As the visual entertainment scope of TV and advertising becomes larger and larger, there are more opportunities for child modelling, casting agencies and extra work in the industry.
South Africa is producing more of its own advertising and television productions, meaning that child models, background “extras” and other casting roles are available for South African children. For modelling assignments, children are usually only required for half the day, whereas for television purposes the child may be on set for a full day.
What qualities are necessary for child modelling, casting agencies and extra work?
- A passion for performing
- The right physical appearance for a particular role
- Good manners
- An ability to take criticism
It’s all about the agent…
To get a name and fame in child modelling, casting and extra work, you will need and agent to connect you or your child to various job openings and negotiate contracts on your behalf. There are a number of agencies in South Africa that deal with both adults and children:
- Zero to Hero casts people of all races and ages for film work and TV advertising. For more details, see http://www.zerotohero.co.za
- Star Quality Management Agency for Kids and Adults based in Johannesburg
- Kingclip Artist Management for children, models, actors, babies and more.
- Imageperfect Model and Talent Agency casting babied through to adults for both TV and print media.
- Kidz Take Over Drama School where they teach drama classes and acting skills for both screen and stage.
- At La Femme Models, both boys and girls aged 5 and up can take part in modelling classes.
- Role Models is both a modelling and acting agency that represents babies to teens for print media and TV advertisements.
Strains and stresses
Children working in the entrainment industry should be fit and healthy as the job can de rather demanding, with odd working hours (often during the weekend, evening, or early morning). As a parent, you do not have any say on when the shooting will take place. The child will also need energy to be able to move around the set and to be able to maintain this energy throughout the shoot. Remember that your child may also be affected by hot lights as well as heavy costumes.
There are a number of child modelling scams out there that prey on the hopes of children and parents who fall prey to their flattery. These scams will ask the parents to dig deep into their pockets to pay for overpriced portfolio photographs and modelling classes. This doesn’t only apply to child modelling agencies, and adults can also be similarly scammed through bogus casting and modelling agencies.
Remember, no modelling agency can promise you work; they can send you out on auditions and from there it is up to you to get the job for yourself. If you land the job, the agency will be entitled to a percentage of your paycheck. An agent should never be paid any kind of upfront fee.
How do I know if my agency is legitimate?
- A legitimate agency won’t ask you for any money until you actually land a job.
- You won’t be sold modelling classes or photographs – you will pay the modelling coach or photographer directly. If you are directed to a specific photographer they are probably getting commission for it. You are not obliged to use that specific photographer.
- Ask around or conduct research to find a reliable and responsible agency.
Hints and Tips for hitting the big time
- You don’t need to go to modelling school to become a model. Modelling schools accept anyone who will pay for tuition.
- Be persistent. The best way to find a legitimate agency to represent you is to go to casting calls or send pictures to the agency (these don’t have to be professional photographs, rather wait until you are accepted into an agency before you make an expensive portfolio).