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  • Writer's pictureElle Cecil

Selecting An Agent

Is Boutique or Bigger Better?

If you and your child are venturing into the world of acting and modelling, it is often quite difficult to figure out where to start. Internet advice forums suggest that gaining representation from a talent agent is the best place to begin, but how do you know what to look for?

When researching for talent agents, you may see the term ‘boutique’ used when referring to smaller agencies. This term is used to describe and promote agencies with smaller talent bases and less staff, stating that they are able to provide a more personalised service due to the small group of talent that they represent.

However, unlike some businesses like clothing or jewellery stores, talent agencies aren’t really able to be classified as ‘boutique’ agencies. There are no regulations around this and there is nothing stopping any talent agency from using the term to describe their business, so it isn’t a reliable way of measuring an agency’s quality.

Agencies that use the term ‘boutique’ may often just do so to positively describe the small scale of the business. Though more personalised services may be available from smaller agencies, this isn’t always the case. Small-scale agencies might promote the notion that your child will have more chances of landing a job due to the lesser number of talent on their books. However, this is not the case.

Clients and casting directors will often have a very specific look and persona in mind when scouring talent for a job. Regardless of whether your child is with a small or large agency, if they fit the casting criteria then that’s all that is important.

‘Boutique’ agencies will also often encourage parents to join them so that their children don’t have to ‘compete’ with other kids on the books. However, clients and casting agencies often look to larger talent agencies simply because they have more talent and therefore more chance of representing the right fit for the role. They are also more likely to want to source talent for multiple roles from the same agency as they don’t have to search far and wide, and it is administratively simple. The broader the horizons of talent, the more chance your child will be booked for a job.

You wouldn’t visit a store with a very small product selection unless you knew that they stocked the exact item you want. Instead, you would visit a larger store and search for the item there, because there is more chance that you’ll find what you are looking for.

Bigger agencies are also more likely to receive more briefs, castings and job opportunities than small agencies, simply due to the chances of success in finding the perfect fit for the job. Large agencies are just that for a reason: they are almost always able to satisfy the client or casting director, leading to strong client relationships and industry connections.

When searching for representation for your child, there are many things that you should take into consideration. Some agencies will be going for a certain type of look and others might be after kids with particular talents. However, you can be sure that if your child is passionate and patient with their endeavours in the industry, then they have the ability to succeed. Different children will react differently to certain circumstances, and it is your job as a parent to decipher the information out there.

Try to remember that flashy words and advertising don’t always mean that the quality of the agency matches its appearance. Look past the marketing strategies and weigh up the pros and cons of each agent, taking into consideration their experience, past clients, history and communication style. Much like any business or creative venture, you need to work out what is best for you and your child. After some research, you’ll be equipped with all the knowledge necessary to make the best decision for your child. It may take a few tries, but you will eventually find your perfect fit!

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