Agencies are the best way to get your child seen by casting directors and clients, however you can also submit your child for auditions and castings via online casting sites. Castings sites differ from agencies, in that you pay for access to the auditions and castings, and if you book the job you keep the money you make.
In an agency while you may pay a marketing fee for comp cards, or for a web profile, you do not pay them to get you a job. Instead they try to find you work and then you pay them 15% to 20% of your earnings. Agencies are also able to negotiate rates and review model releases, contracts, etc. They can also weed out scams, or shady business who don't pay - so make sure when working with the client directly you are mindful about what your rate will be, when to expect payment, and what papers you are asked to sign. For more on finding an agency for your child click here.
Essentially, any of the jobs you book on your own, you book as an independent contractor and are responsible for reporting and payng all taxes related to any income your child makes.The advantages of self-submitting are that you have access to listings that may not go through an agency. Also, many modeling agencies are focused only on print and some commercial work, however you can see listings for theater, industrials, film, tv, etc.
Here's how to get started:
1. Visit the casting site - (I have some listed at the end of this post)
2. Review the sites submission policies and procedures. You may have to pay a monthly or annual subscription fee. Some sites allow you to create a profile and you only pay for the castings you submit to. The cost can be anywhere from $2 a post, to $10 a month.
3. Create a profile with one or more pics. Pick a recent headsot of your child smiling. For more info on getting the best picture check out this recent post. List physical characteristics like height, weight, hair color, etc. If your child has done any work - provide a resume. If possible, list activities like ballet or karate or even a second languages.
4. Once your profile is created you can search the casting opportunities that fit your child. You can often search by location, age, union status, and ethnicity.
5. If you find a job posted that fits your child submit asap! You can select the picture you want to send from your profile, and often write a note to the director - like a cover letter, before you submit.
6. If the director likes your submission, someone will contact you via the phone, email, or directly through the casting site so be sure to check your casting inbox frequently.
MBM Insider Tips:
1. Check the casting site (s) at least once a day. If possible check twice - many often have urgent castings that need to be filled the same day, so you don't want to miss out on an opportunity.
2. Submit your profile immediately after seeing a relevant post.The sooner the better! .If you wait you may miss out on an opportunity.
3. Keep your photos fresh. Take pictures of your child every month. If you submit a lot to the same casting directors, they may feel they know your child and overlook your profile completely. If you have updated your profile information the may never see it because they can't get past your child's old photo.
5. Sometimes it is good to belong to more than one site because different people use different services, however some clients use all of them to cover their bases. Start with one site that you like and then decide later if you want to add the others, the more sites you are on, the more work YOU have to do to make it worth your time and money.
6. Follow the castings sites on Twitter and Facebook for up to the minute postings. Many companie ill als post industry advic, tips, workshops ad more.
7. Give it time and be patient. Getting a job is a numbers game - the more you submit, the more chance you have of landing a gig. With one casting site I have probably submitted to over 300 jobs, got called back for maybe 75 jobs or auditions, and booked about 50 of those. It's not an easy thing to do, and it takes time but I enjoy it, I have made money, and I have added to my portfolio and resume. Also, there are fewer kids jobs available to begin with, so be realistic about your expectations. And if you decide you don't want to be a part of a site, you can stop - there are no contracts to sign, and no commitment with a month to month plan.
Here area few casting sites to consider:
Questions? Comments?? Let me know!