Finding an agent for your child actor can be a daunting task, especially in Hollywood, where agencies are a dime a dozen and the competition is stiff. While some may aim to shoot for the stars for their child and seek talent representation from a top-tier agency like CAA or WME, unsolicited submissions there are pretty much guaranteed to end up in the garbage. And while any agency that signs your young actor will clearly believe in their potential, it’s important to land at the right agency early in an acting career to get your child on the path to being the next Millie Bobby Brown or Jacob Tremblay. The following agencies are highly reputable and have a proven track record of success developing the careers of some of Hollywood’s top working child actors. All accept submissions online or via mail, making them accessible to newcomers or those without current industry reps.
The Breakdown: If you're looking for an agency that will create a long-term game plan that balances your child's other goals and responsibilities, AEFH should be at the top of your list.
Balancing a budding acting career with school, family, and extracurricular interests can be a challenge for young actors and their families. That’s why the youth team at AEFH focuses on developing the whole individual. AEFH was originally founded by esteemed Hollywood agent Fred Amsel in 2000 when he retired and sold his agency to top reps Mike Eisenstadt and John Frazier. The agency represents a range of youth talent, including Michael Cimino (“Love, Simon”), Spence Moore II (“We Are Who We Are”), and Violet Brinson (“Sharp Objects”). Partners Nicole Jolley and Milton Perea represent the youth talent roster at AEFH and manage their young clients’ careers with an actor-centered approach. “I see the young actors I represent as individuals,” says Jolley via her website. “We find the next film or series, but we focus on building long, sustainable careers that fit with our client’s life and goals.” Jolley’s website outlines the agency’s submission policy for headshots and résumés.
“I believe the performer who is most right for a role should be the person for the job. We have always been sensitive to submitting color- and gender-blind unless that creativity would not be appropriate for the storyline.”
The Breakdown: The smallest agency on this list, you can ensure your child won’t get lost in the shuffle here and will receive specific career guidance and strategies.
A boutique L.A. agency with a client roster of just over 100 actors, BSA is a great option for developing young talent looking to be exposed to some of Hollywood’s top casting agents. Head agent and owner/operator Stacy Solodkin manages the agency with an actor-centered approach: “Actors and talent first. Always,” is her slogan. “I used to be an actor and started this company on the idea that I could relate to my actors in a unique way and create a safe place for them to do their best work in an environment where I understood the process and challenges that go along with being a working professional actor,” says Solodkin on the agency’s Facebook page. Working actors like Stephanie Katherine Grant (“The Goldbergs”) and Eden Grace Redfield (“Home Again,” “The Glass Castle”) call this agency—which represents talent both theatrically and commercially—their own. The boutique size means that each young actor will receive the attention and customized strategy their career needs to blossom. And since there aren’t many celebrity clients on its roster, you can rest assured your young actor will receive the individualized attention they need to advance their careers. Reels and headshots are accepted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“A lot of people find it hard to get recognized without being a referral but if you put together a good quality press kit, you’re going to get noticed. At the end of the day, the best-fitting client-agent relationship always finds its way to come together.”
The Breakdown: With a history of representing some of the most successful child actors in the business, Coast to Coast has a proven track record of collaborative multi-agency strategies that help maximize actors’ potential at every stage of their careers.
Coast to Coast is a full-service talent agency that has helped launch the careers of many of Hollywood’s top working youth talent. The agency has proudly repped three Academy Award nominees: Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”), Abigail Breslin (“Little Miss Sunshine”), and Haley Joel Osment (“The Sixth Sense”). Youth division director Meredith Fine uses a collaborative philosophy in developing successful young talent, working with a team of managers, lawyers, and publicists to manage the budding careers of her clients. “I can’t do it all by myself,” Fine told Variety in 2012, “so building a strong team around the talent that includes managers, lawyers, and publicists just makes good business sense.” For its most successful talent, Coast to Coast occasionally partners with larger agencies like ICM and Paradigm to co-rep clients in order to maximize exposure and work opportunities. The agency currently reps veteran youth actors such as Mackenzie Foy (“Twilight,” “Interstellar”) and Joey King (“The Act”), as well as budding talent like Charlie Shotwell (“Captain Fantastic,” “The Glass Castle”) and Gabriel Bateman (“Child’s Play (2019),” “Lights Out”). Current client Adrianna Siena shares (via Facebook review), “The entire agency puts 120% effort into their clients. Agents have wonderful communication with each and every client. This is a team that fights for you.” Coast to Coast welcomes headshot and résumé submissions by mail.
