, but I think you can
also get by with amateur photos. For us, we're going to use the amateur
photos until we get a couple bookings and then take professional photos.
When my son was 3 we worked with City Model and had a fairly positive
experience. It is a legitimate business and you should not have to
purchase their photo shoot/headshots but you will need to have
professional photos done somewhere. As far as I know most agencies do
not provide free photos for child models. When we worked with them we
already had a ''ZED'' card (the photo card they send out to get your
child bookings- like a resume)and headshots that were done elsewhere. It
can be fairly expensive- $200-$300. They didn't require us to buy
theirs. Your child will not get paid for casting calls and you generally
have to attend many, many casting calls in order to get a call back for
a shoot. It's really like a part time job for the parent. I think we
went to an average of 5 casting calls to get one photo shoot. The
casting calls are usually in San Francsico after 3 or on weekends so it
takes a pretty big commitment and alot of driving around to be
sucessfull in the industry.
Sometimes they call you the day before the casting so you have to be
pretty flexible. It can also be pretty frustrating for some kids who
feel rejected when they don't get called back for a shoot. I never felt
that my son was being exploited however you must understand that your
child is being used to sell a product. On most shoots parents are
allowed to be on set and the photographers and staff are usually very
good at working with kids and making it fun for them. I think the most
important thing when considering modeling is to make sure it's something
that your child wants to do. As you know the chances are slim that your
child will become rich and famous as a model so it should really just be
something she does for fun. My son enjoyed it for a while and liked
seeing himself in the paper but we ended up stopping when he lost
interest. Now he's 8 and wants to do it again but I just don't have the
time. Good luck to you.
Your daughter will need an entertainment permit (good for 6 months). You
get it at Oakland City Hall. Need birth certificate and, if she is in
school, her principal needs to sign off that she is a solid student and
being out of school will not hurt her academics. Modeling takes an
enormous time commitment and flexibility on the part of the parent. The
model/actor does not get paid for ''go-sees'' or ''cattle calls.'' You
do not need professional photos, especially for kids, whose looks and
sizes change rapidly. You should make up a reference sheet with your
child's name, birthday, height, weight, measurements, shoe size, and
maybe hair and eye color. Photos should be a clear head shot (shoulders
and up) and a full body shot in something that shows their shape
(leotards, close fitting pants and top, or similar). If you aren't
confident taking these yourself, you can find a student or aspiring
photographer who will do the shoot for an exchange. They get to keep
some copies of the photos for their portfolio. You get shots for your child's
portfolio. Eventually, most models get a photo album that you can slip
contact sheets and larger photos, tears (photos of model in a
publication or a cover), in and out of. If your child ends up working
regularly, you will be frequently updating these as you get better and
better shots. To see if your child likes this kind of work, look for
opportunities to volunteer model at a charity fashion show or there is a
list at the Sweet Potatoes store on Solano for prospective models for
their shoots. They do not want ''agency models.'' Your child does not
need to have agency representation to begin with. You can act as agent.
(I think that you must be present at all modeling jobs and photo shoots,
despite what a photographer/agency might say. There is abuse of various
kinds on the industry, including working your kid for too long under the
hot lights. Take lots of snacks, water, juice, and recommend a break if
you see them losing it. Never be late to an appointment or go-see. Always arr
ive about 10 minutes early and check in. I always put my daughter's
modeling checks in a savings account for her. For more tips, try to find
other moms who support their children's modeling/entertainment careers.
I am thinking of getting my child into modeling and am wondering where to start.
People are always suggesting to us that our child should be in ads, so we thought we
would give it a try. We were thinking of starting with Steele Model and Talent
Agency, apparently they help you get your portfolio ready, and train you to be ''agent
ready'' so that you are ready to work. Has anyone had any experience with any of
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
All three of my older children where in modeling for years. I would recommend
Look agency in San Francisco. Make sure which ever agency you choose, you do
not fall for expensive ''training''. That is a scam. Your child does not need
training to smile and take direction. No legitimate modeling agency charges
for training or classes. They take a usually 10 percent or so fee right off
the top for each job they get you. Be ready because for every job you get, you
get about 20 rejections. Make it fun.
