What Parents Need To Know About the film and TV business

All auditions for children under the age of 18 are between the hours of 3:00 and 7:00 PM. It is illegal for children to miss school to audition. Homework must be brought to the set when they book a job and there is one tutor per three children on the set. The homework is one with a tutor and taken back to child’s classroom.

They do not pull out of school at the drop of a hat to audition. Typically, agents will give you a days’ notice that an audition has been booked for your child. You are in control of their careers. Of course, the agents would prefer that you never miss an audition because their income is derived solely from commission on the work booked. However, there are appropriate ways to let your agent know that you are not available. It’s called, “Booking Out”. You simply notify your agent in advance that you will not be available on certain dates. Then, when you become available to audition again, you simply call your agent and book back in.

All children under the age of 18 are required to get an entertainment work permit allowing them to work in the entertainment industry. This permit must be signed off by the principal at the child’s school and sent to the Department of Labor. It comes back with a seal and is good for six months. If the child’s grades are dropping or the child is working below their potential, the principal can refuse to sign the permit….they don’t care if Steven Spielberg is crying for them on the telephone.
It depends on the season. Some are busier than others. January is pilot season and the first 10 weeks for the year are very busy for actors that act in television, such as episodic TV and movies of the week. However, our busiest kids will usually go between once a week to once every two weeks. Typically a child will audition about once every eight weeks. It varies on how marketable you or your children are and if your agent feels you are prepared to audition.
It truly is a roll of the dice. Some times of the year are busier than others. January has always been considered “pilot season” and used to be a very busy time for actors that act in television, such as episodic TV and movies of the week. But the industry is constantly in a state of flux. Pilots are filmed throughout the year. Sometimes it’s busy for adults, sometimes for the “tween” market. More reality shows are airing now – so it tends to be a little slower on the episodic side. So to answer this question – there is no answer. If you have a child that has an agent and is considered a “hot” talent – you could expect to go out twice a wee (more or less). The average child gets an audition about once a month.
Agents earn commission on the work you do. They are not paid upfront fees; they do not sell you photos or workshops or pay for any of your tools, i.e., headshots, zed cards or training.

There are three types of agents:

Print, Commercial & Theatrical

Print: Macy’s Nordstrom, Broadway, Disney, Mattel. Print agents receive a 20% commission from your work. You get paid one time for your print campaign. There is no residual income from print. If you get paid $500 for your Disney advertisement, your agent will receive 20% commission or $100.

Commercials: Television commercials are very lucrative. If you are three seconds recognizable on the screen, you are considered principle. Commercial can pay from $600 to tens of thousand of dollars, depending on the campaign, the client (Sears, Target, McDonalds, etc.). Agents get 10% commission on the entire campaign. If you or your child were to earn $20,000 on a commercial, the agent would receive 10% commission.

Theatrical: Episodic television, movies of the week, feature film. Agents receive 10% commission on your work in any of these venues.

It’s ludicrous to think that anyone rolls out of bed and is expert at anything – especially acting. With modeling you are either photogenic or you’re not. Some average individuals take phenomenal photos and some astoundingly beautiful people come across flat in photos. Runway does require the know-how and walking down that catwalk takes practice in walking as well as confidence. It’s not easy to sashay down a stage in expensive clothing and high-heeled shoes. – with confidence grace and poise. So if you are 5’8 tall as a female or 6’0 as a male and high-fashion is your calling – then it would be very wise for you to get some training in modeling. NEVER PURCHASE A PORTFOLIO.

Only high-fashioned models need portfolios and only after you have secured agency representation by a legitimate agency (not a management company). There are many photo-mill companies out there that lead people to believe that they will get you work. Attempting to procure work for constitutes being either an agency or management company. Both which need to be registered by the state of California.