Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How To Get Your Kids Into Modeling and Commercials (This post has 223,615 views)

Wendy Alane Wright is a Hollywood talent manager and the president of WAW Entertainment. Her clients have appeared on television networks such as ABC, NBC, TNT, CBS, Comedy Central, BIO, Lifetime, and more. They have booked TV shows including “Modern Family,” “Blackish,” “Extant,” “The Colony,” “Animal Kingdom,” “My Haunted House,” "Nightshift," "Walk The Prank," and “Henry Danger,” as well as hundreds of commercials for major spots including Shutterfly, Mercedes, Visa, Taco Bell, Honda, Legos, Hot Wheels, and many more. Prior to being a manager and a talent agent at Burn Down Entertainment, Wright assisted many high profile managers, agents, and publicists. For 20 years she was a recording artist, actor, and music producer, and is now the author of five books called, “Secrets of a Hollywood Talent Manager.” Wright teaches the business of acting all over the country and is on the faculty of the New York Studio for Stage and Screen in North Carolina For years she has appeared in numerous magazines, and on radio shows and talk shows including “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Wendy is also a Recording Artist, Actress, Author and Music Producer all  giving her a 360-degree perspective of the industry.


At the end of this article you will have an opportunity to submit your child to my management company, if they fit the description below.

I learned years ago how to get kids into commercials and modeling with my own 4 year old. She was incredibly photogenic and had stunning eyes. She belonged in commercials and magazines, I felt and everyone agreed! I started like most moms do, in photo contests and then in beauty pageants. My kiddo loved dressing up in beautiful pink dresses that twirl and have 'sparkles.' (Moms you know what I mean) I chose a natural pageant called "Pretty Little Princess"which doesn't allow makeup and gives trophies to every participant. I thought that was a good way to get started, no competition, just fun. Then she did numerous pageants with a great organization called GOLD COAST PAGEANTS in California. This was a more competitive contest and she had her hair and makeup done for each one. She loved that! We had great experiences with both of these companies.

When she was 6, I decided to get her a a Commercial Agent. I shot some amazing pictures with my own camera standing in front of a beige wall behind our favorite restaurant. She was wearing HER pink polkadot dress (of course) and I shot her from the shoulders up as you can see, close enough on her face so they could see her eyes. I submitted the shot to a handful of reputable modeling/commercial agents. (being a Talent Agent before, I knew who they were) They called to meet us and quickly we signed with a great agency Howard Talent West and then later KMR. I got her a Work Permit, a Coogan bank account and soon my daughter was working professionally doing a Visa Commercial, Just For Pets print ad, Taco Bell print ad and a couple episodes of Toddler and Tiaras on TV. I also took her to on-camera commercial acting classes for kids with Judy Elkins, 3-2-1 Talent and Kids Koaching classes with Tracy Martin. Now I am a Talent Manager and I get lots of kids started in the business.

Warning: Modeling and Commercials are not for everyone. If modeling is a hobby for your child, keep it that way and have fun. Kids gain confidence and poise and if your expectations aren't too high... they have a lot of fun. Also, there is a lot of structure to pageants. You know when, and where they are, and you are in control.

Here is my daughter in a Print Campaign she did for Montage Hotels.

Becoming a professional model who works in commercials takes a lot of work. You never know when the auditions are, and you drive all over town for them. The work is very unpredictable and sometimes last minute. But if you don't mind that, and if you have a flexible schedule that allows you to take your child to auditions 2-4 times a week, or have someone reliable who can take them - then I can tell you how to get your child started in Modeling and Commercials.                               


Start with 2 simple pictures. Send 2 pictures of your child to 5-10 local modeling/commercial kids agencies. They will contact you if they are interested in meeting with you. Or, if you are assertive, you could follow up and ask for an appointment. That's what I do. There are lots of reputable agencies. For LA go online and purchase the $12 book "The Right Agent" by Keith Wolfe. For outside of LA Google Modeling Agenices, or Talent Agencies. - Do NOT pay any up front fees to any agency, ever.  To find legit agencies in other parts of the country and world, the website NEW FACES has a great agency list.  Or, you Google and call every agency in 4 or 5 big cities nearest you.