I am an experienced mom of 2 kids that model. You can presently see my son on
babygap.com, he's the one in the tropical blues sections. And my daughter is
currently in a Gymboree book called Dance & Play. It doesn't take much to get
started. All you do is take 2 pictures (snap shots) 1 face only & 1 full body.
You submit them to the agency & if the agency thinks your child have the look
then they will call you back to sign you up. Modeling does take a lot of your
time as a parent though. Be prepared to be at a go-see or a shoot in a days
I am a studio teacher licensed by the state to teach and look after the welfare
of minors in the entertainment industry. The kids I work with are represented
by Marla Dell, Boom, Models, Inc and a few others.
I also attended a JRP workshop with my son many years ago to show him that
agencies like these were really looking for your money. He, too, was told that
he had talent and would be called back after his reading to book him for a
commercial. When they never called, he knew I was right.
Save your money and your child's disappointment. If you want to know how to get
into modeling, check with a reputable agency.
Recently at Target my son and I were approached by a young woman
who said she worked for a casting agency. I was suspicious, but
materials indicated that a Bay Area casting company would hold a
casting call for a couple of kids' programs, and my son was
After the casting call, where about 200 other kids recorded a
commercial, I was again uneasy and asked whether any cost would be
involved, since "lessons" were now suddenly mentioned. They said
that there were six lessons for the chosen @ $25 each, guaranteed
casting. They "selected" my thrilled son the next day, but then
turned into a manipulative hard-sell in which parents were
to pay a minimum of $2,500 (at least $800 to be paid THAT DAY) for
a membership fee, and the purpose was now revealed to be "making
the child a star." It was very hard to see the heartbreak in my
son when I had to tell him that we had been duped. I am ashamed
to expose my own naivete, but I want to warn others,
nevertheless -- AVOID "BE. PRODUCTIONS" in Emeryville or any
professing to be talent scouts for them.
Submitted by: Linda
In response to the last newsletter regarding the
Be productions group. We were approached at Six Flags
in Valejo during the holiday in the park, and found it
to be rather questionable. But, we did go "check it out."
My son had a short "screen test" and then they interview
the parent and kid, and admited that there is some money
involved but relatively inexpensive. We never returned
for the "orientation" because it started to sound very
suspicious. We got a couple of calls before they finally
left us alone. Luckily we stopped before we paid any money.
Be warned; they say that they are casting for children's TV
show when they approach you, but when you get there they say,
they are a talent development agency. If you watch the
t.v. show on Saturday morning at 6:00 AM, it looks like
an infomercial and it is the same tv show each week.
I think that those of us who were offended by these people
should contact the establishments where they found us and
ask them to reconsider allowing these questionable
folks to set up their traps there.
My two daughters have both done some
modeling/acting/voiceovers and are represented by a local SF
talent agency named STARS. Does anyone out there have
experience with JRP(john robert powers) training in Santa
Clara or San Rafael? They want $2000 per child for a 20
week training course where they state they bring in
''national'' agents each weekend. I would appreciate any
feedback if anyone out there has any experience with this
program. My girls are both goal directed and ambitious but I
don't want to waste my time and money.
not a stage mom
I went to JRP many moons ago, it was great for giving me confidence,
learned some good tips about walking, video, photography, some
etiquette lessons etc...but it never got me a modeling job or an
agency - did that on my own. Your daughters are already signed with a
fine agency, don't bother - also Stars may not like it-check with them
Does anyone have any experience with Cathy Steele Model & Talent Agency
located in the Concord / Pleasant Hill area? Any and all feedback is
My daughter worked with Cathy Steele about 4 yrs. ago and after paying her
quite a bit of money, I don't feel like we gained anything.she does not
offer anything that is particularly useful in terms of guidance about
modeling or acting and the head shots/ hair/makeup are done by her family
members. The head shots are something that another professional
photographer could provide at a lower cost. I would suggest that you
contact talent agencies in S.F. directly rather than spending the money with
I signed my 4.5y old daughter up for an ''audition'' for child modeling, tv or film work
that was to be held at John Robert Powers in San Rafael. I then read up on the company
on the web and got cold feet, too much mention of scams. I now wonder, is there anyone
out there who actually has a POSITIVE experience with JRP? Without shedding more than
$500 to get some kind of portfolio together? I'm not interested in enrolling my child in
modeling school or spending a fortune on getting this going. I would want to go to an
audition with real casting agents who are looking for kids for commercials or other
short tv gigs. If anyone has done this, particularly through this company, let me know.
