I read some interesting articles about "the biz." My pal, Wan, had blogged about some of her experiences taking her gorgeous little gal to castings, so I had an inkling of what that process is like. I also connected with some moms in one of my parenting message boards for more tips and insight, like your "agent" shouldn't charge you anything until your little one books a gig. There are "agencies" out there that require you to use their photographer, and possibly require their modeling "classes." But those are probably the agencies you want to avoid.
I researched reputable agencies, and submitted some of Em's pictures (including this one, this one and this one) via an agency's site. Within a few hours we had an eager email reply, asking to represent Em. Obviously it's in an agency's best interest to cast a wide net of clients, but we were still excited that they liked her.
There were some next steps we needed to take before we could go on any castings, but before I did any of that, I became "funemployed."
So, with some free time on my hands, I tackled those next steps and sent away for Em's work permit, and our friend, Winnie, offered to take pics of Em. We got Em's agent's approval on her favorite pics, and we put together a photosheet to take to auditions.
There are two types of castings -- the mass "cattle calls" where they ask agents to send all their clients of certain ages/genders/looks, and then there are casting calls where advertisers look through the agency's roster of kids and ask for specific kids.
The first three auditions we took Em to were cattle calls -- one for a major children's clothing line, one for a European kids' line I'd never heard of, and one for a huge diaper brand. They were fairly similar -- arrive, sign in, wait amongst a huge group of babies/toddlers, and then meet someone who takes Em's pics. No news is bad news, so when we didn't hear back before the shoot date, we knew she wasn't chosen. Not that surprising, given the large pool they had to select from.
A couple months ago a major brand requested Em specifically, but that was based on photos from when she was 9 months old, so we didn't fit their age expectations. A downside of the industry is that we have to keep Em's photos updated -- like once a month or so. Luckily our agent is fine with our snapshots since babies grow and change so quickly, although we did recruit Winnie to take some new pics of Em a couple weeks ago.
Last week a big baby brand asked to see Em specifically, so I took her to their offices. This casting was different than the previous cattle calls. We had an appointment time and there weren't groups of other kids waiting around -- just Em and the brand managers. They met Em, took their own snapshots of her and spent a few minutes just interacting with her. She fell asleep on the way there, so it took her a few minutes to warm up to them. However, by the time we left, she was all smiles and giggles. They asked how she was with strangers and asked if they could see how she'd react to one of them picking her up since their photoshoot might involve "model moms" who might pick her up. She was fine when they did.
The brand said they'd make their decision the next day, as the shoot was this week.
We didn't have high hopes, given our previous experiences and not knowing how many kids they were choosing from. So we were happily surprised when her agent contact us to say Em had been booked!
I had planned to tell you all about her shoot, which happened yesterday, but I just realized how late it is and how long this post already is! So, more details about that in my next post.
If you've made it this far, your reward are these new pics taken by Winnie!
"You could be a part-time model, but you'd probably still have to keep your normal job." - Most Beautiful Girl in the Room, Flight of the Conchords