NO. You do not need expensive picture to initially meet with  agents. In fact, two regular snapshot pictures of your child will do for the submission process only; one close up and one full length. Make sure your child looks attractive, clean,  happy and has energy!! in both pictures. Shoot the pictures against a blank wall. Put your child in a bright primary color. No logos, no hats, no sunglasses. Just up close of their face, eyes, expressions. Agents wants to see their look and get a feel for their personality.

According to Kids In Commercials: "If your kids are under age 3 they grow and change very quickly so DO NOT have a lot of expensive pictures made for modeling or casting purposes. And DO NOT let a so-called agency tell you that you must have them. If your child is age 3 or older you can consider having better photos taken to show to agents, casting directors, etc. - especially if you intend to work in the more lucrative markets such as New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Miami Beach, Orlando, etc.

Typically agents at kids modeling agencies as well as Casting Directors want to see kids looking like kids. DO NOT put any makeup on them, DO NOT dress your child in frilly pageant style dresses, DO NOT put cutesie bows in their hair, etc." (kidsincommercials.com)

This is my client Hayden. That big smile is because SHE is on the box! 

Many modeling agencies have open calls - where people just walk in and they see everyone. For LA "The Right Agent" will tell you when those take place.  RPM Talent holds open calls for print only -ages 2 to 25 - on Thursdays between 2-4pm at 2600 W. Olive, 5th floor in Burbank, CA 91505. Call to confirm this is still their Open Call day: (818) 333-5150

"THE RIGHT AGENT" is an amazing resource that will also tell you which agents represent kids and who is currently looking for new clients. All the agencies in this book are reputable.

Once you sign with an Agent, YES they will need professional pictures. Agents often try to use any professional pictures you already have, but if you do not have pro pics, they will give you a list of photographers you can shoot some with. This is a standard requirement. Pictures are very important and are the only things Casting directors see when deciding whether or not your child should be called in to audition. Headshot sessions for kids typically run $200 and yes, that is standard.  I often work with three great kid photographers in LA Juls Meghil and John Cole. The images below were shot for $175 by John Cole, Here is his website: JCB IMAGES. I also LOVE, love, love Flygirl Photography! http://www.flygirlphoto.com/ Tell them all Wendy sent you:)

For markets outside of LA - you need to take pictures with a headshot photographer, not a wedding photographer. Google local photographers in your area. Show them these images above and let them know this is what you need. If you are coming toLA with your child for 3-4 months during Episodic season (Sept-Nov) and 3-4 months during pilot season which is Jan-April, just get your headshots done in LA.

When shooting your headshots you need 3 - 6 different looks usually:
1. Happy with great big energy, teeth and smiling eyes -This is a called a Commercial Shot
2. A little more serious- this is called a Theatrical Shot

3. Trendy - Hip, cool, today's fashions  
4. Sporty (not pictured)
 (f.y.i. NEVER wear any logos on your clothes i.e Nike, justice etc.)



A good headshot is picture that "pops" to an Agent or Casting Directors. Something about it stands out from all the others they see. No one knows the formula for creating a picture that "Pops." it either does or doesn't. Therefore parents understand agents and managers may have you shoot again and again until your child has pictures that "pop" and get them called in on auditions. I was lucky, the first shot I sent them "popped" and the agent used my photo as her official headshot which she booked every job off of for the 1st year. Her next agent KSR, had her shoot again with Linda Vanoff.

A legit agency does not offer classes, headshot sessions, or EVER take any money upfront. They simply submit your child to casting directors and only get paid if your child books and works the job. Typically they take a 10% - 15% commission on what your child earns. Agents and managers do not get paid unless the client works. Acceptable expenses are headshots, acting classes, showcases, workshops, and the online casting sites listed next.

