How I Got My Baby In A Movie
When do you hear people saying “oh you’re baby is ugly” ? Never, right? No one likes being the bearer of bad news or negativity, so if your baby is actually not that cute you will be hard pressed to ever hear someone tell you. And can you blame them? No one wants to be a dream crusher, also your baby is still growing, so they may blossom into quite a handsome person. But at the same time, you want to be grounded in reality because when people say things like “your baby should be the next Gerber baby” you have to be the truth barometer for yourself. It can be difficult to take what people say with a grain of salt, especially when it concerns the apple of your eyes, your children. In your eyes your baby is perfect, you can’t see the flaws, and if you do they don’t matter. But if someone takes these positive statements of “they’re the next Gerber baby” to heart, I’d like to think I’d be the one to tell them the truth because no parent deserves to be lied to. At times I have thought that I’ve been like the emperor with new clothes. Am I being a fool for going after something that has a high rejection rate, that is unrealistic and out of reach for most people? It never hurts to try, but there’s a delicate balance between trying and hurting your heartstrings over something that is going to take up your time where you could’ve been spending more time with your child. So the following is how I got my baby in a movie and what I learned about safely dipping our toes in the dream pool.
Since Eileah was born people have been really nice in telling us how beautiful she is. Well, this summer I investigated the entertainment business for the first time since I gave up the dream myself, which was at the end of high school. Justs because you have “it” or “the stuff” to be a star doesn’t mean that your personality and heart are strong enough for that kind of life. So out of curiosity I decided to find out, just how do people get their kids in movies, TV commercials, and modeling?
This is what I did that got my baby in a movie:
- Liked a bunch of local casting agency Facebook pages
In so doing I got an alert from Facebook about a production looking for a baby girl who can play 6 months old in an independent (indie) movie that was filming in Frankfort, IL (6 miles from our house!). I submitted a photo of Eileah and like they say, the early bird catches the worm, she got the part. Here is the original post:
2. Professional photos help
3. Get a work permit for your baby
This was the wild part. In order for someone under 18 years of age to participate in modeling or anything involving filming, you need to get a work permit in the state of Illinois. In 4 hours I got the process done right here in Tinley Park.
First, I called Victor J. Andrew High school to get all my questions asked.
Second, I messaged and called Eileah’s pediatrician for a letter of good health.
Third, the agency usually has a letter of intent read for you to print and fill out.
Fourth, bring a copy of you baby’s birth certificate or SSN card with you.
Last, once you have the doctor’s note/letter, the birth certificate or SSN card, and the letter of intent filled out, head over to the high school and bing bang boom you are set for the next day.
4. Be your baby’s fairy godmother onset
On set I was lucky to have two ladies who were very kind to me. Trieste was the lead actress and Andrea was an assistant. They in particular were very attentive to both Eileah and I, making sure we were comfortable and they hung out with us the most during the 3 hour shoot (legally an infant can’t go beyond 3 hours of work).
There is a part of you that needs to be comfortable and show your baby that it’s ok to let other hold her and that the environment is ok. So you have to let go, but also be watchable and present 99% of the time. My 1% was talking with the producer, crew, and drinking a much needed Coca-Cola to keep my energy up.
I made sure to pack enough diapers, formula, spare clothes in case her dress wasn’t what they wanted, toys, and her blanket to make sure she felt the familiarity of home. I also wore the matching dress I wore at our family photoshoot so she felt like one of her own was there.
If I felt nervous I knew I could speak up, but everyone was very professional, the only time I really got nervous was when one of the camers during Eileah close-up shot that a camera looked like it moved, but there was the director of photography being a boss and totally being watchful for me.
It was fun making this special memory my daughter will have to tell happen and making sure everyone there had a vested interest in making sure she felt safe and happy.
