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Introducing our NEW Advice Columnist Cristal Reister!
I am a mother of three children ages 6, 12 and 18 and have been married for 24 years. We live in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, a small beach/golf resort community and home of the PGA Tour that hosts the TPC at Sawgrass every spring. I have a small photography business “Cristal Clear Photography of Ponte Vedra” that specializes in portraits of children and families. Most of my time is spent juggling my photography business with the kids’ school work, many extracurricular activities and last but not least, managing my two girls’ acting and modeling careers. They are represented in Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and Miami, which means lots and lots of road trips!
Advice: What you need to know to get started in Modeling and Acting business.
It seems so glamorous when you start thinking about getting your child into the modeling and acting world. There are trendy clothes, hair and makeup artists and exotic locations to get your imagination running wild. The modeling industry is definitely a business that offers lots of opportunity and excitement. Among other perks, the pay from a good booking will help get those forever dwindling college funds growing again! Before you make the commitment – and it definitely is a commitment – let me share with you what I have learned by being the mother of two young girls in the business. These tips will help you decide if this is the right decision for you and your family.
For starters, take a good look at your child’s behavior in front of the camera. Grab your camera and start snapping. Do they enjoy having their picture taken or do they shy away? This business is not just about looks. They must be comfortable with complete strangers taking their photos and show some personality. When they audition or book a job, they must be able to take direction and have the patience to wait for extended periods of time. Really examine their behavior to make sure they will fit the criteria. If they pass the camera personality test, you must consider their personality type. Can they take constructive criticism? Are they sensitive? This business can be brutal at times and if self-esteem is an issue for your child then maybe this is not for your child.
Secondly, really think about the time you can devote to this business. At times you may get called the night before to be at an audition or booking the next morning! You must, as a parent, have a very flexible schedule and a great support system. As a general rule, siblings are not allowed at castings or bookings so childcare has to be a consideration if you have other young children. Your child will most likely have to miss school or leave early for auditions from time to time. Talk to your school principal about their policies regarding absences and make up work.
Another thing to consider is that there are some expenses related to pursuing this new endeavor. Although pretty minimal compared to other extracurricular activities, there will be the cost of travel, photos, comp cards and headshots. Depending on your location you may need to drive to another nearby city with more opportunities for your child so keep that in mind when calculating fuel costs. Don’t forget about vehicle maintenance and the mileage on your vehicle. Also you need photos to submit to agencies. It is not necessary in the beginning to spend a lot of money on professional photos but you will have to commit to updating them every six months to a year with young children as they change so quickly. You must also have a supply of comp cards and/or headshots for your agency to submit you to clients.
So, now you know what to expect before making the decision to move forward. If the above did not scare you off and you are ready to go for it! It’s time to get some good photos made of your child and find a great agent! I will give some tips on types of photos to take as well as finding a reputable agent next time.