What is Elite Kids Talent? Elite Kids Talent (EKT) is a talent management company that provides children to production companies and casting directors to work as background extras on feature films, commercials, television shows, print, music videos, and more.
What are "Background Extras"? Background Extras (also known as "BG", "Extras", and "Atmosphere") are the on-camera talent that are added to scenes where you would often see other people. From customers at a fast food restaurant, spectators at a sporting event, or kids in a classroom - background extras play a very important role in the entertainment industry.
Does this mean my child will be blurred out? Sometimes extras are not very recognizable in the final cut, while at other times they are very well seen and very recognizable. Production companies do not want to hire extras unless they are certain they will need them in the shot.
Can my child get a speaking role through EKT? Yes they can. Rarely will we submit children for speaking roles, but sometimes we do, and other times they are booked as extras and are given speaking roles during the shoot.
Does your talent ever get upgraded? Yes. We have many kids who have been cast as extras, and were upgraded during the shoot, and others were upgraded months later when the job was recut.
How much does background work pay? The rate varies depending on type of shoot, location, and union status. The standard daily rate for children as BG/Extras on television shows and feature films, is $167 per day. Union commercials pay all talent a daily rate of $366.37.
Do we need to live in Los Angeles or New York to Register with Elite Kids Talent? Registration in Los Angeles is open only to residents of Southern California. Registration in New York is open to residents of NY, NJ, CT, RI, MD, DE, Southern MA, Eastern PA, and Northern Virginia. If you do not live in any of the areas mentioned above, we will not register your child.
What is SAG/AFTRA? SAG (Screen Actor's Guild) and AFTRA (American Federation for Television and Radio Artists) were two unions that merged to become SAG/AFTRA. Sometimes we'll just refer to it as "Union". Actors who obtain union vouchers become eligible and can eventually join SAG/AFTRA for benefits. For more information, you can visit www.sagaftra.org
Does my child need to be a SAG/AFTRA member in order to register with Elite Kids Talent? Currently we require that all children who register with EKT are paid up Union members. In California, however Non-Union members will be considered and subject to approval.
Do you recommend that my child joins SAG/AFTRA once eligible? There are many variables for you to personally consider before joining. It should be regarded as an investment and the cost / benefits should be discussed between you and your child or parent. Elite Kids Talent will not suggest or recommend one way or another as to whether or not you should join any company or union.
What is a Stand-In? What is a Photo Double? Stand ins are hired to work directly with production and will typically block a scene for lighting purposes. Blocking is going through the motions of what the actor will be doing, so shadows and other potential issues can be dealt with before the cameras role. Photo Doubles are actors that look very much like the main character they are doubling for. They are often used for shots where the camera is poised behind the photo double for scenes that don't have dialogue and do not directly see the main character. Both jobs are very important in production.
Is EKT a Management Company or Agency? What is the difference? We are talent managers for background extras. Most extras casting companies will only register adults due to the difficulties of complying with the various state laws and requirements governing the welfare of employed minors. Because EKT ONLY registers children, we are well versed with each of these laws for each state where we work. We have also created software that will ensure these background companies that the children they book through us will be "legal"
Generally speaking, the terms "Talent Managers" and "Talent Agents" refer to those who represent talent on a principal level. While the roles of talent managers and talent agents are similar, there are some differences. Agents (in most states) are governed by state laws and/or union rules as where managers are not. Agents are well known to handle the negotiations of contracts, while managers work to groom the talent in an effort to better prepare them for an audition or interview. Many principal actors will have dual management and agent representation.
What is a Coogan Account / Trust Account? Do I need to open one? Even if you have never heard of Jackie Coogan (best known for playing "Uncle Fester" on the "Addams Family"), you may have heard of a "Coogan Account". Jackie Coogan was an actor who starred in more than 20 films before his 21st Birthday. However, his mother and step-father spent all of his earnings on themselves leaving him penniless. Coogan sued his parents, but there were no laws back then that protected him or his money. His legal battle resulted in the passing of the California Child Actor's Bill - also known as the "Coogan Law". Today, only a few states require parents of child performers to open one, and New York is one of those states. The law requires that 15% of your child's earnings go into this account that only they can access once they turn 18 years old. If you are registering in the Los Angeles area, you do NOT need to open a trust account. If you are registering on the East Coast, and you will be accepting work in the state of New York, you will be required to open a trust account. The account MUST be a UTMA or UGMA compliant trust account. We suggest that if you have any trouble finding a bank that will open one, try AFTRA/SAG Federal Credit Union, Bank of America, City National Bank, or Wells Fargo.
Do we need to get professional headshots made? We do not require professional headshots; you can take the photo yourself following these guidelines: The photo must be a color photo, without the use of any filters. The child standing up against a plain wall, facing forward, looking at the camera and smiling. Frame the photo from the child's waist to the top of their head. Please also make sure the child is not holding any objects, not wearing any hats, sunglasses or face paint and no other people or pets are in the photo with your child. The photo must be a true representation of your child's EVERYDAY look. For girls, please make sure that we can see length of hair. Here are a few examples of some great head shots that will help your child get booked: