This is Our Story

We're the Sprayberrys and we moved to Los Angeles about four years ago to have our go at Hollywood. When we met the folks at Children In Film, they thought it would be a great idea if we documented our story. After all, our failures and successes (hopefully more the latter than the former) can be your lesson book.

So here you have it - Dylan and Ellery working through the ups and downs of being child actors - their mother and I working hard every day to ensure their success not only as actors, but also as well-adjusted members of society.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Why am I not Getting Auditions?

It's a frustrating thing - to want to work, to feel the passion for the craft, to know you have the talent and yet to not be going out on auditions. The good news is it is probably more frustrating for you than your child. Kids are resilient, but if they want to break in to showbiz, we all know they have to go on auditions.

So what if you're not getting auditions? The bottom line is this:

  • If you don't have representation
    • Having representation - specifically a good, reputable agent - is key to going on are going to try to submit you to casting directors whenever possible and whenever you fit the role. And when it comes to submitting on your own (casting websites, etc), you're still better off if you can submit a resume that says you are reped.

    • If you don't have an agent, consider finding a manager who will be able to help you find an agent. In my opinion there are two really great things about having a manager - they help you find representation and they keep excellent contacts to help you get auditions.

    • Research managers that work with agents who interest you.

  • If you already have representation
    • Now if you already have representation - be it a manager or an agent - you probably need to evaluate the relationship you hold with them. How often do you communicate? How well do you communicate? How often are they submitting you? Can you get a record of these submissions. If you're concerned that they aren't getting you auditions (or meetings with agents in the case of a manager) schedule a meeting and sit down to talk about why this may be occurring. Do you need better headshots? Does your child need to take acting classes or gain more experience?

    • If you are committed your agent/manager will be committed to you. This means when you do get auditions you must make the audition and show commitment 100% of the time. If you don't, your agent may not keep up their end of the commitment level. It's a two way street; make no mistake about it. Agents will only consider you as serious as your commitment shows you to be.

If you're not getting auditions, attempt to address the root of the problem. We've known families who have agents that send the kids out all the time, but we've also known aspiring kids that never seem to have an audition. I really think it is about the representation you have and the relationship you hold with that rep.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tips for Networking to Find an Agent

Networking Tips

  • Attend parties and events. When the, "What do you do?" question arises (but not before if you can help it) mention that you are (or in addition to your regular work) helping your child pursue acting and it is, in itself, a full time role. Then mention that you're still searching for an agent. This is putting the feelers out.
  • Enroll your kids in classes - specifically ones taught by professionals who work or have worked in the industry. If there are "parent days" for the class - go.
  • Get involved in the theater and performing arts programs at school and in the community. It's a great way to give back to the community and perhaps find other parents whose kids are acting as well.
  • Utilize They put out casting notices a lot, but if you're looking for representation, focus on the managers and agents who are seeking new talent. Post on the forum, and read the KidStart section.
  • Ask questions. It can't hurt to ask, right?
  • Follow up, but don't be a pest. We always do our absolute best to remain respectful of peoples' time, opinions and privacy.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Finding an Agent

For those who journey to Hollywood without an agent or are living here attempting to find an agent, you will find this a challenging and often frustrating path, one that requires great willingness and patience.

We immediately learned to resource industry friends with potential contract and to follow-up on each of them. While one lead may not yield an agent or manager, it could lead you to another path that does get results; this is a process within a process.

Without a doubt, coming here with an agent and manager will get you out of the gate much quicker. Arriving here without representation is tricky, and when you arrive you must remember that finding representation should be your number one goal, before you even worry about auditioning and booking roles.

In our many conversations with parents, we have found that a great headshot, a resume and a professional reel are all key.

There is, however, no easier way in than an industry referral. When you combine that with a great headshot, a proper resume and an awesome reel, you're more likely to seal the deal.

You may be saying, "well if I don't have representation and my focus isn't on roles, but rather finding representation, then how would my child have a great resume and reel?"

It's that old, "What comes first, the experience or the job,' question. I'd say, the job (ie getting an agent) comes after the experience, but in this case you need to open your mind and expand your horizons for what experience actually is. If your child is in a play, it is experience. If your child is taking classes, it's experience. If your child volunteered to dance at an event or won a beauty pageant, it's experience.

For the "foot in the door," networking is key. Go to events, meet parents in the industry, sign up for classes - anything to meet people. Be genuine, smile, and make sure your kids are polite!

We have successfully connected friends with agents and managers and are very respectful to both parties in that we qualify each recommendation with great thought and communicate with accuracy and reason.

There are many excellent managers and agencies; the trick is to find a comfortable fit for your family, and that "fit" will work both ways. This is why the agent/manager interviews are also important. Let your child speak when appropriate specifically when questions are asked that he knows how to answer.

Like so many experiences in life, we grow and learn by trial and error. The path of finding the best match for you can be long, educational and often lonely, but it is doable. We never gave up or lowered our expectations. If you want this, we encourage you to do the same.