Learn The Lingo 2.0
Manager vs Agent – A ‘Manager’ is invested in training and managing only a small number of people. Their full-time job is to manage a person’s career, diary, travel arrangements, portfolio, skills, training & ‘brand’. An actor/model can have a manager as well as an agent. An agent’s job is solely to source work for the actor/model. Agents don’t organise acting classes or teach confidence skills. They just provide the opportunities to you for potential work – like a recruitment company. Agents are also much more regulated, with talent agencies needing valid labour-hire licenses in QLD and VIC. It is your responsibility to ensure your child is confident & ready to go when those opportunities come their way. Kids don’t need a manager (you are their Manager), but it is recommended to look into regular performance-based classes like drama, singing, dance, musical theatre, screen acting, modelling etc., to help them with confidence & audition skills.
Talent - The actor or model. You/your child are NOT the client. In industry terms, actors and models that agents represent are known as 'the talent', and agents will often refer to your child this way.
Client - A person or company using the services of a talent agent to look for talent for their shoot. e.g. Casting Directors, Producers, Advertising Agencies or the designer of a clothing brand.
Brief – Clients will send agents a ‘brief’ detailing the talent requirements for their shoot. Examples: Girls 8-10 years, Boy’s size 6, Girls 6-9 years old who have blue eyes & brown hair or Teens 12-14 years who play soccer. Briefs can be broad or more specific, depending on what the client wants & needs. An agent will never know what they may be looking for until they receive a ‘brief’.
Pitch – After a brief is received, the talent agent will ‘pitch’ (i.e. submit or put forward) all suitable talent options. These are their suggestions to the client of the talent who are best suited to perform the role. From there, it is the client’s choice which of these talents progress to the next stage of casting.
Casting Director/Casting Agent – A Casting Agent or Casting Director is often employed by a brand or producer to deal with the initial casting process. They will send out the briefs to all agents and will organise auditions before submitting the most suitable options back to their client to make the final decision on the cast.
Print Work – Often referred to as ‘stills’, models may be booked for ‘Print Work’ or for the purpose of creating photographic images for printed marketing material such as brochures, flyers, magazines, catalogues, newspapers, billboards etc. These days these images will usually appear digitally / online or on social media as well.
TVC – A common and shortened term for a television commercial.
Fit Model - Someone who tries on the sample clothing, during the design and sample stage, to make sure they fit and before the clothing is purchased in bulk by the brand. This is NOT for photoshoot or catalogue work, but you would still be paid for your time. Fit models need to match the very specific measurements of standard clothing sizes.
Portfolio – A portfolio is a collection of images, either in print or, more commonly these days, online. Portfolios are required for both models & actors and show off the talent’s look, versatility and previous work to potential future employers. Portfolios are more common in the adult agency world. As kids change and grow so quickly, it is often unnecessary and expensive for parents to pay for a professional portfolio. It is, however, essential to have a talent profile available to prospective clients with a Head & Body Shot that shows your child’s current and natural (not too styled, and minus any filters or photoshop) look and then to keep updating their profile with photos as they change and grow or with examples of past work after they book jobs.
Video Interview – A video interview is an interview undertaken by a team member of a talent agency to decide if your child is suitable for representation. A video interview is often needed before an agency agrees to represent a child. Most agencies switched to video interviews during the pandemic for safety reasons, and it is likely they will stick around.
Agency Fees – These are fees that may be paid to a talent agent in order for your child to enter the industry. Every industry has entry costs, and entertainment is no exception. Agencies often bundle these entry fees, to make the industry more accessible to everyone. In Australia, fees to enter the child talent industry are extremely common as kids pay rates and loadings for jobs are lower than they are for adults, and therefore agencies can’t survive purely on commission from jobs.
Commission – Commission is a percentage or sum of money taken out of the talent’s job payment and paid to the agent for sourcing and organising all aspects of the job on the talent’s behalf. Depending on the state you live in, the commission rate is different. For NSW and WA it is 10% across the board on the talent’s final pay. While in VIC & QLD it’s 15% for TV Series & Films. And 20% for everything else - photoshoots, short video campaigns, and TV commercials.
Self-Test / Video audition - A self-test is an audition that you film yourself from home. Your agent will send you detailed instructions on what you need to record. This can be done on your smartphone or iPad. It doesn't need to be fancy or edited. With everything happening in the world, these have become an increasingly popular way to cast talent!
Script / Sides – The written text of a play, film or broadcast. A ‘script’ lets the actors know what they have to say and do during the play or filming. Your child might be required to learn parts of a script for an audition or a role. ‘Sides’ is another term also sometimes used by professionals in the industry to refer to a small section of a script used for the audition.
Slate / Chat to Camera – A short ‘Introduction’ video is often requested for self-tests/video auditions, in addition to acting out a scene or performing a script. Generally, they are just looking for the talent to introduce themselves in a short 30-second video by saying their name, age, height and agent. Plus, maybe a short story about themselves.