Karen Lincoln - Thursday, April 11, 2013
a pose there’s nothing to it.” Well that’s easy for Madonna to say,
she’s never been a kid’s talent agent. Being the top kid’s agent in the
Denver region for as long as I have I’ve seen my fair share of rewards
and penance. Being a mother myself and a fierce advocate for children in
general, I can’t help welcoming every new kid talent who signs with our
agency with the same sense of compassion as if they were a new niece or
nephew in my own family. I feel very maternal towards them, and when I
help them book a major gig in film, advertising, the works, to me there
is no prouder moment….
moments make up about 25% of my day. The other 75% are the day-to-day
nitty and gritty of running the business from recruiting fresh faces, to
interacting with parents who need nap time and pre-tweens demanding
lattes and spray tans.
often thought about installing a “glass case of emotion” or
confessional chamber in the agency offices to expel the occasional
frustrations…gracefully. But I don’t have such a chamber. Instead in the
office there is a fashion runway, where I’ll pace up and down, glasses
perfectly positioned on my nose, hair coiffed just right, and I have my
confession on a dance floor so to speak. I do this from time to time,
just as I am doing now thinking of what to write for this piece, and now
I share them with all of you - these are my confessions:
Confession number #1: Dealing with the “Dina Lohan’s” of the business.
confess that the “DINA’S” make me crazy!! These are the parents, like
Lindsay Lohan’s own mother, who believe the only green is money, and see
their child as a potential new personal revenue stream. And we’ve all
seen on TMZ how that turned out for Lindsay, and in this case, the
These are the parents
with a prospective child talent, who drop by and don’t have an
appointment. They all want face time with me, or my employees, and think
they are entitled to it. This is an appointment based business and when
a parent does this, its showing no consideration for the people that do
have appointments and the employees time who may be working on time
sensitive castings. It also tells me that the probability of this parent
not following the business protocol with the client on a booking is
high. SO I think to myself, this one really needs our coaching and
gracefully, introduce them to my assistant who then asks DINA for her
information so she can CALL them and share with them how we start
parents and kids in the business with our agency.
think they are in LA when they are not. They think this will dominate
their lives but it won’t. Dina’s take this all too seriously and really
takes the fun out of it. Dina’s doesn’t listen when we are telling them
the nuts and bolts of the business and then later she asks the same
questions about the audition process when we have taken painful measures
to educate her.
Of course that means that
I LOVE the parent that takes the time to call and get the information
on the phone, asks for clarification on the business, the coaching
process, the carding process, makes and keeps their appointment on timeJ
This shows me that I can rely on them and the bottom line in this
business is accountability and preparedness for the client which
reflects on the agency.
Confession #2: Living With My Unwanted Entourage
confess that Parents and kids who think I am, “Arie Goldman”, and want
to be part of my “Entourage”, really are part of the family. This is
all appropriate when in the office or around agency functions, on set or
at work but when I am out and about in the normal course of my day as a
mom, friend, partner, I don’t want to be caught off guard talking about
business, especially without hair and make up!
too many neighborhood barbeques have I had the experience of being put
on the spot to talk about a potential talent signing with the agency.
Its like forget about the potato salad, I end up having to watch all the
neighborhood kids on the street perform their song and dance and
awkward tricks for me at the bequest of their parents. Hence, I travel
with big Glasses, hair tied back in ponytail and baseball cap for
incognito status. I am also careful that talent doesn’t have my cell
phone number in case my precious family time is interrupted with a
question that could be directed to the office. I do have a life filled
with basketball games, school functions, weddings, travel, working out,
Confession #3: Bracing For The Toddlers, Tiaras, and (all too frequent) Tantrums
confess that I hold my breath when we sign the toddlers, tiaras, and
all too frequent tantrums with the agency. We have all seen the kids who
rule their parents. The parents have basically lost all their
authority for whatever reason and that little toddler has mastered the
word ‘NO”! This means it’s only a matter of time before something is
executed in a manner less than professional. Like the time our
gorgeous, yet utterly pretentious 8 year old cover boy booked 4 days on a
shoot with an international brand and two days into his four day
scheduled shoot repeatedly asked the art director “when he was going to
be done” in perfect tantrum style. The art director couldn’t believe
this kids attitude and turned and sternly pointed his finger and told
him, “You will be done when I tell you you’re done!” Needless to say,
it was Sunday night and I got the call from the client saying they were
not going to keep the booking with Tantrum Boy and that he was released
and NOT going to be paid for the last two days of bookings!! Aside from
putting egg on the agency’s face, it was really an awkward moment with
the parents because the dad was a high profile producer himself. Not to
mention the revenue that was given up from the tantrum.
