Parent of Kid Actor Needs Advice

Hi!

I just came across your forum, and I really appreciate all the great information I’m reading. I do have a few questions that I haven’t yet found the answers to, so I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind directing me to the place where I can find the answers.

We live in Dallas, so you may not be familiar with the market here, but I’m hoping maybe you know of a forum or someone who can help me with these questions.

My daughter is 3 and signed with an agency here in Dallas last May. Since that time, she has been sent to an unpaid fashion show, went to a go-see (she didn’t get the job), and a fitting (she did get the job, and they’ve requested her back). She’s well behaved, takes good direction, loves hamming it up for the camera, and asks every day when she can do more modeling.

I honestly thought she would have gotten more opportunities by now, though. Is this par for the course here in Dallas?

So I’ve tried to help things along a bit by seeking out work for her in addition to what the agency finds, and I came across a talent manager who was very interested in her for a commercial opportunity. I let her know that my daughter is signed with an agency, and she asked me to find out from them what happens if I find the work as opposed to the agency. I asked them and never got a clear answer.

We lost out on the opportunity for the commercial, and I sent an email to our agency asking what is the protocol when a situation like that happens, and now they are not responding to my emails. Now I’m afraid that they won’t be submitting her for jobs at all anymore because I unknowingly did something wrong.

So if that’s the case and we wanted to switch to another agency, is that possible and how can it be done? Also, is it possible for her to be represented in both Texas and LA or New York?

Thank you so much for any help you can provide, especially since this was so long and you took the time to read it. Have a great evening.

Suzanne

Hello Suzanne and thanks for reaching out. As a former kid actor myself, I’m passionate about seeing families do everything it takes to have the most positive experience possible. Depending on whom the players are in the equation you’ve detailed, this could all be “no big deal,” since it’s possible there never was a new commercial opportunity (as some management firms will use that as bait to get you to sign with them, and since you were asked to find out if you’d have to pay commission, my sense is that it’s actually just fine that this all cooled off). Check out my column on Rep Relations for a sense of how complicated it can get when you’re represented by multiple entities for the same coverage area.

Definitely, regional markets have different standards for whether or not there is exclusivity, commission paid on everything, or the ability to be listed in other markets by the same (or different) companies, so let’s get started with some resources for you to connect with folks who can help steer you in the right direction specifically for what you’re experiencing at this stage!

My first recommendation is that you hit forums.delphiforums.com/proactors/start. This is the Professional Actors Resource Forum (PARF) and its focus is helping parents of young actors get started on the right foot. The folks there can share their experiences, provide info about the specific companies with which you’re dealing, help steer you toward best resources in your market, help you not get scammed, make sure your expectations are realistic, and generally support the journey.

Next, check out bizparentz.org. This is a non-profit young-actor advocacy organization and we LOVE the work they do on behalf of parents of young actors so that kids have the best possible experience and grow up balanced and not at all negatively impacted by their work in the entertainment industry. I would definitely explore the free resources at their site and bookmark the pages that you know you’ll want to reference frequently.

Finally, please go read everything at the pages linked from here: bonniegillespie.com/tag/young-actors. This is my personal archive of the Actors Access columns specifically categorized for young actors and their parents. While there’s an overwhelming amount of information at the Actors Access column, this link will get you directly to the ones best-suited for your journey as the parent of a child actor, without you having to sift through nearly 1200 individual topics between weekly columns and Your Turn sections I’ve penned for more than a decade.

Please poke around, get in with those wonderful resources, ask questions, and lemmeknow if you have any follow-up to share with me once you’re getting some information from parents of young actors at these sites! Good luck to you and your daughter! It’s an exciting journey and hopefully it’s always a healthy one for you both!


Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!


Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/002022.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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