What type of membership would you like to apply for?
Account access problem
You do not have permission to access this page with your current sign in details. If you require any further help, please get in touch at questions@spotlight.com.
Young Performers

The AYPA’s guide to best practice for young performer agents, and what parents and guardians need to be aware of in the industry

It’s extremely important, as the parent or guardian of a young actor that you do your research when looking for an agent for your child. Unfortunately there are some dubious organisations out there who claim to be children’s agents, but are only looking to make quick money off of the inexperience of newcomers.

Thankfully, the AYPA (Agents of Young Performers Association) exists. Any agency who is a member must follow their code of conduct, meaning parents have an assured list of trustworthy children’s agents to look through.

It’s not enough to just find an agent though. It’s also important to understand how your relationship with them will work, and the best practices you should expect.

Here are some tips from the AYPA to help guide the parents of young performers through the unknown:



Promotional material


Touring accommodation

Social media

Do I need professional images to approach agencies?

No. Agencies prefer home-taken photos when first being approached for representation. Head and shoulders shots taken in natural light are best. Further headshot advice will be given by the agency once they take you on as a client.

Each agency works differently, so please visit their individual websites and follow the instructions. If your child is already registered on Spotlight, you can send a link to their profile along with the application material.

Can an agency blacklist my child?

Agencies should not give out  information which could be considered damaging to your child’s acting career.

Can an agency charge upfront fees to represent a model?

Not unless they have successfully found a job for the model and the fee is specified in their agency agreement. An agency could also take a fee from the first payment the model receives from a job, in addition to any commission due.

Can an agency charge upfront fees to represent an actor?

Yes. Agencies can charge upfront fees for listing an actor’s details in promotional publications, such as audio or video recordings, or on websites and photographs to help them find work. Upfront representation fees may only be charged after 30 days have passed since the actor and agency entered into an agreement. You will not have to pay anything if you withdraw from representation during this period.

Can an agency deduct fees without my consent?

No, agencies cannot withhold payments or make unlawful deductions.

When should my child receive their fee?

All the money should be transferred to you within 10 days of the agent receiving it. When an agency makes a payment to a young performer, they should provide a statement showing from whom and when the agency received the money, what work it applies to, and any fees or deductions made.

Are chaperone fees subject to commission?

No, agencies cannot charge commission on chaperone fees.

Can I view promotional material before it’s published?

Yes. If required, promotional material must be made available to you within seven days before publication.

How long does an agency have to publish promotional material?

If promotional material hasn’t been published and made available to potential employers after 60 days, then you have the right to request a full refund.

When should my child receive a contract of employment?

Agencies should supply you with terms of employment within five working days of entering into a contract with a production.

Can an agency insist on a notice period?

The length of a notice period should be clearly stated in the agency agreement. A notice period could be considered a restriction of trade, so all current and ongoing contracts (including options, renewals or extensions), submissions, meetings and availability checks are protected.

Can an agent insist I use other services?

No. Agencies cannot make you use other services, including photographers, classes or workshops. They may charge you a fee for these services, but the terms and conditions must be detailed in a separate document which has been supplied to you in advance. This document should include the exact cost of the service, who the fee is payable to, a detailed description of the services, the right to cancel or withdraw from the service, and details regarding any refunds.

How transparent should the agency be when confirming my child for a job?

Agencies should supply you with the minimum rate of pay for the work, expenses, and any other benefits that have been offered (written or verbally), including any additional agency fees of 20%. This must be followed in writing within three working days, and you must accept the offer in writing.

Can I ask to see any accommodation in advance?

Yes. When a young performer must be accommodated away from home, details of this accommodation should be supplied to you in advance.

Can I ask to see a risk assessment?

Yes. Risk assessments should be requested by the agency, and if your child is under statutory school age, it should be forwarded to you to agree you’re satisfied with all arrangements.

Does my child need a social media profile?

No, social media is not essential. You should think carefully before creating a social media account for your child. If you do decide to, please be careful not to share personal information such as location, school details, or training locations. Turn off location to avoid revealing your child’s location.

You should monitor everything and do research on people or companies that reach out to your child. Amongst the hundreds of legitimate casting calls on social media, there are also unfortunately many fake ones. To ensure your child’s safety, always go through your agent instead of applying directly. The majority of casting calls will also have been put on Spotlight, so chances are your child has already been submitted if they fit the role.

All AYPA agents are fully established and experienced in the industry, and are committed to creating and promoting an environment of trust for their clients. So do your research, trust your agent and help your child have fun as they enter this exciting industry.

Thank you to the AYPA for their helpful advice.

More advice for parents:

Image credit: Joanna Nicole Photography