Talent Images – What To Do and What Not To Do

We are all guilty of having countless happy snaps of our little ones on our phones. When it comes to creating and maintaining your child’s talent profile, it can be difficult to choose only a handful of images that highlight your child’s unique look and personality. Your child’s talent profile is not just seen by our Castings Department. Our clients also regularly view your child’s profile to consider them for upcoming campaigns. We’re here to make sure that you’re keeping your child’s profile up to date while still keeping it appropriate for the industry. We had a chat with our National Casting Manager, Bianca Birnbaum, to give you an insight into how you should be running your child’s talent profile, and how you can benefit from putting these tips into practice.

A professional head shot suitable for your child’s talent profile

From a casting perspective, there are many ways to make your child stand out from the rest when being considered for a job. In Bianca’s opinion, a professional headshot is the best image to use as your child’s default image on their talent profile. “It is a quick and easy way for our clients to see exactly what your child looks like. “Once a client enters search criteria for their project a list of suitable profiles appears with smaller images.  If your child’s primary photo is too dark, too far away or difficult to see clients may skip past them”

“Clients want to see your child in their most natural form,” said Bianca, “They want to see how they can style your child to fit the requirements of their shoot.  Filters and black and white images are not necessary on your child’s profile.” These edited photos can hide your child’s physical characteristics including hair, eye and skin colour. The same goes for your child wearing sunglasses, hats or other items that hide your child’s features.

Clear, well-lit, recent images are always useful for your child’s profile

Instead of having extremely edited photos of your child as their default picture, consider how that can look from a client’s perspective. If they are wearing make-up and their skin has been airbrushed in every photo on their profile, according to Bianca, “you are not giving our clients a true representation of what your child looks like and you might actually be pushing them out of the running for a particular job.  Clients come to children’s agencies looking for talent who appear true to their age.  They want a 10-year-old that looks 10, for example, not 13.” These types of photos are great to have on their profile, just not as the first one the client sees. “Using the professional headshot as the default image shows the client your child’s natural look, as most shoots don’t require the kids to wear make-up anyway.” If your child initially appears to have the look required for a client’s project, they can click to open all images and see your child’s personality and versatility. 

When sending a pitch of talent to a client; clear, professional headshots are ideal

In Bianca’s experience as our National Casting Manager, if you don’t have natural photos readily available for clients to view on your child’s talent profile, “the clients will sometimes ask for more natural pictures and/or selfies of your child.” Clients may ask for these kinds of photographs, however not all bother to do so, so it doesn’t mean you can disregard the advice our experts say. It can waste a lot of time going back and forth between you as the parent, the casting department and the client that is hiring to obtain these more natural photos of your child before they are even booked for anything.

We understand that you want to use a photograph of your child that you have stored on your phone as it has cool lighting or amazing scenery, “they might be good for Facebook, but it doesn’t mean that it works for your child’s talent profile.” 

Our photographers work hard to capture the essence of your child’s charisma and produce an industry standard photo for you to use on their talent profile. These “plain” looking images may seem like your child won’t stand out but they serve to show our clients what they want to see, in a format that they prefer. We encourage you to use these professional headshots for your child’s page as it is a clean and good quality image taken with the correct lighting and equipment to highlight your child’s best features.

 

Show us your skills!

We have so many bright stars who work regularly for brands like Target, Kmart, Big W, Myer and many more. Modelling is a big part of what we do here at Bettina Management but even more so, we cast regularly for campaigns that require special skills or talents, these could be for roles in feature films, television commercials and even live stage shows.

But more often than not, we are unaware of our kiddies secret skills! So here’s a little bit of information on how you can show us your child’s skills and talents.

Special skills and/or talents could include: skate boarding, sporting abilities (soccer, basketball etc), dancing, singing, performance arts (juggling, acrobatics etc), accents or acting abilities, languages (other than English), musical abilities (playing an instrument) and many more!

AT2:

The Bettina Casting Department use AT2 every day to find and submit talent for briefs that come through from casting agents. We utilise all sections of the AT2 profiles to find suitable talent, this includes the skills section. This is why it is so important to keep your child’s profile up to date.

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You will find the skills section at the top of your child’s profile, between “Comp Card” and “Audio”. Here you can update your child’s skills in any of the nine available sub-sections. These include Accents, Languages, Instrumental, Dance, Vocal, Circus, Sports, Performance Skills and Suggestions (this is where you can add skills that are not available in the other sections).

For each skill, you are able to select either “Basic”, “Good” or “Professional”. If we take basketball for an example, if your child has played basketball at school and would know the basic ins and outs of playing, this would be a “basic” skill. If your child has played basketball regularly for a number of years this would be a “good” skill. But if your child plays basketball on a team or has played for a majority of their life, this would be a “professional” skill.

