I won’t reveal who asked, but this person (shout out!!!) will recognize the question. Let’s just say it’s someone who…aw, nevermind. (That was mean, wasn’t it?) Verbatim, I was asked, “So, what is it that a parent really wants from a print agent?” I have a few responses here, but one of the more obvious ones: “Lots of bookings!!! Send my kid out!!!” really isn’t high on my list. Without a doubt – and I do not even need to conduct any sort of scientific research here – the answer is…
HONESTY. Absolutely, it’s honesty. I know many parents who have caught agents in lies. (I’m not going to pretend parents don’t lie either – perfect world? Let’s make this a two-way street.) Yes, our biggest concern as parents is probably the quantity of work, and later, as we get a little street cred, the quality of work. (Bucket lists and OH NO NOT AGAIN lists…topic for the future.) But even though that is our biggest concern, it’s not the first thing we need from an agent.
HONESTY. Tell us a client said don’t send my kid anymore because she’s overexposed. (Ha, I wish!) Tell us there are three other kids who fit my kid’s exact breakdown and you’re juggling to get them all out there. Tell us why you’re not sending us out for more editorial work…if it’s the money, tell us if we can pursue it on our own if we want to. Tell us our kids are more catalog/fashion/toy box…than other things. Tell us a new assistant came in and my kid wasn’t on his/her radar. Just let us know. Tell us how you used your instincts if something doesn’t make sense to us. Now, BEWARE. I am not NOT not telling you moms to pick up the phone EVERY TIME you have these questions. We have to sit back and let the process happen…for the most part. But if and when we do want to use our “why didn’t my kid ___?” question card once in a while, let us know exactly what you were thinking. If we get answers that don’t line up with our goals, maybe it’s not the best relationship. Maybe we need to read the writing on the wall sometimes.
I’m going to put everything else in one paragraph, because it all comes after the honesty. Believe in my kid. Push my kid when you think you can. If you feel overworked and overwhelmed, take on fewer kids. Or hire an assistant. Answer my emails within 24 hours – even if you say, “I’m swamped right now…let me get back to you tomorrow.” (On my end, I try to structure my emails so the agent can give an answer less than a sentence…we can both be efficient at this.) Be organized. Have a master email structure for go-sees and bookings so I’m not sifting through three emails to find dates, addresses, and rates. Laugh with me once in a while. Advocate. Negotiate. Moms talk and we know that different agencies get different rates sometimes. Give me some options when you know you can…time frame rather than set time, give me an out if it’s a cattle call for a client who has seen my kid five times and never booked her…give me an out if the rate is crumby and you want to work with the client but they just won’t budge on rate. Give me as much advanced notice as possible.
Obviously the sister-post to this one needs to be “So, what does a print agent expect from a parent?” I know what the agents’ number one answer would be…I don’t even have to ask.
What did I leave out? Let me know! Comment here or hit up my new facebook page, The Bizzy Mama. I’m also on Instagram (but if you follow me, you will have to commit to some dog pictures) at TheBizzyMama.
Next time: “So, what does a print agent expect from a parent?”