For parents considering representation for their children, it is very important to read through the following:
Being represented by an agency such as ours is the only way to be submitted for castings in film and broadcast media. Theatre work is more accessible. Students who are 5 years or above, each have dedicated “Spotlight” pages. Younger students do not join Spotlight. Spotlight is the casting-director's reference point for all TV and film work. Only children who are represented by an agent or who attend an accredited stage school are eligible for Spotlight membership. Currently an annual, 365 day membership of Spotlight costs £98 (inc. VAT). The agency itself does not charge anything to join (be very wary of any agencies that do) - it takes a commission from fees paid to clients (15-20%, depending on the type of work). The only other upfront cost is professional headshots. We organize a professional theatrical photographer to take head-shots of those wishing to join. Because we organize a large group of children to have this done all on the same day, we are able to keep the cost down. Currently the cost per student is £55 per child. We very rarely accept photographs from any source other than our own approved photographer.
Important things to think about:
Casting for film and TV is an extremely competitive and unforgiving arena. It is unrelentingly based on looks (at least initially – this does have to be backed up with ability eventually!) By that, we don’t mean handsome or pretty looks, just the “right” look for the relevant role. It is possible for a child to be on our books for 12 months, and never get called in to a casting, despite being "suggested" regularly. Children do need to be able to take occasional days off school to attend castings (normally at relatively short notice), and schools need to be "on-side" as they will have to give permission when we apply for child-employment licenses. Castings are very rarely at actor’s convenience, in fact often seem to be deliberately designed to be the opposite. Castings often turn around very quickly (especially commercials), so parents really do need to be flexible about availability in order to give their children the best chance of success.
But if a child is easy going about it all, and a has fairly nonchalant attitude to disappointment, then it is the best and normally only way to get a chance at commercials, films and tv.