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The Spotlight Podcast
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Spotlight talks to Michelle Kirby and Diane Zetterstrom about how they work together for their young performer, Oliver.

In this episode, Spotlight talks to Michelle Kirby of Daisy and Dukes Agency, along with the parent of a performer she represents, Diane Zetterstrom. Diane’s son Oliver is a young performer on Spotlight, exploring his passion for performing.

We chat through how parents and agents can form a good relationship, the ins and outs of the industry that parents should be aware of and how to work with the service provided by Spotlight.

35 minute listen.

All episodes of the Spotlight Podcast.

Episode Transcript

Christina Carè: Hello, and welcome to The Spotlight podcast. I’m Christina Carè, I work at Spotlight. And today’s podcast is all about the parent and agent relationship. Joining us, we have the founder and director of Daisy & Dukes, Michelle Kirby, and a parent that she works regularly with, Diane Zetterstrom. Diane’s son, Oliver, is on Spotlight and is a performer. This is the perfect podcast if you are a parent of a young performer and hopefully, lots of your questions are answered. Take a listen.

Christina Carè: Diane and Michelle, thank you so much for joining us on The Spotlight Podcast. I want to start with you Diane because we’ve never had a parent on our podcast before, a parent of a performer. And I’d really just love to know what is it that you do? Did you know about the industry? How did you get into this whole thing with your young performer?

Diane Zetterstrom: Basically, I was originally a dancer, so I’m an ex-dancer and my husband is in the business still. He’s an opera singer. And so we were very aware actually, I’ve got just the one son, that we wanted him to try everything else but what we did. So we didn’t really actively encourage it for a long time but he always had that natural, always wanted to sing and very outgoing. And he got a job at the Royal Opera House in an opera, Madame Butterfly, through nepotism really, because my husband was asked at work, “Do you have a child that happens to be blonde?” To play the role of Sorrow in Madame Butterfly? And so we asked Ollie, “Do you want to do it for a bit of fun and experience?” And he said, “Yeah, I’ll have a go.” And he really enjoyed it.

Diane Zetterstrom: So I said, “Do you want to do any acting workshops or anything?” And he said, “Oh yeah, I’ll have a go.” So I got in touch with somebody to do a workshop with, it was Jo Hawes, actually, and she said, “Oh, no. Sorry. I haven’t got anything available now. You’re late notice for a half term workshop. But would he be interested in auditioning for anything?” And so he auditioned for I think, I can’t remember, it’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He did really… I kept saying to Oliver, “Don’t expect anything. You might be cut straight away.” So never bigging him up, really. And he did really well from that. And I think he got down to the last seven and he then went for Les Mis and he got that. And so he did that for a bit, and then he got stage fright so he hasn’t done any more theatre. But he still really enjoys doing film and TV and radio as well, actually.

Christina Carè: Oh, that’s lovely. So he obviously had a passion or interest from the beginning.

Diane Zetterstrom: Yes. Although, like I said, we didn’t really actively encourage it just from our background. We went the other way.

Christina Carè: Yeah. Well, that’s fair enough. If he had the interest, I guess that’s how it usually starts, isn’t it?

Christina Carè: Michelle, I want to ask you then, you’re an agent. How long have you been agenting? What made you want to become an agent in the first place?

Michelle Kirby: So, my background I’ve always been an agent, not always in the acting industry. Previous to my mum life, I was a photographer’s agent so I looked after renowned editorial, reportage photographers, and I got them big ad jobs so that they could go off and do all their reportage projects. And then, I started working at another agency and did that for a couple of years. And then I went on to my own agency. So I started up my own business. That was in 2011. And then, from there, it just grew quite suddenly. And we were placing some really good child actors in some good, wonderful jobs. And that’s how it all started, really. So the agency is doing really well.

Christina Carè: Yeah, for sure. I find it really fascinating in terms of the relationship between, particularly parents and agents, because I think that’s something that isn’t really discussed very often. We get loads and loads of questions from parents usually being like, “What do we do? How do we approach? What’s that relationship supposed to be like?” So I was hoping we could get into that a little bit deeper. I guess my main question out of that is how did you two meet? Were you, Di, looking for an agent for your son specifically? What was that process like?

