Frequently Asked Questions about Australian Acting Agencies
Is ASPA-FTV an acting agency?
No. ASPA-FTV is an acting school, which specialises in the training and development of aspiring young actors aged 8-17 years of age.
How do I get an acting agent for my child?
Finding a reputable acting agent can take time and it’s important to do a lot of research before you decide on a particular agent.
ASPA-FTV has its own agency affiliate in QLD and we have our own internal process of referring our students to this agency. If you wish for your child to be considered for agency referral with ASPA-FTV please let your child’s teacher know. Generally, all ASPA-FTV students need to receive a Very High Achievement on their term grades, and be personally recommended by their class teacher and Course Director. Please note that a referral will not guarantee that the agent will choose to represent your child.
If you want to find an agent yourself this is completely up to you, but again we would encourage you to do your own independent research before signing any contracts. Be very cautious of agents that make big promises, ask you to pay a joining fee or charge inflated prices for courses and photos. Also, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is! There aren’t a lot of paid acting opportunities in Australia and you should have realistic expectations about how much work your child will receive. Talk to a prospective agent about this. For example, it’s not unlikely that your child will only have 2-3 auditions a year!
You can find a list of QLD agents on the MEAA website here:
https://www.meaa.org/resource-package/equ-info-qld-agents/. “The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) (The Alliance) is the Australian trade union and professional organisation which covers the media, entertainment, sports and arts industries.”
I know what agencies I want to contact, what do I do now?
Before you contact an agent you will need to do two things. Firstly, you will need to write a CV / Resume for your child. Secondly, you will need to provide an agent with some headshots of your child.
1. The CV / Resume: The purpose of a CV for a child is to highlight any training or experience they’ve had. It is a document that you will need if you plan to enter the Industry. A couple of handy hints:
- The CV should be no longer than 1x A4 page long
- Your child’s full name should be in 28pt – 42pt writing at the top of the page
- Do not include any personal information (i.e. home address) on the CV, only that of the agency (if you have one).
- The format of the CV should be neat, simple and in 10pt – 12pt writing
A good example of a CV can be foundhere: http://www.showcast.com.au/showcast/View/ViewActorProfile?actorId=62517&d=GhBJXsNAXnkpfdxW06Xv4g
Sarah Davis is a teacher with us at ASPA-FTV.
We would suggest that your CV be separated into ‘Experience’ and ‘Training’. If you have not had any relevant experience, list all of the training you've completed (i.e. Courses/Holiday Workshops with ASPA-FTV) and any awards!
2. The Headshot: Once you have secured an agent, they may suggest that you have professional photos taken. However, because children are still (physically) changing, it is quite acceptable to take your own photos especially if you are very new to the industry. The headshot must always look like the actor, and with changing children and teenagers this can sometimes be an expensive venture with professional photography. However, if you wish to have a professional photo done then that is okay too. If you choose to do this make sure you use a photographer who specialises in Actor’s Headshots. However, if you take them yourself here are some tips:
- Take them in colour
- Talent should wear plain clothes (no busy patterns)
- The photo should be of your child’s head to just below their shoulders,
and in front of a plain background.
Some examples of really good headshots can be found here: http://www.marnyarothe.com/headshotsforwomen/wqbyibe1djx1flqiqbyj4wddigz1dq
How do I ask an agent to represent my child?
The first thing we would suggest is to send a prospective agent an introductory email outlining your interest in their agency and requesting an interview. You should include your child’s resume and headshot as attachments. We would then suggest that you follow up the email with a phone call in one week’s time. Remember, agents get hundreds of requests for representation, so don’t be surprised /offended if they are very direct with their communication or take time to get back to you. The key is to be professional, and follow up with them until your receive an outcome.
An agent has requested to see my child’s showreel? What is a showreel?
A showreel is a short 2-3 minute video of your child’s best acting work. You can have these made, but the most cost effective way would be to use scenes from the ASPA-FTV holiday workshop called Creative Shorts. We have these in Brisbane every school holidays. This is an example of one of the scenes a student might do throughout the week https://youtu.be/V5CukpKX9u0.
Alternatively, you can contact a business that specialises in making showreels for actors or we can make one for you at ASPA-FTV.
Aside from paying for acting courses how else can I find more acting opportunities for my child?
Starnow.com.au* is a website which allows filmmakers to advertise for castings for short films, commercials, extra work and student films etc. A lot of independent filmmakers use websites like this, as it’s an easy and quick way to make direct contact with talent. You can register your child for this site and filmmakers can contact you directly, and/or you can regularly search the auditions and jobs listings in your area.
In addition, you can create a profile on showcast.com.au* or ecaster.com.au.* However, we would suggest that you only do this when you secure an agent as there is a fee involved with these sites and your agent will most likely favor one over the other, as this is generally the way they submit you for work.
There are a few different Facebook groups, which you can join on behalf of your child. These include: Kids with talents*, Brisbane Actors Community Group* and Australian Actors Community Group*. Many of these groups are started by actors and filmmakers and provide a great opportunity to network with like-minded people.
When it comes to online networking, be aware that you should always proritise your personal safety especially when it comes to your children. On-line networking should be for adults only, and you should never give out your personal and private information to someone you don’t know, even if they claim to have a fabulous opportunity for your child. Do your research, ask for advice and then make a decision.
*Please note that ASPA-FTV has no paid/business affiliation with any of the websites and Facebook groups mentioned, and should you choose to use these services you do so at your own risk.
My child wants to do more performing and get more work. What should I do?
Encourage your child to use their down time as an opportunity to relax, keep learning about their craft and create their own work.
1. Encourage reading. We like these books: The Hollywood Survival Guide For Aussie Actors* by Kym Jackson, The Actor’s Audition Manual* by Dean Carey, At the Actor’s Studio* by Lee Strasberg and edited by Robert H.Hethmon, The Lee Strasberg Notes* by Lola Cohen, A Dream Of Passion* by Lee Strasberg.
2. Learn the American Accent. American production companies love to produce their movies in QLD (sometimes because of tax incentives), and often use the studios available at Warner Bros on the Gold Coast. This is great news for actors living in QLD, but if you want to be considered for roles in these movies, it would be very beneficial to learn how to speak in a general American accent.
We love the book and CD Speaking American* by Bruce Shapiro.
* Please note that ASPA-FTV has no paid/business affiliation with any of these books.
3. Create your own work. Most successful actors we know create their own opportunities. Find friends who are interested in filmmaking and make a short film. Start your own YouTube channel!
4. Relax. Enjoy your down time as a chance to see some theatre and watch movies. Use this time to recuperate and prepare for your next gig.
5. Persevere. If ‘being a professional actor’ is what your child wants then it’s going to take a lot of hard work a little bit of luck. In most cases, it will take many years. Some of our very educated, talented and successful ASPA-FTV friends living in LA have been working for years to build a good body of work. Have patience, persevere and plan ahead.
At the end of the day, you are only a child once and your child’s happiness is what is most important. If acting is still making them happy – great, hang in there are know the hard work will keep coming! If the pursuit of being a professional actor is not making your child happy anymore, take a break! Life is short and there are so many other adventures waiting for us all.