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!’

Strike a Pose!

There’s one thing our talent can agree on – modeling is definitely harder than it looks! But our job is to make it look as effortless as possible. So here are some top tips from Bettina HQ on the art of posing! Use a mirror and follow the steps, and remember, practice makes perfect!

Whether it’s a simple snapshot or a rigorous test shoot, if you know how to pose rather than just standing for a photograph, you can help create shots that stand out in a positive way.

 

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 3.27.56 pm
Compare the above photographs, which one do you think is more interesting? We prefer the one on the right as it is asymmetrical: one side of the models body is doing something different to the other.
Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 3.30.25 pm
Here is another asymmetrical pose. Not only is it more interesting than the top photo on the left, the model also looks less stiff and more natural.
Tilt your head 
People rarely hold their head in a straight line with their body. So, one of the easiest ways to create and interesting and natural looking pose is by slightly tilting your head to one side or the other.Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 3.31.43 pm
Bend your joints
With exceptions and without taking it to the extreme, the more bends in your body the better. Including elbows, wrists, knees, ankles and toes. Just remember to make your pose asymmetrical!
Don’t hyperextend your joints
Locked joints, especially knees and elbows can look like that part of your body is bent in the opposite way that it’s meant to. So try to keep joints bent or at least straight.
Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 3.36.07 pm
Don’t ‘cut off’ your limbs
Referred to as ‘foreshortening’, pointing arms, hands, fingers, legs or feet directly towards or away from the camera can create the illusion that they have been removed.
Shift your balance
Another simple way to create asymmetry is by shifting your balance (or planes of your body). eg. Try dipping your shoulder and hip like the model above in the photograph.
Create shape
Posing can be looked at as creating shapes with your body. When you’re posing, think about the basic outline of your body and try to create interesting asymmetrical shapes with it.
Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 3.45.27 pm
Create the shapes of letters
A lot of interesting poses can be created by forming the letter ‘C’ or the letter ‘S’ with your body. The above photographs show some of the ways to achieve this.
Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 3.48.20 pmCreate movement
Models are often required to ‘hold’ a pose (keep still). But you can still create the illusion of movement, such as walking. Try planting one foot in front of the other on the ground and stepping forward with the back foot. Practice holding poses at different points during the step.
Pose your hands
Posing with your hands so they look natural is a real skill. So it is well worth spending a considerable amount of time just on practicing posing hands.
Now it’s time to practice, practice, practice!

What Really Happens on Set? Part 2

Part 2: On the Job!
So the day on set has finally arrived, no doubt you are feeling excited, but maybe a little nervous! Here are a few tips to get you through the nerves and into feeling confident and ready to tackle your first job.
 
You should plan to arrive approximately 10-15 minutes before your call time and find the contact person as listed for you on the call sheet or booking confirmation. Occasionally the production can be running behind schedule and you could be asked to wait. This is when the colouring books or iPad’s come in handy! Other times the production crew will be ready and waiting for you and your child.
 
There are usually lots of people on set who keep production going behind the scenes and they are usually set-up in separate trailers a short distance away from the actual set so not to interrupt any filming in progress with noise or movement. 
 
You will be introduced to the location nurse who is there to look after the wellbeing of underage talent by making sure they are safe, taking breaks at allocated times and have something to eat and drink. Your contact person will also make sure that someone from the ‘Wardrobe’ or ‘Costume’ department knows that you have arrived. They will either choose from the outfits you brought by request or have items ready to try on. Parents can help their child get dressed if necessary. On some shoots, children might also be required to go through ‘Hair and Make-up’. In general minimal make-up will be applied and sometimes none at all for children.
 
Soon it will be time to make your way to the actual set for filming. With younger children, parents are always allowed to stay close by or within sight, but it is important to be aware of your surroundings and not get in anyones way. 
 
Here are a few general rules when on set:
 
  • Make sure you turn your phone off
 
  • Do not talk or move around once the director calls ACTION until after they have called CUT.
 
  • Do not try and tell your child what to do from the sidelines. Let the director (or whoever is working with them) direct your child.
 
If you do have any questions or concerns, speak to the person who has been assigned to look after you and your child on set.
 
Your child may film everything that is required for the day in one go or there might be a few breaks when you will be looking after them and need to keep them occupied. Snacks are often supplied and if filming has been scheduled over a meal time then you might both sit down with cast and crew and enjoy the Catering on location.
 
When your child has finished work (often referred to as being ‘wrapped’) the crew person in charge will let you know and you will need to sign out for the day. Take note of the time you have finished so you can let our casting department know. 
 
Once you have been told you can leave, collect all of your belongings and be sure to thank the crew and the people who have looked after you.
 
Here are a few additional tips:
 
Be positive! It’s nice for the crew to have someone around who is happy, easy going and helps make the day run smoothly, and they may be more likely to ask you and your child back for future projects.
 
