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How to Get an Agent for Your Child Actor: the Basics

Child Actors, Talent Agencies

Child actors can make a lot of money, or go on many auditions and not work at all. If you are reading this we assume you and your child have decided to seriously pursue a career in Hollywood (or other major entertainment market) and need an agent to break into the business. Here is how to do it.

Step One – Research Hollywood agents that are looking for Child Actors

This is very important, as you do not want to waste time and money sending headshots and resumes to agencies that do not represent children. We could provide a list, but generally it is better to simply do your own research so you become familiar with the market and find an agency that “fits” with what you are looking for. About two or three hours Googling terms such as “Los Angeles Talent Agency,” “Child Actor Talent Agency Hollywood,” “Hollywood Talent Agent,” etc. and browsing the results will provide a wealth of information. You will be able to tell, based on your child’s experience and “look”, which agencies you should submit to. Make a list of about 30 or so that you would like to apply with.

Make a strong cover letter to impress the agency.

Don’t oversell or put useless info here, you have about 10-15 seconds to make a good impression with this letter. No one really cares about how nice your child is, they want to know if they are marketable, PERIOD. Put a blurb about your child’s skill set (bilingual, singer, dancer) but don’t repeat info that is on the resume. Make them WANT to read the resume, for example “My son has three years theater experience, has worked on two student films, has taken private classes with Joe Acting Coach, and is ready to take his career to the next level. We would like to set up an appointment to meet with you to discuss possible representation for this very dedicated young child actor.” Etc.

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Assemble your submission packages with headshot, resume, and cover letter.

Many agencies will want paper submissions, others will want electronic submissions (email), so read each agency’s guidelines carefully or call and ask how they want submissions. Regardless, each submission package requires these three components: Professional 8 x 10 Headshot, Resume, Cover Letter. You can look here and browse around for examples of headshots and resumes. You can simply staple the resume to the back of the headshot, or if you like, glue them to the back.

Mail and follow up with the agents.

Mail the packages in flat, large envelopes (never fold your headshot). If the agency wants email packages, send them, and put the cover letter as the body of your email. It can take up to six weeks to receive a response. If you haven’t heard back in this time, go ahead and start calling the agencies and say you are following up on a submission package and would like to set up an appointment to discuss possible representation. You should hopefully have at least three or four agencies that will give you an appointment out of the thirty you sent packages to.

The appointment is really an audition!

The appointment with the talent agent is exploratory, your child will most likely have to do a cold read. They should also have a monologue learned just in case (perhaps two, a funny one and a serious one). Mostly, they will just give your child a commercial, give them a minute or two to learn it, and ask them to perform. This is what you should be practicing with your child, doing cold reads, because this is the way most auditions go-getting lines maybe the night before or sometimes on the spot. The agent is testing how your child will perform in real life, with a real casting director.

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Interview with all talent agencies before signing!

Make sure you talk with each agency that you have an appointment with before signing a contract (typically one year). Most children will sign theatrical, commercial, print, and voiceover representation with the same agent, whereas adults can have different agents for each category. At this point, the decision is up to you and your child, and the best advice is to go with whoever “feels” right, and who has actors who are working regularly (do your research on IMDB, Google, etc.) Chemistry is very important. Some Hollywood agents are very large and corporate, others are mom & pop shops, but make sure you get along with the agent or you will not get sent out on many auditions. Show business is a relationship-based business, never forget that. Good Luck!