Mom of glamour girl
Hi - I was a Casting Director in Manhattan for 30 years and I can absolutely, positively tell you that
you are wasting your money enrolling your child in John Powers or responding to any of the ads I hear
on the radio telling you your child can be a star. The only way to get your child into the commercial
or print business is thru a legitimate agent who, having no vested interest in signing a child who
isn't a good prospect, will not waste your time or your money. I moved out here 9 years ago and am
retired from the casting biz but my advice would be to call the Screen Actors Guild (they do have a
S.F. office) and see if they can provide you with a list of agents. They may not have specific listing
for kids' agents but you can start calling around. Also, I just Googled ''Model Agencies - San
Francisco'' and came up with this link for starters -
Do NOT spend any money having photos taken until you've consulted real, actual agents, not the phonies
that prey on the hopes and dreams of kids and parents. If this was New York, I'd be able to tell you
exactly who to contact - but I hope you heed this warning and don't wind up with disappointment AND a
flattened wallet - good luck (or, as we say in the biz, break a leg! :-)
One of my good friends had some success with JRP, but they had to invest over $20,000 in order to find
it. I believe that their child was also the only one in the group of about 50 kids who did have any
success. Also, once they found a manager (through JRP,) he advised them to take all mention of JRP
off their resume. If you are serious about getting your daughter into modeling, forget JRP and
contact agencies and/or managers that specialize in child modeling. If they think your daughter has
the look they are looking for they will agree to represent her, and you will only be out the cost for
Not a big fan of JRP.
John Robert Powers is a modeling school. Period. Although I don't have any experience in this, I
believe your best bet is to send snap shots directly to agencies. You shouln't have to spend any money
at this point.
You should not have to pay ANYTHING for your daughter to be a model. A real modeling agency will just
look at her/snapshots and tell you if they can use her or not.
Our 3-year-old is extra cute. It's not just our opinion - he gets
noticed everywhere. We'd like to make some money. Has anyone
else gotten their child into modeling at this young age? How do
we go about it?
Recouping the investment
Our princess did some work at age 3. We responded to an ad re:
fit modeling and got hooked up w/ Generations model & talent
agency in SF (415)777-9003 or visit at www.generationsagency.com
You will need to submit photos (professional not necessary) and
measurements. If your child is to their liking you will hear
from them. The only hassle is obtaining a work permit which
needs to be renewed quite often. We started w/ fit modeling
(Mervyn's,Old Navy,Gap)in which the child tries on clothes and
gets paid $50/hr. It was like playing dress up! We were also
sent on go-sees to clients such as Mervyn's, Target, Pottery
Barn, etc. These were for print ads. It was basically a cattle
call and gave clients the opportunity to meet your child, take a
polaroid and be on your merry way. A happy child sure helps you
get the job. Once we landed a job we would show
up,makeup,wait,shoot and get a check in the mail for $75/hr!
About a month later we would see our baby in the Sunday paper
ads or magazines. Pretty cool! Now here's the catch. This will
only work if there is someone available to take the child to
these appointments. The most notice we ever got was 1 day, they
would usually call the afternoon before for a morning go-see or
shoot during the weekday. So if you're not available on too many
occasions no matter how cute your child is you will not get
used. This explains the question alot of parents ask...why is
that kid modeling, my baby is cuter. It is ideal for a non-
working parent. I do highly recommend Generations, they never
asked us for any money and I know there are alot of scams out
there. They may ''suggest'' taking proffessional photos but no
pressure. Although it can be intimidating when you show up to
these things and some folks have a big fat portfolio. Hope this
helps. Good luck!