Confession #4: I confess that I manage Rejection Depression.
course this is always short term, at least until the next project
submit. However, in order to maintain my sanity and keep a clear mind
and positive outlook about what I am doing, I am up at 5:00 am, every
morning for my hour spin, cross fit or run so that I can keep my
serotonin levels up and ready for the day. Coffee is my constant form
or hydration and a bit of chocolate here and there helps me keep my
attitude up during the day. My point here is that most parents just have
one child that they are disappointed when they don’t land a role. As
an agent, you might have 20-30 talents that go audition and don’t
book!! Now that’s rejection.
Confession #5: Dealing with the client that is a “Sue Sylvester” scares me!!
it or not there are those clients that have no business working with
children or even adults for that matter. Unfortunately we are usually
full on into a project before we have discovered that they are a Sue
Sylvester! They complain about everything from beginning to end, have
no common courtesy about working with you, your parents or your talent
and the fact that everyone has given up their time and energy to deal
with their bad attitudes and make themselves available is a painful
process. At that point you almost want to push them into a locker or
throw a slushy in their face.
from the fact that these Sue Sylvester’s don’t understand the process
of casting and booking talent and then try to cover that fact by being
mean, condescending and disrespectful, when they are working on set.
This is why no matter how big the job we try to build relationships with
our clients and counterparts in production. We want to know who these
people are that are going to be working with our kids for a full day of
shooting, and we want to make sure we’re not sending our precious talent
into harms way. When we do this right, our talent, the clients, and
ourselves are singing with glee!
#6: I confess that I don’t even want to work with the parent who
doesn’t see the value is developing their child’s talent.
face it, the kids can have the personality plus to do this sort of
thing but they really do need the skills developed in order to book and
excel in this business. I always think it’s really sad when the parents
of a really talented kid don’t want to make the investment in
developing their kid’s talent!! Usually the kid’s behaviors will
reflect how the parent handles the process. We would never throw our
kids in the pool without giving them swim lessons so why would we throw
them in front of the camera with out some camera coaching. As an agent,
I want the kid as developed as possible because the kid might be drop
dead gorgeous but if they can’t memorize a script or handle a cold
camera read the kid isn’t going to book and the agency isn’t going to
make their commission from a potential booking. This is a business
first and everything else second.
so much better having dished my confessions here today. I have just
left them all on the fashion ramp here at the agency and feel like a
weight has been lifted. But you know, in reviewing all these
confessions here with you, I have realized that these confessions are
what make me the unique, classy and unabashedly successful at what I
do. So if you still what to get your fabulously talented kiddo into the
business and you think you have a, “Lucky Star”, just remember that the
main booking age group for kids is ages 4-12. So snap, snap
girlfriend, Here’s your quick how to:
1- Google Children’s agencies where you live.
2- Make sure they are long established.
3- Be sure they have Brick and Mortar
4- Be sure they have a development program. With coaches who specialize in working with children.
5- Submit pictures first, then follow up with a phone call to have your questions answered.
6- Make an appointment, be on time, dress as up-scale as possible for both you and your kids.
7- Use your manners and be sure your kids use their manners while showing their pearly whites as often as possible.
you have it. Confessions with a quick how to. This should keep you
off your potential agent’s own confessions list. Good luck. This
covergirl has got to get on with the day!
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