..Melanie Knight..

Modeling for Children

You see them everyday - in magazines, catalogues and on TV. Kids pushing products, selling clothes, cereals, toothpaste, toys. "My Bologna has a first name..." "Hey ma! What's for dinner?" "Silly Rabbit, Trix are for kids." The product sells and the company makes money, the advertising outlet makes money and the kid pushing the product doesn't make out to poorly, either. How do these kids get there? Why couldn't my kid do that? And where in the world do I begin? There are no easy answers and how in the world do you know if your kid could really do that? Who do you ask? Where do you go? And then you hear it: the radio jingle with the ad calling all kids to audition for a future in modeling, acting, singing -- wherever you think your kids talent lies. So you jot down the toll free number, schedule the appointment and zoom, zoom, zoom -- you're off to the races. Here are some of the things you may have already found, but don't lose heart. There may well be a somewhere, over this rainbow.

The Modeling School
The first one that comes to mind is the John Cassablancas School of Modeling. This guy has more schools throughout the world than I have twenty dollar bills in my checking account. Easy Background Check (www.easybackgroundcheck.com) lists a whole series of consumer complaints and comments, most of which reflect the misconception of the attendees. After all, The John Cassablancas School of modeling is a school. You can go to the finest schools in the country and receive the greatest training in the world. Guess what? The pizzeria up the street is still hiring delivery drivers. There are no guarantees! One parent, who sent his child to the John Cassablancas School of Modeling and skipped many a lunch sweating payments, had this to say, "Do I think my kid has any talent? I'm the parent. Of course I do. Do they think my kid has any talent? I passed their credit check. Of course they do. Am I sorry I did this? Not at all. The last sales rep said to me, when your kid graduates, her self-esteem will be higher, her self-confidence will be greater. You'll see a change for the better in your child. You know what? I do. She is much more responsible about herself in every area of life, including regular school. Her grades improved in a matter of weeks and she's still a great student. Has she gotten one paying job? No, but so what? It's all the other stuff that's really important. If she has any real talent, then she's not going to lose it. She has a lifetime to pursue those ambitions."

The Independent Agent
You have to love these guys. Their ads usually appear in the local classifieds, under the help wanted listings. Agent seeks limited amount of models, actors, actresses, and singers for TV ads, catalogues. Call Now! So you call and of course you get the appointment and you're part of a group that hears all about the agents' success and the fact that unlike the big modeling agencies, he or she, will never ask you for a dime. However, there is something in the industry called a Comp-card. Every kid has to have one. A Comp-card is usually a 6X8 card with a full headshot on the front, with information related to the pictured child. The back of the card features four full body shots.

Mr. Independent Agent will hold the Comp-card up, pass a few around and explain how nothing can be done for your child without one. Fortunately, every Independent Agent knows an Independent Fashion Photographer who happens to be in town, on vacation, and willing to put together a Comp-card for your child at a discount fee. In all fairness to Mr. Independent Agent, he has not broken his promise to never ask you for a dime. The photographer will be collecting your dimes and your quarters, your fives and your tens so that you too can have a Comp-card that will get you an Independent Agent to represent your child. I have seen the cost of such compcards as low as 350 dollars, while other shutter-bugs charge as much as 750 dollars.

The Modeling Expo
This is the chocolate cake of opportunity. I am told, it is by invitation only and said invitation can come via a modeling school, or, an independent agent. This is four days of showcasing your talents, visiting workshops, talking to agents and coaches, all at an exclusive hotel in a major city somewhere in these United States. It's like a job fair. Bring Comp-cards, photos, resumes and the right attitude, all for a not so small fee. P.S. The fee does not include lodging, food or airfare, although the hotel holding the expo will rent rooms at a discount rate. Granted. A lot of people are spending a lot of money to hold an Expo at a pricey Hotel. The fee is an effort to recoup the investment. How much of a profit they make on the investment is beyond me or anyone else I spoke with, because nobody could present me with a breakdown in the numbers. Regardless of those numbers, many parents in America are stumbling along from paycheck to paycheck, station to station. The oil industry racks up 2.7 million an hour while the rest of us trade dreams for grocery bills and rent money. It's tough enough getting ahead these days, but it's even tougher to ignore the desires of your kids. So what do you do?

Modeling Schools won't make you a model, but they will train you to become a model. It's the becoming a model thing that no modeling school will ever guarantee. Agents live off the talent they sign, and if they ever ask you to put out any money for anything, then they're not making much in commissions on the talent they already represent.

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