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Your Child as a Model
Nowadays magazines, TV commercials and even highway billboards bristle with images of cute and charming children. If you believe that your child has a modeling potential too, here are some supermodel tips you must follow.
1. Get the picture.
Your first step should be a mail to a modeling agency. It includes a couple of color snapshots of your child (both head-only and full-body photos), a self-addressed, stamped envelope and a short letter stating your interest. Write your child's name (and yours), his age, clothing size, hair and eye color, and address on the back of each photo.
As for appearance, modeling agents prefer average-looking children. Another important criterion is that models must live near the agency's headquarters, because theyhave to travel to shoots and meetings as fast as possible.Thus if you don't live in a major metropolitan area, your modeling opportunities are quite limited.
A good agency will try to contact you within several weeks, sending either a polite rejection letter or an invitation for you and your child to make an appointment. If the agents are satisfied with you and your child you may be invited to sign an exclusive contract. But before you do . . .
2. Steer clear of scams.
Be cautious if you are asked for money up front – most respected agencies don't demand any payment until your child has already worked.
Also, some unreliable agencies may not ask for money from the very beginning; they'll say they need you to spend a pretty penny on videos or fancy photos of your child, which they claim they'll then send out to potential clients. Good agencies usually want no more than regularly updated home snapshots or, at most, a set of professionally shot composite cards that will cost you about $200.
To avoid pitfalls, check out the agency with your local Better Business Bureau. It would be also useful to follow your instincts.
3. Put on your walking shoes.
As soon as you sign a contract with an agency, the real work begins: you and your child will be sent on numerous meetings with representatives of firms who may be interested in hiring your child and want to look her over. Such meetings usually last for about 15 minutes, but if there's a line, a go-see can last much longer.
Traveling to and from the site will take you a certain amount of time, too. But if you want your child to get a job, you will have to go with him everywhere to show that you're committed. A number of meetings may vary from two a day to none for weeks, and it may take several attempts for your child to get hired.
4. Be realistic.
If you think that your child's modeling will make you a fortune, you will be disappointed. Young kids usually get no more than two or three jobs a month and work only a couple of hours at a time.
The standard fee for catalog work is $75 an hour. Posing for product packages may be a bit more profitable, possibly $125 per hour, but editorial work for magazines earns even less, ranging from $25 to $75 an hour. Sometimes the most prestigious places pay the least because they bring your child a good tear sheet for his portfolio.
Such clipping can become a step toward more-profitable work. TV gigs can bring higher fee, however you will have to go through a talent agency or an agency division that specializes in television. The process is quite similar: sending the snapshots, signing the contract, attending the go-sees in order to get a chance to star in a commercialor a TV show. Such work can yield from about $475 all the way up to $100,000. In most cases, commercials starring children under 4 are shot several times with several candidates: only the baby who's chosen for the role eventually makes the big bucks.
5. Don't take rejection to heart.
If you have decided to help your child launch a modeling career, prepare yourself for rejection and don't lose heart if you hear it.
You should remember that modeling agencies and their clients don't always try to find a perfect-looking child to sell a product or represent a story. It is more likely that an average-looking child will appear to be the one they are looking for. It's possible that your child may simply be the wrong shirt size, or she may even be too cute. All in all, there's someone who will always think she's ideal-- you!
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