Diane Zetterstrom: What happened actually, is that Oliver inherited Michelle.

Christina Carè: Oh. Right. Okay.

Michelle Kirby: I like to say that we inherited each other.

Diane Zetterstrom: Olly, at the school he was previously at it, wasn’t that happy. So we were thinking of other options and one of the options was thinking would a theatre school suit him? And so he actually went for a short time to Susie Earnshaw Theatre School. And because Daisy & Duke’s agency was affiliated, it was still affiliated with the school, that’s how Michelle and Oliver came together. We had, I remember, the first was a long phone call, I introduced myself to Michelle and obviously Michelle wanted to touch base with me before he joined. And I just explained to Michelle what our first little Oliver had done and the type of boy he was, knowing that Michelle would obviously meet him anyway come the beginning of the school year. Because that’s what Michelle does with Susie Earnshaw is, she goes and sees the children. So I knew she’d meet, but just a nice to have a heads up about him before.

Michelle Kirby: But with that, do you think… Sorry, do you think that was mainly as well because of his stage fright and just getting to know him a bit more and its that two-way relationship between parent and agent? It’s not just taking on a new client it’s, as an adult actor, they look after themselves, don’t they? So as a child actor, we all have a bit more responsibility.

Christina Carè: Yeah. For sure.

Michelle Kirby: And I think that phone call… and we welcome all phone calls. One thing I really wanted to say before I forget is, I sometimes think that sometimes parents are too scared to call their agents.

Christina Carè: Yeah, for sure.

Michelle Kirby: And they really shouldn’t be, and I don’t understand why they feel that. And we encourage it. Obviously, I can’t spend all my given time on the phone to everybody, but there are times when those phone calls are required and speaking to Di was one of those times that I had to get to know Oliver before I met him and just get to know a bit more about him. Sorry, Di, I’m carrying on.

Diane Zetterstrom: No. Yeah, absolutely. That was a good… Because I knew the big thing was the stage fright and I thought, well, there’s no point Michelle starting to send him up for things that were in the theatre, I don’t want to waste her time… but he is really happy to do film and other things like that.

Christina Carè: So was it a bit of a learning curve still for you, Di, in terms of, you said you were from a dance background, and your partner, obviously being in opera? But acting specifically, did you feel that there was stuff you needed to get to know in the industry?

Diane Zetterstrom: Well, I think Oliver has been lucky enough to have a few jobs so you start learning by just being present on set, and realising how it works. But I always feel the communication I have with Michelle is so easy. I will just always email her quickly or phone her and say, “What about this, do you think?” Or if there’s a breakdown of a script that I’m not sure about, I rely on Michelle a lot, really.

Christina Carè: Yeah. Of course. It’s a two-way thing.

Michelle Kirby: It’s definitely a two-way relationship because that’s how you’ll get the most out of it. If you’re sitting at home wondering, “Oh, shall I call my agent about that?” I’m quite upfront with parents. And I am totally honest, sometimes maybe too honest, but that’s the only way forward. In this industry, it’s so fast-paced. Lots of rejection.

I think you’ve just got to be up front with each other and if I’ve got clients that will say, “He’s really not enjoying the musical theatre auditions.” Or maybe he’s been to so many and not really got anywhere. And so, we just have that conversation. Okay, “Well, going forward, we won’t do that anymore. Let’s concentrate just on this or screen or radio or commercials even.” So we have to encourage that two-way relationship.

Christina Carè: Yeah. For sure.

Michelle Kirby: And it’s just the same as you might not hear from your agent for a while because they’re busy doing all the other bits that they do and suggesting clients for different breakdowns. And sometimes, it does go quiet. That doesn’t mean that we’ve forgotten you. It’s just a case of, if you want to drop an email or a text or whichever to say hi, then, that’s fine.

