TALENT INDUSTRY INFORMATION
Getting into the Business in Texas
The question that I am most often asked is "how do I get my kid into modeling and acting?" First, I would like to explain that there are no guarantees. Even having your child's pictures taken by me is no guarantee of representation or work. Agencies are looking for kids with a special look and an “IT” quality. Beauty is not always what they are seeking but complete shyness definitely will not work. If you are serious about investigating the possibilities of working in this industry, there are a few things you need to know and do.
Whether they are professional or candid, have full length, 3/4 and close-up photographs of your child to submit to agencies. Make sure that the photos show A LOT of personality. Write critical information on the back of the photos (name, address, telephone, age, height, weight, hair color, eye color, size). Send those picture to the agencies with a letter or resume delineating any and all experience in modeling and acting. Do not call the agencies. If they are interested, they will call you and inform you of the next step you need to take.
Be aware that most of the modeling agencies may require a working portfolio with experience or enrollment in their modeling schools or both before acceptance with the agency. Talent agencies may require experience and/or training as well even though they do not have affiliated schools. There are a lot of kids and adults vying to get in the industry with limited job availability in the Houston market. Don't lose sight of your dreams, but be realistic.
Once You Are in the Business
WORK ON YOUR CRAFT. Unless you are so naturally gifted that every single casting director recognizes it and casts you regardless or unless you have been advised otherwise by several in “the know”, TAKE CLASSES! If you don’t have a strong credits on your resume, you better have training. Don’t sit around and wait for your agent to call you, be proactive!!!!! Find jobs yourself. Good resources are Southwest Casting and The Texas Film Commission (click on the links). It may be the easiest way to build up your resume. Here are some other helpful links:
Child Actor/Performer Authorization (for all talent under 14)
I really want to go to Los Angeles to be a star!
Before you make the big decision, there are a few things you need to consider. First, do you book most of the jobs you audition for locally? Second, has making that big move been suggested to you by someone high up in the industry (agent, casting director, producer, etc.)? Do I have the financial resources to do it. It is very expensive!!!
If your answer is no, don't get discouraged. Keep working on your craft. You need to be extremely prepared before you go to Los Angeles and have quite a bit of experience under your belt.
To those that have answered yes, you may be ready and here are a few tips:
It is not advisable to go without, at least, agent and/or manager meeting set up. There are two seasons for work in Los Angeles. The First is Pilot season which generally runs January - May. IT WILL BE DIFFICULT TO GET AN AGENT DURING THIS SEASON (you would need heavy credits and huge references). You must, must, must acquire one before hand. The Second is commonly referred to as episodic season which runs August - first week December. This season is not as hectic and you may be able to go out there and "wing it".To get an agent or manager, you will have to set up an appointment for an interview and audition. You do this by sending out packages with your headshots, resume and (if you have one) actors reel. You may also get appointments by referral (still sending out the packages). This means that your local agent will set something up for you or you are referred by someone high up in the industry. Some agencies will only look at you if you have a referral. Unless you are returning their call, DO NOT CALL. Unless you are visiting for a scheduled appointment, DO NOT STOP BY THE AGENCIES. If you have IMDb pro, you will be able to see who is represented by who and is a good basis for sending out packages.
If you are under the age of 18, review the Child Labor Laws for the State of California. They have a complete pamphlet available. You will have to fill out an Application for permission to work in the entertainment industry. Send it to (or walk it in to get the permit on the spot):
Division of Labor Standards Enforcement
6150 Van Nuys Blvd., room 100
Van Nuys, CA 91401
If you are under the age of 18, you will need a CUTMA account to get paid for any acting jobs in the State of California (and other states). This was a law that was established several years ago to prevent parents from mismanaging the earnings of their children. It is also referred to as a Coogan Account. Here is the information you need to set one up:
You also can get one by mail through AFTRA/SAG Credit Union.
Where to stay: Many child actors stay at an apartment complex called The Oakwood. I am not endorsing it. I just know it is a complex with furnished and unfurnished apartments and there is quite a bit of networking available which doesn't hurt if you are new to this.