Once your new Agent looks at the proofs from your photo sessions, they will select 3-6 images they LA CASTING, ACTORS ACCESS and CASTING FRONTIER, three of the online casting services all kid's agents and managers in LA use. You will have to join all 3 sites, paying annual usage fees. This is completely standard and legit. Agents use these online systems tools daily to submit your child's headshot to casting agents. The days of regular mailed in submissions are over.  Expect to pay a 1 year membership fee of $36 for Casting Frontier, $68 a year for Actors Access and $154 for La Casting. These are mandatory.
feel best represent your child and will appeal to Casting Directors. The selected pictures will be uploaded onto

FOR MODELS In addition to creating 8x10 headshots of the 1 picture your agent picks, you will also be required to purchase a Comp or ZED Card which has 4-5 pictures on 1 card that your child's agent will submit to casting directors.


Next, ANY child under 18 that work in show business needs a work permit from the State of California Work Permit - Dept of Industrial Relations  When you complete it, if you live in LA mail it to 6150 Van Nuys Blvd. Room 206, Van Nuys, CA 91401 (818) 901-5315. (In my e-book "How To Break Into Show Business; Secrets Of A Hollywood Talent Manager" there is a list for every state.)


Every child under 18 is required by California Law to have a COOGAN BANK ACCOUNT. No one will hire a child unless they have this. ALL employers of children are required by law to directly deposit 15% of the child's earnings from a job they work into their blocked Coogan trust account. It is a bank account that freezes the money until the child is 18. My daughters is with Bank of America.

Once you have signed with an agent, have all the legal paperwork in place, your agent will start sending your child out on auditions. Sometimes your child's audition will simply be to throw balls in the air, jump around and look happy. Other times the casting director will give them lines to say, repeat, read outloud, or may ask them questions so they can see your child's personality.

Jackie Reid says...

Jackie Reid owns and operates L’il Angels Unlimited, a talent management company, which specializes in young actors for placements in film, television, theater, commercials, voiceover, and print media. She works extensively with agents in New York and L.A. She understands what it takes to support young actors because she is also a stage mom to two children, one of whom currently plays Sinjin on Nickeldeon’s hit series "Victorious."

Jackie says there are 3 Easy Ways to Prepare Your Child For An Audition:

1. "Talk to your child in advance about the audition product, especially if it is a commercial. If your child has an audition for a mayonnaise brand, then you can be sure the casting director will ask your child if they like mayonnaise. Ask them this question BEFORE going on the audition. It will be a waste of everyone’s time to have your child scrunch up their face in disgust and say, "NO." Talk to your child about what foods they eat with mayonnaise. The child who books this job will be the one who walks in the room and says “I LOVE MAYONNAISE!!!! I eat it on sandwiches and French fries and veggies and I even tried eating on a cookie once!! Every client is looking for the person with enthusiasm for their product.

2. Connect with the casting director. Usually upon walking into the room, the casting director will ask your child a question or two to see their personality. Practice questions in the car on the ride to the audition. How was school today? “School was so fun! I made a volcano in science class, and I played volleyball in gym, and I had a math test. But I don’t think I did too well. I got a 95 on my spelling test though!” is a lot better answer than “OK.” Your child is showing their personality and that they are not shy or introverted.

3. Remind your child to have fun! Smiling, happy relaxed kids are the kids who work. When they come out of the room, hug them. Tell them did a great job and go have some ice cream. Every person in this business hears more no’s than yes’s. Keep the whole experience fun, and don’t dwell on what they could or should have done and said. Auditioning should be a positive experience, and it’s your job as parents to keep it positive and fun."

I agree 100% with Jackie. Keep it fun. Don't yell at your child or show that you are disappointed if they mess up or hide from the casting director. They are just beginners and this kind of work is not for everyone. Work with them, but if they don't want to make the effort, find another activity they will make effort for like sports, or art. If this is something YOU want for you, go ahead and join a theater group in your town and make your splash. Get your own creativity out and let your children off the hook. I would also add, get your child into an on-camera audition class just so they become familiar with the process, the camera, and are less intimidated in the audition room. Practice is always helpful. Weist Barron Hill offers great on-camera class for little kids, children and teens.

