Parents. Momagers. Working Creatives. Did you know that you should always get a copy of signed documents? This includes agency contracts and release forms signed on set or in advance by your agent/manager. Aside from reading through the terms BEFORE you sign, you need that copy to refer to later. If you're unhappy with your agency, you need to know when your contract expires and what you're required to do to cancel it. Note: most contracts will automatically renew if you don't request to terminate. For release forms, you should be able to refer back to the terms and ensure the client is using your image or likeness within the guidelines you agreed upon. An example would be a client using your ad for television only and not print. So if you see them using your image in still photos (print), it's not covered. Your agent/manager needs to negotiate more compensation. Also, if they use it past the time frame mentioned. If the release form says one (1) year and they use it past that, you need to request more compensation. Always look for those ugly little words like PERPETUITY and EXCLUSIVITY so you don't get jammed up. Know your stuff folks BEFORE you sign and keep a copy. Even if it's on your cell phone. Lay that puppy on the table and take a snapshot of each page on your phone before you turn it in. Email it to yourself with the job name in the subject for easy finding down the road. Don't say I didn't warn ya. Ok bye!
- BJ Gianni, Founder
It's routine for kid's agencies to offer an exclusive contract for agency representation. This means you can only work for them within that specified time frame. The contract should also include a specific type of work like acting, for example. This means you book all your acting work through them and pay a commission. It also means you're free to work with other agencies on non-acting gigs like print modeling or runway. Contracts should also specify what region you'll be exclusively signed to, like a state or tri-state area. This means that you can work with agencies in other regions for acting, using the previous example. The more agencies, the more auditions, right?! We recommend that you don't sign contracts longer than a year at a time, especially if you're new to the industry. One year is enough time to learn the industry, build a relationship with that agency and get some credits under your belt. If the agency wasn't a good fit, one year is more than enough time to figure it out. Be sure to end your contract in writing before it automatically renews. Ok so now you know and knowing is half the battle. 😄 Happy Signing! #TYFtips
Email us with specific contract questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Each Saturday, I meet with parents and their talented young folks to discuss how to get agency representation, where to find auditions, the Dos and Donts and so forth. I'm noticing a trend among clients and it has everything to do with photos. I can give tons of agency contacts and tips on how to get started but the train stops at taking photos to send to them. Some clients have invested hundreds in professional photos only to find they missed the mark on what agencies truly want to see. Others have invested in affordable decent photos but still struggle with which ones to use because they have tons to choose from. Even parents who choose to do it themselves grow frustrated attempting to take snapshots at home and flopping after numerous attempts to gain those great shots. Out of all these scenarios, it's snapshots, in my opinion, that are the most crucial part of gaining representation for new actors and models. While, it is possible to secure a reasonably priced photographer, that works well with kids and captures great shots an agency will love...it's not necessary, not for beginners at least.
As I begin to schedule the next PhotoShootOut, it became clear to me that clients truly need assistance with posing and snapshots before investing in a professional shoot with TYF or anyone for that matter. Even though our prices are super low, it still wouldn't benefit you if you're child isn't comfortable with posing, finding their best angles or showing off their personality. So if this is true for lil' ole TYF, than it is certainly true for all the overpriced photographers you're considering for your next shoot. If you've spent any time researching agency websites to see what they require for new faces to submit, it typically won't mandate professional photos. Some may say you can upload them if you have it, most will request snapshots and some for sure will demand that you only send raw fresh faced snapshots of your kid. No makeup, no fancy hair and certainly not the bells and whistles of wardrobe and backdrops...just plain old you or your cute kid actually. Unfortunately, parents don't know this; we've been misinformed, improperly educated and bamboozled by companies and uneducated industry folk into thinking these types of shoots are a necessity. NOT TRUE! Agencies accept new actors and models all the time and they wouldn't expect an extensive professional portfolio because they know you're new...duh!
Here's something else to think about. Why would you pay $500 for a shoot with your 7 year old when you know their features, teeth and overall appearance will change too many times within 6 months? What if that last baby tooth finally falls out or they have an uh-oh moment with the scissors, either way dramatically changing their look? Kids change too frequently from their infant to teen years to spend that kind of money. Even if you decide to start with professional photos and your kid is great, at least select photographers that have experience in the kids and teens portion of the industry and know what agencies look for. Don't get forced into their concept of wardrobe, lighting and scenery because it sounds cool. Look at agency website and plan your shoot concept around what you know the agencies want to see. If their current talent are posted on their website, that's a pretty good reference point to what types of professional photos you'll need. However, I still say start with the basics and perfect your snapshots at home with a cell phone or digital camera. You will, in fact, take snapshots often throughout your child's career because agencies and clients are always asking for updated photos to see if your child's look has changed.
