Working Holidays – Kid Models go International

It is no secret that there are some pretty serious perks of working in the entertainment industry. One of the biggest perks of this industry being able to work internationally. This may be all flowers and rainbows for an adult; to be classed as a jet setter, bragging on Snapchat and Instagram about the cool place you get to go next or what you’re up to today. For a kid model, however, there are other factors to consider. There is the obvious, will the parents be available to take them, if they work can they get the time off, etc. However, there are several factors that need also to be considered.

You’re going on a holiday!

There are some major benefits of working overseas. The most obvious reason being that your child, will get to experience what can feel like a whole new world. Soak up the culture, try new foods, buy eccentric things, and experience a completely different climate. Generally speaking, the client will pay for the child plus one parent’s flights and accommodation. They usually also receive a daily amount of money each day to spend on food and other incidentals, or food will be provided for them. Keeping in mind each client is different!

Maya working in Thailand for Mattel

You’re gaining even more experience!

  • Getting cast for something is great for so many reasons:
  • Your child gets to make some pocket money or start an early savings account
  • They are doing what they love
  • They get to meet new kids in the industry who could potentially end up being life-long friends
  • They have an opportunity to get some insight into the industry and gain real-life experience on set.
  • Most importantly, they get to have fun!

All these things all still happen when you work overseas, but it adds some even cooler perks:

  • Pen pals! If there are other kids on set, they may not have come from the same place you did. With the way social media and the internet has taken over, there are ample ways for the kids to keep in touch and stay updated on each other’s lives.
  • Even more experience, not many kids can say that they were flown to another country for a photo shoot. This not only builds their professionalism on set, but it also allows them to understand diversity and learn how to adapt to different situations.
  • Exposure is a massive perk of international work. If your image or TVC is going to be aired overseas, it widens your child’s demographic in the industry, while also increasing their reach in future potential work.

It’s not all shopping and sunshine.

At the end of the day, you are not in a different country purely for a holiday. Whilst you may have scored some time off work to get there, you are still required to be present the whole time your child is on set. Technically, you could almost think of it as a business trip for you and your child. Depending on what the job is will depict the length of stay at the chosen location. For example, one of our talent, Brodie, filmed a TVC in Malaysia, where he stayed for 5 days. On the contrary, another child of Bettina Management, Phoebe, went to Bali and only stayed 2 days for her shoot.

But what an experience!

While you should treat these opportunities as a working holiday, they will provide amazing memories for your family and is an incredible experience for your child. We have had lots of children travel overseas to work for amazing brands and the feedback is always glowing! So make sure you are prepared but most of all, enjoy the experience.

“We received a text message to alert us that an urgent email was sent on the 28th april. Not thinking anything of it I checked and found out that Phoebe was shortlisted for an international photo shoot in Bali for FILA Kids Korea. The smile on her little face was priceless and she was super excited. She loved the experience and is now in love with Bali” – Phoebe’s mum (Bettina Mgmt)

 

 

The Safety of Social Media Stars

It’s no secret that social media has taken over the world, and has increasingly become involved in the lives of our children. At Bettina Management, we provide full support and representation to our talent to increase their exposure. Although, there is nothing stopping you, as their parent, from taking control of a part of that exposure by running a social media page for them.

Platforms like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube can help young talent connect and engage with the industry. These spaces allow you to share extra content for peers and clients to view and possibly consider your child for potential jobs. We encourage parents to take a step into the digital world as it is a brand new way of ‘mingling’, in a way you might at an industry function or event.

Managing your child’s exposure is a great way to get started in the industry. But how do we manage this exposure and monitor what is appropriate and what is not when it comes to our children’s interactions on social media?

Jayla & Levi Li On Wing

Keep it age appropriate

Let kids be kids! Overly styled images with a lot of make-up and mature posing are not what clients want to see. Clients are looking for kids who look like kids, so images of children playing, creating and having fun are what you want to showcase.

Heather Li On Wing is the mum of two beautiful young stars, Jayla and Levi, who have worked for on numerous commercial campaigns for big brands. She runs and manages an Instagram page for the siblings and says “ I cannot stress enough to treat their page as a business page, do not let the children run their own page.”

