Most parents think their child is beautiful and talented, so the idea that Junior could become a superstar seems like a given. One of the first steps to stardom as an actor, a model or a musician is to get a good talent agent. You can help find your child a reputable agent by searching professional directories and then submitting head shots and resumes to the chosen agencies.
Identifying Potential Agents
Most talent agents are in major metropolitan areas such as New York and Los Angeles. However, some smaller agencies may be found in other parts of the country, and you can work with an agency on either coast no matter where you live. Agents who handle children can be found by looking in directories provided by the Screen Actor's Guild, The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Actor's Equity Association or the Association of Talent Agents. Getting a referral can also help you find a quality agent and have an "in" for a first contact. Ask your child's acting teacher, music tutor or dance instructor for referrals, or ask other parents who have obtained talent agents for their child. If an agency showcase is being hosted in your region, enroll your child. Agents who attend the showcases will approach you if they like your child's performance and are interested in representing him.
Your first point of contact with an agent should be a mailed inquiry with a brief cover letter, a resume and a head shot. The cover letter should introduce your child and his interests. For example, if he sings, talk about what kind of music he sings and what his goals are, such as singing jingles or recording a single. Include any experience, even amateur. List local theater, school plays and competitions in which your child has performed. Older children will need to meet a professional photographer for a head shot. Most agents will accept amateur snapshots for babies and young children whose looks will change quickly, states Charles Ramsey, owner of Product Model Management. If your child has experience, put together a small reel of video clips from concerts, plays and other performances. Find the right person at the agency to contact by looking into what kind of talent the person represents, how many clients he represents and how successful he is at getting jobs for clients. Ask the agency to provide this information and connect with other parents online or in person (if possible) and ask about their experiences. Once you know the right person to contact, address the packet by name.
While you are waiting to hear from potential agents, help your child gain experience. Agents want to represent talent they feel will get work, and if you can show that your child can get work, you'll make him seem more attractive to agents. Seek out opportunities in local theater, independent films or college productions. Update your child's resume every month or so and resend it to the agents you have already contacted.
Many disreputable businesses are ready to take advantage of parents who are willing to do whatever it takes to get their children into show business. Legitimate talent agents do not ask for any money up front. Instead, they take a percentage from any work that they get for your child -- usually 10 percent to 20 percent. Casting director Stephen Salamunovich told KCBY News that scam artists may not ask you for money up front, but they may insist that you purchase an expensive package of classes or head shots. According to Salamunovich, since they make all their money selling you these services, they have no real incentive to try to get your child work.