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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Keith

Money, Money, Money; How much do children in the entertainment industry get paid?

The modelling and entertainment industry intrigues many. However, it isn’t suited to everyone, mainly due to its fast-paced and harsh nature. Those who choose to venture into the industry must be aware of what they are getting into by ensuring their expectations match reality.

Suppose you’re considering getting your child involved in the modelling and entertainment industry, or your child has expressed an interest. In that case, you might be wondering how much your child could potentially earn? The answer here is tricky because, in this industry, there are no guarantees, so in reality, they could make nothing. However, there is always the chance that your child could be one of the lucky ones, and they could end up with a decent payday.

Remember that it doesn’t matter if you have the best agent in the business. There is never a guarantee of work. This is because your agent is just the middleman between the talent and the clients, and they can only do so much as the client always has the final say.

The amount of money your child could earn from a job in the industry will depend on several variables, including the client, the job, and how long your child has been in the industry. It’s common for children not to receive work when they start, but there is no timeline. Every child’s experience is different. In this industry, definite answers aren’t easy to come by.

However, there are some answers we can provide. The starting rate for children is usually around $80 per hour for print work (photoshoots). Yet if they are lucky enough to land a role in a blockbuster film they can be paid upwards of $10,000 or when it comes to a recurring TV show role they can earn the equivalent of an average full-time wage. This is because many parts of Australia have legislation that stops models from being underpaid. For larger jobs such as TV Commercials, they can often pay well into the thousands if you’re lucky enough to land a commercial with the right brand. Still, they will almost always pay a higher rate than a photo shoot, mainly if the advertisement is used for longer than initially planned (often referred to as a rollover).

Throughout the industry, being signed with an agent is the best way to ensure that your child is always being paid the correct amount and picking up legal and appropriate work. However, some parents can feel deterred from an agent due to the costs of entering the industry, and the commission that agents will earn, which is deducted from the child’s payment.

This can seem like a valid point if you aren’t familiar with the industry, but attempting to freelance your child’s modelling and entertainment work can often result in being underpaid or only finding work that is paid in the form of clothing, images or gift vouchers. And while this type of payment is not technically illegal, and securing any job can be exciting, your child must be compensated for their time. There is also the chance that the longevity of an ill-advised collaboration could hinder your child’s ability to get a job later. This could be from doing a shoot for vouchers or clothing for a brand and signing away the child’s copyright indefinitely without understanding it. It could haunt them later if a competing brand tries to hire the child, and they are never able to work for them.

Another thing that parents need to know is that the money their child earns must be paid into a bank account under their name. A brand cannot put the money into a bank account under the parent’s name. This is because it is your child’s money and not yours. This also allows for easy identification of your child’s overall income and stops an issue from the parent’s point of view at tax time.

If you’re only getting your child into the industry for the money, then the industry might not be for you. With no promise of work and pay rates being as little as $80, while not impossible, it is unlikely your child will earn a significant amount. But unfortunately, this is the way the industry works, and not everyone gets to win the industry lotto.

However, don’t mistake the reality of the industry for lack of any positive aspects. On the contrary, kids who are a part of the industry often have unique experiences and love it! And this is why parents often choose to get their kids involved, to make them happy and watch them shine, not for the money.

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