It is important to remember that while you as an adult understand what is appropriate and the potential repercussions of what you post online, children may not have an understanding of this yet. So it is important to take control of the content posted.

 

Managing a Crisis

As with any public online profile, things can wrong. If you find your child’s page the subject of inappropriate comments, it is important to remove the person and the comments from your child’s page, delete, block, ban and make sure they never return! You do have the luxury to control your audience, so make sure you exercise that block button.

“These pages are public and there are occasionally some indecent comments. Immediately delete any inappropriate comment and block and report the user right away. My daughter has her own private Instagram account which I check every day. She uses it to send messages to her school friends and only has family and actual friends, either way, you MUST still check their posts, comments and private messages to ensure they are using social media safely. Everyone has heard the horror stories of things that can go wrong. You HAVE to teach them and watch them at all times.” Heather tells us.

 

Educate your kids

IG @jayla_and_levi

As much as taking control and constant monitoring will keep your children safe online, it is also important to teach them about online safety and appropriate behaviour. So when an issue comes up, talk them through what the best response will be and demonstrate to them how you, as an adult, will deal with the situation. This way they will have all the tools they need for when they are a bit older and can manage their own accounts.

Ultimately, social media can be a great tool to use if your child is keen to be successful in the industry. Heather has used social media throughout her children’s careers and found it to be a great way to boost their profiles.

“We use social media to try to enhance Jayla and Levi’s profile by promoting their castings, jobs and various looks on Instagram, in hopes that this will encourage big and small brands, magazines, photographers and clothing lines to work with our children. We have been given good advice in terms of exposure; basically if there is a child that goes to a casting that does not have social media versus a child that has 1000’s of followers, chances are that the child with a large following has a better chance of securing that job because that child can promote that product, photographer, clothing line or magazine to their fan base.”

As much as it’s important to be safe, make sure you have fun with your content to get the most out of your experience! Social media is an ingrained part of the entertainment industry and beyond, so it is something that ultimately can’t be avoided.

Let kids be kids… Even if they are #kidmodels

After 25 years in the industry, we have truly seen it all and more. We have seen trends come and go and have seen the dynamics of industry evolve and change over time. With the rising role of social media combined with the changing attitudes of society, we are now seeing a worrying trend in the world of child modelling.  

Child Model Kristina Pimenova (10yrs)

We are seeing more and more kids being subject to stylised, highly edited photographs, emulating images you might see on a comp card for an adult model or in a high-fashion editorial magazine. These portfolio images are perhaps taken with the best intention, but it is concerning to see these types of images are becoming more popular, and there seems to be no consideration for age-appropriation. It is also becoming clear that this trend has come about under the proviso that this is what the industry is after. As agents who solely represent children and families, we feel an obligation to speak out against this trend, if only to encourage parents to think twice about the types photographs they want representing their children.

Child Model Thylane Blondeau (12yrs)

At our agency, we meet with each potential talent personally prior to offering a position on our books. We use this time to talk with each family about their expectations and give them some information about how we work and how the industry works. At all times throughout this process and throughout a child’s representation, we encourage parents to allow their child to be as natural as possible, we don’t require young girls wearing make-up, high-heels or styled outfits. It is typically not what clients are looking for. What we are looking for, is a child with personality and enthusiasm. We want kids who are excited to be in the industry and who love meeting new people and having fun! What we are not looking for is children of a particular size, height, weight or other physical feature.

This may seem odd, that a modelling & talent agency is not looking for ‘looks’, but these guidelines are not just our own, they are a direct response to what our clients consistently ask for. In today’s advertising industry, more and more brands are embracing real, relatable people. This includes children.

Kids being kids! Teen models for Free by Cotton On

This is why we are disappointed by the rise of photographers shooting stylised portfolio photos for children. When you look at these images, you may be surprised (as we are) to learn that many of these children are under the age of 12. It is not just the use of make-up, mature clothing or styled hair. It is also embracing a certain type of posing, which you would typically see in fashion magazines and other editorial pieces that feature adult models. It seems kids are not allowed to smile anymore!