We did modeling for our eldest from 3 months to 18 months.
First take some pictures with a neutral background and no
branded clothes (disney, Thomas, etc) and send it in. If your
kid fits a need they have they may want him. Be prepared to put
in time and money. They'll want professional photos and nice
haircuts. You have to update the photos every year. You'll
need a flexible schedule to go to ''go sees'' where sometimes
there's no wait and sometimes you wait an hour or two. They put
them in the clothes and take a picture and you only hear if they
want you. Your kid also has to be comfortable in a room of
strangers without you next to him for the photo shoots. We did
a Mervyns ad and got $50 minus taxes, but it's cool to see your
kid in the ad! My neice and nephew on the other hand have
gotten lots of gigs and made good money. The agency expects you
to do a lot of the effort so be prepared. Look in the yellow
pages there are about 3 big ones around....Generations was the
one I used.
former stage mom
I hate to burst your bubble, but it is highly unlikely that you
would make much, if any, money by making your child model. There
are start up costs for you (portfolio) and then travel expenses
etc. Your child's pay rate is likely to dissapoint you too.
Child modeling is usually done for fun, not money.
Unless you are scouted by a talent agent, you have to do the
footwork yourself. Never pay anyone to ''get you started'' in
modeling either, those are scams.
Lots of cute kids out there
I would say to wait. Is your child really outgoing? Does he like a
lot of attention? Can he handle everyone looking at him and
telling him what to do?
Everyone told us to get our kids into modeling because they are
gorgeous and photogenic. Yes, total strangers would stop to stare
and admire them. Even my OB did an double take commented on how
striking my son was as an infant. We didn't do it because it
didn't suit their personalities. I waited until they were old
enough to weigh in on the subject, and they both said No.
My eleven year old daughter would like to try modeling. How
can she get started?
Hello! There are many child agencies in the south bay, SF and
Sac. What you need to do first is take some pictures of her.
Take some headshots, natural makeup (maybe just mascara and lip
gloss) natural hair (down and styled). Take some with her
smiling, not smiling, laughing and try to get some candids. Do
the same with full body shots in simple outfits - nothing too
trendy, no loud patterns or logos... you want them to notice
her face, not her clothes.
In SF, there is Marla Dell Talent (child exclusive),
Generations (child exclusive), Stars Agency (fashion), Look
(fashion). In Sac, there is Cast Images and in San Jose, there
is Halvorson Model Management. Look up their websites for
DO NOT PAY AN AGENCY ANYTHING!! Their job is to get your
daughter work, then take their cut (usually 20%)... that's how
they get paid... never pay upfront. Places like John Robert
Powers just make their money from people who don't know any
better and who's children shouldn't be modeling, so they ask
the parents to pay an ungodly ammount saying that they
will ''teach'' the kids how to be models. Truth is, agencies who
have faith in their talent will teach them all they need to
Make sure your daughter has a good understanding of rejection.
Rejection is a huge part of modeling and will happen to her.
She needs to be prepared and know that if there is a client or
an agency that doesn't want to book her, its nothing against
her as a person. She needs to be realistic and know that it
happens to everybody.
I've been modeling since I was 15.
I was a model from Junior high through my early twenties and get
asked this question a lot by parents.
First I would say make sure your daughter has thick skin and is
not too sensitive. It is an incredibly harsh industry where you
are being scrutinized about your looks, your height, your weight,
etc. So if you think she can handle A LOT of rude comments and
rejection than I would say definitely give it a try. Also be
honest with her and yourself and realize that there are many
tall, beautiful girls/boys out there but in an industry where
everyone is usually extraordinarily beautiful and trends are a
factor as well as certain looks being in - she will either have
an easier time being booked or not picked up at all. It may not
be that she is not beautiful but that she is not the “look” they
are looking for or they already have a few girls with that “look”.
