Agency and Casting FAQ's
How does the Agency work and how do I join?
Centre Stage Agency are extremely selective with the children we take onto our books. We will only take on those we honestly feel have a good chance of getting work, whether this is for modelling, acting or indeed both. When we are ready to open our books we will hold an 'Assessment Day' which children are invited to attend. On this day we will ask you to perform a short monologue and take part in a group workshop session.
Following the workshops, we will let you know if you have been successful and you will be sent full details of the next steps. All parents should thoroughly read the following FAQ's and How to Apply pages on our website so that they can be sure their child is suitable for the industry.
What exactly does an Agent do?
An Agent represents their children, promoting them to Casting Directors and securing them with auditions. If a child gets a part, the agent will negotiate the deal and any required contract. The agent will then collect the fee on their behalf.
An agent deducts their commission from the payment before passing onto the child. Agencies will submit your child for castings at all times to any brief that suits your child.
Will my child get work?
Centre Stage will do their best to secure opportunities for every artist but there are no guarantees. Centre Stage will put artists forward for work but there is no guarantee of an audition. Trying your best when securing an audition is all you can do, to even get offered an audition is a fantastic opportunity and a great achievement in such a competitive industry.
What sort of jobs are out there for children?
There are many roles for children in West End theatre and regional tours, as well as parts in television commercials (TVC), television series, and feature films. There is also a very frequent need for child supporting artistes or ‘extras’. These are amazing experiences for children to see what happens on a film or television set. However as mentioned before although there are many roles, there are also many child actors, and it really does depends on what the Casting Director is looking for in a casting. You should also accept all castings offered to you as they are a great experience. It is not good practice to turn down a role once you have auditioned.
Does my child need a license to work?
When a child is under 16 years of age and offered paid professional work, they must be licensed to perform by their Local Education Authority. Children are only licensed to perform for a certain number of days per year. They will also require a letter from their school, and occasionally will have to undergo a short medical to ensure they are fit to work. We will require a Doctors Certificate upon joining to certify your child is medically fit, and these last for 6 months although it can vary from job to job.
Do I need to inform you if my child is on holiday?
Yes. It is imperative that you inform us of your child’s availability, this includes holiday, school examinations and illness. We cannot secure your child a casting with a casting director and then have to make an embarrassing and unprofessional phone call to inform them that you are now not available. This is not good for the reputation of us as an agency, or your child as an actor. Obviously, sudden illness or injury is an exception.
Can I belong to more than one agency?
No unfortunately not, here at Centre Stage we would rather represent our children as a sole agency. We feel that too much confusion comes from belonging to more than one agency, and more often than not you end up being submitted for a casting twice which can lead to confusion for Casting Directors.
How much could my child earn?
Jobs vary and are all different in rate, so this would be difficult to say. Photographic work usually pays more than TV or Film work, however, it depends on the size of the role. We can inform you better on this when your child is offered a casting. The objective to join the agency should be that your child loves performing, and would like the chance to do it more often, in a professional environment. If we feel that a child is not enjoying their experiences then we will no longer consider them for castings. This decision will be made in the child's best interest.
What is expected of me as a parent?
As a parent, you will be expected to keep us informed of your child's availability at all times as mentioned above. You will be required to attend all castings or provide a suitable adult to go in your place. If your child is offered a role, sometimes you will be required to chaperone your child for the job, unless they provide a chaperone for you. You will be required to inform us of any major changes to your child's measurements and shoe size as well as hair colour and style. You will need to attend photography sessions on average every 6-12 months depending on how often your child changes. It is really important that your child's photos are in date. You will also be expected to provide a doctors certificate for your child to work and your child's passport should also always be in date should any overseas work be a possibility. Your child will also require their own bank account as payments cannot be made to a parent. We also require parents to communicate with us promptly when a casting comes around, this will be via email or telephone.
Where are the auditions?
Auditions are mainly based in Central London. There are also lots of regionally based productions that require local children, and in those cases auditions are can be based outside of London.
What about school?
Most auditions/castings for school-aged children are between 4-8pm. Any bookings then take place during the weekdays and possibly weekends to time out of school could be necessary. Most schools are aware of this fact, and a performers license is required from the local education department and your agency will organise this with you. If you are unhappy with your child missing school and would like to turn down the role offer, then you must let us know straight away so that we can try and find a suitable replacement without letting our client down. For permanent roles and touring, private education is always provided.
How often will my child get auditions?
There is no answer to this, and any agency who guarantees opportunities or castings should be avoided at all costs! Television series and films are always going into production, many of which require children. But whilst there are many opportunities out there, there is also a lot of competition. Your child may also go through busy times and lots of auditions and then quieter times where they don’t have any auditions for a while, and then be cast a job that might last a whole year! The performing arts industry is very unpredictable. Centre Stage will do their best to secure opportunities for every child on their books, but there is no guarantee of an audition. Trying your best when securing an audition is all you can do, and to even get offered an audition is a fantastic opportunity and a great achievement in such a competitive industry.
How will I find out about an audition?
You will receive a phone call from Centre Stage regarding the audition to check if you are able to attend, and we will then follow this up with a confirmation email containing all the finer details. Scripts or ‘sides’ may be available for you to look at and prepare in advance, other times the Casting Director may give these to you on arrival. Occasionally there are no scripts, and you are simply called for an informal meeting or some improvisation. You should always attend an audition fully prepared for the job at hand, as a child who is not ready can, in turn, feel nervous and exposed which leads to a negative experience and a loss in confidence. As a parent, please ensure you help your child as much as possible with learning any required material.
Will I be told at the audition if my child has the job?
No, it is highly unlikely that you will find out at the audition. For film and TV, phone calls are usually made to the agency a day or two afterwards. For theatrical auditions you may recall that very same day, therefore parents are informed on the spot regarding this. Most of the time Casting Directors assistants will call us directly if they want to take a casting to the next stage. If you have been successful you will hear from us, if you haven’t been successful, sadly you won’t usually be offered feedback. This is due to the amount of children a Casting Director could see for one role. But try not to be disheartened, there are many reasons as to why a child is not offered a role.
How much notice will I get of auditions?
It is normally somewhere between a week and a few days, but it's not unusual to only get 24 hours’ notice. We do understand that parent’s work, however it does increase your child’s chances of an audition if parents can be flexible. We will do our best to get your child a good time slot for you, and most castings for children (under 16 years) take place out of school hours. If you have any aunties, uncles or grandparents or older siblings (over 18) who can chaperone your child to a casting then discuss this with them, as this can also be very handy for those late notice auditions for busy mums and dads!
Do I pay for travel?
You are not normally able to claim travel back from castings or shoots. If you do have a casting or a shoot outside reasonable travel distance to your area then we can usually request reimbursement for this. You would be requested to keep receipts for bookings or payments made. For any television work the child's chaperone would get a day rate of between £70-£100. Any work secured abroad is always covered for both travel and accommodation
If you have any further questions after reading please contact us.