Every day we work with clients that ask us over and over again for real kids. They want kids who love to have fun, have a passion for life like only a child has, and possess that beautiful innocent perspective on the world. While they may want a particular hair colour or other characteristics for a certain campaign, they are not asking us to simply send our cutest kids! They want kids that represent their market, which is the everyday child or family.  

Teen models for Free by Cotton On

 


So where to from here? Let kids be kids! The clients in our industry embrace that and so should we as agents, photographers and parents. There is no need to portray our children as anything other. Let us not lose touch with what this industry is all about for kids, having fun, building confidence and making wonderful memories!

Managing Expectations

It’s no secret that working in the entertainment industry is the ultimate rollercoaster. Soaring highs and crashing lows are part and parcel of working as a model or actor. As adults we have (mostly) come to grips with life’s twists and turns, and can take a bit of rejection and disappointment on the chin. But how do we manage this when it comes to children?

Every day we have kids being driven off to castings, they sit in the back seat of mum or dads car filled with hope and a little bit of nerves, and maybe some unrealistic expectations. For a lot of kids this might be their first ever casting, so of course they are not going to know what to expect. They will then pop into the studio to meet with an unfamiliar face (or a few!), and be asked questions and may be prompted to read a script or act something out for the casting director. It will all be over in the blink of an eye, and then the waiting game begins.

Most experienced actors and models will be able to manage their expectations professionally, and not allow their thoughts and desires to run away with them. While they would LOVE to book that job, they know that it is anyone’s game!  So how do we teach this wisdom to children?

A lot of this will come with experience, and the best way to show your child the in’s and out’s of the industry is exposing them to what a casting may be like, attending workshops and talking to them about what to expect (you can get this info from your agent) will set them up with the right expectations.

It is important to explain to your children how the industry works and be totally honest, tell them that even if they attend the audition that there’s no guarantee that they will get the job. All they can do is try their best and have fun! Kids should treat each experience whether it be an audition, casting, callback, wardrobe fitting or shoot as a fun and enjoyable activity, and not place the focus on booking the job.

Bianca, our National Casting Manager, shared some great wisdom with us in regards to how to manage your child’s expectations;

Being requested for a casting is a huge achievement in itself.  This means that your child has been shortlisted out of possibly hundreds of kids, for an in-person meeting with the director, stylist or casting agent.  Being “seen” in this industry is always valuable – booking the job is a bonus!

Castings & auditions should be seen as a fun learning experience!  Any opportunity to attend a casting can only help your child be more prepared & confident for the next one.  Plus, the casting agencies will often keep your child’s details on file & may request to meet them for another potential job in the future.  Best of luck!”

So all in all, castings and auditions can be great fun for kids and it’s important to set them up with the right expectations so this experience doesn’t turn into a negative one if they don’t book the job. We want to keep our kids interested in the industry and motivated to keep trying even when it doesn’t eventuate to a booking, so keep it light and have fun!

 

 

The Entertainment Industry – Demystified

There are many myths and misconceptions about the entertainment industry and what it takes to “make it”. This industry is full of wonderful opportunities, but there is also no clear path to how to make these opportunities happen for you.

While there are many legitimate, honest industry professionals from agents, casting directors and performance coaches who genuinely want to help and nurture young talent, there are a few who take advantage of those eager to enter the industry and their uncertainty about how the industry really works. The fact is that there is no set path, nor formula for success in the industry. Because of this, it is easy to market a ‘guaranteed’ way to ensure success or create an impression that any one factor could mean commercial success, whether it be an agency, workshops, work without pay or portfolio shoots.  

Too often, as agents, we too often see people and businesses trying to “sell the dream”, making promises that they cannot realistically fulfil. The reality of the industry is that no one can guarantee that there will be work or that they can get that work going your way. There is no one who can create work or can give talent work (via agents) other than the clients themselves (being brands, production companies, advertising agencies etc).

This industry is purely based on the individual, so no matter the track record of talent booked through an agent/coach/director, there is no guarantee that this means the next talent they sign will have the same success. Be wary of those who parade only one or very few examples of past successes. You are only as relevant in the industry as your last jobs suggests, so make sure to verify the actual claims of booked talent. Essentially, look for consistent, regular work for a variety of talent.