Don’t forget to hit “save” at the bottom right hand  corner once you are finished.

Videos:

The perfect way to showcase your child’s talents is by uploading a little video to their AT2 profile. There is a maximum of 5 minutes of video available to all AT2 profiles, so keep this short and sweet!

Introduction:

A short introduction is best, just stating their name, age, their agency (Bettina Management), and a bit more about themselves! (how many people in are in their family, any pets, where they live etc etc)

Skills:

Next, we would love to see a short showcase of their skills, this can be just one or ten!  A little introduction is useful to let the audience know what the skill they will be performing is and perhaps how long they have been learning the skill. For example, if your child plays basketball, they can tell the audience about how long they have played, if they are a part of a team and even any awards they have won for basketball.

Then a 10 – 15 second demonstration of the skill, it is important to shoot a few takes so you get the best one!

Conclusion:

It is important to end your video with a conclusion, make sure to thank the audience for watching!

Here is a fantastic example of a skills video, by young Henry!

If you need any help with AT2, please refer to our Foolproof Guide to AT2 post!

Members are always welcome to contact us on 1300 888 611 or email us at info@bettina.com.au if they require any assistance.

Making the Most of ICast!

What is  ICast?

ICast is a function on AT2 which allows people working on Independent Projects, Short Films and Student Films to cast talent. They often have little or no budget so these briefs are more often than not for unpaid work. They may include a profit share/catering/travel fee for the artists involved. ICast briefs go to all members of AT2 who match the age-range, gender and location for roles being cast within the brief. However, you may, from time to time, receive briefs that are irrelevant to your child’s specifications.

AT2 & the ICast function are an additional component to your membership with Bettina Management.

You may receive messages in your Brief Inbox from non-paying clients, they will always stipulate ‘NON-PAID project’ on the ICast brief. These will be from AT2 (not us) and you need to contact the client directly for further information or apply for roles. For all paid work opportunities you will be contacted directly by the Bettina Office.

Once you receive an email notification from AT2 letting you know that you have received an ICast Brief, you need to either click the button in the email or go directly to http://www.at2casting.com.au  and login to your AT2 account. Once logged in, you’ll need to go to your AT2 inbox where you’ll find the brief and all the details you need. To respond and submit your interest, simply tick on one of the relevant role boxes and click the Submit button. You can submit to more than one role if there are multiple roles applicable to you. If you are not interested in submitting your interest, simply do not respond.

 

What happens after I have responded to an ICast brief?

Once you have submitted your interest by applying for a role within an ICast Brief, an email notification is sent to the ICast member who will login to their AT2 account to review your submission, look at your AT2 profile and decide if they would like to see you for an audition. They will contact you directly via email or phone or contact us (your agent) to organise a time and place. If you do not hear back from the ICast member, please assume you were unsuccessful in progressing further.

If you have any queries regarding the brief details, location or auditions, please contact the ICast member casting for the brief. You’ll find their contact email or phone number located within the brief in your AT2 inbox.

 

Who controls my ICast application?

As your agent, we work hard to get you paid work. Therefore, you have full control of the ICast function on AT2. If you are comfortable with your child doing unpaid work to gain experience then go for it!

Even though there is no payment involved, there are many benefits to participating in unpaid work:

  1. Experience and resume building
  2. Confidence building
  3. Attending auditions helps to practice and hone skills so you can nail it every time!
  4. Keepsakes in the forms of photographs, videos, music clips
  5. Bragging rights!

What happens after my child is cast in a role?

If your child has been booked then the client will communicate with you directly. However, we always welcome feedback and would love to hear if your child was cast for an unpaid job so we can give them a shout out on social media and add their experience to their profile!

 

Good Luck!

 

Here is a great example of some of our talent participating in an unpaid Short Film via ICast:

the What, the How and the Why of AT2

What is AT2 and how does it work?

AT2 is an online casting tool used by Australian casting directors, agents and industry professionals. It serves as a platform for clients to seek talent through their online portfolios.

Talent Use:

AT2 creates a space for talent to manage their online portfolio complete with photographs, measurements, physical details and skills or hobbies. Uploading videos and a digital resume is also encouraged to increase chances of appealing to a client; the more information, the better.

AT2 is user-friendly and we have detailed blog posts to help you navigate your profile to update or change information.

Client Use:

Clients use AT2 as a casting search engine, to view briefs submitted by agents and sometimes to send briefs out themselves. Using a simple or advanced search, clients can enter specific details about the talent they wish to find, such as ‘blonde hair’ and ‘size 2’. The relevant options and agent contact details will appear so they can get in touch with the child.