The best place start is probably some of the reputable SF
Agencies (I would google it or look in your local yellow pages).
She will probably get more work in another city like LA or NY
but you usually need a pretty great resume and pics to get into a
Look Modeling Agency and Stars I know are reputable. Definitely
stay AWAY from modeling schools. Rule of thumb is you don’t have
to pay anything to be a model if you are picked up by a reputable
agency. You may have to get a few headshots and full body shots
to leave with the agencies but for the most part if an agency
likes a girl they take a Polaroid and send them on jobs to build
their portfolio. Be sure to check out the agencies you find with
the Better Business Bureau to see if they have any complaints
against them. And don't be pressured into signing anything right
If you really think she could do well at it and get signed then
maybe a weekend trip to LA or NY isn’t a bad idea. You can be
much more successful, faster in one of those cities.
Best of luck…I had a lot of fun but it was definitely a lot of
work. I started in LA/SF at around 13 going on a lot of go-sees
at first with very little jobs/money but with more exposure and a
trip to NY it became a career for quite a while
I am thinking about trying to have my daughter do some child
modeling although I have no idea how to go about it. She does
have a unique look to her and I thought it might be a great way
to start her college savings account. Any advice or
suggestions on how to get started would be most appreciated.
to do child modeling, you generally need to go through an agency that works on your behalf to find jobs for your child.
you need to be ''accepted'' by an agency then get headshots for your child. stores like baby gap, mervyns, gymboree work via these agencies. when you do get jobs, you don't find out about most of your bookings until a day or 2 prior, and you need to be available most of a working day, at the set for shooting.
you need to be flexible and available. this can be trying for young children so children who are beautiful also must possess a sunny disposition!
have family in the business
Does anyone know how to get a baby into modeling? My husband
and I are told every time we are out with our daughter that she
could be the ''Gerber Baby''. We've heard from parents who have
had their child/children do a couple of modeling jobs and were
able to save a significant amount of money from the jobs for
college educations. I know that Pottery Barn and Gap are based
in SF, any ideas how my daughter could get a modeling job with
them or another company? THANKS. PS- We have no intention of
continuing this as our daughter gets older- would only be doing
it now to save the money for her.
Be sure to check out http://www.ezbc.com before settling on an
agency! there are a whole lot of modelign scams out there --
John Robert Powers in San Ramon told me at an ''open call'' that
my daughter was perfect for modeling just before telling me that
I needed to shell out nearly $1000 for photos .. what a scam!
you can find many many complaints about JRP @
http://www.ezbc.com .. so glad I checked it before spending lots
of money on pics with no guarantee of success!
We're still looking into getting her to model though, only this
time with a reputable agency (not a ''school'' that claims to be
an agency and charges lots of money). I'm starting to send out
photos to businesses listed on
http://www.dir.ca.gov/databases/dlselr/Talag.html as liscenced
anyways, good luck! don't get scammed! :)
My son did a little bit of modeling, but my niece and nephew did
it extensively. Generations is an agency located in SF and
would be my recommendation to call. If memory serves, you can
call and find out what info they specifically want and then send
in that info, including your child's measurements along with
photos of your child. They will let you know if they can use
your child or not. It is a full-time commitment with you
needing to be available with one day notice. It didn't work for
us because I didn't want to uproot my son from his activities,
however it has been extremely lucrative for my niece and nephew
with an extremely healthy start on their college savings. Good
My kids have modeled for Pottery Barn, which gave us gift
certificates instead of cash. We've done pay! ing modeling work
through Suzette Blackwell, a modeling agency in SF whose
casting supervisor approached us on the street. While
the money is good ($300-600 for a day's work is what we've
gotten), there's a lot of inconvenience. First, you
have to get a license every six months from the state licensing
board for every minor child. Secondly, I've never gotten more
than 24-48 hours notice, so you have to drop everything and
then wait around a studio all day. More importantly, shoots are
long and have a really strange vibe. I've never felt that any
of the shoots we've done have been kid friendly, and even from
a very young age I think my kids have absorbed that. As
important as your child's looks are her abilities to be quiet
and sit still. If you're still interested you might look up
Suzette and maybe send her some photos of your child.
