Asked and Answered
The Entertainment Industry’s Most Frequently Asked Questions
Navigating the entertainment industry can be tricky for even the most seasoned parents, and there will always be tough questions that have to be asked. Here we answer some of the most frequently asked questions by parents about the entertainment industry.
Why do agencies charge fees?
First and foremost, children’s talent agencies charging fees in Australia is very common. There is a lot of information out there that suggests otherwise. However, we can assure you that it is incredibly normal for an agent to charge fees to represent your child.
Agencies that represent children have a lot of responsibility in ensuring that all clients are suitable to work with children, and all rules and regulations are being followed when working with and employing children. A lot happens behind the scenes, and that is where many of the costs come into play. Just like any business, agencies need to pay their staff, overheads, and any third parties involved in managing your child. It would be unrealistic to expect agencies to source work, maintain and service client relationships, keep abreast of all legalities, and onboard new talent at no cost.
How do I know an agency is reputable?
If you’re unsure whether an agency is reputable, it's always best to do your research. Check out their websites, social media pages, and any testimonials you can find. These usually showcase what sort of work their talent has done and will answer any questions you may have. Look for things such as a regular client (they work with Cotton On Kids or Target frequently), an active social media presence, and how easy they are to contact.
Checking out their online reviews is another option, however, it is always best to take them with a grain of salt. Many bad reviews online come from disgruntled customers, or in this case, parents, who are often disappointed about the lack of opportunities their child received. Keep in mind that there are no guarantees in this industry and that your agent acts as the ‘middleman’ only. They cannot create work nor decide what talent gets chosen.
If still in doubt, you can always ask around or contact an agency directly through phone or email and have a chat with them about any concerns.
What about commission?
Agent’s will take a commission from any paid work your child undertakes. This is all part of the industry and to be expected. Depending on the state where you live and what the job is, the commission can range from 10-20%. Your agent will always discuss this with you prior to accepting a job.
Is my child guaranteed work?
Unfortunately, no agent can guarantee work as the decision is simply not up to them! Agents act as the ‘middleman’ between clients and talent and cannot create work, nor can they decide what talent gets booked. But rest assured, whichever agency you go with will submit your child for all suitable briefs that come through.
Do kids have to have a certain look to apply?
Definitely not! The industry is very diverse and always looking for children of all different ages, sizes, and ethnicities. Agents and clients alike want kids who look like kids!
Isn’t there more work in Sydney and Melbourne?
Many big clients (think Kmart, Myer, Country Road, Best & Less) are based in either Sydney or Melbourne, so naturally, there will be more work in these states. Both Sydney and Melbourne are Australia's media hubs. In saying that, there is always work happening across the country, and it will always depend on whether your child fits the brief. Some good news is that recently there have been a number of big clients who have expanded their work to both Queensland and Western Australia, in particular the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast and south-east Queensland are quickly becoming a hotspot for the entertainment industry with a lot of film and TV work happening there as well as a growing number of familiar clients opening head offices in the region. Hopefully, this can increase the commercial presence in these states and create more work for the industry.
How much can my child earn?
The amount of money your child could earn depends on a number of variables, including the client, the job, and how long your child has been in the industry. The starting rate for children is usually about $80 per hour for print work (photoshoots) and goes upwards from there. Some larger jobs, such as TV Commercials, can pay well into the thousands, especially if the advertisement is rolled over or continued for longer than originally planned. For example, a global release of a TV advertisement would equate to about $20K earnings, whereas an advertisement that is only aired in Australia might only garner about $14K for a family of 4.
Can I work without an agent?
While it is possible to receive work without an agent, many clients will only source talent through agents. Agents have direct contact with clients and usually long-standing relationships, which in turn gives your child more exposure. Agents also ensure the safety of the child on-set and at castings by only working with clients who have complied with any necessary permits and checks and provide ongoing advice and support to both parents and children.