With all of that, let’s have a look at some common myths and misconceptions, and the reality of it all

 

Workshops

Workshops or coaching is a great way to gain experience and further your skill-sets as a talent, whether it be in modelling, acting, dancing or all of the above.

However, workshops are often marketed as “exposure” to industry professionals with implied success just by attending and mingling with casting directors, producers and others there. The fact is unless an actual client has a current job needing talent just like you, there is nothing they can do to get you a job or further your career. While you will get the exposure promised, this may be true, it must be taken with a grain of salt. The truth is you should treat any workshop or coaching as purely a learning experience!

 

Audition days

Same goes for ‘audition days’ promising to give you a foot in the door. ‘Real’ clients who can hire talent, do not need to advertise audition days and ask you to pay to attend. They can look at talent for free by contacting agents who will submit suitable pre-screened talent.

 

Agents

An agent is your best bet in the industry. A lot of clients will only engage talent through a reputable agent, due to the complexities of coordinating castings and bookings. It also allows clients to view a range of talent and have the peace of mind that the agent is there to handle majority of communication and coordination, so being signed to an agent will give you the best exposure to the industry’s clients.

However, you must choose wisely. Look for an agent that is upfront about the reality of the industry, if they guarantee that you will get work through them, or give you a percentage guarantee (eg. there’s an 80% chance you will get work), then tread carefully. NO agent can guarantee work to anyone, as they are not the decision makers.

An agent’s role is to build and maintain relationships with their client’s, so they can give their talent the most and best opportunities possible. They should also provide realistic career advice and assist in the professional management of your castings and jobs.

At the end of the day, you should always give your best and take up all opportunities that come your way, but it is wise to be considerate and careful of where you invest your time (and in some cases, money!). While no one can give you a guarantee of success, there are those who can give you realistic advice and help along your journey.

 

The What, How and Why of TFP

TFP (or time-for-print) is a term that is thrown around a lot in the entertainment & creative industries, it refers to arrangements often between photographers, stylists, hair and makeup artists and talent (models/actors), who exchange their time for good quality images to use in their portfolio, rather than for monetary compensation. In a true TFP shoot, no one involved will receive a commission or hourly rate.

As a parent, we know that your child’s wellbeing is paramount and that the idea of taking part in a TFP shoot with your up-and-coming little star may seem intimidating. But TFP work can be a wonderful opportunity! TFP shoots can be a great way to build your child’s portfolio and confidence in front of the camera, as well as build a network of valuable connections in the industry. Having said that, it is important to be selective with the TFP work you chose to take part in so that it truly benefits your child. It is one of the scariest things in the world to think your child may be taken advantage of, which is why we’ve created this simple list of “Dos” and “Don’ts” when it comes to TFP work for your child:

 

The Dos:                                                   

  • Be very clear with your expectations BEFORE agreeing to take part in the shoot.

Don’t assume anything. Make sure everyone involved is aware of your expectations by putting them in writing. When it comes to your child’s wellbeing it’s always best to have this in writing, rather than trying to arrange everything verbally.

 

  • Be a delight to work with

If everyone involved in the collaboration enjoys working with you and your child then, as well as building your child’s portfolio, you’ll also be building a professional reputation. We all know that positive word-of-mouth can be your biggest asset when trying to book jobs. Often times clients who book your child for a TFP shoot may go on to work on larger, commercial projects, so these connections can be invaluable.

 

  • Learn how to say NO

You should always be strategic with your child’s project choices. Never feel pressured to say yes just to be polite, if you don’t think the exchange will benefit your little star then don’t take part. Be selective and save your energy for the jobs that you and your child are truly passionate/excited about and that will add to your portfolio in a positive way. However, it is important to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible, as these building these experiences are what makes a great career.

 

  • Credit all involved when sharing TFP images

TFP shoots are all about experience and exposure, for all parties. Social media is a very powerful tool in the industry, so when sharing your child’s images on any platform, it is important to credit all people involved in the TFP shoot. This includes photographer/videographer, hair and makeup artist, stylist and agent.

 

The Don’ts:

  • Don’t cancel on short notice.