Mom Who's Done with Modeling
My daughter was approached by a photographer for Gymboree (also
HQ'd in the Bay Area) in a bookstore with our babysitter. We
were called by them to have her come in for a fitting, etc.
They took pictures of her (even though she cried), and we had
to get a work permit (which was kind of a pain, standing in
line, etc...) for her. After all was said and done, I really
didn't think it was worth it for the days off of work I had to
take, etc. They did offer to pay $500 for a day's work (I
think about 3-4 hours). I did like the Gymboree set up,
because the kids were on a play ''set'', and didn't have to pose
and stuff. I had a friend that worked for BabyGap, and she
said never let your kid model for that - it's a lot of hot
lights, and posing... I would really think about it, and
again, I don't think you should have to pay a thing to get
My son did some modeling for Gap.com a few years ago. Gap does all
of its print ads out of NYC and its Gap.com ads in SF. I suggest
the Gap corporate office in SF to find out when they are having casting
calls. What happens is you send them a picture, then they decide if
want to invite you to a casting call. Then when photo shoots come up
they call and invite you. The pay is very good, but the hours are hard
deal with once your child is school age. We always went directly
through Gap as someone actually contacted us directly because of
seeing our kids at my brother's wedding. However, another way is to
use an agent. I never did it, but I did get some recommendations.
they are (probably all 415 area codes): Stars, the agency: Teri, kids
Generations: Jennifer, kids booker #777-9099
Look model agency: Jenn, kids booker #781-2282
Hope this helps!
Has anyone had any experience with child modeling? We have a 2.5
year old girl. I was approached by a Wilhelmina talent scout
this last weekend and have always wondered about going down this
path. Info about the industry, experience for the child/parents,
earnings expecations, specific info on Wilhelmina or other
firms - all greatly appreciated.
the Aug 2002 issue of American Baby magazine (americanbaby.com)
has a whole article about child modeling. Turns out you do NOT
initialy need professional photos to send in. But try to order a
back issue from the website. It has some really great tips that
will answer things you might have not even thought of. also look
for agencies through the better business bureau website. You'll
find a lot of agencies in s.f.
To the parent who asked about child modeling,
I've been an actor for 25 years and a teacher/coach. I'd be
happy to give you honest advice. I taught briefly at John
Robert Powers, (which may be like Wilhelmena) and I quit because
of money they were taking from well intentioned parents, false
promises, and broken hopes. YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE TO PAY THEM.
There are reputable talent agencies in the Bay area. You
register with an agent and check in regularly, depending on
their policies. It costs nothing to register. When your child
is very young, usually a Polaroid is all you need. (Eventually
you hire a photographer for head shots, your agent will
advise.) They send you out on ''look/sees'', and if your child is
hired for the job, they pay you. Important Please recognize
if the child enjoys the process or not. I've been in many
situations where the poor children are not allowed to enjoy
their childhood because of their parent's dreams for them, as
you can imagine.
Please feel free to write to me if you have any further
While I don't know anything about your child's model potential,
Wilhemina talent has a host of complaints filed against them for
basically scamming people out of a lot of money with the promise
of modelling jobs. I too was approached by a scout about my
son, and a quick Google search told me all I needed to know.
The company is currently under investigation by the Florida
attorney general (where the firm is based). Newsweek did a
story on the company last month
will tell you all you ever wanted to know.
We do not plan to become parents who send their 5 year old daughter to
beauty pageants, but people tell us our 6 month old would make a great model
because she is cute and unusual looking. Does anoyne have experience with
kid's modeling agencies? I would like to hear about your experiences,
positive and negative.
I have many years of experience in the performing arts and I'm married
to a man who was an actor for over 20 years. My advice is to keep your
child out of the professional modeling/performing industry as much as
possible. Unless your child expresses an interest (and at 6 months, of
course s/he cannot) it seems just cruel to me to expose children to the
harshness of the industry. People will discuss his/her looks, body,
temperament, etc., in from of him/her in a very blunt and harsh way.