The Breakdown: What DDO lacks in huge-name celebrities it makes up for with 50 years of specialized industry experience and a highly individualized approach tailored to each other.
DDO was founded in 1969 by Dorothy Day Otis as a specialized youth agency and eventually expanded to include an adult division. It represents clients for theatrical, voiceover, and commercial work across three U.S. offices in L.A., New York, and Chicago. While you won’t find many household names on DDO’s roster, it represents many early and mid-stage young actors and regularly books clients in network television and studio films. Current talent includes Ethan William Childress (“Mixed-ish”) and Madelyn Miranda (“Vida,” “Dora and the Lost City of Gold”). Laura Thede, head of DDO’s youth division and this year’s winner of the prestigious Heller award for outstanding youth theatrical agent, shared her vision for representing young talent in an interview with Actors for Lunch. “I feel like we’re never going to have the most kids or the biggest company, but I do personally hear from casting directors that we have really good kids. I prefer to have quality over quantity,” said Thede. “You hear of the bigger agencies that really don’t connect with their actors, it’s probably because they view it as just a business, so why get attached? They’re just trying to make money on you while they can before you leave them and don’t waste time on the personal relationship.” The agency is always in search of new talent, and its website outlines clear instructions for email and mail submissions.
The Breakdown: With industry connections rivaling big-name agencies like CAA and UTA and a specialization representing young actors, Osbrink is a great choice for those looking to take their career opportunities up a notch.
Osbrink is a full-service agency providing theatrical, commercial, and voiceover representation for young actors in varying stages of their careers. It is undoubtedly one of the best youth talent agencies in Hollywood, and its specialization in child and teen talent and extensive track record of success makes it an excellent choice to help take your young actor’s career to the next level. “If you or your child is represented by Osbrink, you are truly fortunate,” says client Kathleen O. via Yelp. “They are honest, ethical, conscientious, professional, and probably the hardest working agents in the industry.” The agency was founded in 1993 by Cindy Osbrink, who has repped top youth stars like Dakota and Elle Fanning, Brie Larson, and Raven-Symoné. Osbrink and her team currently represent some of Hollywood’s top young working actors, including Ivy George (“Big Little Lies”) and Mia Allan (“Parenthood,” “Jane The Virgin”). If you’re looking for a prestigious agency with connections to the top casting agents in Hollywood, Osbrink is a top choice. Unlike most other top agencies, Osbrink has a transparent submission form posted on its website.
The Breakdown: As a larger full-service agency, CESD provides unparalleled exposure to top casting agents and dedicated theatrical agents committed to your child’s success.
CESD Talent is a large bi-coastal agency representing actors for commercial, voiceover, and theatrical opportunities. The agency was originated over 50 years ago by Bill Cunningham as Cunningham & Associates since then they expanded to include T.J. Escott, Ken Slevin, and Paul Doherty. CESD was born under its current name in 2005. Cunningham and Escott have since retired but Doherty (who joined CESD over 30 years ago) continues to head the L.A. office. With 32 agents and thousands of clients, CESD is on the larger side but provides individualized expertise in each division, making it an excellent option to maximize your child’s voiceover and commercial opportunities as well. Carol Lynn Sher, Director of Youth Talent for CESD’s L.A. Office, shares some tips for getting noticed in a recent interview with Casting Frontier. “The younger you start the better because there is always a need for that next batch,” she says. “We are out there and interested in the next new generation and open to talking to them. So it’s not like there’s a closed door,” explains Sher. Sher is a veteran agent with over 30 years of experience, 25 of which she has spent focusing on youth actors. She currently represents Top young actors Julia Butters (“Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood”) and Presley Schrader (“Shameless”). When submitting without an industry referral Sher suggests “great photos and a sweet written note” as the best way to get noticed. CESD accepts submissions by mail only.
