A Moment with Bettina Petrone

Here at Bettina Management, we recently celebrated our 25th birthday! We sat down with our director, Bettina Petrone, to find out more about her journey and what her goals are now for the agency.

How did you start out in the industry?

I started in the industry when I was 17 and I entered a beauty quest. I won the competition and one of the prizes was a modelling course with Suzanne Johnston, from there I joined an agency and started my career as a professional model.

How did Bettina Management start?

As well as being a professional model myself, I was also a dancing teacher. A lot of my students would always be asking me things about modelling, like how to walk, how to put on make-up and generally just wanting advice. So I decided to run modelling classes as well, which grew and grew and turned into Bettina Modelling and Deportment School.

While I was working as a model, my clients found out about my modelling school and asked if any of my kids would be interested in doing some work. So it started by helping out some of my clients with their campaigns, and like anything else, it just grew so I decided to start the agency.

In the beginning, I was interviewing new talent and working from my home office in Moonee Ponds, as we got bigger we moved to the Docklands and a few girls came on board to help me with the bookings and running the agency. And well, the rest, as they say, is history!

What were the first years like starting a brand new agency?

Every job we got was exciting, they were all firsts for us so it was a very enjoyable time for the kids and the agency. Our first campaign was for Run Scotty Run, a kids clothing label, so to see one of our kids in print was a fantastic moment.

The agency grew very quickly and we eventually opened up agencies interstate to keep up with the demand over there. We also started booking a whole new range of jobs, not just catalogues and print but TV commercials, feature films, TV series and all kinds of work. It was wonderful to see our kids were now not just models but mini-actors too.

What were your goals with the agency?

When we first set out it was just to keep up with client demand, I enjoyed helping out my clients and providing them with quality child talent. But once we really got going, our goals were also to help our kids grow as little professionals and find more new talent. We loved helping kids break into the industry and see their skills and confidence grow.

I loved working in the industry as a model myself, so getting to share that experience with young talent was a real joy for me and I love to see how we have continued that today. 

How do you think the industry has changed since you started the agency?

The industry has changed a lot with the introduction of technology. We started out with printed comp cards for each child, which could take weeks to create (and become outdated quite quickly, as kids grow so fast!). When a client would request a child, we would have to pack the comp cards into the post and wait for the client to receive them and send them back before they could be sent to another client.

We now have a sophisticated online database for our talent and access to all the industry casting platforms, which means we can submit each child to multiple clients every day (and no more trips to the post office!). The whole process has become a lot smoother and opened up so many more opportunities, as jobs can now turn over a lot quicker.

What has been a highlight for you since the agency began?

It has all been a great experience. I have loved seeing the agency go from strength to strength and continue to grow.

We have worked on some amazing campaigns from iconic TV commercials to Hollywood blockbusters and our kids have flown all over the world to work on campaigns. All of these moments have been highlights for us so it is hard to pick just one!

Ultimately, seeing the great team that we have built across Australia and the continued success of our talent is something I take great joy in.

What are your goals for the agency now?

Our goals for the agency now are to maintain our status as Australia’s top children’s talent agency. We want to continue to build and maintain our client relationships so we can attract the best talent. We will also continue to be the industry leader in educating and informing parents on how the industry really works.

 

Watch our interview with Bettina here>>

Lights, Camera, Action; Harry

It’s not often that a 13-year-old already has nearly 10 years experience working in a particular industry, but it is certainly the case with our Harry!

Harry joined us when he was 4 years old, he was a cheeky and adorable little boy whose infectious smile won our clients over instantly. At 13 years old he still has that same smile, but has grown up into an intelligent, humble and mature young man!

We recently sat down with him to have a chat about his experience working in the entertainment industry and what he hopes for the future.

Age: 13yrs

Signed: 2007

Clients: Target (print & TV), Just Jeans, Myer, Westfield, Bardot, Dimmeys, Russell Athletics, Emirates Spring Racing Carnival, Lincraft, Offspring TVS, Bossini, Loreal Fashion Week, Childhoods End TVS, The Entertainment Book and many more!

 

Harry Durand_Target_Nov15(3)How long have you been with the agency?

I’ve been with the agency since I was 4 years old, so nine years!

 

What was your first job?

My first job was working for Westfield, it was a massive catwalk with a lot of kids

 

What has been your favourite job so far?

My favourite job so far was working as the Emirates Ambassador at the Spring Racing Carnival because I got to miss three days of school, which was awesome! I got to go to Fashions on the Field and my family were also featured in the newspaper for that which was pretty exciting.

 

Harry - Just Jeans 4What is your dream job?

I definitely want to get into more acting roles now, so would love to start doing some TV work.

 

What things have you learnt from working in the modelling industry?

I’ve learnt to be confident, because if you’re confident you’re obviously going to get a good shot and most likely to be chosen for a catalogue.

 

Do you have any tips for new kids entering the industry?

You have to be passionate in everything you do, and be happy while you’re doing it! That’s the most important thing.

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.

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!

 

 

2016; The Year That Was

We’re all about celebrating successes here at Bettina Management! So we thought we would recap the crazy, fun, whirlwind year that was 2016, and some of the amazing things our little stars got up to in the last 12 months.

 

img_4026WALKING FOR FASHION ROYALTY

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival is one of the biggest nights on west coast for fashion. It was a Bettina first when we got a request for our very own kids to walk for luxury children’s fashion label – Mischka Aoki, who’s gowns have been worn by many mini-superstars, including none-other than Beyonce’s daughter, Blue-Ivy.

Three lucky girls made it through the casting process and were awarded a spot on the runway for the big night. Keara, Emily and Scarlett did us all proud and worked the runway like they had been doing it their whole lives! With our Perth Talent Coordinator, Gloria, cheering them on from the sidelines it really was a night to remember!

(Photo Credit: Stefan Goslati)

 

 

screen-shot-2016-03-16-at-11-20-03-amALLEGRA’S BIG BREAK

Miss Allegra is the hardest working 6 year old we know! She has been working away with our friends at Wellcom Worldwide shooting for Target Australia’s catalogues for the past year, but she always kept her eyes on her big goal – a spot in a TV commercial.

Well one day in February we got a very exciting request, a casting for Allegra for a Target Easter TVC! Allegra and her mum Chelsea popped along to see our friends at Casting Sugar, and then we patiently waited for the good news. Thankfully the good news came and Allegra’s dream came true!

We asked her mum Chelsea what this year has been like for them, here’s what she had to say:

“Allegra has loved working with Target this year, as well as a few other campaigns she booked throughout the year. It can always be a challenge to juggle school and other commitments but Allegra really enjoys working on set with the whole team and it is always great to see the final product. She was also lucky enough to achieve one of her goals in booking a TV commercial, it is always wonderful to see your children work hard and be rewarded. She was over the moon that her dream became a reality and it was an overall amazing experience for the whole family!”

JET SETTERS

 

12841239_996869440392306_5869253557699833700_oWho doesn’t love an all-expenses paid holiday! While it wasn’t all lounging by the pool for our talent this year, our kids had some amazing experiences shooting interstate and even internationally for some incredible global brands.

Matching talent can be a casting director’s most difficult job, but sometimes the stars align and everything just falls into place. One of those moments was when a Westfield TVC brief came through for a child version of Australian model, Yaya Deng, and we knew we had the perfect girl. The only catch was – she wasn’t in the right state! But after weeks of casting and no luck, we suggested our girl Achok, and as we already knew, she was perfect! Achok and her mum were flown to Sydney for a few days of shooting, and the end result was simply incredible.
Isn’t it every little girl’s dream to model for the one and only Barbie brand? Well, one little girl’s dream came true when she was cast as the Australian representative in the Barbie – “You Can Be Anything” campaign, and this was just image5the start of the good news. Not only would our Maya be part of a truly special campaign, celebrating young girls aspirations and dreams, but she would also be flying with her family to Bangkok, Thailand to film the campaign! Maya travelled with her whole family and our own Talent Coordinator, Jess for a jam-packed week in Bangkok.

The final product speaks for itself, there were certainly a few tears in the Bettina office when we saw this for the first time.

 

 

FAMILIES WHO WORK TOGETHER, STAY TOGETHER


screen-shot-2016-08-24-at-12-09-33-pm
This year was the year for families. We had so many kids and parents working on set, killing it as
a family unit. Our clients are always looking for real people and genuine connection and what better than a real family to produce this.

The Gerritsen family, originally from Holland, worked for multiple clients and brands, including Australian Country Spinners, Britax Australia, Target and Cengage Learning. They are truly a superstar family; workable, fun, creative and charismatic, all the qualities that we look for and our clients love!
We also had several families booked for regular clients such as Cengage Learning and Britax. A big thank you to all the parents who stepped up to the plate and participated, we know it wasn’t exactly what you signed up for, but you smashed it nonetheless.

 

AGENCY NEWS

img_3227Along with the successes of our wonderful talent, we also made a couple of other leaps and moved premises in two states. After nearly a decade in Alexandria our Sydney agency turned over a new leaf and shifted premises to lovely Chippendale, whilst our Melbourne agency & Bettina HQ moved from Docklands to Southbank; settling into a beautiful building in the creative hub of Melbourne, with many other neighbouring creative agencies, production houses and studios.

What a wonderful year it was. Thank you to the tireless efforts of our Bettina team, our talent, the parents that make it all happen and our clients who have given our talent some amazing opportunities throughout the year. 2017 is shaping up to be even bigger and better! 

The Bettina Team XX