Myths, Mayhem and Money: The Truth About the Child Talent Industry – Part 1

Many myths surround the child talent industry and child talent/modelling agencies alike.

As the leading agency in the Australian child talent space, we are here to let you know what it’s really like.

The industry in itself can be very fast-paced, with clients organising shoots and castings with only a day’s notice, so expecting these kinds of situations is crucial. We understand that you won’t always be available on short notice but it’s a situation you may come across and it is important to align your expectations to the industry. While fast – paced, the child employment space is also extremely regulated, as any area involving children should be.

And ultimately this is why having an agent is so important, to ensure that everything is done right.

Part 1: What Is Legal?

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Recently SBS program ‘The Feed’ aired the documentary, ‘Breaking the Model’ on the experiences of some young people working for well-known adult modelling agencies in Australia.

While there are issues in every industry, the adult modelling world is extremely different to, and not a reflection of the child talent agencies and the child modelling world.

During the program and in countless media articles following, some of the reported information was incorrect regarding the necessary legal requirements that talent and modelling agencies must follow when sourcing work for children, specifically in NSW.

Contrary to comments made in the program; performer representatives (also known as Talent Agencies) do not need to register themselves as an employer of children with the Office of the Children’s Guardian (NSW), or similar organisations in other states. While that may seem strange, the agencies are not the employers of any children; we as the agent are only – the “middle-man” between the child and the employer. The ‘Employer’ is defined as “the brand or company that has booked the child for a shoot, will be instructing them to perform tasks on set and will ultimately be paying them for work, via the agency”

This means that there is no legal obligation for any agency to register, as they are just the representatives of the talent.

Regardless of this, representatives of child performers do have other legal obligations they must meet. Agencies must ensure that anyone who wishes to employs their talent, is registered with the relevant organisation and can provide the required documentation to prove they have meet the correct legal restrictions.

For example, if your child does a catalogue shoot or a TV Commercial for Target, we will ensure that Target are following all the proper guidelines to be employing children, such as being registered with the correct organisations, no matter the state.

It is also mandatory that your child is supervised on set at all times by a parent or chaperone nominated by the parent. If they are of school age, you also must have the permission of your child’s school and principal in order for them to leave school and work during school hours.

Every legal guideline must be followed meticulously because not only could it lead to large fines and penalties for the agency involved, but could also risk putting a child in an unsafe environment.

The occurrence of situations like this are almost non-existent, as child employment is a heavily regulated sector. Most brands these days will always go through a reputable agency to find talent and any reputable agency will not work with a non- reputable and law abiding client, so the risk of this is extremely minimal. As an agency we pride ourselves in ensuring we are doing everything we can in order to guarantee our kids are safe, wherever they are working.

While this may seem like a lot, it is essential as a parent whose child has an agent or as someone looking for talent management, that you are aware of what goes on. There is absolutely no need to worry as your agent has it covered, and they will send you all the necessary information you are legally required to have. However, if you do want to find out more, reach out to your agent so they can point you in the right direction.

At the end of the day being informed is necessary but you really have no need to stress. If your child is represented by a reputable agency they will be aware of all legal obligations and follow them methodically.

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