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Publicists for Teen Actors

actor12actor12 315 replies4 threadsRegistered User Member
edited July 2013 in Theater/Drama Majors
I know there are some parents on here of child actors looking at colleges so maybe someone can clear this up for me. More and more people I know from youth theater seem to be moving to LA and hiring publicists right out of high school. What is this? They do tons of "Red Carpet" events, student films, and an occasional kid channel guest shot or commercial but is this real? It seems sketchy, but they think they are making it in show business. I'm so confused. Thanks.

Oh, and they have Twitter accounts, "Official" Facebook pages, YouTube channels, and are constantly thanking their "fans". What the heck?
edited July 2013
12 replies
Post edited by actor12 on
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Replies to: Publicists for Teen Actors

  • ActingDadActingDad 660 replies20 threadsRegistered User Member
    Sounds a bit fishy. I assume ShaCherry will weigh in on this thread. She has a legitimate child actor and not one that just puts out some publicity.
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  • shacherryshacherry 464 replies25 threadsRegistered User Member

    What I suspect has happened is these ex youth theater kids found low-level agents or managers in LA. This is not very hard to do if you’re a child or a young adult. In fact, you and I could move to LA and put up a shingle, get the breakdowns illegally, and call ourselves child managers.

    These reps submit these, new to town actors, then send them on auditions for Disney and Nick Channel for co-star and guest-star roles. These actors get lucky and book a role. Then the actor’s mothers find a low-level publicist that they pay a monthly retainer, could be $750 a month, to pitch them as an actor who appeared on a Disney or Nick show and get them into “Red Carpet” events.

    My guess is that one kid from youth theater, went out to LA and took this route. Since on the surface it looks fun and legitimate other kids have followed.

    It is my opinion that this trajectory does not create lasting acting careers or for that matter acting careers all together. You are correct to wonder why someone would mistake this for “Making” it in showbiz. But here is the good part you know better and trust me on this so do the important casting people, studios, and reps in Hollywood!
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  • FlossyFlossy 3118 replies3 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    This is a huge industry and Shacherry is so right. They have to be spending much more than they are making even if they luck into the occasional guest spot. So much of that is look and type, not talent or training. It's kinda sad, really. But there's not much you can say when someone is all excited about their kids latest "achievement".
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  • TheRealKEVPTheRealKEVP 981 replies5 threads- Member
    But there are also legitimate actors' agents who do work with young actors, even young children. And there are many succesful child and young actors. But I do agree that hiring a "publicist" does not make sense for someone who is only getting occasional guest appearances, commercials, and student films.

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  • bisouubisouu 2408 replies145 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Is there a difference between a publicist and an agent?
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  • megpmommegpmom 3093 replies21 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    An agent helps you get work, submits you for casting, gives you leads, makes calls to directors and casting agents on your behalf. A publicist tries to get your name, photo, etc in the press, gets you invites to industry events, makes sure that you get "seen" and talked about. And a manager handles your business and, often, your money. My S has a great agent, who works through me (the manager) to get my S work. Never had a publicist.

    A good, reputable agent is a definitely worth the money (in our experience). For many casting opportunities, you can't even get in the door without an agent. I can't understand having a publicist before you have an agent!
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  • shacherryshacherry 464 replies25 threadsRegistered User Member
    An AGENT'S basic function is to read casting listings, often from the Breakdown Service and submit clients for roles. They also negotiate contracts. They may call casting directors and pitch clients as well as get feedback once you have auditioned. But they do not always have time to do so. FYI a strong agent has connections to sway a role your way when you are down to the wire for a project. The calls to the director, production and studio they make on your behalf is priceless.

    A MANAGER develops talent and gives them guidance and advice on all areas of the business. They have a more personal relationship with you and have been known to hold hands. They get feedback and keep tabs on what needs to be worked on. By law they cannot pitch or submit you for roles but many find ways around the law. They recommended coaching, classes, pick headshots,...ect.

    You may find that some children’s agents do function like managers. Managers cannot negotiate contracts.

    A PUBLICST designs a campaign or plans to raise the awareness of you in Hollywood. The plan hopes to reach the eyes and ears of the people that could some day be in a position to hire you or bring you in to audition, like producers, studio heads and casting directors.

    The publicity plan should be a calculated designed to achieve a goal. It is not just how many pictures you take on the red carpet or what charity events you go to. Hot list features you read in magazines are results of actor’s publicists pitching their clients for spots on the list.

    Some agencies have in house publicists that look for ways to advance their clients in the media.
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  • shacherryshacherry 464 replies25 threadsRegistered User Member
    MEG you beat me by minutes! Looks like we feel the same way about the roles of agent, manager and publicist!
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  • TheRealKEVPTheRealKEVP 981 replies5 threads- Member
    Realistically, a genuine "professional" actor in the United States is going to need an agent. Even a child actor. Many professional roles are only available to actors with agents.

    These other things, publicist, manager, etc. are all kindof "extra". You really need to think carefully about whether these people are really providing a service that is worth the cost.

    I imagine rich parents hire "publicists" for their children, and then the publicist takes their money and makes sure that the child gets photographed at all kinds of events. Which may have been all that the parent and child really wanted. But this is not an acting career.
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  • shacherryshacherry 464 replies25 threadsRegistered User Member
    KEVP I think you nailed what was happening with the OP's friends.

    There may come a time for a real publicist but it's once an actor has a body of work to back up the hire, along with a real plan for what the publicity will accomplish.

    By the way a typical agent takes 10% of what you earn, a manager takes 10% of what you earn,( in the child world managers could take 15%), while a publicist often is on retainer. Top companies can charge $2,500 a month for services.
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  • amtcamtc 2838 replies26 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Kind of a funny story to share - When my daughter turned 21 she was home on Thanksgiving break so we decided to give her a big bash. She invited college friends and home friends to a very hot, very happening club in Manhattan and they were to stay over in the connecting hotel. Because it was a pretty big group (15-20 kids) we had a "bouncer" or "body guard" meet them and stay with them at the club, they were brought to their special table, had all sorts of special presentations by waiterstaff brought to their area, etc. It was a great night for her and her friends.

    What was funny was that her group started getting attention by paparazzi and other clubbers wondering who the group was and if there was someone famous amongst them. It did get to the point where the body guard had to make his presence known, which in some ways fueled the situation. When we all talked about it the next day we realized that if she had one or two more nights like this you could see how she would make Page Six and be contacted by a publicist, and she would be like the Hiltons or Kardashians and become "famous" for being a spoiled rich kid. Not exactly our goal! Thought this story played to the point of this thread!
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  • Actingmom18Actingmom18 120 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    The "publicist" thing reminds me of those agents/management companies that promise to get your kid on Disney or nickelodeon and then ask you for money for classes, shots, etc and get them on as extras. I don't see a need for a publicist unless you have established yourself already. I have found that enough money goes to the agents, and managers already. The agent should be promoting their client and getting the face and name out. As far as "getting seen", I believe the kids that are looking at colleges and using this venue for advice are probably ones that are serious about acting and seeking a long-standing acting career not just to be seen. I know my daughter has forgone her agent for now in order to get the most out of the training she seeks
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