Signature Model and Acting Agency was established back in 2013. It’s a family based agency whose management team, including owner Jo Ahmet, gained extensive experience in all fields within the industry.
Signature is a reputable talent agency for child actors and models. They represent:
- Ages 0-21 years
- Boys & girls
- Young Performers
- Talent regardless of background or UK location
They submit children and young performers for:
- Photographic and fashion modelling
- Commercial work
- TV & Film acting work
“We feel there is a need for quirky, individual child models with bags of personality, who are professionally managed in a way that is financially fair to families and, of course, to the clients who book them.”SignatureModels.co.uk
Signature Models On Social Media
Until the end of 2019, Signature Models posted updates to their Twitter account very frequently. You could find all agency submissions, castings and completed jobs there.
However, since 2020 Facebook is the source of submission and casting updates for the agency.
It’s a better medium for parents to interact with the agency on an informal basis. For example, if you want to know if your child was included in today’s submissions, it’s quick and easy to ask in the Facebook comments.
Meanwhile the Twitter account now shares advice and important industry information.
Applying To Signature Models
Throughout the year, the agency considers applications on behalf of babies aged 3 months and under.
But all child models and young performers aged 3 months and over may only apply when the books are open for specific ages.
Follow the Signature Facebook page waiting for the books to open. Don’t send in an application hoping you’ll be considered anyway, because you won’t.
When the books do open, clear instructions will be posted on the agency’s Facebook page.
Take note of:
- The ages stated – too old or too young, your application isn’t welcome
- The assessment date – if you can’t attend that one session, you won’t be considered
- The application process – only via the website, and complete in one batch
- The file size of the submitted photo – files above 5MB are too big for email inboxes
The Signature website includes a handy list of apps which reduce the size of the photo file. If you submit a large file, your application cannot succeed.
Parents of child actors must be organised, good at doing things properly, and be completely reliable at all times. If you can’t get the application right, you’re sending the wrong message to the talent agency.
Signature’s website includes advice about the casting process, great casting tips and a Jargon Buster page.
Make sure you read them thoroughly before applying. You may discover that some elements of the casting process won’t suit your child’s temperament or your family circumstances.
Signature charges an annual fee to maintain your child’s profile on their agency software. Whilst this is not ideal, it’s now common practice for agents representing children.
Production budgets seem to increasingly demand more for less money from cast, crew and ancillary services. It particularly affects those at the bottom of the pyramid. Also, child actors earn substantially less than adult actors while their agents still face the full business costs of any talent agency.
Signature Model and Acting Agency is to be commended for putting the annual cost clearly on their website. You are aware of it before even making an application.
Should your child book work, the agency commission is deducted before payment goes into your child’s bank account. This is normal practice across the industry.
The Assessment Day
Selective agencies want to meet all adults, children and young performers before they represent them.
There are different ways of arranging this. Signature’s method is to hold an assessment day for all applicants aged 4 years and up.
The benefits of an assessment day are:
- The agency sees what your child looks like in reality
- Your child’s personality can be assessed for industry suitability
- Confidence, sociability & behaviour of children AND parents can be gauged
- The assessment reflects casting director workshops
- You meet the agency staff
- Questions can be answered more thoroughly and personally than by email
- Organising your day and family around an assessment day is practice for castings
If you can’t attend the assessment day because arrangements are too complicated or the cost of travel is too high, you know you’re not suitable for this industry. Once your child is signed up, you are committed to castings out of the blue and with little notice.
The Signature Agency Contracts
Signature Models asks parents to sign a contract before their child is added to the agency books.
This is good business practice and helps protect all parties.
Don’t sign it if you’re unhappy with any of the terms, but instead ask for clarification and then make a decision.
Child Performance Licensing
The Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014 apply across the UK and the regulations help protect the welfare of all children taking part in the entertainment industry. A Child Performance Licence must be in place before a child steps out onto a stage or in front of a camera.
Signature’s website gives a quick and concise explanation which is helpful to both parents and those producers working with children for the first time.
“On a daily basis, around 70% of all briefs come in through Spotlight.”SignatureModels.co.uk
Our page about casting websites for UK actors lists Spotlight first. That’s because it’s the most widely respected source of quality acting work. Briefs submitted by top casting directors in film and TV tend to go through Spotlight.
