So You Want to Put Your Baby in the Movies?
Living in Los Angeles I know a lot of babies and kids who model or act professionally, including twin girls who star on "Grey’s Anatomy"! Think your baby has what it takes? Here are twelve tips to know before you get your little one in front of the cameras!
You'll need photos
A variety of professional quality photos of your child is required to submit to industry professionals. Since kids change quickly, these photos will need to be updated often (every three months for babies and every six months for bigger kids).
Find your child an agent
Before submitting your child to an agency for consideration, do research to ensure it’s a quality, reputable company. Referrals from trusted individuals are often best.
Never pay for representation
If an agency asks to be paid to represent or take photos of your child, it’s a serious red flag. Legitimate agencies only make money when they get your child work and never before.
Open a Coogan account
In California, New York, Louisiana and New Mexico it is required by law that you open one of these accounts and deposit at least 15% of your child’s earnings into it. As a blocked trust, no withdrawals may be made from it until your child turns eighteen and can access the funds.
Get a work permit
You will need to get one of these from the county registrar for your child before he or she can be submitted for anything.
Know your baby’s stats
It’s important that you always know your baby’s up-to-date height, weight, and clothing sizes. Most jobs require babies and kids to be very specific sizes. Submitting your child when he or she is too big or small will hurt both your reputation and your child’s chances of finding work in the future.
Casting opportunities often come up at the last minute, so it’s important that your child’s agent be able to reach you at all times. Check your email and phone first thing in the morning and last thing at night (and in between, too, of course).
Auditions happen at all times during the week and often in far flung places. You’ll need to be able to have a schedule flexible enough to accommodate this.
Take lots of photos of your baby
Your baby will do better in front of the camera if he or she is used to taking photos at home. Be sure to practice smiling on cue.
Practice “Simon Says”
Casting agents often play “Simon Says” with kids to determine if they are good listeners, so make sure your child is good at this! You’ll also want to work on teaching your child to say, “My name is _____ and I am ___ years old” as an introduction.
Know Your Kid
Make sure you’re tuned into what your child is feeling. If he or she isn’t enjoying modeling and acting, don’t push it.
Sometimes kids work a lot, sometimes they don’t. Other times it might seem like your kid goes on a lot of auditions without booking anything. It’s important to remain patient, not sweat it, and remember that castings often have more to do with a child’s age than anything else.
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