And the wise words of Billy Flynn, “That’s Showbiz, Kid” couldn’t ring more true today. Both my kiddos Camden and Bowynn have now entered the world of Hollywood, or at least the “modeling” industry, and I am here to share my experience thus far, both from a person who has dealt with my fair share of this stuff throughout my career, and as their mom or momager as the term has now been coined thanks to Kris Kardashian. Here are some things to know and be aware of if you enter this world.
- When seeking representation from an agency, ask around and definitely don’t pay to have your child represented. Find out what agencies are best for what you are looking to do. If you want your child to be the next Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, then that’s one thing, but you think you child could make a few extra pesos for their college fund (or preschool if you live in Los Angeles) then that’s another. Go with your gut. Remember: the agents are running a business and are out to make money too, but make sure you feel comfortable with the people that you will be dealing with and hopefully who will have your kids best interest in mind.
- Submit iPhone pics or take initial pictures yourself. You don’t want to spend any money an then have your child denied. Geez- sounds so cut throat already. Bowynn was only 3 months old when she booked a job and since infants change so much, weekly pictures should be submitted, so don’t waste any funds on those. If and when your chid gets accepted, then take professional head-shots. My advice is to find a friend in the industry that is trying to build their business or that will do it for low cost/free. I’m sure even Universities have students that would help you out, as well as build a portfolio. Camden’s pictures were taken by a friend of mine who was really helpful when shopping around for an agent. Find her stuff here and here.
- Get your paperwork done. You will need minor work permits every 6 months and getting one mailed to you after being approved can take 3-5 weeks. 10 day temporary permits can be issued for $50. To check out with the IRS fill out your W-9 and give to agency. Once a job is completed and a check is issued in your child’s name, under the Coogan Act you must open their own bank account with in 7 days.
- Before going on an audition or booking a job, ask a lot of questions. At least half of them will always go unanswered or be very vague but still ask. Most likely if you have a call time of 3p you won’t shoot until 4p or even 5p. We recently did a job where that was just the case. I asked if the call time could be moved up since it fell right in the middle of their nap times. Now woking with kids, nap times can not always be accounted for especially if there are more than one child on the job, but I thought I’d see anyway. I knew this could be a potential nightmare, and sure enough it was. We arrived and I was told that we weren’t needed until 5:30p. “Ummmmm excuse me, say that again? I have a 2 year old and a 4 month old.” Tell me how you think this will play out exactly?” All done with a semi positive outlook and smile on my fave, of course!
- There is a spectrum of “cool” when it comes to the people in the industry. I have found producers, directors and crew members are either on one side of seesaw or the opposite. Find the ones that fun and helpful and hang around them onset. The other ones will just make you cynical and begin to hate humanity.
- Remember, you know your child the best. If they aren’t feeling it or just don’t like the process, don’t bribe for them to love it. Ask yourself if this is for them or for you. Now I would be lying if I didn’t think this was a little for me, only because I think it is a good way to capture this time in their lives, oh and pay for the swimming lessons, etc. 🙂 But in all sincerity, the minute Camden voices his dislike, or Bowynn just hates being on set, we are over it!
I hope some of this helps. I would love to hear about your experiences and of course will keep you updated on the process. In the meantime, look for Camden and Bowynn in an Ergo Baby campaign soon and my fingers crossed for them both to play Munchkins in the 2020 remake of the Wizard of Oz.