Why should you use AT2?

AT2 is the best tool to assist your child to get the most out of the industry. AT2 is secure and trusted with a password protected profile and strict processes in place to ensure the utmost safety for your child. As the platform we use to submit talent for work, we can’t overestimate the need for your profile to be consistently up to date and filled in with as much information as possible; profiles are important for being noticed.

You can read our existing blogs on AT2 for more information.
Thanks everyone!

A Fool Proof Guide to AT2

A Fool Proof Guide to AT2

Part 1 of 3

The Basics

AT2 is an integral part of the casting/entertainment industry and Bettina membership alike.
This is the start of a 3 part series to guide you through all the ins and outs of AT2.
Let’s start with the basics, sometimes even the initial step of logging in can seem harder than necessary if you haven’t received your log in details. Let’s clarify why – firstly, you should receive an email sent to you directly by AT2 with your log in details. Depending on individual privacy settings, this email could automatically be delivered to the ‘Junk’ folder due to the fact that the email is not from an individual person, but rather ‘AT2’ as a name.
If you fail to receive this in accordance with the time frame set out by us initially, do call the office and we can organise for them to be delivered to you ASAP!
The link you need to go to is – https://app.at2casting.com/au/login
Once here, enter your log in details, then you will see the screen below (surname has been omitted for privacy):
Let’s take a closer look at the top row of tabs:
The most important tabs you will need to use will be ‘My Profile’, ‘Brief Inbox’ and ‘Messages’.
The ‘My Profile’ tab is where you go to maintain all personal details about your child.
The ‘Brief Inbox’ tab is where you go to find any invitation to participate in unpaid work. When you click this tab you will then need to click the tab ‘iCast Briefs’ (as shown below):
The reason that you don’t stay in the tab ‘Briefs from Agent’ is because we will never offer you or alert you to paid work or castings through AT2. Our first point of contact is a phone call, then text, then email.
Through ‘iCast Briefs’, you will receive notices and inbox messages from independent producers, boutique clothing labels, student films and more. IF you are interested in participating further you will need to coordinate all communication with them via the messaging system which can be accessed via the tab ‘Message.’
Check all communication regularly! Even missing out on something one or two days late can mean that the opportunity is no longer available… which is no fun.

Part 2 of 3


The Essentials

Now that we have The Basics covered, it’s time to take a deeper look at some other aspects of AT2.

Sizes

Updating your child’s clothing size in AT2 is highly important, this ensures that they are being submitted for the right jobs in their categories.  We won’t know it has changed unless you tell us! And we know how fast theses things can happen, kids grow.. all the time!
In order to change the clothing size click on the tab ‘Profile’ and then where the tab says ‘View | Edit’ press ‘Edit’. The screen should look like this:
To get to clothing size, scroll down! Look at the arrow below for where you need to change the shoe and clothing size:
It is also beneficial to call us and let us know too, so we can alter it on our internal database.
Photographs
With our package on AT2 – you have the option to upload 10 additional photographs of your choice.
Before we learn how to upload the images, let’s make sure they are in the right format first!
> It’s much easier if the image is formatted to a ‘JPEG.’ file If it is not already in a JPEG, go to the photograph where you have it stored and press ‘Save As.’ Underneath the ‘File Name’ there will be a drop down box for ‘Save as type’ as shown below. Simply make sure the ‘JPEG’ option is selected.
Now for the fun part. Follow the instructions to upload a photo:
1. Click the ‘Photos’ tab.
2. Where it says ‘View | Edit’, click ‘Edit’.
3. The screen will then look like this:

4. When you click ‘Add New Image’ this screen will pop up:

5. Click ‘Add Files’ and find the photograph/s you are wishing to upload. You are able to upload more than one at a time which is handy and saves time!

6. After the photo uploads, the next screen will show the images one by one and have a button that says ‘Auto Crop & Resize’ – click that button, then press ‘Submit & Finish’. All done!
NB. If you have wish to change the default picture at any time throughout the membership, please let us know first. Sometimes, if a parent puts up a photograph that is not suitable for our clients as a default without alerting us, we will not be able to submit the photograph forward to the client.
Similar to the extra photographs, even if not serving the purpose of a default photo per se, the photographs can and will still be looked at by clients and casting directors alike. Some photos that look great on the fridge may not be appropriate for AT2! They should still retain an element of professionalism, despite being taken at home for fun.
Below are a few examples of appropriate and inappropriate photos for AT2.
Here are some good examples:

In these gorgeous photos we can see the child’s face front on, we can see his unique features i.e. blue eyes, shape of face (nose, mouth) and also, with the first photo – a bit of personality!

