If after considerable time goes by, you are still not getting bites from your potential agent list, consider having someone in the industry that you trust give you some feedback. Ask them to review the headshot and resume, as well as your cover letter. Maybe something could be tweaked that would make a difference. Of course it’s not a bad idea to do this BEFORE you send these things out in the first place!
Some of the larger or better acting programs for kids in LA have occasional showcases to which they invite agents and managers who are looking for fresh talent. It is rare for a top agent to attend these. But a junior agent at a good agency may attend, as they are looking to fill their book with new clients. Many kids find great representation this way.
Most of these junior agents have trained as assistants to more established agents and can be very knowledgeable. A less-experienced but talented actor can be a great match with a less-experienced but talented agent! They can grow together in the business. This logic applies to many other relationships in the business as well: stylists, hair and makeup artists, and other partners you may need later.
If your child develops a good relationship with a casting director before getting an agent, that CD may be able to make the coveted recommendation that gets you a meeting with a great agent as well. One more reason to go out on as many auditions as possible, without waiting for representation.
So let’s say it finally happened: your kid got a meeting with an agent you believe is a good one! Yay! Now what? It really is just like any other audition in many ways: show up fifteen minutes early, let the person at the desk know you’re there, and have your child’s headshot and resume. Of course in this case there are no sides: the material is your own. Ask what the agent would like your child to prepare. And don’t be put off when it is just your kid, and not the two of you, who is called in to the agent’s office.
After your child has auditioned, you will both likely be thanked and released. That’s it. You will have no idea if the audition was a success or not. It can be nerve-wracking, but generally it is several days before you have an answer. In our case, I think it was three days later that we had a phone call from Pamela Fisher offering Dove representation. By the end of the week we received a contract in the mail.
Here is where you are probably tempted to run for the nearest pen and just sign every page of that contract, but here is also where you need to take a deep breath and read the contract very carefully first.
If you are signing with a top agency it is likely to be a very standard, legally sound, “boiler-plate” document. But for most people whose kid is just starting out in the business, odds are that you are signing with a somewhat less-known agency. In this more likely scenario, the contract could really have some questionable aspects.
Look particularly closely at the subjects of commission (should be 10% and not more) expenses (should not generally be any charged to the client) and length of contract (generally twelve to eighteen months, renewable). Make sure you know what the rules are for getting out if you find you aren’t happy with this agent later. Most contracts should allow for leaving the agent with no penalty if a certain amount of time has gone by and no work has been produced. It can be trickier to get out of a contract after that.
I strongly recommend that you have a lawyer review the contract before you sign it.
Preferably this is an entertainment lawyer with licensed to practice in the same state that the agent is in. Since you are signing on behalf of your minor child, it is essentially you on the line legally. All you have to do is have one bad experience before you learn the hard way just how important legal review can be. Save yourself—and your child—that pain, and just get the document reviewed before signing it!
There is one more aspect to consider before signing with an agent, and this one is difficult but important: how did your child feel about him or her when they met?
Did the agent feel warm, friendly? Scary? Interested or distracted? Your kid needs to feel a sense of trust with the person who represents them, and you do too. It can be difficult to get a very accurate read on someone if you barely meet them yourself and are going largely on your child’s impressions. But those feelings, along with your own gut instinct gathered from all of your other impressions—from the vibe you get in their office to anything else—count for a lot.
If you have any questions at all about whether this person is really the right one to represent your kid, ask for a meeting before signing. This is reasonable under the circumstances, and frankly, you’ll be in meetings with the agent after signing before you know it anyway! Some agents may want this as well since the reality is that their relationship with the parent can be just as important as with their talent, and in some ways they are signing you both.
If after all that, you just don’t feel quite right… trust your instincts and keep searching.
The right one will materialize. If everything looks and feels right, however, congratulations! Your child has their agent!
My book, The Hollywood Parents Guide, available on Amazon contains everything I wish I’d known when Dove and I started this journey, and will save you untold amounts of time, money, and stress. Full of information you MUST know, it also features stories from parents of other kids who’ve made it!
Or book an hour consulting with me to come up with an individualized plan that takes your own unique needs into account. For about the cost of an hour with a professional acting coach, you can get your questions answered and a road map to help you move forward toward your dream.
If your young actor is 12 or older, they will enjoy reading my second book, Young Hollywood Actors, which shares stories and advice from some of their favorite performers.
Invest a little in your kid’s future today.
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