Let's say Fisher Price needs one child for their new commercial. Casting Directors will list the announcement and describe the type of child they are looking for. About 1,000 pictures of kids will come into the casting director's office. Out of that, about 100 kids will be called brought in to audition. 5-20 of those kids will receive a callback and audition again for producers, advertising agencies. After all of that only 1 child may be hired. So you can see there is a lot of "rejection." They way to handle that with your child is NOT to make a big deal about it. Go in to the audition, have fun, act, play and go home. Let it go. If you get it, you get it. If you don't, you don't. It's really a big deal if you  even get an audition because they are very hard to get. So every audition is an opportunity for your child to get better at auditioning, become more comfortable and familiar with the process and for casting directors to meet and get to know your child's skill level.

You Never Know Where An Audition Will Lead

Here is an interesting story from Talent Manager Jackie Reid. "My son was given a last minute audition for a television show that had not yet aired. The audition was for one line in one episode. Mikey had a guitar lesson scheduled at the same time, and I thought about passing on the audition. It was only one line in one episode on an un-aired show that I knew nothing about. If I cancelled his music lesson, I still had to pay for the lesson. Ninety-nine percent of me wanted to cancel, but the one percent of me that said, “Don’t pass up any opportunity” won out.

Mikey went on the audition and booked the role. The role was for a character named Sinjin and the show was Nickelodeon's "Victorious." As Sinjin, Mikey appears in almost EVERY EPISODE of the show’s run, and "Victorious" became a multiple Emmy-nominated show and one of the most popular children’s shows to air on television.

The point is you never know! If I had passed on this, Mikey would have missed out on being on this amazing show, the great relationships he made with the cast and crew, and the invaluable lessons he learned on comedy, stunts, acting, and life, along with so many other things.

If your agent or manager gives you an audition, go on it! It doesn’t matter if you think you are too tall or too blonde or too fat or too good to do one line. You never know where any opportunity will take you. My son is living proof of that.

If your agent/manager has submitted you, and the casting director gives you a time to be seen, don’t waste the opportunity! Cancel that music lesson, take an aspirin to get rid of that headache, just do whatever it takes to get yourself in front of that casting director. Because you never know! - Jackie Reid



Here are 12 legitimate California Talent agencies that represent kids for Commercials and Print:

Howard Talent West
Clear Talent Group (CTG)
Coast To Coast Talent
Jaime Ferrar Agency (JFALA)
Kazarian Spencer Measures (KSM)
First Class Talent
Media Arts Group
Osbrink Talent Agency
LB Talent Agency
Paloma Model & Talent
Zuri Model & Talent
Envy Model & Talent

There are Major Markets for modeling; if you live in or near New York, California, Illinois, Texas, Georgia or Florida it makes it easier to go on castings as there are more child modeling agencies in these states and much more work - especially in major markets such as New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, Miami, Miami Beach and Orlando.

THERE ARE AFFORDABLE SHOWCASES your child can attend. Do not pay $5,000, $10,000 or $14,000 to do showcases!! If ANYONE suggests that RUN!! That is RIDICULOUS. In LA We have them all year long for $1,000 - $3,000. Find those. I do one myself several times a year. In my recent Audition Training and Agent Showcase we had 18 kids in the showcase and 9 were signed by major agencies. The kids received great training from a top casting director who has cast many projects for Disney including; DOG WITH A BLOG, AUSTIN & ALLEY AND HANNAH MONTANA.

WATCH THIS VIDEO: Are Talent Showcases a Scam?