Note the below photograph too:

It can be easy to simply stand your child in front of a wall in the house as naturally as possible and get them to show you a big smile. The clients need to see exactly what your child looks like in an everyday situation. We don’t encourage fanciness and frills, clients are searching for cute and happy kids.
Now for some inappropriate examples:

Despite the undoubted cuteness that radiates from each of the above photograph, things such as food, baths, not looking at the camera, being too far away and hiding the face with a hat are features that aren’t ideal to be presented to the client. Also, for the older kids self taken images ‘selfies’ aren’t necessarily appropriate either, but please check with one of the staff first.

We are always available should you require further assistance with AT2! You can email info@bettina.com.au with any images for us to check.

Part 3 of 3

The Nitty Gritty

This last section on our guide to AT2 will focus on the Video and Resume features that are available. The most commonly asked question about these features is ‘Are they necessary?’ There are certainly uses for both of them, regardless of experience. The more information the better!

Luckily with our AT2 package, the video function is accessible to us all. The video could contain a few things:
1. The most common video is a ‘Showreel’. A Showreel is a collection of featured work and is always requested in the adult acting world. If your child has a few TV commercials or featured work examples under their belt, collate the clips together to create a visual example of all recent jobs. If your child has completed one TV commercial (or video clip, featured in TV series, background of TV series, extra in film etc.) simply show a video of just that experience.
2. If your child hasn’t received any work, the video could be one of a dance concert, school concert, musical production performance or something similar that demonstrates skills and abilities.
3. With the absence of both of the above, it is acceptable and often helpful to upload a video of your child talking to the camera or playing/laughing/moving so that clients can visualise outside of the limits of a photo to gauge interaction skills.
Uploading a video is similar to uploading a photograph (please refer to Part 2). Simply go to the ‘Video’ tab > press ‘Edit’ > and upload your video.
Once it is uploaded – your child’s profile will look like this:
Sorcha has uploaded a video of her acting at home to display her skills:

And Dominic has uploaded a video of a Worksafe TV commercial he is featured in:

Let’s move onto the Resume section.

There are two types of resumes that you can use on the AT2 site – one is a generic PDF resume, and the other is a credit resume which means you can secure attachments of examples of work.

When you click the Resume tab this will appear:

 

PDF Resume:

Irrespective of whether your child has experience or not – it is still possible to have a resume should you so desire. For a child without any experience it can be helpful to simply fill out a resume detailing your child’s hobbies, interests and personality. Make sure that you include any extracurricular activities or achievements to date as well. For children that have had work, make sure that you put all of the jobs and dates in chronological order. You may also jot down the castings you’ve attended (even if you didn’t get the job!) because every bit of experience counts, and all castings contribute to confidence and as a stepping stone for the next one.

See below for an example of a PDF resume for Dominic detailing paid work:
Example of a PDF resume for Keshika complete with all skills, education and relevant experience:
A Credit Resume is a great way to show examples of work your child has completed to correlate with the written description. Click ‘Add Table Section’ to start. The below will pop up and this is where you enter the names of jobs:
So for example, you could put in: Target May 2013 or Australian Country Spinners 2010
On the right hand side is a little icon of an image – this is where you click to upload the Target image or the Australian Country Spinners image.
Once entered it should look like this:

This type of mini resume is probably ideal for parents who have lots of copies or images of printed work or links to videos of ads. It is a quick, concise way to get an overview of all experiences. For other children, a simple PDF resume will suffice.

If you are heading away or your child will be unavailable for castings/jobs for a period of time, you can set their ‘away dates’ on their profile. This way we know you are away and won’t put your child forward for briefs during this period. All you need to do is log into your child’s profile and select “edit” under the “Profile” section. You can then select the dates that your child will be away, set to “Public” and don’t forget to click save.

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Last important things to note:
There is a tab for Skills that has an array of tick boxes from accents to dance experience to singing to sporting ability. Whilst we do have on our file most of your child’s abilities, these do change or exceed (for example beginner, intermediate, advanced) – be sure to edit when needed. This will make it easier for clients when they are searching for specific abilities on the AT2 database.
Finally, of course any help needed with any aspect of AT2 can be directed to our Bettina HQ to email address: info@bettina.com.au. We want everyone to make the most of their AT2 membership. Hopefully this 3 part series has been able to help some of you to gain a stronger grasp of the AT2 site.
Remember, if you have any ideas or questions that you would like to see in further posts please email: info@bettina.com.au
Thanks everyone!