Try to stay away from gossip about agents/money/other people in the industry. This can reflect badly on yourself, your child or your agency. 
 
Try not to bring any extra siblings or family members on set.
HAVE FUN! Enjoy the experience!

Five Fun Facts About the Talent Industry!

It’s Friday, what better day to check out our five fun facts about the talent industry!

1. Talent often work to set hours, ensuring their wellbeing is taken care of at all times. For example, in the state of Victoria children working in TV and Film under the age of 3 can only work a maximum of 4 hours per day. Breaks are also given at regular intervals to ensure stars don’t over do it.

2. If talent are selected to work on a TV series, Film or project for an extended period of times tutors will be hired to teach on set so their learning never stops! So sorry kids, no getting out of school 🙂

3. The principal may have to approve talent’s absence from school so kids can go be stars! This ensures they know what the kids are up to during school hours and can ensures their schooling is always a top priority.

4. If talent live far away or are under a particular age travel time to the location will be taken into consideration. This ensures talent will be booked into hotels so they can wake up fresh and ready to go for the next day!

5. For younger talent, employers will try to schedule shots around their sleep times, and often a nurse will be present on set to assist with younger children. So, as a parent support is always within hands reach for you.

Lights, camera, safety! It’s all about creating a safe, supportive and positive working experience for children in the entertainment industry.

We hope you enjoyed this little insight into the talent industry and if you have any suggestions for future blogs, shoot us an email at emma@bettina.com.au

5 Common Industry Myths

Have questions about the child modelling industry? Here are 5 common industry myths exposed!

 

1. Only blonde haired and blue eyed children get work: This is untrue. Most clients value confidence, diversity and an engaging personality above all else. Interaction with the camera and the client is key, after all, they want to see a child who shines on screen and in print!

 

2. Babies don’t get work: At first glance, it’s hard to imagine what babies might actually DO for modelling work, but if you turn on a TV or open a catalogue you will see beautiful bubs scattered everywhere! They are often used on TV series for shows like Offspring and House Husbands and for brands like Huggies, Bonds, Target, Myer, David Jones and lots more. 

 

3. Children must have acting or modelling experience to get work: False, clients rarely expect children under 12 to have experience. Of course, it helps to have a brief introduction to modelling or acting if possible as this may set you apart in the casting or audition. For demanding acting roles, some clients approach acting schools to book talent.

 

4. Clients choose the same children repeatedly: This may be true for a handful of talent but this will only last for a few weeks or months if a child is doing a particularly great job! Remember, children change clothing size, grow or lose teeth so clients are constantly on the hunt for new talent to fill the varied and diverse roles they receive.
5. Children are expected to wear make-up: It’s a common misconception that all jobs will be very glamorous and require lots of hair and make up. This is very far from the truth – clients want children to look like children, natural and fresh faced. It is all about having fun. If the child is having fun in the shoot, this will show in the final product. Older teens can wear a dab of lip gloss and a touch of foundation if the client agrees or has special requirements.
Of course, the best thing to do is contact the agency whenever in doubt about any aspect of the industry or what is expected of you!

The Boring (but important) Stuff

Earlier in the year we did a post defining many industry terms that are frequently used as a resource for parents – you can revisit it here >> Glossary of Terms

Now it’s time for the financial terms – we have a few to keep it short and sweet – that define commonly used terms after your child has a job and is awaiting payment.

Tax-free threshold – The tax-free threshold has recently changed to $18,200. This means that children do not need to pay tax unless they earn over $18,200 per year (wouldn’t that be great!).

Hourly rate –  An hourly rate is an agreed amount where you will be paid per hour for the work that you do.

Fixed rate – A fixed rate is a set amount agreed upon for a booking (unlike the hourly rate).

Loadings – Loadings are paid in addition to the hourly or fixed rate. Loadings are usually unpredictable and we will only hear of these extra payments after the campaign or advertisement has launched, sometimes weeks after, sometimes months. This payment amount varies pending on where the images are displayed or where the ad is circulated. Generally, loadings come into play when the shots are used across different forms of media such as online, billboards or posters which wasn’t the original intention for the campaign.

Commission – Commission is the amount of money deducted from paid jobs. This amount varies according to the type of job you did, how much you got paid, and how long you worked for. For example, jobs on a small scale like extra’s work, will only get 10-15% deducted for commission. However large jobs that earn the big bucks, such as TV commercials may be higher at 20% commission. Whenever you do a job, you will be sent the gross total amount of payment for the job (amount before commission deducted) along with the amount that has been taken out, so you can see the full figure.

We encourage members to ask questions about aspects of the industry they feel unsure about so we are all on the same page, so remember you can give us a call or email on 1300 888 611 or info@bettina.com.au