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. There is also 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.

Managing your child’s exposure is a great way to get started in the industry, but how do you 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 – 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 or even report them to make sure they never return! You have the luxury of controlling 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 now an ingrained part of the entertainment industry, so make sure you use it wisely and to your advantage.

Just Let Kids Be Kids

After more than 25 years in the industry, we have truly seen it all. We have seen trends come and go and have seen the dynamics of the industry evolve and change over time. With the rising popularity of social media, combined with the changing attitudes of society, we are now seeing a different 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 –  Images similar to what you might see on a comp card for an adult model or in a high-fashion editorial magazine. These portfolio images are 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 it necessary 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 all talent prior to offering them 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 the child’s representation, we encourage parents to allow their child to be as natural as possible. We don’t require any child to wear 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 talent agency is not looking for ‘looks’, but these guidelines are not just our own, they are a direct response to what our clients want. 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 to see the rise of stylised portfolio photos for children. 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.

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 the industry. 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 a normal kids and real families.  

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 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 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 at castings, they’ll be with mum or dad and 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.

When facing the prospect of rejection, we can work together as parents and agency to equip kids with the tools to be resilient and bounce back from being let down.

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 talking to them about what to expect (you can get this info from your agent). This will then set them up with the right expectations, from the get go.

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 Talent Manager, shared some great wisdom with us;

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.”

With each casting your child attends, they will grow more confident and comfortable with not only general entertainment processes and environments, but they will also be more at ease within themselves.

Castings and auditions can be great fun for kids and it’s important to set them up with the right expectations so the experience stays a positive one. Regardless of whether or not they get the job, attending castings is a great achievement and a big step in the direction of your child building a successful portfolio and career.

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 make sure to have fun!

 

 

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 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, such as ourselves, receive a large number of briefs from clients every day. These include opportunities for upcoming projects such as acting in movies or television, modelling for film or print advertisements, and even working in live entertainment productions. An agents job is to then submit all their suitable talent for consideration- suitable, will be in relation to elements such as your child’s age, height, hair and eye colour – We then coordinate any subsequent castings, auditions, fittings and jobs.

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.

It is also an agent’s responsibility as an agency to ensure your child’s safety and wellbeing through the facilitation of legal and regulatory frameworks. This means that we will obtain the relevant permits for your child to work, which vary across different states. We ensure that safe practices are followed in your child’s attendance on a job, ensuring proper guidelines are followed in relation to working hours, supervision required on set, and any potential medical or health requirements.

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 having an agent important?

Your agent is your child’s ‘gatekeeper’ to the industry. They have direct contact 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.

At Bettina Management, we endeavour to support and assist our talent and their families to the best of our abilities. We implement our strong industry experience and relationships in providing advice and guidance to talent.

Strike a Pose!

One thing our talent can all agree on – modelling is definitely harder than it looks! Our job is to make it look as effortless as possible, modelling is not as effortless as it may seem. Professional models experienced in the art of posing are experts only due to hours upon hours of practice.

So here are some of our 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

Asymmetry

Compare the photographs here, 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.

Asymmetrical poses are generally more interesting to look at: rather than a symmetrical image, asymmetry draws the eye to particular aspects of a photo and catches the viewers’ attention.

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.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 3.31.43 pmTilt Your Head

People rarely hold their heads in line with their bodies. 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.

Encourage your child to get used to subtly tilting their head in shots. Rather than having their head straight, tilting to either side helps to create dimension in an image, and is also helpful in models appearing less stiff and more robust.

 

Keep joints slightly bent

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! Soft bends of the elbows, knees, wrists and other joints make poses look more natural and comfortable than standing limbs straight and rigid. Avoid overextending joints, as this may make them appear unnatural.  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.

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.
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 and shapes.

Models often practice their posing in front of the mirror. Your child can have fun creating asymmetrical shapes with the body in the mirror whilst also practicing their posing at the same time.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
A lot of interesting poses can be created by forming the letter ‘C’ or the letter ‘S’ with your body.  This image is a great example.

 

Once they get used to the body positioning and constant movement used for shooting, they can start to memorise and collect their favourite poses.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 3.48.20 pm
Create movement

When models are required to hold a pose and keep still, they can still give the illusion of movement. Positioning the body in a way that mimics walking is often a great way to practice this.

One of the easiest ways to ensure that your child is producing dynamic and engaging poses is to encourage constant movement. This way, there will be a wider variety of images at the end of the shoot, increasing the chances of getting the shot.

Consistent movement and fluidity also helps your child to appear more natural and at ease, rather than rigid and uncomfortable. A dip of the shoulder or hip helps a model create interesting poses.

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!