Christina Carè: Just to step back for a second. Obviously, you found each other through a school, but Michelle, is there another way that you like people to approach you, if they’re looking for representation? Do you actively encourage it in any way?

Michelle Kirby: Yeah, of course.

Christina Carè: What advice would you give to parents who are maybe looking for representation for their child?

Michelle Kirby: So we encourage people to head over to our website. There’s a join us page and I feel when they’ve done that, they’ve had a little browse about what to expect. Sometimes we’ll get phone calls. Well, actually, quite a lot. We get phone calls looking for representation. The way I run is that I don’t take people on 12 months of the year. I have two parts of the year where I will audition a bunch of children. I’ll try and see as many as I can in one day. And then I will make my selections from that. Sometimes, someone really special comes along and it’s outside of those areas. And, of course, any agent would not pick up on that. So, I would do self-tapes.

For example, we had somebody applied not recently and they’re based in Birmingham and I really didn’t want to bring them down all the way just for half an hour or whatever in the room. So I was like, “No, let’s do a self-tape. And if it goes any further than that, then, we can meet.” But generally, visit the website, give us a call if you really need to. But most of the information is there. Fill out the form, fill it out properly.

Christina Carè: Fill all of it out.

Michelle Kirby: Yeah. In full. And then we will get back to them. So they’ll get an auto reply back just to say we’ve got your email. And then we sift through all the applications and we pick out the ones that catch our eye and then we would invite them in for an audition. So, we meet the children and we ask them to prep a script in advance. So we give them some prep time. We do some drama games and some improv and we see them in an age related group as well, so that they’re amongst their peers.

Christina Carè: Sorry to interrupt, but that’s definitely something that I know we’ve been asked, is whether or not it’s common not to meet before being signed. I don’t think that’s true. I think most agents would want to meet the parent and the child.

Michelle Kirby: Yeah. I would agree. Obviously, my interest is mainly the child. And I want to make sure that they’ve got something that we can work with. Normally, after we’ve offered the representation, then I would be having a conversation with the parents. Sometimes, I wish I could audition the parents before the child. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say that.

Christina Carè: Of course you can.

Michelle Kirby: But sometimes, it’s just people that are inexperienced of the industry, we’re here to help and we’re here to nurture them, and we’re here to guide them, sometimes spoon-feed them with how it’s all going to work. And sometimes it’s just the pure reality that it’s a really hard industry to break into.

Christina Carè: Yeah, for sure.

Michelle Kirby: And there’s far more rejection than there is success. And it’s also about building up your child to understand what to expect. And the way I encourage them is, “You’ve got the audition, so you’re one step there. Go in the room, do your absolute best, make sure you’ve prepped and then leave it in the door. Don’t think about it. And if you hear back, great.”

Christina Carè: And if not…

Michelle Kirby:

And if not, you move on to the next one. And if at a certain point, if the child is then becoming worried about not doing well, or it starts to affect their self-esteem then they need to take a break. And that’s when I will say to a parent. Because obviously I do get emails every day when they’ve been for auditions, have I heard? Well, if I had, you would know.

Christina Carè: Well, I wanted to ask you about that, actually, if you mind people asking. Have you asked Michelle for feedback?

Diane Zetterstrom: I try not to because I suppose I realised from my experience that agents are crazed. Michelle is crazed. My son is not the only person on her books, I try and manage the expectations that she is just very, very busy. So I think, if Oliver has had a recall and he’s down to the wire, I sometimes ask, “Have you?” Which, like Michelle has just answered, she would always tell me.

Christina Carè: Yeah, of course.

Diane Zetterstrom: So it’s like, “Oh.” I try not to do that because I trust Michelle. She will give me anything she’s got back.

Christina Carè: Yeah, of course.

Diane Zetterstrom: But sometimes I go, “Ooh, have you heard anything?” Just, if I need to organise my working life-

Christina Carè: Your diary. Yes.

