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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Keith

Should An Agency Represent My Child or Should We Go Freelance?

From an outsider’s perspective, managing a child model or actor seems simple enough.

So you’re thinking of getting your little one started in the entertainment industry, but after meeting with agents and seeing the costs involved, you ask yourself, ‘surely I can do this on my own?’.

From an outsider’s perspective, managing a child model or actor seems simple enough. You get headshots done, set up their online casting platforms, and wait for the jobs to roll in, right? Wrong. There is a lot of work that happens behind the scenes that only an agent would know about. Everything from ensuring that the client and those on set have working with children’s checks, ensuring the production company has the right permits to hire a child model or actor, and getting your child the correct pay rate; agencies exist for a reason.

An agency does more than just pitch your child to clients. They work tirelessly around the clock, searching for new opportunities for their talent, liaising with clients to ensure they have all correct permits and permissions to work with children, as well as providing assistance and advice to parents and children alike. An agency can mentor and support your child from the beginning of their career and will have years of industry experience to help you along. They can also answer any questions or concerns you may have, and often organise workshops, additional photoshoot sessions to help build your child’s confidence.

While the temptation to go freelance can be hard to resist, there are many downsides to it as well. Some clients will not work with children who are not agency represented as it can create several hurdles that you would not be encountered otherwise. Parents may not always understand the ins and outs of the industry, and clients can work to tight deadlines with last-minute changes, something that agents are well versed in dealing with. On the flip side, working freelance can open the door to clients taking advantage of your inexperience. Offering little to no pay for work or simply just ‘ambassador’ deals are common with freelance child models, as there is no ‘middleman’ to ensure that your child is being paid the correct amount.

Any shoot or job involving children needs to comply with the child working permits of whichever state they’re in. Each state has a different governing body that oversees these permits, and any client your child works for should do their due diligence and have their working permit sorted before the shoot. You can find more information on Child Working Permits at Business Victoria, Office of the Children’s Guardian (NSW), and Business Queensland.

Some safety issues do also arise when working freelance. It can be challenging for a parent to know if a client is adhering to all set occupational health and safety regulations. Does everyone have the correct working with children permits and checks? Are they following COVID-safe protocols? These are issues that an agent would deal with long before your child is even confirmed for a booking.

While working freelance gives you the option of foregoing fees and commission. Whichever way you decide to go, take into consideration the pros and cons of each. Having your child represented by an agency guarantees that they have exposure to the best opportunities and gives you peace of mind that any job, audition, or casting they attend will be a safe and secure environment.

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