Kids and Castings

Good casting is vital for every photo shoot. Ensuring that the most suitable models or actors are cast requires exhaustive knowledge of the available talent in Cape Town, combined with the creative ability to imagine how the right model can bring a character to life. 


NAMA International has worked long and hard to create a standard rate card for Child Models. Having said that however, as mentioned above, each job is quoted for separately and the client will not always have the optimum amount available. There are always hard calls to be made about which roles can be cut, which usage fees can be trimmed etc.


Many producers perform their own castings in-house. Casting Directors organise and facilitate the casting of models for all the roles in a shoot. This involves working closely with the Photographer, the Client and the Producer to understand their requirements, and suggesting ideal artists for each role, as well as arranging and conducting auditions.  


The production company will request packages of photographs from all of the agencies with which they work. Agency packages are current photographs of each child with up-to-date measurements and other distinguishing features (eg: no front teeth.) The production company will usually go through the packages and will pre-select children that they believe fit the brief. Those children will be invited to the casting within a specific timeslot.


The casting is the laborious process of seeing every child that has been pre-selected. The casting director, often accompanied by agency producers and the photographer, will meet each child individually or in small groups, in order to see who stands out.

PLEASE always keep up-to-date with your child’s height, clothing and shoe sizes – the more accurate the better. Remember, all the clothes for international shoots are brought in from overseas and there’s no chance to swop if your child has suddenly grown a few inches. Make sure you liaise often with your agent about this.


A word about Casting Etiquette. Casting is work, it is part of the Child Model’s job, and it requires discipline, patience and endless good humour. If you can’t commit to casting properly, then you shouldn’t be in the business. It’s as simple as that. Here are a few tips to make the process go smoothly.

  • Only attend the casting at the given time unless prior arrangements have been made BY YOUR AGENT with the production office.
  • When you get to a casting fill in your name and contact details on the casting sheet and take a number. And settle down to wait.
  • Do not take anything with you that makes a noise; that includes cellphones, electronic games, musical instruments and dogs.
  • One parent only per casting.
  • Don’t take along children who are not involved in the casting session.
  • PLEASE inform the Production Company at the casting if your child is unavailable on all the shooting dates.
  • Once you’ve been to a casting, PLEASE try not to cut your child’s hair or change his / her hair colour. Always let your agent know if anything changes.


Once the casting is complete, the Production Company and Client start making their selections for their preferred cast. This is when they start placing “options” and this is how an “option” will affect you.

If your child is shortlisted by the client they will want options for the duration of the shoot.  A stills shoot may take 10 days (although they may only require them for a half day), a commercial may be one day, but they never know which day, so the agent requests from you availability of your child on each and every day.  As there may be other clients requesting options on similar dates, it is crucial your agent has your committment when giving them exact days and times they are available so they have an accurate record, to enable the client to know if they have 1st, 2nd or sometimes even 3rd option.  Your agent might even ask for days of availability before a casting, as some clients don’t even want to see suggested cast unless they know they will be available for the shoot.

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