The contant auditions and rejections are very difficult for adults to take,
let alone fragile children just forming a self-image. It takes away
innocence too early, in my opinion. It's a hard life for kids.
In addition, you would need to be available at random times during
the day to go to auditions. You most often get a call 12-24 hours before
an audition. My husband never got notice of an audition more than 48 hours
in advance. The auditions are almost always at casting agencies in San
Francisco in the middle of the day. This is standard for film, TV, and
print ads. I cannot stress enough how anxiety-ridden and stressful this
business can be for adults, let alone kids. I do know people who had good
experiences as professional child actor/models, but they are the minority.
In my opinion, if a child has an interest in the performing arts, s/he is
best served by attending any of the outstanding theatre education programs
here in the Bay Area. The professional arena, with its headshots, auditions,
and constant stream of rejections is just too, too harsh for children. You
can email me at any time to discuss this further if you wish-
We tried this when our child was 2 as he's out there and likes to
perform. The agency advertised in the SF Chron and is located in SF. They
wanted children who can sit still, pay attention and follow instructions. I
must admit, 2 was a little young be we did learn that it takes special child
and parent to participate and the monetary rewards may not be enough of an
incentive/rationale. The schedule and pressure can be onerous to a young
child just trying to be a child. Possibly, each agency is different and
times have changed (we did this 3 years ago).
I wish to counter the person who wrote about keeping your child out of
modeling. As I said before, my 16 year old daughter attends auditions for
commercials, movies, etc. She has never been asked to an audition before
3:00 pm., so I think saying that you would be expected to go to auditions
at any time of the day is not correct. It is true that you will often be
called for an audition the day before, so it's important to have a schedule
flexible enough. Also, once your child gets a part you will have to be
with them during the filming which is usually no more than a couple of
days, but also requires flexibility in your schedule. If your child
attends school a tutor is provided during school hours. Your child will be
rejected from parts about 90% of the time, so it's really important that
you and your child don't take the whole thing too seriously. We were
lucky. Rejection has always been harder for me than my daughter, who
doesn't seem to care at all. You could contact me for more information if
you wish. Toby
When I used to be a teacher, I had a child who was doing modeling
work. What I'd be concerned about isn't the hours it takes per se, but
rather the values it teaches. We all know that the industry's idea of
beauty isn't what makes a person worthwhile, and we can even tell our
children that, but when an employer is actually paying her for her looks
and we are participating in that process, the child gets conflicting
messages from us. My student the model spent a good deal of her energies
paying attention to her "image", to the extent that she was less "herself"
than she might otherwise have been.
I have mixed feelings about this, and would appreciate other parents' input
regarding the pressures and positives of auditioning a kid for
photos/modeling/ads. Well meaning strangers and friends and relatives have
put me up to this--I have an extremely outgoing and photogenic (her dad's
genes!) daughter who will be 4 in July, and every time we are out someone
suggests that she would be a good kid model. I have heard that this is an
excellent way to get a college fund started, which is nice, but I certainly
do not want to put undo pressure on my daughter to perform, especially since
I am uncomfortable about stressing the importance of looks for success. On
the other hand, she may even enjoy it, as she is quite the
performer! I welcome advice, both practical (such as the names of
reputable photographers or agencies) and/or philosophical. Thank you.
My 16 year old daughter has a talent agent in San Francisco so I am
somewhat familiar with the acting business. If you are interested in
looking into the possiblity of having your child model or act in
commercials or movies, contact Bay Area talent agents. There is a
listing of Bay Area talent agencies at this Web site:
Just call the agencies. They will provide you with instructions as to
how to submit your child for consideration. Some will set up an
appointment, and some will just ask you to send a picture. Although it
isn't required that your child has experience, it doesn't hurt to
include a resum=E9 on which you can list plays they've been in, classes
they've taken, etc.
YOU DO NOT NEED TO PAY ANYONE TO HAVE YOUR CHILD BE
CONSIDERED BY A REPUTABLE TALENT AGENT. DO NOT GIVE MONEY TO ANYONE!
