To set your child actor on the path to becoming the next Millie Bobby Brown or Jacob Tremblay, it’s important to land at the right talent agency. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Finding an agent for your child can be a daunting task—especially in Hollywood, where agencies are a dime a dozen, and the competition is stiff. You’ve probably already heard of top-tier agencies like CAA or WME, but that’s not the place to start. These places only rep kids with lead roles in major features or multiple series regular roles; unsolicited submissions are pretty much guaranteed to be thrown out.
Instead, consider the L.A. acting agencies for kids and teens listed below. All nine are highly reputable and have a proven track record of success developing the careers of some of Hollywood’s top young working actors. With the exception of Innovative, A3, and Buchwald, they also accept unsolicited submissions—making them accessible to relative newcomers (although your child actor should have some credits under their belt before submitting, either way!).
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.
Notable Clients: Michael Cimino (“Love, Simon”), Spence Moore II (“We Are Who We Are”), Violet Brinson (“Sharp Objects”)
Submission Policy: Headshots and résumés are accepted by mail or online only.
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 Amsel, Eisenstadt, Frazier & Hinojosa Talent Agency (AEFH for short) 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. 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. “We find the next film or series, but we focus on building long, sustainable careers that fit with our client’s life and goals.”
The Breakdown: It's the smallest agency on this list—meaning your child won’t get lost in the shuffle.
Notable Clients: Stephanie Katherine Grant (“The Goldbergs”), Eden Grace Redfield (“Home Again,” “The Glass Castle”)
Submission Policy: Reels and headshots are accepted via email. You must live in the Los Angeles area to submit.
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. “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. BSA represents talent both theatrically and commercially, and the boutique size means that each young actor will receive the attention and customized strategy their career needs to blossom. And if you don’t have a referral, BSA agent Adam Liebross says not to sweat it. “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,” he notes. “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.
Notable Clients: Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”), Abigail Breslin (“Little Miss Sunshine”), Haley Joel Osment (“The Sixth Sense”)
Submission Policy: Coast to Coast welcomes headshot and résumé submissions by mail.
Coast to Coast is a full-service talent agency that has helped launch the careers of many of Hollywood’s top working youth talent (including the three Academy Award nominees listed above). Youth division director Meredith Fine believes in a collaborative approach. “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’s current clients include 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”).
The Breakdown: What DDO lacks in big-name celebrities it makes up for with 50 years of specialized industry experience and a highly individualized approach.
Notable Clients: Ethan William Childress (“Mixed-ish”), Madelyn Miranda (“Vida,” “Dora and the Lost City of Gold”)
Submission Policy: The website includes clear instructions for email and mail submissions.
DDO was founded in 1969 by Dorothy Day Otis as a specialized youth agency, eventually expanding to include an adult division. It represents clients for theatrical, voiceover, and commercial work across three U.S. offices in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago—although they sign kids from all over the country, according to Laura Thede, the head of the youth division. 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. "We tell people who we're meeting with exactly what we want them to prepare, but if someone doesn’t, I would always err on the side of caution and have something prepared to perform," advises Thede, who won the prestigious Heller Award for Outstanding Youth Theatrical Agent in 2019. "Always have a monologue in your back pocket or a scene that you are very comfortable with that you feel shows your acting well."
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 boost their career opportunities.
Notable Clients: Ivy George (“Big Little Lies”), Mia Allan (“Parenthood,” “Jane The Virgin”)
Submission Policy: Unlike most other top agencies, Osbrink has a transparent submission form posted on its website.
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 the fact that it specializes in child and teen talent (and has an 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. If you’re looking for a prestigious agency with connections to the top casting agents in Hollywood, Osbrink is a clear choice.
The Breakdown: As a large, full-service agency, CESD provides unparalleled exposure to top casting agents and dedicated theatrical agents committed to your child’s success.
Notable Clients: Julia Butters (“Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood”), Presley Schrader (“Shameless”)
Submission Policy: CESD accepts submissions by mail only.
CESD Talent is a large bi-coastal agency representing actors for commercial, voiceover, and theatrical opportunities. Originally known as Cunningham & Associates, the agency became known as CESD in 2005 to acknowledge the additions of T.J. Escott, Ken Slevin, and Paul Doherty. Cunningham and Escott have since retired, but Doherty continues to head the L.A. office. With 32 agents and thousands of clients, CESD is on the larger side. But with individualized expertise in each division, it’s also an excellent way to maximize your child actor’s voiceover and commercial opportunities. “The younger you start, the better, because there is always a need for that next batch,” Carol Lynn Sher, Director of Youth Talent for CESD’s L.A. Office, told Casting Frontier. “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.” Sher is a veteran agent with over 30 years of experience, 25 of which she has spent focusing on youth actors. When submitting without an industry referral Sher suggests “great photos and a sweet written note” as the best way to get noticed.
The Breakdown: While historically known as a top-tier NYC agency, Buchwald’s newer L.A. office is quickly making a name for itself.
Notable Clients: Alyson Stoner (“Cheaper By the Dozen,” “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody”), Elias Harger (“Fuller House,” “The Arrival”), Corey Fogelmanis (“Ma,” “Girl Meets World”)
Submission Policy: Buchwald considers new talent via industry referral only.
Buchwald has a lengthy track record of representing some of film and TV’s top rising actors. The NYC agency was founded in 1977 as Don Buchwald and Associates, 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 represents young actors in film, TV, and theater out of 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—including audio and visual recording booths and a screening room. 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.
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.
Notable Clients: Iain Armitage (“Big Little Lies,” “Young Sheldon”), Asher Miles Fallica (“Tully,” “Ozark”), Jasper Newell (“We Need to Talk About Kevin”)
Submission Policy: The A3 Artists Agency considers submissions through industry referral only.
A3 Artists Agency (formerly known as 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 A3 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; for instance, 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. “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.” A3’s Youth Department roster is headed by Domina Holbeck, who had some tips for the in-person agent meeting in 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.” Sometimes, less is more!
The Breakdown: A large agency with lots of 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.
Notable Clients: Jack Dylan Grazer (“It”), Luca Padovan (“You”), Maxwell Jenkins (“Sense8,” “Lost in Space”).
Submission Policy: Innovative accepts submissions via industry referral only.
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—meaning that much of their focus stays on nurturing the success of emerging talent.
Ready to get to work? Check out Backstage’s kids auditions!