It is essential for a child actor to have an agent in order to get legitimate acting jobs. Here are some tips on getting an acting agent for your child:
Look up all the agencies in your area and find out if they have a youth department. In Los Angeles and New York there are publications (The Agencies e.g.) that list all the agencies in the city and what they are looking for at that particular time (available at a Samuel French Store). You can also Google search for acting agents if you don’t live in the Los Angeles or New York area. Call each agency to see which way they prefer you to submit your child’s information.
Agencies will usually ask you to submit a hard copy of your child’s headshot (8X10 picture) along with a resume and cover letter. Get great headshots for your child that show his or her personality and what kinds of roles he or she could go out for. Do an Internet search for headshot photographers in your area and read online reviews (yelp.com). Consult other child-actor-parents to see which headshot photographers they recommend.
Submit your child’s headshot, resume, and a cover letter to the agencies you find. Put all the contents in a manila or clear envelope and seal it with the clips only. Some agencies specifically request this because they get tired of opening hundreds of glued submission envelopes. Most agencies prefer hardcopy submissions although some prefer submissions through email.
Attend showcases where your child is able to perform in front of agents. This is an excellent way to have agents see what your child can do as a performer. Showcases are often held at theaters, acting studios, and performing arts centers. Look for postings of showcases in theater bulletin boards, the arts section of your newspaper, or online publications (backstage.com e.g.).
Be careful not to sign your child up with scam agencies that are looking to get into your pocket. You should never have to pay an agency to sign your child. Legitimate agents only get paid when you get paid (10% commission industry standard). Beware of companies that charge a great deal of money for promising to get your child an agent (John Robert Powers, Barbizon e.g.). These companies are charging you a tremendous amount of money for a task you are very capable of doing yourself.