I Took My Baby To An Open Casting – And Now He Has An Agent

baby casting callsMy five month old baby has an agent.

I like saying that. “Oh, yes, I know he’s cute. He even has an agent!”

It wasn’t my idea to get him agent. My fiancé had taken our son and his girls for a day of shopping at the mall. I didn’t go, because, well, I hate shopping in malls. When he came back, he gushed with pride.

“At least 20 people came up to him saying how cute he is.”

The cynic in me just waved if off thinking, “Of course they did. People just love babies!” But when it happened over and over again, it got me thinking.

When my daughter was his age, I don’t remember her getting any compliments about how “adorable” she was. I do remember me having to say, “She’s not a BOY!” a million times.

It’s hard for some people to be objective about what their babies look like. Not me. My daughter was not a great looking baby, but she has grown up into a very (VERY) pretty 9-year-old. She just skipped that whole cute chubby baby/toddler phase and woke up pretty one day. My son, however, well, people are just drawn to him in a different way. He IS a fucking cute baby. I can’t go anywhere without people commenting on his huge blue eyes, his dimples in his cheeks, and the Michael Douglas one in his chin.

A couple weeks later, my fiancé came back from a hardware store where he said he was practically attacked with people wanting to see our baby (at the hardware store?)

“He is pretty damn cute,” my fiancé said.

And that’s when I joking said, “Yeah, he should be in the commercials or something. He would be perfect as a Pampers baby.”

The next morning, my fiancé sent me an e-mail with the page of a nearby-ish casting agent for babies. Ah, why not, I thought. First, Holt’s schedule is pretty wide open since he is only five months old and he has no friends. Second, he should put his cuteness to use. It made me remember my high school boyfriend who was innately talented in singing and playing instruments. He could pick up any instrument and just know how to play it. It pissed me off a) because I was jealous and b) because he couldn’t get it together enough to make something happen with his talent. So, yes, my baby’s so-called talent at this age is being cute.

I was one of MANY parents who showed up for this open casting call at this agency. I learned a lot about working babies. First, they can’t work more than 20 minutes without getting a break (Oh, if only us adults were that lucky.) Stores like Toys R Us or diaper companies usually hire 12 babies for their set. Whichever baby is being good at that time will be used, but if you get booked, you get paid anyway. And, just because your baby is cute, it doesn’t guarantee your baby will get a job…ever. But your baby could be booked on a 12-hour shoot, at $50 an hour, only work two hours, and you (rather your baby – they write the checks out to them) will get paid for the nine hours.

I couldn’t help but look at all the other babies there, comparing their cuteness to Holt’s. And all I could think was, “Yup, most mothers think their babies are cute.” There was even a 6-week old-there (and don’t all babies kind of look alike at that age?). I hate to say it, but I got the awful feeling that many of these parents were there to bank in on their kids. This is what the world has become, I thought. (Even though I was there too and was wanting to bank off of my kid’s cuteness.)

Because I’m a sucker, I paid the $300 administration fee and got my baby’s face on some casting website. We have yet to get a call. Which is ASTONISHING since he’s so damn cute. Or is it just me? What the hell. We’ll try it for a year. What can I say? He has nothing else to do anyway. He may as well make mama some money with those damn big blue eyes and dimples!

(photo: Sergios/ Shutterstock)

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You can reach this post's author, Rebecca Eckler, on twitter.
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  • liz

    If you paid any kind of fee, you got scammed. Just FYI. As a casting agent, we don’t get paid until you get paid. So any company, website, or anything of that nature that asks you for money up front for “representation” is scamming you.

    • chickadee

      Yes, this sounded very suspicious to me — I think that company plays on the vulnerability of new parents who think their babies are the cutest babies EVER. Next stop, infant beauty pageants….

    • liz

      Yup. There’s tons of business like this that prey on exactly this attitude. We’ve actually signed a few people who started out at these websites, and got confused when we told them we didn’t need any money upfront. It’s really sad and it makes me very angry.

    • Sara

      I always thought that was the rule of thumb, too…….never pay money up front, because a reputable agency makes its money when its clients make money. I hate to say it, but I think Rebecca just flushed $300 down the drain……
      Unless you did some research before signing on with this agent to make sure they were legit? Can they point to clients of theirs who are currently working and “making it”?

    • MommyK

      To me, the biggest indicator of a scam would be talking to the other parents after. Did almost everyone, even that unfortunate-looking baby over there also get signed, or was it truly only a small amount? My sister went to a similar casting call when she was in elementary school (she was and is one of the most stunning girls ever!), but there was a $300 fee, which my mom wouldn’t pay. My mom asked around after, and every kid who paid the fee got signed, regardless of if they were good-looking or not.

    • Alexandra

      It does sound like a scam, but it also depends on the agency. Here where I live there is only one modelling agency that will not ask you to pay for your initial shoot. (NEXT canada) We have about 5 others that are considered very reputable, but you need to pay for the initial shoot yourself.

    • raeronola

      There’s a difference, though, in paying for pictures and paying for the “privilege” of having your child’s photo on a website. It sounds like the author did the latter.

    • Alexandra

      True : /

  • http://twitter.com/buzzbishop Buzz Bishop

    Good for you, Rebecca. Sine you want to turn this into a bragging about how cute your kid is contest, here’s one: my kid is the face of Cheerios. For the SECOND time.

    No agent. :)

    • MommyK

      Good info to know, thanks!
      P.S. Your son is adorable!!!

  • Jennifer

    If you paid $300 you sooooo got scammed. No reputable agency charges an admin fee like that. Given that you’re in media I suspect you know this though. So I smell some BS in this piece. Not sure what that’s about. You do seem to love stirring the pot though. Perhaps we were all supposed to get mad and rant about the evils of child modeling or something. Who knows.

  • eclectronic

    I made the stupid mistake of responding to one of Ms. Eckler’s posts yesterday. After browsing her archive and reading a little bit about her elsewhere I now realize why Mommyish has her here: with sensationalist headlines Ms. Eckler gets eyeballs on the page, and that’s good for the bottom line. That she writes inane, self-centered, bubble-headed drivel disguised as parenting insight or advice is irrelevant. We read and we comment. Ms. Eckler wins, Mommyish wins. The reader doesn’t win, unless the reader’s goal is to seek out articles on how not to be a parent or mate.

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