So there you have it! Information you need to get started. These steps above are all pretty easy. Don't be overwhelmed. You just do them one at a time. This will certainly get your child started on the path to a professional career in modeling. If you want more information, and there is much more information, you can read my books "SECRETS OF A HOLLYWOOD TALENT MANAGER" and "HOW TO BE A STAR RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE" they will be of great help to you. 

  • "Breaking Your Kids Into Show Business; Secrets Of A Hollywood Talent Manager" 120 page e-book is a must-read for every single parent who is seriously considering putting their children into this business. Parents want to PROTECT their child, AVOID being scammed, keep from wasting money and have a step by step guide should read this book. It will help keep your child safe and help you get your child get on TV, in commercials and films.  
  • Read what other parents are saying about the book below. - Wendy Alane Wright

  •  $21 YOU CAN BUY the e-book HERE




The BEST way is to get professional guidance from me, an industry pro with 25+ years experience is to read my newest e-book, "How To Be A Star...Right Where You Are." Buy it for $21 HERE.


It was written for parents just like you with talented kids who live outside the LA Market and have more limited opportunities. This book will shed tons of light on real things you can do for your child that you wouldn't even think of, or know how to do. It's a MUST-READ. A lot of parents "SAY" they want to get their kids into the business, but they are not serious about it.  They spend years thinking about it and procrastinating because they don't know what to do, or how to do it. They are NOT your competition. When you read this book you WILL know what to do and how to get your child ahead.

This e-book will teach you:
  • How to find your kids professional acting jobs near you.
  • How to audition for big TV shows or Feature Films (even when you don't live in LA)
  • How to meet casting directors, writers, producers or film makers right where you are.
  • How to get your kids cast in short films, commercials, student films and webisodes (from where you are)
  • How to find a good kids agent right where you are.
  • How to find the right acting classes for kids to impress casting directors.
  • How to get a great LA Style Headshot right where you are.
  • How to create a professional resume. 
  • How to Self Tape for mainstream TV and Film roles.
  • How to submit your child to legit paying TV, film and theater jobs ONLINE!
  • How to create a great demo reel 
  • If you are not relocating to a big city e-book "How To Be A Star...Right Where You Are." will teach you how to find local modeling and commercial agencies near you, and so many more insider tips from The Hollywood Talent Manager. 
  • Plus this book will give you access to me through a special code for discounted Skype conferences and email questions!
  •  $21 YOU CAN BUY the e-book HERE NOW:
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    What parents say about Wendy's e-books:  

    "Hi Wendy, I just wanted to thank you for your e-books.  I have such a better understanding of what is to come and what is expected of both my child and myself. Avery has gone through 2 of the 3 stages at landing a talent agent. That is because of your expert advice!! We go next week for a face to face meet! We are super stoked and we truly appreciate you and your passion for helping pass along advice to the "newbies"!!! Thanks again Tara And Avery:)

    Wendy I wanted to thank you for what you are doing for actors (and their parents) by sharing so much wisdom in your e-book. As a mom, I find this new phase of Ali's acting career daunting. I wasn't sure quite how to proceed, but recently as I've found you, I am beginning to feeling more confident to help Ali in her journey. I feel like this is a fantastic starting point, because my biggest fear is basically the unknown, and not wanting our money to be drained quickly. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for being willing to guide people through this process. - Lisa and Ali Abler

    I would like to thank you again Wendy Alane Wright for your e-book. It's helping me and I'm sure others get to know the world of the entertainment business. My son Eli has booked 3 modeling campaigns with Baby Kuu, 15 Williams Street NYC advertisement, the cover of Time Out Magazine Kids, and he loves it. I'm glad that I came across you Wendy, because you speak very clearly to people like me who have tons of questions. You answered questions I didn't know I had until you spoke about it. - Sheba and Eli Castro

    "Wendy thank you for all these resources you have provided for us (YouTube videos, Blog and the e-Book). You are the manifestation of my 'Law of Attraction' because I stumbled upon your videos as I was searching, mostly unsuccessfully, for a clear and reliable answer to literally all those questions you answer on your You Tube videos and in your e-book.  I have been hooked since. THANK YOU A MILLION!" - Deandra, mom.