Diane Zetterstrom: Particularly because, as a parent, one of the things is you’ve got to know that you can be quite flexible. It’s helpful for castings that come in relatively quickly. Sometimes you have just a couple of days. Most parents work, it’s to negotiate and other children as well to look after.

Christina Carè: For sure.

Diane Zetterstrom: I’m lucky I have an only child, which does make it simpler, of course.

Christina Carè: I want to ask you a bit more about that because I think that’s something as well, we haven’t talked a lot about on Spotlight before, but the fact that the parent also has to be quite involved and make time. How have you found managing that?

Diane Zetterstrom: On the whole, I’ve been very lucky. Like I said, I have an only child. I don’t know how people do it with more than one child. I’m self-employed so, as long as I’m organised, I can arrange cover. I have a great mum that also can help take Oliver sometimes to castings. But yes, it’s a bit of juggling, but you just try and be as prepared as you can be and be honest and upfront. Sometimes I email Michelle and say, “Ugh.” Because Monday is my really big working day, and I say, “Is it possible it can be changed to another day if possible?” Or maybe a self-tape instead of actually going to a casting, which is a such a help as well.

Christina Carè: Well, self-taping, actually on that, that’s such an emerging thing now. There are so many additions being done by self-tape. What’s that process like? Do you guys talk about what it should be? Did you guide Di in terms of how to do them?

Michelle Kirby: So luckily… Well, I kind of did.

Diane Zetterstrom: The good thing, I remember you said very nicely and tactfully, “Di, maybe invest in a pop-up background and the lights.” And gave me a great link because it is sometimes difficult in your home. We’d have a white sheet and we’d do our best. And even I was going, “Oh, it’s just not right.”

Michelle Kirby: But it is an investment.

Diane Zetterstrom: But it’s definitely one of the best investments I would say. Because it’s under a hundred.

Michelle Kirby: Yeah. And given time as well, sometimes we don’t get very much time with the self-tape so if I get it, and I’ll always watch them all. And I don’t just send them off, I have to watch them. So if I’m able to give notes and we have time to redo, then we will. More often than not, though, most of the clients, they do get it. The portrait landscape thing is a massive bugbear. And I have to be really obvious sometimes. Now, when I send an email about self-taping, and I do feel like a broken record at times, but I always send them a little picture of how it should look. Sometimes, if they still get it wrong, I’ll then send them a screenshot of what it looks like on my screen so that they can see where they’re going wrong. So, self-tapes going forward is probably one of the best things that can happen in our industry. One, for the children, if there’s more than one, juggling life, juggling jobs and distance too.

The travel, the money involved, and all sorts. So, it is a really expensive industry to be in as well. There’s a lot that you have to put in and you might not actually get it back. So that kind of thing as well is a lot to consider as a parent.

Christina Carè: For sure. Those are the things to definitely be aware of.

Michelle Kirby: Your support network. Your schooling. Having the ability to take time off work, to chaperone your child if that’s necessary. So there is lots of factors when you’re thinking about joining an agency that you have to consider. It’s not just about having this beautifully talented child. I’ll always try and make a way around it. If a parent isn’t available for filming, then we would get a licenced chaperone to do it. Or, I often say, if you’re not comfortable with that, then you could get a grandparent licenced. So, they would be able to take them too.

So there are lots of ways around it, but again, it’s about talking to each other and making sure that we all understand. It’s like being a teacher and trying to remember all your classroom names and just making sure that certain situations… like some parents are single parents and understanding that they can’t always get somewhere at five o’clock the next day. So just trying to be that person, the go-between that can try and make it happen.

Christina Carè: Factor in all those other things. Yeah. For sure. I want to ask you then a little bit more about, in terms of using Spotlight as a platform. How much input do you tend to have together on what that profile looks like or how your child is presented? Do you tend to get involved in that, Di?

Michelle Kirby: Well, I encourage parents to do it themselves. They have to. I think it’s really important that they understand what their Spotlight profile is about because half the parents sometimes do not have a clue about what the profile looks like and what they should do with it, how to update it, removing old images, making sure their height is updated and just lots of things like that. So I do try and encourage parents to do it themselves. Do you do it at all?

