Interview with Top Hollywood Children's Agent Bill Naoum
What are you looking for when you interview a child for representation?
Although looks and talent are very important, I look for personality. Can the baby or child enter a room and “light” it up? I think a lot of children come into a room and have the look they’re looking for and talent. Personality might be the final “something” that helps someone say “I want to hire with this kid”
Most likely you are interviewing the parents as well… what makes a parent an “ideal parent” to work with?
I like parents who understand the nature of the business and have a commitment to the process. They’re available to take their baby or child to casting calls, they keep work permits current and keep the kids committed to the process with classes and workshops. It is called show - business
What age do you think a baby or child should have professional head shots done?
The problem with kids is they grow up and change so darn quick!! It can get expensive if you shoot professionally when they are so young. At about 5 or 6 years old a child could have professional shots, if they have already gone out on auditions and they like doing this. Casting directors get bombarded with 500, 600 or more pictures for a casting so you might as well have a shot that really “pops” off the screen so that they will pick you for an audition. I think with younger kids a good, straight to camera, well lit picture will do the trick. Once you get an agent, they will help you if you ask.
Do you recommend parents sending their child's photo to Casting Directors and Producers on their own to get more auditions and jobs?
Yes. Many parents never think of doing this. It only increases your chances. You never know, it might be the day they’re looking for a certain someone and your baby or child is it. Anything that gets you in front of the “powers that be” can only be a good thing, and it impresses your agents too.
What common mistake can parents avoid?
The biggest mistake parents make is when they think that it’s going to be easy to do this. It’s not. It really involves a lot because even though the child gets the audition and the job, the parent has to do all the work, so it’s a big commitment.
What advice would you give parents?
Keep all your info in order, be professional, be persistent, have fun and most of all have a good level of acceptance regarding show business. It’s not always easy to be in. If it were, we’d all be on TV.