Where To From Here?
Stepping out from the shadows of the children’s entertainment industry.
As your little one grows into a young adult, many parents in the industry are left asking, where to from here?
Most children’s talent agencies only represent children up to the ages of 16 or 17; after that, the industry would classify them as adults. If they wish to continue in the industry, they will either need to find new representation or delve into the world of freelance.
Children’s agencies will generally represent children who are models, actors, and performers, submitting them for any and all work that they are suitable for. However, as they begin to outgrow children’s agencies, you and your child need to make the decision on what pathway is best. Adult agencies can operate quite differently, and some may only represent a certain part of the industry, such as models or actors.
If your child is looking to further their modelling career, it's best to directly approach well-known modelling agencies and organise meetings with them. Their agents will discuss how they work, what the requirements are, and if your child is a good fit for their agency. Some agencies will be looking for ‘high-end’ (think runway and editorial) models, while others want to see more ‘commercial’ looks. It's important to discuss this with your child beforehand and decide which side of modelling they would be best suited to.
While children’s agencies will often bundle or subsidise fees, adult agencies still require upfront costs such as an online listing and professional portfolio, which can be costly if you don’t have existing professional images or copies of previous work. Adult agencies will be able to point you in the right direction to organise a portfolio or test shoots. However, it is usually up to the talent to arrange this.
If your child wants to focus more on acting, singing, or dancing, finding them a creative talent agent may be the best way to go. These agents will only pitch your child for performance work, and there may be more opportunities as the performing arts industry can offer different types of work such as theatre, film and TV, and dance. Many young stars start with children’s talent agencies before moving on to specialist acting agents and becoming the superstars we see across our screens today.
The adult modelling and talent industry can be more brutal than what they are used to. Rejection is even more common, and many clients want adults of very particular looks, sizes, and skills. Clients and casting agents in the adult world may not hold back in criticism and expect professionalism at all times. While the children’s industry is very accommodating and understanding and wants kids that look like kids, the adult modelling world can still be behind in many aspects. However, we are seeing far more inclusivity in the industry across Australia. As the Australian media becomes more diverse, there is an increased demand for people of all ages, sizes, and ethnicities in the talent industry. But as always, it's not the agencies who set the tone; they are still just the middleman who will try to meet clients’ demands.
Freelance is another popular pathway to go down, especially in the age of social media. Once children are no longer minors, there are far fewer restrictions around working with them, and some clients and brands will not have any issues reaching out through casting platforms or directly through social media. Even as an adult, freelance work in the industry should be taken with caution. Freelance actors and models are always advised to only work with reputable clients and brands and negotiate pay rates before accepting a job. Although freelance may seem like the ‘cheaper’ option, there are still the same costs involved, such as portfolios and casting platform subscriptions which you will still need to be prepared to pay for and organise yourself.
Whichever avenue you decide to go down, your child’s involvement in the children’s entertainment industry will provide them with the foundations for a successful transition into the adult world. Whether that be modelling, acting, performing or a combination of all, the interpersonal skills they have learned and experience they have gained will be invaluable and stick with them throughout their careers.