Just because your kid wants to act professionally, this doesn’t mean they are actually ready to sign with an agent! Acting professionally can be really fun and rewarding. And the more prepared your child is, the more fun and rewarding it WILL be! Read my checklist below to see if your child might be ready to get an agent, or if you should consider waiting a bit.
Theatrical agents represent talent for TV and film. Commercial agents represent talent for print and other commercials. In smaller markets these may be the same agents, but in larger markets like Los Angeles, they are generally different agents.
In larger markets an actor who is either actually under 18 or who PLAYS under 18 will want to be represented by a youth agent as well. So if you are in the LA or NY area, you’ll be weighing when it might be time to meet with a Youth Theatrical Agent.
It’s not easy to get a meeting with a good agent, so you want to be ready for representation if you get the opportunity. If you manage to get a meeting before your kid is actually prepared to compete professionally, the agent might ask you to come back another time in the future, or they might decide you simply aren’t what they are looking for and decline another meeting.
What are some signs that your child may be ready to meet with a theatrical agent?
- They have some acting training and/or experience
- They have a legitimate mentor who believes they are ready for representation (by legit I mean someone whose financial interest is not involved)
- They have repeatedly expressed interest in professional acting
- They clearly love to perform
- They are mature for their age
- They are at least 7 years old (many theatrical agents don’t want to rep kids who can’t read decently yet. Younger kids might start out with a commercial agent and then add a theatrical agent as they get older)
- Ideally they have some on-camera experience though this isn’t always necessary if they have done theatre or acting classes
- You have the flexibility to be able to take your child to auditions on little notice, help them memorize lines, and stay on set with them if they book a role. If you have other kids, you also have help available, as siblings can’t typically be on set with you.
If all or most of these signs describe your child, they might be ready to meet with an agent to seek representation!
If any of these signs are not in place, your kid is probably not yet ready for an agent.
This is OK! Each of these signs is important for a reason. If your kid needs more experience, sign them up for acting classes. If they are under 7, you have plenty of time! If they aren’t begging you to let them act, they should probably be doing something else. If they have no one with an objective opinion who believes they are ready then you might seek out someone whose opinion you would trust—an acting coach, director, etc.
If your young actor doesn’t have any on-camera experience yet (and this one is a bit negotiable) you could look for opportunities via student films or non-union projects casting in your area via audition boards like Backstage, Actors Access, etc.
And if you aren’t in a position to be able to get your kid to auditions on short notice, as well as stay on set with them for whatever jobs they might book, you might not yet be in a position to provide the support they need to pursue a career as a professional actor. Again, this is OK. Not everyone has the flexibility in their work/life structure to accommodate the demands of a young actor’s career. You might be able to get creative and enroll grandparents or other family for help, or find work that is more flexible. If those things are not an option, you may need to wait until your situation changes.
If and when your child signs with an agent, make sure that they—and you—are ready for that opportunity by being able to check off the items on this list, so your young actor has the greatest chance possible for success.
Do you have more questions about knowing if and when your child is ready for representation? Or how to approach helping them start a career?
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.
Invest a little in your kid’s future today.
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