While your child is not getting paid, your professionalism is still on display and you have others that are counting on your involvement. Don’t commit to a TFP shoot unless you’re sure you can make it because if you pull out in the last minute you will likely jeopardise the whole shoot. It’s safe to say that those involved won’t be recommending you to any of their friends in the industry or wanting to work with you again if this happens. In the same light, if you are punctual and professional, you will be top of the list!

 

  • Don’t sell TFP images.

If you are presented with the opportunity to make money from the images you acquire from a TFP shoot make sure you get permission from everyone involved in the project and be prepared to share the profits.

 

Remember, when it comes to TFP work the experience and exposure your child can achieve by taking part can far outweigh the lack of compensation for that single project and can even result in a number of paid jobs! At Bettina Management we are here to help you every step of the way and want to see your child succeed just as much as you do. So don’t be afraid of TFP; think of it as an incredible opportunity that is a stepping-stone to getting your child the experience, exposure and connections required to thrive in the industry.

Why do I need an agent?

The entertainment industry is one of the largest industries in Australia, and arguably the world. It is a busy, fast-paced and ever-changing industry which can be difficult to navigate for even the most seasoned professional.

While it is definitely possible to operate as a freelancer and handle all aspects of your or your child’s role as an actor or model in this industry, there are some very important factors that you should consider when deciding whether you need an agent or not, especially when it comes to your children’s career.

 

What does an agent do?

Your agent operates as the bridge between ‘talent’ and ‘client’. The client being those who require talent for their upcoming projects, whether it be a feature film, television commercial or photographic shoot. Clients may be casting agents, production houses, advertising agencies or photographers/companies themselves. The talent is YOU!

An agent’s job is to not only represent the talent, but to keep positive working relationships with clients so they keep coming back to book talent. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes with clients before agent’s get in contact with the talent themselves. Agents receive briefs daily from clients for upcoming projects, their job is to submit all their suitable talent for consideration and to coordinate castings and/or auditions as needed.

A children’s agent also needs to work with clients to ensure they have the appropriate permits (depending on the state) to be working with children and that they are aware of the guidelines they need to abide by. New clients are always vetted prior to the agent submitting talent.

Once talent have been confirmed by the client, the agent will organise forms to be filled out by the client and parent, and will pass on all relevant details to the talent for the shoot.

Agents are also responsible for negotiating rates, invoicing clients and paying talent.

 

Why is an agent important?

Your agent is your child’s ‘gatekeeper’ to the industry. They have direct contacts with clients and are able to promote your child to their client base. Many clients will only source their talent through talent agents. Agents are also there to ensure that your child is safe on set and at castings, by only working with vetted clients.

Agents are always there to provide support and assistance to talent, especially when they are new to the industry.

The Waiting Game

This industry is full of excitement, with new opportunities always waiting around the corner. But more often than not it is one big waiting game, from waiting for the opportunity to come knocking to waiting on that final decision to be made. It can often be frustrating when you feel like you’ve been waiting forever, and your patience starts to wear thin.

For parents who are new to the industry, it can be difficult to understand the nature of the industry. So let’s clear up some common misconceptions and answer some of those questions you may be asking….

 

How do I know my child has been submitted for work?

If you have signed your child up with an agent, they will be working away every week submitting your child for suitable work. The easiest way to find out what your child has been submitted for recently is getting in touch with your agent. They will be able to tell you what work has come in recently in their categories that they have been submitted for.

Bettina members are always welcome to call us on 1300 888 611 to receive an update on their child’s membership.

 

Why aren’t I notified when my child is submitted for work?

This industry is very fast-paced, with jobs often turning over within a week. There are many reasons why it is simply not feasible to contact parents when their child is submitted for work;

  • We can submit anywhere from 5 to 50 children for any given job, depending on the roles and how specific the brief is. Some briefs require multiple age categories, sizes or skill sets. As such contacting that many parents is time-consuming, and often creates more unnecessary back and forth communication. Our casting department is dedicated to coordinating castings and jobs, which often requires a lot of time on the phone to parents as well as communicating with clients. 
  • There is no action required from parents at this stage, it is simply a matter of waiting to hear back from the client as to who they would like to see for a casting
  • While the reality of the industry is well known, that disappointment is a part of the game, we do try to minimise this for children, and as a relatively small percentage of submitted children are selected for a casting (depending on the job), keeping this stage of the game “behind the scenes” prevents consistent disappointment.

