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Click here to return to the Networker home. August 2008  

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Ask Megan

Hello, everyone. Sorry I missed you last month! I was on location a lot and everything was just a bit too crazy. Anyhow, here I am! Hope you all are well and enjoying your summer!

I will be doing the LA Casting Seminar on Aug 30th and would love to answer your questions in person, so come on and meet me. (It's free!)

It seems that this month is all about the kids…so here we go.

Hello Megan Foley,

I just wanted to ask for your advice. I have two kids I'm trying to get in the business. We live in the SF area and are doing lots of print work at this time. I would like to get them into soaps or on a Nickelodeon show.

What kind of advice would you have for me? NC

First, get them studying on camera with a good teacher. It would also help to get them an agent or manager who is well connected in the LA area. Though they do cast for these shows around the country, primarily they do most of the casting right here in the LA area.

Mostly, they need to be studying and ready when the time comes. Do some research on how to find a good agent and read on….

Hi Megan,

You have a wonderful way of addressing all issues. Thank you for your time and the information you share.

I have a nine year-old son and he has been in the business since the age of four. He started in print, moved quickly into commercials and film and he has a long list of acting classes under his belt. How do I know if we have the right agency - one that is willing to work or go the extra mile for my child? Frankly, I feel like have done everything wrong and lost several agencies.

Thanks, RJ

You asked a lot of tough questions!

Picking the right agent is crucial for the success of any actor. You have to pick someone who is connected and has some clout, but MOST IMPORTANTLY you have to pick someone who is hot for you. Way too often, actors pick agents because of the name of the agency and not because of the relationship they have with the agent. It is very important that you develop and nurture a good relationship and that it goes both ways. You have to be able to take and listen to their advice and still remember that you are running your own small business.

Meet with several agents. Don’t go with the first one unless you fall in love with them. Find someone you want to work with and with whom you can have an open relationship. You have to be able to go to them with your concerns and questions and still let them guide you. Handle it like you would a business: do what you do best and hire others to do what they do best.

Now this part is a bit stickier. I am curious about what you have done “wrong” to lose several agents. I am guessing that you either did not get your son to appointments on time or alienated producers or your agents in some way. Although nothing is irreparable, it is very important that parents guide and protect their kids but also let their “team” do their job. I worked with a child once who was probably the most talented kid I had ever met. I got him in a series right away. Within a year, his parents' behavior got them banned from the set and eventually the series was cancelled. Parents can make or break their kids and that is the sad truth.

Remember, your kids are your kids first and actors second. You “hire” agents and managers to guide your kids on their path. Hopefully, you have not "ruined” your son's career if this is what he really wants to do. Please feel free to call me at my office if you would like to discuss this further.  I am sure I can help you and your son handle the agent issue a bit better and get you both back into the swing of things.

Hello Megan,

I have two daughters. One is 12 and the other is nine. They both have been signed with a talent agent and a modeling agent for just over a year. It seems that the girls have not been out on enough auditions and the ones they have been on seem to be ones I found on LA Casting or Actors Access. I'm not even sure the agents are actually submitting them on the right projects. They might just be plugging in "submit all blondes." Sometimes I submit the girls on things that are wrong for them just to see if they were submitted already.  Sure enough, LA Casting always says that they were, even if the request is for an old man.

My question is, do I call them and tell them I'm not happy with the lack of auditions they are going on and that it seems they are being submitted to just anything? My fear is that they'll punish the girls and not submit them if I rock the boat. The agent says they are submitting, but I'm not sure. Do I search for another agent? How do I do that while I'm contracted? Or should I just confront the one I have?

 In the past, when I have asked my agents questions, I have been made to feel dumb and that I am bothering them. Plus, they are requiring that we "test shoot" three times a year. The cost is very high ($500.00 for two looks) and they want three looks at $700.00 per girl. That's a lot of money when it doesn't seem to get us any more auditions. I could use a little direction, please. L

Wow! Okay. You need to be able to talk to your agent. They should not be submitting the girls for things that are inappropriate and you should never feel like your girls are going to get “punished” if you ask a "dumb" question.

I think you should look for another agent.  Also, unless your girls are changing A LOT, pictures 3 times a year is a lot to ask. If your kids have not been going out on auditions for a reasonable length of time (usually 6 months), you should be able to leave the agency without any problem. Check your contract.

Finally, don’t submit the girls (or yourself, adults) for things that they/you are not right for just to check out if your agent is submitting or to get your photos in front of me. It makes me CRAZY to sort through unnecessary photos and it will backfire.  Eventually, casting directors will quit using the web as a tool if it is abused.

Well, that is about it for now. I do a class for kids every now and then and a big portion of it is for their parents, too. You have to learn what you are doing, what the kids are expected to do and what is required of you. It is a full-time job and parents need to be more than just transportation. Find a class or call us to see when we are doing one again.

Megan Foley has been casting commercially and theatrically for 20 years. She speaks around the country and teaches a one-day commercial intensive once a month with her husband and partner, Chuck Marra.

Send questions to: answerme@meganfoleycasting.com



Ask Megan

... I have two kids I'm trying to get in the business. We live in the SF area and are doing lots of print work at this time. I would like to get them into soaps or on a Nickelodeon show.

What kind of advice would you have for me?

Read On...

Patricia Tallman

Patricia Tallman will return next month.

 

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... I went to an audition and so did my best friend. We were up for the same part. I guess you know what happened. My friend got the part and I didn’t. I got so jealous and upset and we got into a fight about it.

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