    Wendy I am following your direction 100%. It helps more than anything I've ever come across and I don't think I'll ever be able to show my full gratitude. I just landed a leading role in a short film for team that will be participating in a large film festival in my area! I have such high hopes for my future all because of you! You're the best Wendy - Sage Balcom Age 16


I invite you to submit your children to me at WAWentertainment@yahoo.com. I am looking for energetic, happy, well behaved, positive, outgoing children who listen and can take direction. (no moody, shy, or difficult kids who feel its their way for the highway!) Parents it is MANDATORY that you can commit to getting your child(ren) on auditions 3-5 times per week and working your entire life schedules around this business, because auditions come up fast, sometimes with an hour notice. And Parents you must not approach me with a know it all attitude, or feel your kids is better than anyone else. No matter how cute your kid is, it is the same chance for all kids and only the ones with the right look, at the right time, with good behavior and easy going parents will get the job. I sign kids that live in LA or will be in LA for 3-4 months at a time. They must be  beautiful, or very funny, or very animated or very unique looking. I am not looking for regular kids. I am looking for extra ordinary kids. A plus is kids in grade school in the gifted or gate program or honors program. Send several photos, headshots if you have them or snap a few yourself. They do not have to be professional for me to take a look at them. Make sure your kids are clean, and looking at the camera. Submit your pics along with what city and state you live in, your email, include their ages, (must be over 5), AND MOST IMPORTANTLY RECORD A VIDEO and EMAIL IT TO ME of your child talking a little about their hobbies, their favorite food, things they love, maybe even why they want to be an actor, etc. I want to see their personality and how they speak. NO PHONE CALLS. If I am interested in meeting with you and your child I will contact you.


I am an expert at getting kids into this business. My WAW Clients have auditioned/and or booked these COMMERCIALS among many others; 
Legos, Honda, Shutterfly, Disney, My Little Pony, Slip N Slide, Megabloks, X-Box, Nintendo, Pediasure, Burger King, Toyota, Nike, Mattel, Sea World, Little Caesars Pizza, Mega Toys, Old Navy, LG Smart, McDonalds, Chevron, Play Station, Mathnaisum, Taco Bell, Bose, Uniqlo, Panasonic, Uno, Red Robin, Godaddy.Com, Adidas, Visa, Natural Sunscreen, Home Depot, Intel, DNB Bank, Men's Speed Stick, Payless Shoes, Microsoft, Charter, Puma, Sears, Coca-Cola, Six Flags, Disney, CISCO, Sprint, Devry, Interval, Honda, Peachtree Financial, Dodge Dart, Boeing, Olive Garden, Samsung C22, Kia, Humulin, Ford, Tide, Buick, New Castle Beer, Spin Master, Burlington Coat Factory, Walmart, Aeropostale, Osmo,Google Nexus, Verizon, State Farm, and more…as well as short films, student films, TV shows music videos, webisodes and feature films.

Your kids can too. You just need to know what to do!




1. Do My Kids Have What It Takes To Succeed in Show Business?

2. Do My Kids Have Potential? Please...The Truth!

3. Getting Your Child Started In Show Business:

4. Does John Robert Powers and Barbizon "work?'

5. Should My Child Do Talent Showcases?

As always I am here to give actors Valuable information to help build a strong acting career. Stay close for information and resources you can TRUST.

Subscribe to my You Tube Channel for a FREE ebook "Top 10 Secrets Of A Hollywood Talent Manager" and watch over 250 helpful videos. You can also sign up for my Mailing List/Newsletter for important Industry Guidance and special discounts on actor related products!

Actors go out into your life and be focused, believe in yourself and KNOW that anything is possible.

See You On The Red Carpet,

Wendy Alane Wright
Talent Manager, WAW Entertainment
Acting Career Coach
Secrets Of A Hollywood Talent Manager
IG: Wendyalane1  

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