5. Be yourself
I think the hardest part as a mom is being yourself. You want to project all the positive motherly qualities you have, but you also want to be treated like an individual too. Sometimes you feel like wallpaper, but in those instances you need to realize that this filming is about her and the cast, not you, but you still have the freedom to talk the way you talk and laugh when you want to laugh. Enjoy the moment, and if you need something don’t feel like a diva for asking to sit down or ask for water. That’s what the crew is there for.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Going back to being yourself, I found it hard to ask questions but then I’d always think, what would I want my mom to do for me? I asked if Eileah was going to get a credit since this was a seminal moment in the film. I asked questions regarding a prop they were using. If it was relevant to know I learned to swallow my pride and ask because if it means Eileah’s safety and happiness I need to fight for that. When she’s old enough to watch this horror movie about the haunted house in Frankfort, she’ll be like “my mom made sure I was taken care of.” That was my #1 mission next to…
7. Have fun!
I told Eileah while we were in St Peter’s Church, which was across the street from the house and where crew and cast were being held in between scenes, that “if it’s not fun, we don’t need to do it.” If it isn’t fun, don’t keep going. Life is too short to not be doing what makes you happy. It’s also important to be in the moment and allow yourself to have fun. Just listen to your gut moms, you’ll know what’s right.
Talent Agencies Near Tinley Park
Yes, they’re in Chicago, sad truth that we don’t have Hollywood out here in the suburbs, but these notes may help you if you rae interested in pursuing a modeling or acting career for your baby.
[Barbizon connection, not a good sign]
ALTHOUGH WE REPRESENT CHILDREN, OPEN CALL IS FOR AGES 16+ YRS ONLY.
p style=”padding-left: 60px;”>Open Call is held the THIRD Wednesday of every month from 10:00AM to 12:00PM at
our Broad Street location (see map below).
p style=”padding-left: 60px;”>You MUST bring current snapshots, a comp card, or a headshot/resume with
you to Open Call.
No open calls
Doesn’t represent children
FORD holds open calls in Chicago from 2pm to 4pm, Monday to Friday (excluding Fridays during the Summer, when the agency closes at 1pm), and in Los Angeles every Tuesday (excluding holidays) from 3pm to 4pm. At the moment, we do not hold open calls at any other location, and we kindly ask you submit your application via this form.”
OPEN CALL: Monday – Friday @ 2pm
Age requirements: Females 14 + & Males 16 +
“OPEN CALL IS HELD MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY PROMPTLY AT 2:00 PM. SINCE BUILDING RULES PROHIBIT LOITERING. IF YOU’RE RUNNING LATE, YOU WILL NOT BE SEEN. EVERYONE ATTENDING OPEN CALL IS REQUIRED TO PROVIDE A PHOTO ID. A FACTOR | CHOSEN REPRESENTATIVE WILL ESCORT YOU TO OUR OFFICE AFTER SIGNING IN WITH BUILDING SECURITY. MEN AND WOMEN WELCOME. OUR OFFICE IS CLOSED FOR HOLIDAYS AND THE FRIDAY BEFORE MEMORIAL DAY, INDEPENDENCE DAY, LABOR DAY, CHRISTMAS, MLK DAY, AND PRESIDENTS DAY. WE ARE CLOSED FROM CHRISTMAS EVE THROUGH NEW YEAR’S DAY, SO THERE IS NO OPEN CALL DURING THAT PERIOD.”
Stewart Talent [connected with MP Factor]
No open calls.
CHILDREN UNDER 4 & INFANTS:
Good quality snapshots (make sure they show expression and personality – no hats or sunglasses)
Please label each snapshot with; Date of Birth, Date of Picture, Height, Weight, and Size
SASE (if sent via traditional mail)
Generally, we do not represent children under four that live outside a 1 hour radius of Chicago.
If your child is older than 4, they will need professional pictures to compete with children we already represent.
I’m weary of them. They have photos on their website, not protecting children, and they seem to sign anyone to their agency.
My Takeaway From This Experience
We can’t all make it into the league of legends and icons like Marilyn Monroe or Elvis. But aspiring to something is good because “inside of you is the potential to make yourself better…and that is what it means to be human. To make yourself more than you are” (Star Trek, Jean-Luc Piccard). But as Judy Garland sang, somewhere over the rainbow is never a fool’s errand, it is a fool who never dreams for fear of the pain of failure. We all will and do fail, but it is the getting up after each failure that brings us closer to our true calling, and our true calling is usually the thing we’d do for free. So if Eileah is into this when she get’s older, that’s wonderful. But in doing this we both got a glimpse into what the process is like. And at the end of the day during that golden hour, it was getting home and being with our family, eating pizza and playing with our puppies that brought me and Eileah the most joy. Some people all they have is their work, but isn’t truly heaven to have both family and a life that allows you to be happy no matter how rich or famous you are? I think we choose family right now, but this will give Eileah a great story to tell when she’s older.