HOW MUCH SHOULD I PAY TO DO TALENT SHOWCASES?
Some people think you should never pay to do a Talent Showcase to get an agent. Of course you can submit directly to agents by EMAIL or follow their submission guidelines on their individual websites. But being in the same room with agents and performing for them WHILE they are actively looking for new talent is a very good way to get solid representation.
There are people across this country who LOVE helping children, teen and young adult actors get started. Donna Baker Ehrlich does an amazing job discovering and training new talent at Z1 MODELS in South Carolina. I have singed many GREAT kids from her showcases. Also Mike Beatty in Texas does MODEL AND TALENT EXPO in Dallas and he gives actors and models incredible opportunities. Both of these amazing people come straight from the HEART.
I’m not against the concept of putting 40 Agents, Managers and Casting directors into 1 room and having kids audition for them - and parents paying for that opportunity. I am totally against putting kids who have no business being in that room yet because they are NOT READY and then charging the parents $5,000, $10,000 or 15,000 to do it.
This year at LA ACTING ACADEMY in Phoenix, Arizona we put on a showcase with 10 agents, managers and casting directors that flew in from LA as well as the top Phoenix agents. EVERY SINGLE CHILD GOT REPRESENTATION. The cost? Under $1,500 - plus all kids got a full week of on camera training, audition technique, scene study and improv training from casting directors, agents, managers, and acting teachers.
Plus... I don't think it's fair to charge the parents an extra $1,500 each just to attend the showcase with their kids. I mean WTF? Some of these showcase companies are OUTLANDISH with their prices and are only interested in making as much money off of parents as they can. That's why it is SO important to get educated before you spend a penny. Every parent thinking about helping their child get their feet wet in show business should FIRST read my e-book: "How To Be A Star Right Where You Are." You can download it from my website or Amazon.com
THIS SHOULD BE THE STANDARD PRICES (imho)
$300-$400 a month for acting classes for 1 year $3,600 - $4,800 (1 class per week minimum. 2 would be better.)
Pro Headshots $350
Plus Air & Hotel if it's outside of your state
That's what it costs to train and participate in good showcases. And the actors should be learning from pro teachers and working actors.
So many times the acting "training" that comes with showcases packages is no where near the level of real acting classes. I have seen actors come out of 3 months of showcase "classes" and have no idea how to slate even.
And most importantly, parents need to be taught that agents and managers only want to sign kids who speak clearly, have great energy, have personality, and real acting skills. Honestly, we see a lot of duds at the showcases and the showcase companies still take the parent's money. Trust me, Agents and Managers are looking for actors who are as good, if not better, then the actors they already have on their roster.We want kids who are ready to work for the most part. Some kids we will develop and take time with if we think they have REAL potential, but remember we are making NO money if your child isn't booking work... and Agencies and Manager's businesses are not running a charity. We work for profit.
On another note, ALL parents think their kids are stars, or are special or have some "special thing" about them that's going to make everybody want to work with them on TV and in films. But the truth is only a handful of kids have that "special quality" for TV and Film - even though all children are PRECIOUS.
Rather than jumping into a showcase situation before the child is even ready...why not do local plays, take a year or two of REAL acting classes at local professional acting schools, and then when your kid is really GOOD then you take them to a showcase.
No matter how cute you think your child is if they are not at a somewhat professional level that we think is going to make us money - 99% of the time we're not going to sign them.
Often showcase companies tell you "you don't have to be in LA." That's a partial truth. No, You don't have to be in LA to START an acting career because actors can get an agent in their own state, who can get them a handful of auditions. And actors can self submit on actorsaccess.com and backstage.com for short films, webseries etc in their own state to build their resume and get experience.
But as taping becomes more common for out of state actors know these important facts:
1) Commercial agents in LA will not want to sign kids that live out of state.
2) 95% of roles on TV are cast in person in LA by LA based actors.
3) Very few actors actually book from tape. WHY? Because casting directors almost always want to see the actors in person in the audition room so they can give them feedback, see if they take direction or redirection and those are usually the kids that book the jobs (with some exceptions.)
Sometimes when an out of state actor submits a tape and it is so undeniably good - casting directors will get on Skype with the actor and give redirection and if they pass that test, casting directors will ask you to pay for your own flight to come in to LA and have an in person audition. If an actor is seriously being considered for the role and casting wants to see them for 2nd, 3rd or 4th auditions, producer sessions or network testing - then the company hiring will often pay for you to come in and continue the audition process.
But as a rule, LA agents and managers always prefer to work with actors that live in Los Angeles who are available to go to auditions on a weekly basis if they set them up for you.
Agents and Managers in LA will sign talented kids with the understanding that as their career progresses and if they're serious about continuing it - they will need to relocate to Los Angeles.
For more useful and straight forward information read my ebooks and watch my You Tube Videos which can be found here:
Wendy Alane Wright
Acting Career Coach