This advice is from Troy Lee, the President of the Craze Talent and Modeling Agency. As of 10-2009 Craze was ranked by IMDB.COM as one of the top 40 talent Agencies in the world.
1. What is the most important trait you look for in child actors?
The ability to be relaxed, comfortable, disciplined and natural in front of virtual strangers is a hard quality to find. Clients want kids to be real kids not seem like they were forced or coached by their parents.
2. What would be the ideal attire for children to wear to an audition? An interview?
Simple age appropriate clothing not to casual but also not overly dressy for both an audition and an interview. No hats or makeup. We want to see what they naturally look like.
3. Upon first impression, what might immediately deter you as an agent from selecting a child?
Pushy parents that answer the questions for the child, kids that cannot sit still very long or have a hard time taking direction. Parents who have unrealistic expectations
4. What would you say are the perks of a small boutique agency vs. a large company?
Though we have agencies in Utah and Idaho and work primarily in the Intermountain region we also find work in many surrounding markets. Because we are not in a top ten populated market we find work in many areas. Commercial print modeling, Lifestyle print modeling, a little bit of High Fashion modeling, Small budget and Feature films, Commercials, Website spoke persons, Brand Ambassadors and trade show modeling.
In order to provide clients with appropriate talent, we represent quite a few people that just do this part time and not as a career. We also assist talent in getting larger market representation once they are qualified and ready. I have found that successful agencies in smaller markets cannot specialize as much as most of the larger market agencies.
5. As an out-of-L.A. agent, what would you advise other out-of-L.A. parents & child actors to do to gain exposure?
Get a reputable agent in your market. It is too hard for an individual to get their foot in the door with most paying clients. Many agencies in smaller markets also rely on training the models and actors for income. This is not always bad but if you want your child also promoted properly, you have to be extra careful because they may make the majority of their income training the talent.
Do not worry too much at first about spending a ton of time finding national work for your child. Try to develop their skill level and resume with local jobs. If they want to be an actor research the best film and commercial acting instructors. In our market most theatre jobs are low or non paying so we spend our time with film, TV and commercials. Make sure your child’s headshot and resume are of industry standard quality. Then mail them with a brief cover letter to every ad agency, commercial photographer and casting director in your market. Also it is all about networking so at first do low budget or free projects just to get out there and create visibility and experience.
6. What is one important thing you feel a parent can do to benefit their child to become more successful in the industry? Or what not to do?
Encourage the child but never force them to be in the industry. Educate them on the good and bad points and be realistic. Usually there is not as much consistent work for kids until they get a little older.
7. At what point would you advise to parents choose to move to L.A.? Is it imperative?
For acting once the child is one of the most booked children in your State, which is a very small percentage. Also if they can be SAG eligible and have 2-3 years of really good experience on their resume. For modeling I would say they probably would also need to be a pretty good actor because there are a ton of cute kids already living in L.A. so they need to be able to do both well to catch the eye of the better children’s agencies.
Over the years I have had a number of really good actors and models jump too quickly to L.A., even though they were making some good income in our market and developing a nice track record with the local casting directors and ad agencies. Though I counseled them to first further develop their acting skills or modeling portfolio with tear sheets etc. they would listen to many so called industry people advising them they are L.A. ready now. Most of the time they go before they are really ready and end getting discouraged and they just quit the business… For many actors or models L.A. or New York should be the goal, but just make sure you give yourself the very best chance possible to succeed!
8. How did you get started in the entertainment industry?
I had a high school friend who managed an agency offer me a new faces recruiting agent position even though I had little experience in the Modeling and Acting world other than doing many trade show spokesperson jobs for various companies. After about a year of working for this agency I realized there were better ways to promote and recruit the talent, so I worked hard and opened up my own agency and have now been promoting talent for about 25 years.
9. What is the most important lesson you have learned working in entertainment outside of Hollywood?
I have had to be extremely diversified to grow and succeed. Sometimes there are a ton of movies all going on or commercials or print jobs and other times almost nothing. We are usually busy all the time because we have such a diverse section of talent that we can find opportunities daily. Also sometimes smaller market agents are just as smart and savvy as major market agents. They have to be just to survive.
10. Why are you passionate about your agency and/or being an agent?
I have a fantastic team at the Craze Agency that has worked together for years. It really gives me pleasure when I see one of our talents careers begin to flourish. I also love the fact that over the years we have assisted thousands of people in achieving some of their dreams in the entertainment industry.
What Agents Look for in Children Models and Actors
By Troy G. Lee
Troy Lee is the President of the Craze Talent and Modeling Agency. As of 10-2009 Craze was ranked by IMDB.COM as one of the top 40 talent Agencies in the world. For more advice go to http://www.crazeagency.com