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How to get your child started in the entertainment industry?

First this business is not for everyone. Make sure it’s something that suits your child as well as your lifestyle. Parents should start their children off young. Get your child involved in the arts and entertaining from the start. Dance ,vocal lessons, acting , theater, photography, music, etc. This will create more opportunity for you child’s future.

  1. Make sure you do your research when it comes to finding an agent. If you don’t have a referral from someone you know it’s kind of difficult to find one that will lead you in the right direction. You need to make sure that the agent deals with child actors. Also, if they specialize in theatre, commercial, modeling, print etc. Some agencies have preferences, most cover the majority. A good way to find an agent outside of a referral is to go to the SAG website and look at the list of agents ( Make sure you Google that agent and check out their website (if available). Make sure they are not scammers. If an agent asks you for ANY money up front, for ANYTHING: pictures, fees, classes etc., RUN! Otherwise, contact them to see what their process is for submitting photos and if they have a kids division.
  2. Once you have found several agents that you would like to submit your child to, it’s time to break out the digital camera. No need to go and spend hundreds of dollars on photos just yet. Today’s technology allows us to take really good photos right at home. Agents usually want to see what the child looks like naturally, first. In their own environment. It shows genuine personality. So, break out the camera and take the kids outside, to the park, or just somewhere in the house. Take pictures of them playing, talking, posing, etc. Make sure you don’t have any clutter in the background; you want the agent to pay attention to your child and not the clutter going on in the background.
  3. Submit pictures to agency. Online (if option is available, it saves time and money), or as hard copies. So, that means you need to print some out. They key would be to take the pictures to a print shop and have them make a Zed Card of the pictures that you took and submit more than one look of your child. You can’t send just one email/photo. You should send at least 3 to 5 emails at once, more than once (agents get hundreds of emails daily), and put in a catchy subject (i.e. Twin Models, Child Star, etc…)
  4. If your child’s photos show enough potential you will get a call back from the agency requesting that you bring your child in for an initial “interview”. Make sure you prep your child before the interview. But be sure to let them be themselves. If your child has true potential, the best way to show it is for them to keep it natural. If the agent wants to represent you, be sure to discuss contract and percentages. Industry normal percentages are: Agent 10% (some agents do charge 20%), Coogan 15%, Management 15%.
  5. After interviewing with agencies, weigh the pros and cons of each. Make a decision on who you would want to represent your child. Once the decision is made, you will need to take professional photos and get them to the agent ASAP! Now, I am going to say this again, you do not need to go out and spend hundreds of dollars on professional pictures. Some people pay anywhere from 0 to 00 on photos. But keep in mind that you are just starting out, once you’ve made some money in the business then you can start to spend more on photos, but starting out, you can easily find a photographer to take pictures for 5- 5. These prices will usually include 3 to 4 outfit changes, headshots, some edited photos, and a CD with approx 200 unedited shots. It is very important to get these pictures taken immediately and get them to the agent. You will want to print out around 100 photos to take with you on auditions and to give to the agent. ( Great place to get your pictures printed.
  6. Auditions: Make sure you confirm auditions immediately. Preferably within 24 hours of receiving the audition notice. DO NOT decline auditions because you don’t think you child will get the part; agents don’t like clients to decline. Parents, you do not get a lot of time before an audition notice, so be prepared, if you can’t take your child, you need to have someone always on standby and ready.
  7. Before your child books a job you will need to do a few things before they can work. 1) Paperwork: Obtaining a work permit for your child is easy. In California you can get one at no cost from the ‘Entertainment Work Permit Department’ found at the Department of Social Services in your area. Work permits are good for a six-month period and must be renewed every six moths thereafter. Some parents make the mistake of waiting until the child booked a job before obtaining a work permit. Don’t be caught unprepared! It is entirely possible to find your child has booked a job late Wednesday night and is expected to report to the set early Thursday morning. Without an original copy of a work permit from your state, your child will not be allowed to work. Hard and Fast rule for child actors: Your child will not be able to work without a work permit. Social Security Card, so that you child can be paid, no payment can be made to a minor until the social security is obtained and secured by the company that hired your child. Coogan Account: A Coogan account is a special bank account set up to save aside a minimum of 15% of a child’s total earnings. Every time your child works for someone in the Entertainment Industry part of that money is automatically put into the Coogan Account, so it is necessary for you to set one up before your child starts o work. Not all financial institutions offer this type of account, so do your research. Some institutions may ask you for proof of employment, some do not. If your child has a principal or speaking role, the contract should work as proof. First Entertainment Credit Union (if you are in Southern California) is a good choice. They have been dealing with Coogan accountants for many years and will do everything via mail. Or you can use Wells Fargo or Bank of America.

More to come… Go and find your child a job! College is expensive!

Content Source: BukisaHow to get your child started in the entertainment industry?

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