guest post by Jessica Rofé
I can’t visit my brother’s house without his ten-year-old daughter hounding me about getting her an agent! It’s all she thinks about, talks about and dreams about! I long for the days when the two of us could just have a normal conversation about her friends, what’s going on in school and her favorite movie but she knows that her aunt Jessica is connected to youth talent agents and managers and believes I can make her dreams of appearing on the Disney channel a reality! If only it were that easy!
In 2005, I founded A Class Act NY, Manhattan’s award-winning acting studio for kids and teens, after having worked in casting and on the talent agency side of the business. I was once a wannabe child actor myself but my parents weren’t supportive of me working professionally. If a job landed in my lap, they allowed me to work and they certainly delighted in seeing me star in my school and camp productions but the fact was that they wouldn’t allow me to pursue a serious acting career as a child. So now, I help young performers achieve their dreams of becoming professional, working actors!
The question I often get is, “How do I find an Agent or Manager? It almost seems impossible!” Well, here are five ways to find your budding thespian an agent or manager:
The old fashioned way. Get pictures taken, create a resume and do a mass mailer to all the agents and managers in town, hoping that someone will flag your picture and call you in for an audition. This, however, is not ideal. Firstly, it’s very costly. After spending money on a photographer, photo re-touching and printing, large-sized envelopes and stamps you’ll have quite a large dent in your wallet! Secondly, from my days on the talent agency side of the business, I know there just isn’t enough time for an agency to go through every piece of mail and call actors in for an audition. Auditions may only be held once a year and every person who submits a head shot and resume isn’t going to be seen.
Get out there and perform. Another way for kids and teens to find representation is to perform in productions that are guaranteed to have actively scouting industry reps in attendance. If a child has a good-sized role, agents and managers will have a front row seat for evaluating their abilities and may call them in for a follow-up meeting.
Have a connection. You may even find representation for your child through friends who are already established in the industry. Ask them to recommend you to their agent. However, if your child is the same age, gender and type as the child who already has representation, the friend may hesitate in making the introduction because it would increase the competition their child faces in an already competitive business.
Workshops and Classes. One of the more productive ways of finding representation is to enroll your child in a workshop where they work one-on-one with industry reps. This gives kids an amazing opportunity to work in an intimate class setting with the people who hold the key to their success. In addition to providing exposure, these classes are incredibly educational. Kids are taught proper audition technique, lingo and performance skills that help lay a solid foundation for furthering their acting career.
Agent and Manager Showcases. Perhaps the very best way to find representation is to participate in a by-audition-only agent and manager showcase. If cast, agent and manager showcase participants have the chance to perform for a large group of agents, managers and casting directors. Before auditioning your child for a showcase, a parent should do their research, ask questions about the success rate of prior showcase participants and be wary about false promises. If a young actor participates in a showcase before they are ready to go to the next level, it will only hurt their chances of finding representation in the long run. The most reputable showcases only position aspiring actors who have the best chance of success in front of the very people that can help them realize their dreams.
Jessica Rofé is the Founder and Artistic Director of A Class Act NY, Manhattan’s award-winning acting studio for kids and teens. Jessica has successfully coached students that have booked roles in feature films, Broadway productions and prime-time TV series. Her students have had starring roles in Broadway’s The Lion King, NBC’s The New Normal and The Sound of Music Live! and the upcoming feature film The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Jessica was recently featured on the television show, Extreme Moms for the Lifetime Channel as an expert talent judge. She is a Backstage Expert contributor to Backstage, the industry’s most trusted resource. Jessica can also be seen in the feature film The Zodiac, numerous commercials and print ads. Visit A Class Act NY’s website for more information about their agent and manager showcases, one-day workshops with industry guests, full-scale productions and private coaching at .