Spotlight also has the most stringent acceptance rules for performers. Applications come only via registered talent agencies, unless you already hold four good quality professional credits.
Not surprisingly, Signature aims to secure work for their children through Spotlight.
In line with industry practice, the annual subscription fee for Spotlight is paid by the performer seeking work, or the parent of a child actor.
Signature provides the access PIN so you can view your child’s Spotlight profile. Not all agencies do this.
Unfortunately it’s another annual cost you must be ready for. Without Spotlight membership, you’re barred from most of the quality paid work. Therefore, agency representation doesn’t make sense unless you are a Spotlight member.
And of course you also have to be prepared for the fact this is a vehicle for submissions. It doesn’t guarantee your child gets invited to a casting, yet alone offered work.
Unfortunately, some parents new to the industry think an agent somehow just finds out about suitable roles. The idea of paying for Spotlight is therefore puzzling.
It is true that industry contacts mean sometimes casting directors look at particularly agency rosters first. But mostly they advertise roles through casting websites, especially Spotlight.
Everyone aged 4 and upwards requires professional photos. The best jobs are usually via Spotlight, and in that professional arena your photos need to be excellent to compete with thousands of other submissions.
Children grow and change quickly but casting directors want to see a good likeness of the child potentially entering the audition room. Therefore, photos can never be more than 12 months old.
It’s standard industry practice for actors to pay their photography costs, and therefore for parents to pay for their child’s session and images.
Signature Models arrange regular photoshoots with a well known and respected industry photographer. You choose which event fits in with your child’s portfolio needs and family arrangements.
Like all quality talent agencies, Signature Models operate an online calendar system in which parents update known commitments.
That means you block out certain days or times you cannot attend castings and jobs.
When the talent agent sees a brief that your child matches, they first look at the calendar to check you’ll be available for both the casting date and job dates. Then they make the submission, hoping the casting director selects the performer for an audition.
Unfortunately, both actors and the parents of child actors frequently miss or turn down castings. Then the agent has to make an embarrassing call to the casting director.
Even worse, sometimes actors just fail to turn up for their casting slot. That’s a wasted opportunity for hundreds of other performers that met the brief and would have arrived if invited.
Both of these scenarios are a problem for any talent agency to deal with. Casting directors speak to one another on a regular basis, so unreliable performers and their agencies are well known. The bad reputation then taints all the other performers represented there.
Signature Models insist all parents consistently keep their calendars up to date.
That’s how they protect both their agency reputation and the careers of everyone they represent.
Like other quality agencies, Signature reviews their roster on an annual basis and decides whether to continue representation of each performer for a further year.
Each agency must ensure their roster of performers continually meets industry requirements, and alters over time to meet demand.
Moreover, the time and money they spend submitting and promoting represented children must be worthwhile. This is an age where hundreds or even thousands of people compete for one paid role. Very few get into the casting room. And even then the job can only go to one applicant.
If your child doesn’t have the precise look, personality, talent or special feature that makes them stand out from the crowd, chances are they will spend a year waiting to be chosen for something.
“The team at Signature are all dedicated to building long term relationships with both children, parents and clients alike.”SignatureModels.co.uk
The agency aims to foster long term relationships, but sometimes the fit between a client and the industry doesn’t work, whatever the reason or lack of good luck.
So as much as any annual review is about the agency spending its time focussing on models and performers with a track record of success, equally it’s a good chance for you to take stock that – for whatever reason – your child isn’t catching the eye of casting directors.
That allows you to take stock of the situation. You can now look for another agent, seek other opportunities for your child, or look to another hobby altogether.
Can Signature Guarantee Work?
Signature Model and Acting Agency cannot guarantee work to any of the babies, children or young people on their books, and do not attempt to do so.
Getting onto the books of a good agency is difficult. But that’s only stage one. Your next challenge is getting in front of casting directors. Most people in the audition room never hear anything afterwards. For the children pencilled, there’s a mad scramble for the child performance licence from each local council. Even if you get to filming day, commercials often film one child and use the other as backup.
Modelling and acting work happens as part of a fast-paced, demanding and sometimes brutal industry. A huge number of people want to take part, but only a select few get the work.
Moreover, the difference between the successful and the overlooked is often a matter of luck and timing.
So if you’re looking for a genuine and reputable agency which is legitimate and not a scam, you can confidently put Signature on the list of talent agencies for your application.