Diane Zetterstrom: I do. I tweak his height and particularly his height because obviously children-

Christina Carè: That changes very quickly.

Diane Zetterstrom: That changes. That does change. Yes. And then anything that he’s done, I can-

Christina Carè: You can add that in.

Diane Zetterstrom: You can also edit it. It’s knowing how to edit it, just take a bit of time to go on the… It’s pretty straightforward, I’d say.

Christina Carè: Yeah. I wanted to ask you then, in terms of like actually doing auditions, was there a bit of a learning curve in terms of that, how to prepare or help Oliver prepare? Or did you guys discuss that much before he started, as you started representing him?

Michelle Kirby: Well, I felt like he had that experience already.

Diane Zetterstrom: Because he had done a film and he’d been up for things previously.

Michelle Kirby: We do you have parents who obviously haven’t had any experience at all so when they get their first casting, I will try and explain to them as much as possible what to expect. It will depend on the type of casting they’re going for, though. So if they’re going for a commercial casting, they might have to expect that there will be a lot of people and it’s very likely that they will overrun and then they’ll be in the room for maybe only two minutes and then they go home again. And it’s a bit like making them expect the worst just to understand this is how it really is. Because I think most people think that the industry is all fame and glamour and really well paid, which for children, it’s not.

Christina Carè: And then in terms of, you mentioned having to build resilience in young performers, was there a process in which you, with Oliver, talked about what to expect? Or how do you go about that with him?

Diane Zetterstrom: I was quite lucky that I think in that he has a natural resilience, or he has a way of, he does literally out of sight out of mind.

Christina Carè: That’s good.

Diane Zetterstrom: Yeah, which is a very healthy thing because he has also other interests, which I greatly encourage, so it’s not just focused entirely on… his worth is not on acting or on getting jobs. It’s a fun thing. So I have to say, personally, I’ve never had to worry too much about Oliver because he does let it go. But if I saw that he was dwelling on it, I would check in with him all the time and say, “Put it in context. This is fun.” He is a child. He’s not dependent on doing this. So as long as it’s fun, as long as he can just, it’s in context, which he can.

The thing with when he went to theatre, we immediately said, “Right, this is not worth it. We don’t want you to…” And it’s up to Oliver if he wants to go back and have a go again, there’s no pressure. No pressure. And just keep it light. And luckily, as I said, Oliver seems, at the moment, just very easy. He goes in, does it and goes out and takes it-

Christina Carè: Goes on with life.

Diane Zetterstrom: Yeah. Takes it with a pinch of salt, really.

Christina Carè: Oh, that’s good.

Diane Zetterstrom: Which is a healthy thing.

Christina Carè: Yeah, for sure. I know that that can be quite tricky, particularly-

Michelle Kirby: Just managing their expectations.

Christina Carè: Yeah, for sure. And I know obviously as well, lots of parents want their kids to do well and get the part and dah, dah, dah. And so it can be hard from both sides.

Michelle Kirby: Sometimes I think it’s harder for the parents to deal with the rejection than it is the children. A hundred per cent. I think the children are so more relaxed about it. Obviously, they’re all keen to get the part, but sometimes I feel like the parents take on their child’s worry about how they’re going to feel by not getting the part. And sometimes I just have to relay to parents that the minute your child starts to worry too much, then you maybe have to rethink whether they need a little break or, realise if this is something that they really want to do or is it something that the parents really want them to do?

Christina Carè: Right. Yeah. It has to come from the child first.

Michelle Kirby: It has to. A hundred per cent. It has to come from the child because it’s them in the room, not the parent.

Christina Carè: Yeah, exactly. They have to then do the job. Want to do it, don’t they?

Michelle Kirby: Exactly.

Diane Zetterstrom: Absolutely.

Christina Carè: I want to change track for a second here because another thing we’re commonly asked about is social media. And obviously, nowadays, little children can be on social media potentially with a parent’s input and those stay on the internet forever. What’s your advice? Or does Oliver have a social media presence? How do you manage that with your clients these days, Michelle?

