Has anyone ever told you your kids are cute enough to model or have you ever thought about modeling or acting yourself, but you didn’t know where to start? Read on to get some tips about how to get started. (Please note, this is for modeling/acting, not to be confused with pageants. I personally am not a fan of make-up on young girls).
To give you a bit of a background, my children and I have been signed with a legit modeling agency for 10 years and have had countless gigs for some big names, so I am speaking from experience. First things first… you have to realize that we live in Ohio and while there are gigs available, they are not on the same scale as somewhere like California or New York. Don’t let that be a deterrent, though, as some of the clients here are national chains and/or high-end and elite brands. Some projects that we have done include: Paul Mitchell, Foot Locker, PNC Bank, McGraw-Hill, JoAnn Fabrics, Batesville Caskets, Nathan’s Hot Dogs, Huffy, Graco… the list goes on and on and they have a ton of other very well-known brands as clients.
The first (and really only) step is to find a legitimate agency.
I cannot stress enough that there should be very little to no upfront costs, nor should there be expensive portfolio pictures to have or ridiculously expensive classes to take. Our agency charges an annual fee to be on their website so that their clients can skim through the talent. They also have a list of approved photographers to use for headshot packages as they know what types of shots their clients are looking for. The portfolio packages are usually $150 or less.
More times than not, just getting one gig per year more than pays for the web fee and the portfolio pictures. Classes are also offered throughout the year but are not mandatory. They also take a very small percentage of your pay for booking the job. I’ve watched a few people get burned by the “high-class agencies” in the area and nothing to show for, so it’s important while searching for an agency, to make sure you know what their rates and requirements are.
Once you’re signed and have your pictures done, the agency will reach out to you if a client would like to book you.
The agency is responsible for negotiating all rates. They will let you know the pay, dates, times, and any other requirements. The shoots can range from 30 minutes to multiple day shoots. Sometimes, the client is looking for something different so the agency will reach out to the talent and ask us to submit if we know of someone who fits the bill (i.e. a real family, a specific kind of pet, babies/toddlers, etc).
The gigs can range from print models (Usually there are no size/height/weight requirements in print modeling. These are models in the magazines/ads or on the box or store signage.) and can include full modeling or just body part modeling like a hand model, runway modeling, acting (speaking and non-speaking roles), voiceovers, and everything in between (except adult/pornographic). If you get booked for a job, my best advice is to show up at least 15 minutes early, listen to directions, and most importantly for jobs with kids, keep them under control. I have seen producers kick kids (even if it is the talent’s siblings) out for being too wild.
The pay is lucrative but again, we are in Ohio, so doing this here will likely not replace an income as the jobs may be sporadic.
I love it because it doesn’t have the competitive nature that pageants have nor does it have the cutthroat factor that New York or California has. Usually, the client says “I want her/him for this project.” If there is an audition for something and my kids don’t get the gig, they are obviously a bit disappointed but we don’t put too much thought into it because there’s always the next one. If they do get booked, it’s a huge confidence builder.
In summary, the most important thing to do if you or someone you know is interested in modeling is to do your research on the agency. Read what others are saying about them. Contact them yourself and ask questions about their fees, rules, and rate of return in terms of job frequency. If you do end up signing with a legit agency after reading this, good luck, have fun with it, and “go do your little turn on the catwalk!”