The Breakdown: While historically known as a top tier NYC agency, Buchwald’s newer L.A. office is quickly making a name for itself as one of the best choices for the working young actor.
Buchwald has a lengthy track record of representing some of film and TV’s top rising actors. The agency started as Don Buchwald and Associates back in 1977 in NYC but didn’t expand to include an L.A. office until 2010. The Youth division has been headed by veteran agent Tim Weissman since 2014 and works to represent young actors in film, TV, and theater in both the L.A. and NYC offices. While the majority of Buchwald’s staff of 100 is based out of New York, the L.A. office is rapidly growing and recently upgraded to a new state of the art space which includes collaborative spaces, audio and visual recording booths, and a screening room (THR). Over the past decade, Buchwald’s L.A. branch has quickly climbed the ranks and now represents an impressive roster of both up and coming and established youth talent from veteran child stars like Alyson Stoner (“Cheaper By the Dozen,” “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody”) to rising stars like Elias Harger (“Fuller House,” “The Arrival”), and Corey Fogelmanis (“Ma,” “Girl Meets World”). Buchwald considers new talent via industry referral only.
The Breakdown: With an esteemed reputation and a depth of industry connections, Abrams is a fantastic choice for any young actor looking to gain more exposure and take their career to the next level.
Abrams is one of the industry’s premier talent agencies with three offices in Los Angeles, New York, and London. Longtime agent and executive Robert Attermann acquired Abrams in 2018 and has implemented a new approach where agents work with clients across multiple departments in order to maximize their exposure and career opportunities. The L.A. office has recently incorporated a state of the art Digital Production Studio for actors to use for podcasts, brand partnerships, and digital content creation. Attermann describes the company’s “drop everything” mentality towards repping their clients: “We keep a small list purposefully because we don’t want to sign the whole world,” Attermann says in an interview with Backstage. “We want to make sure that when we sign them we’re going to work hard for them. We just don’t want them on the list, just to be on the list. We want to make sure we’re doing the best job we can for them.” Abrams’ Youth Department roster, headed by Domina Holbeck, includes top working actors like Iain Armitage (“Big Little Lies,” “Young Sheldon”) and up and coming talent like Asher Miles Fallica (“Tully,” “Ozark”) and Jasper Newell (“We Need to Talk About Kevin”). When approaching an in-person meeting, sometimes less is more, according to Holbeck, via a recent conversation with Backstage. “Be yourself and don’t try too hard in your conversation or presentation of your scene or monologue, [or] even how you dress.” While industry referrals are preferred, Abrams does accept headshot submissions via mail or email only.
The Breakdown: A large agency with high name recognition, Innovative remains committed to providing the same level of dedication and personalized representation for all their actors—from A-List stars to young actors just breaking into the scene.
Innovative was founded back in 1982 and has been at the forefront of talent representation ever since. The agency represents its clients across a multitude of departments including literary, voiceover, commercials, and hosting, and has a strong focus on cross-departmental collaboration. While Innovative represents several thousand clients, they remain committed to advocating for each and every one of them. Innovative boasts substantive industry connections and leverage, but without as many big-name celebrities as competitors like UTA and WME, which means that much of their focus stays on emerging talent whose success they are highly vested in. The Youth department represents an impressive batch of rising young stars like Jack Dylan Grazer (“It”), Luca Padovan (“You”), and Maxwell Jenkins (“Sense8,” “Lost in Space”). Innovative accepts submissions via industry referral only.
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