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 £106 (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 around £60 + VAT 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. Our clients have an online availability calendar which must be kept up to date by parents
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.
Frequently Asked Questions -
Will my child have to miss school?
Almost all professional work involves some time off school/college; production schedules don't fit neatly into weekends or school holidays.
Under 16s have to be licensed by their local education authority before they are allowed to perform; as part of this process the school will be asked to grant permission for the time off, and a tutor will be provided by the production company if required. It's important that your school and headteacher are supportive of your child's acting career.
Can you guarantee work for your clients?
No. Like any agency, we can't guarantee work for our clients; neither can we guarantee auditions.
We receive casting breakdowns every day, and we suggest our clients for all the roles that they are suitable for. However there are lots of young people looking for acting work today, and only a limited number of jobs.
How much notice will you give us of auditions?
Often casting directors give us appointments for castings the following day. At other times there is more notice, especially for theatre auditions. This means that we sometimes contact clients with about 24 hours notice. Commercial/tv/film auditions for children are normally held some time between 4pm and 6pm, if they are on a weekday. This quick turnaround is one of the reasons it is very important that you keep your online availability calendar up-to-date.
Where do jobs take place?
A lot of the work we handle takes place in London or around the south east of England, but we also regularly work on projects which take place abroad, on touring theatre productions, and on TV/Film shoots which film "on location" across the UK.
Can I be represented by more than one agency?
Like most agencies, we insist on sole representation of our clients, and ask that all work offers are directed to us. The reason for this is that we need to be certain that we know exactly when our clients are available for work, and which jobs they are booked on. If an actor is represented by two different agencies, they could end up being booked for two different jobs on the same day, which is clearly not a good idea. Likewise, if you're approached directly about a job, please refer it to us- we need to ensure that the correct fees are paid, that child performance regulations are being adhered to and so on.
Do you handle modelling work?
Our primary focus is drama work, although we do occasionally work on modelling jobs. If your main interest is in modelling rather than drama, you would be better off applying to a specialist modelling agency, as the acting and modelling industries are quite different worlds.
I live a long way from London – should I apply?
We represented clients from across the UK. So it's certainly possible to be represented by a London agent even if you don't live near the capital. However you should bear in mind that producers will often consider talent with London agents to be 'London based', and won't make any allowances for the additional time and expense involved in getting to auditions. Commercials cast in the south-east may not provide accommodation for talent based further afield, so you may need to arrange for somewhere local to stay the night before the shoot. It should also be noted that casting directors are often very specifically looking for talent that is NOT from the South-East.