 

If my child is suitable for a brief, why weren’t they selected for a casting?

Often the casting director will have a certain “look” in their minds about what they are searching for for a particular role. While a child may be suitable on paper, they may not have the right “look” for this particular campaign. Sometimes they may not have a clear picture of what they are looking for, so it is our job to provide options for them to choose from. 

 

What can I do in the meantime?

Glad you asked! We cannot stress the importance of keeping your AT2 profile up to date enough. Keeping sizes, measurements and skills up to date will ensure that your child is being submitted for the right work at all times. Uploading new photos is also a great way to show clients what your child looks like currently (as children change so quickly). Chat-to-cameras and skills videos are also fantastic and make our job so much easier.

 

A Moment with our Casting Manager…..

Tell us a bit about yourself!

Hi everyone! My name is Kathleen, i’m a Melbourne girl and attended Monash University, completing in my degree in Communications and a Diploma in Languages, la bella vita! I have a little dog called Penny (see picture below!) who is the love of my life! In my spare time, I love to dance, go to the beach, ride my bike and love a good Neflix session….

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 12.06.16 pmCan you tell us a bit about your background in the entertainment industry?

When I was younger I was in the Children’s Performing Company of Australia where I took singing, dancing and acting lessons. I’ve done some musical theatre and continue to dance to this day! I was also in a talent agency growing up, I was even the face of Primary School Wear! I was also in a short film that won an award at the Melbourne International Film Festival. More recently I worked as an event supervisor for The Entertainment Store, with clients such as Disney, Nickelodeon, Marvel, Cartoon Network etc.

 

What is your favourite part of your job?

The delight we get from seeing our little kids shine! Once our kids are finally confirmed for that big job, all the hard work is worth it.

 

What is your least favourite part of your job?

Paperwork! A necessary evil…….

 

What do you look for in potential talent?

Above anything else I look for a child with a great personality. There’s nothing better than seeing a child who is doing what they love and you can always see that when they get on camera.

 

What do think are the most important things to have in a talents portfolio?

Lots of photos! Not just your professional head shots, any natural shots showing your skills, personality and passions! A chat to camera is also really important, this allows us to see your personality and how you come across on camera. An outline of any skills you have, and what level you are at. Briefs are often very specific, we can’t often only submit kids who have specifically said they have certain skills. Up to date sizes and measurements, especially in kids as they are constantly growing.

 

Have you seen any changes in the industry recently?

There’s no such thing as a “typical” commercial look anymore, clients are looking more and more for a diverse range of talent, which we love!!

 

What advice would you give parents with children who have big dreams in the entertainment industry?
The industry is all about timing, you need to be ready as opportunities can come quickly and unexpectedly. Your time may not happen straight away but it may be just around the corner! You also need to work on any unique skills you may have, as this will make you stand out from the crowd. Always make sure your portfolio (whether it be AT2 or the likes) is full of material that allows clients to see your personality and unique skills. Videos (monologues, chat to camera, dancing, singing, anything!) as these will give you more opportunities to be recognised. Never give up! This industry is very unpredictable, but hang in there as your time may be just around the corner!

Working the Runway!

Recently our talent have been booking lots of runway shows, we know this can be a daunting for a first-timer so here our top tips from the Casting Department!

  • Wear comfortable, well fitting shoes. This way you will feel confident that you can stride down the catwalk without incident!
  • Think about your posture – stand tall with your shoulders back
  • Let your arms relax naturally by your side
  • Pace yourself – take your time and don’t rush
  • Look up and straight ahead at all times
  • Make sure you take a long pause at the end of the runway
  • Remember you are there to show off the garment
  • Be confident!12074498_918272558251995_5649013624302859835_n

One of our members, Jake, recently shared his experience walking in the Kidz Fashion Week runway –

‘My experience on the Catwalk was fantastic! Not only up on stage but behind the scenes as well. Being in front of the cameras, lights and audience was so much fun.  Walking up and down the runway knowing that everyone is cheering you on is such a good feeling.  I made lots of friends backstage and the clothes I wore were awesome!
This was my first time on stage and I loved the whole experience.  I can’t wait to do it again!’