As agents, we LOVE IT when kids get work, no doubt about it. But we’re also passionate about kids being treated fairly and professionally in the industry. Children earn the right to be paid for their time and use of their likeness in campaigns. Increasingly, we are seeing the rise of small brands and boutique labels scouting for models via Instagram call outs and open casting calls. Again, we love it when kids get work, through whatever avenue it comes from. But as agents and experts in the industry we’re here to inform you as parents on what you need to look out for when applying for these open call outs.
Kids should be paid to work on set. Brands will often try to get around paying talent by offering product or vouchers in lieu. This is fine and perfectly legal, but the truth is, your child is a talent in the industry and is entitled to be paid for their time. We understand that a lot of boutique brands may not have the budget to pay for talent, and we always encourage children to take advantage of all opportunities that come by when they are starting up in the industry, but it’s important to be thoughtful about always agreeing to work for free. Negotiation is key and this is where your agent can help you (if you have one). If you are doing this on your own, setting boundaries about what type of work you will accept and what budget you are willing to work with can give you a framework to work from when liaising with potential clients. For example, you might be totally happy to have your child shoot for a boutique brand for 1-2 hours on an online campaign, but anything beyond that you would need to charge for time on set and usage of your child’s image.
Your child should not only be paid for their time on set but also compensated for the usage of their likeness in the images used for advertising. This always depends on the length of time the image is going to be used for, and what medium it is being reproduced in. Often usage for up to 12 months in standard catalogue/online advertising is included in the shoot fee, but anything beyond that should attract an extra fee. The reason talent are paid for usage of their image is to compensate for the possibility that they will not be able to work for a competitive brand for a certain period of time. Agreements on usage terms and fees should always be made in a written agreement signed by both the client and the talent (or the parent/agent of talent), even if there is no fee involved. This is important to protect both parties down the line and ensure that all involved are clear about what they are agreeing to. Usage agreements should be signed by both parties BEFORE any shoot takes place.
Child Employment Permits
All shoots involving children must comply with relevant child employment legislation in its respective state. Depending on the state, the client/employer must apply to the relevant organisation for a child employment permit. This must be approved prior to the shoot and relevant information provided to parents. In many cases, there will be forms to sign by the parent prior to employment taking place. It is very important to check what the employers obligations are in your state and ensure that your child only participates in shoots that comply with the regulations. To check up on what is required in your state you can visit the following websites:
VIC – Business Victoria
QLD – Business Queensland
Other Top Tips
- Always check that the person contacting you is working for a legitimate company. If they claim to be from a particular company, and you are unsure of their legitimacy it is a good idea to contact the company to verify. Never send photos or videos of your child until you have done a thorough investigation.
- Talk to your agent! If you have one, your agent can assist you with all of the above negotiations, that is what they are there for.
- If the person contacting you asks for payment for anything – RUN! There is absolutely no reason for you to pay someone to give your child work.
These opportunities can be a wonderful experience, but being wise and savvy about how you handle them is important to protect your child’s career and wellbeing. Teaming up with an agent that has your child’s best interest at heart will make this process much smoother and provide you with expert support as well.