Michelle Kirby: So obviously, I can’t encourage them to have social media until they’re 13. So if they do have an account under the age of 13, then it’s generally parent managed. And if it isn’t, it should be. Depending obviously, if we’re promoting Oliver, for example, I haven’t yet tagged him in any of our promo tweets or Instagram posts or anything. We’ll hashtag and we’ll put his name out there, but from the child’s perspective, it is tricky to help them understand the implications of what they post.

But in terms of input from an agent’s point of view, I can’t really encourage them to have it until they’re past that legal age that they can have it. So, I feel like it’s more of a parent’s responsibility to make sure they’re aware of what’s going on with their child’s accounts.

Christina Carè: Yeah. Do you get involved, Di, with Oliver’s?

Diane Zetterstrom: Not really because he’s not bothered.

Christina Carè: Okay. Okay. That’s good.

Michelle Kirby: That’s a great thing.

Diane Zetterstrom: It’s a good thing. And I have to say, again, I rely on Michelle to do her job. So if anything of Oliver’s is coming out, I know Michelle will promote it in the right way. If Oliver was suddenly very interested, I would definitely want to manage it rather than him, because, like Michelle says, once it’s out there, it’s out there and you’ve got to be careful.

Christina Carè: Yeah, for sure.

Michelle Kirby: I think from a professional level, if they have an Instagram account or probably not Facebook these days, they’re probably a bit young for Facebook.

Christina Carè: Yeah, that’s not cool anymore.

Michelle Kirby: Insta all the way. But if they have Insta, obviously they all follow us on our agency accounts. So, we will message them back and encourage them. We’ll always have that two-way conversation with them. But I think from a professional level, if we’re putting out a post to promote their latest screen work or theatre show or whichever, we generally don’t tag them, unless they’re over that age. I just don’t feel comfortable.

Christina Carè: But you do think it’s quite a useful tool if they have it themselves at a slightly older age.

Michelle Kirby: I do. I think it can be good for promo use, but we have Spotlight. We have IMDB. We have all those platforms. If anyone wanted to book them for anything or find out a bit more about them, there are those platforms that should be the correct way to go, to be honest. Nobody should really be targeting the child directly in terms of getting in touch with them about, “Oh, are you available to do this short film?” If they have an account and they have an agent, then in their bio, they should put contact parent or agent for whichever.

Diane Zetterstrom: Yes. And also, I sometimes wonder if it’s more parents’ vanity or vicariously, again, thinking who is this for?

Christina Carè: Yeah, I think that can happen. Parents getting very keen to promote their child.

Diane Zetterstrom: Yes.

Christina Carè: But then it’s a matter of managing that.

Diane Zetterstrom: Exactly. And how necessary is it really? That’s my opinion.

Christina Carè: Yeah, for sure. I think that it’s something just about the industry though, isn’t it? Because I personally wouldn’t go on Twitter and be like, “This is what I do for a living.” And tell people about it, necessarily. But because of the nature of the industry and the rise of the influencer, perhaps there’s this idea that maybe you need to do that.

Michelle Kirby: Yeah, those YouTubers, they’ve got a lot to answer for.

Christina Carè: Exactly. Yeah. I’ve got another question that’s very common that we get from parents and I wanted to put to you, Michelle, which was that, how much do you think it’s okay for a young performer to have multiple agents? And how does that work? What’s your view on this?

Michelle Kirby: So, I don’t think they should have multiple agents. Too much conflict, too much confusion, too many fingers in the pie. And I just think that how can one agent invest in that client, if there’s too much investment from different agents. Then, there becomes a confusion over who gets what booking and-

Christina Carè: What if they manage… if one’s a voice…?

Michelle Kirby: Yeah. If somebody has a voiceover agent, then-

Christina Carè: Would that make more sense?

