An Artist’s Guide to The Model & Talent Industry

What happens at a commercial shoot?

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Commercial assignments are invariable an exciting experience but can also be very boring indeed. Parents should therefore take along a selection of items to keep their child occupied and stimulated. Adults should likewise take something to do! Although the financial reward can be great, an artist can be on set for most of the day, with all film then being edited down to a 10-20 second commercial.

As with photographic assignments, commercial clients will have experience in dealing with children and both parents and children should have a great experience.

Hours of work would be confirmed to the artist/parent at the time of booking and should always be within the legal requirements set down by the council. These legal requirements, which are there to protect the child’s welfare, are explained in the following chapter (14).

Any agency, or client that does not work within, or ensure that these requirements are met, are working illegally.

Featured Artists

A featured artist is an artist who appears on screen and is visually recognisable. This is what every artist wants and pays the best money! The fee paid would be determined by; 1) the client budget, 2) the territories it is aired in & 3) the length of time the client wishes to use the footage. All assignments are different, the agency will negotiate for the best fee possible (as they earn commission too!), and you will be notified of the fee at the point of booking. If you are featured then the fee is called a Buyout, or Usage Fee. It can range from £300 - £35k, but again, the client and territories would determine this.


Artists can be unpredictable and none more so than children and especially with COVID around! Due to the expense of creating a film set, a client will usually book a standby for the day. They will be paid the same daily rate as the Featured Artist and will only be used if the Featured Artist does not perform or does not attend for any reason. This can be a tedious day for the artist, so parents should take along games, toys to occupy a child. Sometimes clients will film only Standby artists and not have a Featured Artist in mind until they have watched the edit. This will mean a patient few weeks wait for that all exciting call telling you if you made the cut!

Self Tapes

Technology now allows for artists to Self Tape, which we love, especially being a national agency. A client will email over a scenario, or script, which we supply to the artist. A parent can film their child at home which makes things much easier! It is sent to the agency, and we send on to the client. This saves time and money with auditions for both the client and the artist. I like to pride myself with being probably the first to ask clients to conduct live online auditions first in 2014. A model of ours living in Nottingham was a firm favourite of a London based client, but could not make the audition time, nor wanted to spend the train fare. I suggested a Skype audition to the client, which they agreed to and subsequently secured him the job. The client said that she could not believe they had not thought of it themselves. This then led to me asking clients if they would like ‘self tapes’ of scripts (and yes I called it a self tape!) to help narrow down the numbers at auditions. This was back in 2014 and yet it has only been in the last few years, and especially since COVID that other agencies and clients have been using them regularly.

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