If an agency agrees to represent your child you will need to get
photographs. I am a photographer who has done photographs for this
purpose, both for my daughter (before she turned into a teenager, at
which point she didn't want me to photograph her any longer) and for
other children. I charge much less than other photographers who do
this, $80/ 8 x 10 head shot as opposed to $150-300 from other
photographers, so keep me in mind. I have a portfolio you can review.
Once you've provided the agency with pictures, they will send your
child out to auditions. These happen about once every 2 months or so
for my daughter. Mostly, your child will not get a part, so it can be
a big hassle to drive to the audition for nothing.
After speaking to another parent about this I felt compelled to give
other parents warning. I received a form letter in the mail addressed to
me and my 7 year old son (by name). It invited us to come to an 'event'
and get considered for 'placement' with a talent agent. The draw was to
get a picture taken with a TV personality from some show I'd never heard of
but perhaps familiar with the teen set. The offer was very enticing so I
showed up with my 15 year old instead of my 7 year old, thinking he was
more interested in drama and stuff. He had his picture taken and then we
were led into a big room where each child was videotaped during a very
short interview. The parent was then interviewed by an "agent". The
questions asked were very benign but my "agent" was clearly interested in
the part where my son stated he had taken drama classes but didn't have a
resume or pictures. The short story is that we got a call two days later
to come and be interviewed again, this time "BOTH" parents HAD to be there.
My suspicious nature was at work. We asked around and found out that
these so-called "talent agents" try to sell you on getting "Head shots"
taken 'professionally', having resumes put together, and taking acting
classes. After alot of debate on the phone by my husband the "agent"
admitted that we could potentially spend around "$1800", which is why they
want to have both parents appear. Apparently, at the second interview, it
becomes a hard sell. They prey on you and your kid's dreams of being a
movie star. I understand around 5 of these so-called "talent agencies" are
currently being investigated by the SF District Attorny's Office. The one
we went to is called Rottman O'brien. I didn't find out if this is one of 5
being investigated but wouldn't be surprise if it is. They get addresses
by purchasing them, sometimes from the school districts. Apparently,
Rottman O'Brien runs these things every Sunday, running hundreds of kids
through every week.
I was advised by many others not to fall for this ruse. You can get a
list of reputable agents through the legitimate acting places in the Bay
Area such as ACT, for free. A reputable agent won't get anything until the
client gets a job, you don't need "Professional" type head shots taken at
$1000 each, a very nice picture of yourself will do, and you can put
together your own resume with the help of the library. Acting classes are
always offered around the bay area. I suggest getting recommendations from
others before signing up.
I was told many people have unknowingly signed up with these talent agent
"finders" and lost alot of money for little return. If you get one of these
letters call the Better Business Bureau or the District Attorny's Office in
S.F. for information on the business. If they don't have anything on them
ask around some more. Be suspicious if they ask for any amount of money
for those things I mentioned above.
I had a similar experience with one of those agencies (though I don't
remember the name). They were interested in our older daughter (who at
that point had classes under her belt, and a headshot, but no agent), but
made it very clear that, for her to "succeed" we would have to be willing
to re-locate in the LA area (and oh-by-the-way, take their expensive series
of classes). We told them "thanks but no thanks."
Talent Scout: We went through the same situation in San Francisco. I
told my daughter that the trip would be strictly an adventure and I
was not going to put out one cent. At the second interview as soon as
they discovered I wasn't buying anything they humiliated my daughter.
If I was stronger I would have slugged Pierre!
My 15 year old daughter has a talent agent, Boom Models and Talent in SF.
A "real" talent agent will only expect a percentage of a child's pay AFTER
they get a job, usually about 20%. You don't need to pay for "acting
classes" through the agency, you only need to pay for a professional
photograph and then you'll be on your way. talent agents in SF. Many of
them have an "open" call day where you can bring your child in to meet
them. Some of them will ask you to send pictures.
this page was last updated: Mar 31, 2009
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