Michelle Kirby: It probably would. Like, for example, we generally deal with acting and theatre, commercials, TV and screen side. And we get approached a lot about modelling. When I first started the agency, I didn’t mind them having a model agent. But what I found was happening was that the model agents would then be putting the children up for commercials through Spotlight.

Christina Carè: I see.

Michelle Kirby: And all of a sudden they’d be getting booked.

Christina Carè: The lines blur.

Michelle Kirby: Yeah. And it’s like, hang on, this is not how it works. So that’s when I decided no, sole agency was the way forward for me. I do understand that other agents will operate in different ways. And depending on, I think, how developed your client is and how far they are in the industry at the moment, maybe having different agents is something to discuss. But if somebody is coming to me fresh and not really had any experience, then I would like to nurture them first and find the niche and find out what their interests are. But if somebody is coming and they’ve got a really strong CV already, then I can see how they would want to encourage different agents to do different things, just like they would if they were an adult. So I think it’s just, again, an open discussion that you would have. Because even though we have that general rule, that doesn’t mean that is the rule for every client. It’s all discussion.

Christina Carè: Yeah. It’s by individual basis, isn’t it?

Michelle Kirby: Yeah, definitely with individual basis.

Christina Carè: Okay. I’ve only got a couple more questions and then I will let you get on with your day. But I wanted to ask you, Di, in terms of, if you had to give parents a piece of advice, something you wish that you’d known before embarking on this whole process with Oliver, is there something that you would tell them?

Diane Zetterstrom: Let me think. I’d think of practical things like talk to the school to see how on board they are as well, supporting your child going off for castings or taking time off for work. Because it is important if the school is supportive. And also get in touch with your local authority, the child licencing officer because, I’m very lucky, I have a great child licence officer, Wendy Lancaster, and she’s been very, very supportive. But I think it can vary. So I would definitely encourage some liaison directly with the child licencing officer. And just realise that your child, in an agency, their part is… An agent is very, very busy and just have expectations of time. I don’t expect Michelle to answer me within a minute, if I’ve just sent an email because I realise that’s not feasible. You just have to manage expectations like that, I’d say, and keep the communication. Always feel that you can email or set of phone data with your agent if you’ve got any queries.

Michelle Kirby: And I have an assistant as well. So, sometimes I feel like the parent doesn’t want to speak to the assistant. They want to speak to me. But generally, I have a small office, so it might be that I might be head down into something different, but the assistant will take the call and I’ll be ear wigging what’s happening. And I’ll always shout across the room or give a bit of input. So it’s also to have trust in the agency as a whole, as well as your agent, if that makes sense.

Christina Carè: Yes. What about from your side, Michelle, though, do you think there’s one thing that you wish parents knew from the outset or that you could tell parents to not do or do differently?

Michelle Kirby: I think just the expectation that there’s no guarantees in this industry. I find that sometimes people will join an agency, they will join up to Spotlight, they’ll get their headshots and they then expect to be in the next big blockbuster movie. And it doesn’t always work like that. And there’s so much hard graft that goes into it. And also, perfecting their acting, if they’re going to go to acting classes and just being prepared to, unfortunately, probably spend a little bit of money, which I’m really conscious that that’s not always the case for some people. So it’s trying to just give them the expectations that if they get a job, then it’s wonderful and it gives them great life experiences. But more often than not, they could go for 10 auditions and not get any. So it’s just really understanding that you’re doing this for fun. It is a business for me, but it’s also just making sure that this is what your child wants. Not what the parent wants.

Diane Zetterstrom: The parent wants. Yeah.

Christina Carè: Yeah. Very nice. And on that note, thank you very much, ladies.

Michelle Kirby: Oh, thank you.

Diane Zetterstrom: Thank you so much.

Christina Carè: Thanks for listening to this episode of the Spotlight podcast. If you’ve got more questions you’d like us to answer in a future podcast, drop us an email at questions@spotlight.com. That’s all for now from the home of casting.

If you have questions about this episode or something you’d like us to discuss in a future episode, send us an email at questions@spotlight.com.