frequently asked questions
How much notice do I get?
This varies between 24 hours and a couple of days. We expect you to be available to go to castings at short notice so it is important to think carefully about whether you can give this level of commitment. Please note that children under school leaving age must be accompanied by an adult chaperone (usually a parent or relative) for castings and work.
When and where do I go?
Castings generally take place in London. For children and young performers we always try to get after-school slots (usually between 4-6pm) but the reality is, that if you live any distance from London, you will have to leave school early in order to get to your appointment on time. It is important to have the support of your school in this respect. For adults, the castings are usually during the day, particularly recalls where you are meeting the director. Filming could take place at a television studio in London but might be anywhere in the country or sometimes abroad.
When do I hear about the result?
Usually, we hear within a day or two (sometimes longer) if the casting director wants to recall you for a second audition. We do not generally hear anything if they do not want to see you again. We will contact you if you have been successful but not if you haven’t unless you are down to the final few for a part.
How much time will I miss off school?
Apart from a few hours here and there for castings, it will depend on the job. A commercial is usually one or two days shooting (unless it is being filmed abroad in which case you will have travel days). A television programme or film will shoot over a period of several weeks or months but you will not usually be required every day. If a child is going to miss three or more days in any week then provision has to be made for their education whilst on set. It is quite usual for the parent to supervise work set by the school, but if the commitment is a long one, then a professional tutor will be engaged by the film/television company. Any job that will involve missing school requires written permission from your school. It is important that you talk to your head teacher about this and let them know they could be called upon to give this permission at some stage. If missing school is going to be a problem for you it would not be wise to join the agency.
How much will I be paid?
Fees paid for child performers vary hugely but are usually half the adult rate plus a chaperone fee for the parent. Performers over school leaving age are paid at the adult rate as they do not require licensing or chaperones. Commercials are one of the best-paid jobs, with a child’s basic studio fee of around £180 plus a buyout in lieu of repeats (sometimes as much as 500%). Adults can expect around £250 BSF plus repeats. Television work is paid at a much lower daily rate but there are extras such as a programme fee, repeat fees and payment for standby days (days when you are not working during the overall shoot days). Films are sometimes paid on a daily or weekly rate or an overall fee is negotiated. Theatre work is notoriously poorly paid but is immensely rewarding and good for the CV!
What will it cost to join the agency?
We do not charge fees to join Abacus and only take our commission when you have received payment for work. However, we will require you to supply professional photographs of yourself and to pay for an annual entry into Spotlight.