As always, it's my personal mission to educate parents and help you make the best decisions for your kid's career. So instead of scheduling another photoshoot to get your portfolio started, TYF will be offering snapshot sessions. You'll watch me in action coaching your kids through posing and angles so you know just what to do at home. Then you'll get behind the camera and snap away. If interested in booking a snapshot session, email us at email@example.com
I recently attended a modeling workshop for young models and their parents. There was a guest speaker present to share her knowledge on the industry and answer parent questions about how to get started. My purpose for attending was to expose one of my TYF teens to a working model and her experiences. I had no intentions of talking about TYF or my experiences as a professional actress and model...but clearly someone had other plans. The guest speaker was the talented Bianca Golden from America's Next Top Model. We met on social media years ago and shared virtual convo often about the current episodes. I didn't think she'd remember me as I walked in late to the workshop (oopsies) but she did...cool! What was even cooler and scary because I still get nervous, was that she called me up to speak to the audience and share my expertise with the crowd. As I opened my mouth to share about who I am and what I've done, I started with "Bianca and I ended up in two different genres, her fashion, me commercial..." and so on. My intro opened up a dialogue about fashion versus commercial and the realization that so many aspiring models have no clue what the commercial world has to offer and by default seek fashion as a career. Ironically, even Bianca has retired from full time fashion modeling and transitioned to the commercial industry. She, like myself, discovered that while runway and high fashion are fun and girly, TV Commercials and Commercial Print offer much more. The number one motivator is obviously that it pays better, but there are so many perks to the commercial life. I shared with the group why I decided to hang up my high heels after booking my first national print ad for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. It paid around $4000, included a flight to Miami, a 3-day stay on the ship where we shot most of the scenes, an overnight stay on the island before flying back to Miami and let's not forget the national magazine tearsheets and exposure. Cool right? The likelihood of me getting any of that from a runway gig or a fashion editorial is very slim. The average editorial pays about $250 for the day unless you're a supermodel. But this type of outcome happens everyday in the commercial world. Corporations invests tons of money to advertise their products and services; therefore, Commercial Actors and Models reap the rewards of that advertisement. A commercial actor can actually make $100,000 or more on just one gig. I had a cast mate that booked a union commercial that ran for years and he made tons off the residuals of that one booking.
So what's my point? This comparison of Fashion versus Commercial is what Talented Young Folks is all about. In addition to all the great perks an actor or model can receive, the highlight for me is that bookings for youth are almost always age-appropriate. It's the reason I guide parents to pursue Commercials and Print Work over Runway and Couture Fashion. Leave the makeup, the risky clothing and seductive walks to the adults, let a kid be a kid. Especially in this day of media influence and all the negative impacts it has on youth's self-esteem and unhealthy perception of themselves trying to keep up with what they see. I'd much rather encourage my kid to be "famous" as the cute kid eating the cereal on your TV screen than the model posing inappropriately with makeup and skimpy clothing in a magazine or music video. That's just my opinion. And don't get me wrong, I started as a runway diva and sought the big runways of NYC. But I learned the hard way about the dark side of that industry and I found much more peace with who I am as a commercial actress and model. Oh and how could I forget the fact that you can work in the commercial industry your whole life?!?! From diapers to dentures, there's a market for all. So that's my rant about Commercial versus Fashion and why I think it's a much better way to go for any age, but absolutely for our young folks. Hope I encouraged someone to take a detour and join the fabulous commercial life.
- BJ Gianni
Watch Part Two at http://youtu.be/yl6IAxkK1Tk.
Hear what Alyssa and Mom have to say about their Private Coaching Sessions with TYF.
Our founder, BJ Gianni, used NYcastings and NYcasting (CastingNetworks) for years while she worked on securing model and talent agencies. Two different websites, cool auditions. Our motto is to be your own agent until you find an agent. Happy Submitting! For more self submission websites and best practices, schedule a consultation today. You can reach us always at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's the truth. Just because you have #CuteKids posing on your cell phone or #TalentedYoungFolks performing in front of the family at home, doesn't mean this is the industry for you. To be successful, parents need to have a flexible schedule to travel because auditions are typically last minute. If you have multiple children and multiple activities to transport them to, you need a support system to share the load. You need to know the Business side of the Entertainment world, contract terms, usage and such. Kids should be able to follow directions and the little ones especially must be able to perform without familiar faces present. FACT: Most parents will never be inside the audition room, so you should ensure they're prepared and comfortable with audition environments. Book a Consultation to ensure you are both ready to pursue agencies and auditions.
A: No, you don't need professional photos to begin submitting your child to agencies. However, any snapshots or digitals you take on your own should still be vibrant with great lighting, free from background distractions and really capture the personality of your young one. Once you join an agency they'll most likely refer you to professional photographers and expect new photos within a specified timeframe to place your child on their website for clients to view. #TYFtips #Actor #Model #ModelTip #ActingTip #Photography #AgencyTips
1. Take Photos - They don’t have to be professional, snapshots will do for New Models/Actors.
2. Send to Agency - Do your online research to find out their preferred method.
3. Wait for Reply - Their website will usually say how long before you should hear a response.
4. If Agency Is Interested, they'll request an In-Person Interview. No Response? Re-submit in a few months and submit to other agencies in the meantime.
5. Agency Likes You, You Like Agency? Time To Discuss Your Contract.
6. Start Building your Agency Relationship!
Talented Young Folks Founder