Starlingkids is a CAPE TOWN based agency representing CAPE TOWN based children ONLY between the ages of 6 months to 12 years. We also have a small teens division.

How things work in the industry

The work we put your children forward for includes, TV commercials, Stills catalogue shoots, Advertising Campaigns, Editorial (magazine) shoots as well as voice overs and movies. We are sure you would have seen the numerous boards, vans and crews shooting and filming in and around Cape Town in the summer months.

90% of our clients are international and they come to Cape Town in the summer months (September – April) to shoot their Catalogues, Adverts or TV Commercials. The local productions companies do marketing trips to Europe and other destinations, selling Cape Town as a great destination for TV and stills photographic shoots – firstly because of its diverse locations in close proximity to each other, long days, great lighting and wide multicultural mix of models to choose from, as well as it being cost effective and very first world. Once the client decides to come to Cape Town they select a Producer who then has to book accommodation, locations, models, etc for the client to help them bring their campaign together within their budget. The local producers are therefor who request models for castings, give us your rate and book you.

We do service our local market (Woolworths, Pep, Jet, Ackermans, Foschini etc) but they make up a very small percentage of our work. You can therefore expect to hear from us a lot less over the winter months. We do however use this time constructively to update the children’s details and pictures as well as to track down work done in season and to update their client lists etc from work done in season.

What to expect:

  • Once the producer has a brief from the client as to what models they will be needing they send us a brief and we submit all children that fit the brief(ie: Boys 110cm, cheeky, blue eyes)
  • They then send us a shortlist of who they want to see at the casting
  • They sometimes also ask us to check the children’s availability for the shoot dates so that if they see your child at the casting and want to use them they are then able to get them, they may therefore ask for a 1st option on your child. It is VERY IMPORTANT to understand the importance of a 1ST OPTION!
  • A FIRST OPTION is that once we ask if your child will be available for certain dates and times that you keep those date free for in case the client decides to book your child. It is never normally all the days that they option but just a couple of the days or half days, or even none in the end. You are welcome to have your child only on option after school hours if you feel more comfortable with this. Once you have committed to a 1st option it is very poor form not honor the booking should the client wish to book your child as they have to start the whole casting process all over again and it costs a lot of precious time and money
  • On that note also to say that once you commit to a CASTING it is important that you ATTEND it as the clients waste a lot of time and money having to re cast as not enough children pitch to castings and it is not a very good reflection on the industry.
  • CASTINGS can be laborious and inconvenient and it takes commitment on the part of the parent and the child. Often you can attend a couple of castings with no come back and it can be quite disheartening but once your child is booked and more comfortable in front of the camera, castings seem to become more successful.

    Here are some casting tips:

    • always be on time for your casting
    • on arrival fill in your name and agency contact details on the casting sheet and take a number and await your turn
    • only one parent or adult should accompany a child to a casting – no dogs or other animals please unless specifically requested
    • no musical instruments or noisy equipment, unless requested
    • no children who have not been requested to the casting please
    • Please let your agent know before you cut your child hair or if your child loses a front tooth between casting and the shoot dates, or if there are any other visible changes to your child
    • If your child is CONFIRMED we will then let you know when and where you need to be for the shoot, your rate as well as a contact person (production manager) on set.
    • WEATHER CALLS - because of the notoriously changeable weather in Cape Town we will often tell you if you need to make a “weather call” to your production manager before going to set. This is normally an hour before you are due to arrive on set and the production manger will be able to notify you if there have been any changes due to adverse weather conditions

Preparing your child for a shoot:

  • Make sure he/she has a good nights rest
  • Arrives with on set with clean brushed hair and face on time
  • Wears neutral underwear and shoes
  • Bring a warm jersey along
  • A water bottle
  • No high sugar snacks or fizzy drinks
  • Sun block - applied
  • Sun hat – on his/her head
  • Any special dietary requirements

There should only be one family member/ au pair / parent on set with the child, it is a place of work and although people love to come experience a day on set it does become a little confusing with loads of extra people around who are not involved in the actual shoot.

Refreshments on set

Many production companies provide lunch on set; for children this must be nutritious food and drinks appropriate to the age of the child.

Weather Calls

If a shoot is cancelled due to bad weather AFTER the child has arrived on set, then a 70% cancellation fee will apply. If the shoot is cancelled due to bad weather BEFORE arriving on set, then no fee is payable, provided the child is rebooked for another day on the same job. If the child is not booked by the client again for any reason, then a 100% cancellation fee will apply. If, however, the child is unavailable again for any reason of his/her own, no cancellation fee is applicable.

Production Companies have a two hour "window" for weather calls. In case of a full day shoot, the production company may attempt to start the shoot in the afternoon. In this case, another two hour weather call may apply, on consultation with the agency.

Once the job is complete

  • Once the shoot has wrapped we bill and sign a contract for your child where applicable.
  • The production company deducts compulsory 25% PAYE and we take the standard agency 20% commission, this is how the agency makes its money as a business model and although we love what we do we are not going to work tirelessly for free, that is not good business practice.
  • You will receive your IRP5 at the end of the tax year in February. The production companies will post the IRP5directly to the models – it is therefore imperative that you let your agency know if your address changes.

Invoicing & payment terms:

The production companies usually take between 60-90 days to pay us and so long as your funds are in the account we pay all models on the 28th of each month. Let me explain why they take 60-90 days:

The day after the shoot we send your invoice off to the production company.
Remember that a production can last up to ten days or more so the producer will wait for all bills to come in from all parties concerned before finally presenting a final invoice to the client at the end of the month. There are always a couple of queries and amendments required before the client is happy with the final invoice. 30-60 days from the month end of invoice the client pays the production company and the producer pays our agency after that so we generally receive payment 60-90 days from the month end after the job.

Dealing with SARS

A tax year runs from March 1st to the following last day of February. SARS will send you a Tax Return form if they are aware that tax may be due. If you do not receive a Return and you have additional tax to pay because enough tax has not been deducted under PAYE, the onus is on you to tell SARS. Penalties apply for non-compliance.

Your tax return

On your Tax Return you need to include full details of all your sources of income and investment income together with a claim for any allowances due and a calculation of your tax. You will not usually need to send accounts and supporting documents with your Return. You must, however, keep all records relevant to your Return for 2 years from the end of the tax year.

Tax back

Since ALL of your income now has PAYE deducted by the employer, and since you’ve kept good records detailing your valid expenses, you may actually be due tax refunds at the end of the year. Again, visit the SARS website to see how it works. www.sars.co.za

Getting your pictures:

If the shoot is shot locally it is pretty easy to track down images as we are able to contact the photographer/client and ask them to send us the JPEGS.

However, once the images have gone back overseas with the international clients it is not as easy. Having said that, if you are really keen to get copies of the pictures, please contact us and we will follow up with the production companies who are sometimes able to help and sometimes not.

Sadly stock images are not available to us at all as they are the sole property of the Picture library company.

Frequently Asked questions:

Is there a joining fee?

There is no joining fee, but a once off admin fee of R450 will be deducted from your child's first payment. This fee is for us to upload your child to the website as well as to pay our accounting office to get them a tax number. If your child already has a tax number please be sure to let us know as the fee will then be R250.

What is the difference between stills / TV commercial Production?

Stills are when the image is still on the page (magazines / fashion catalogues / advertising in store posters / billboards / web based images etc)

TVC is motion picture used for television and web based advertising where the model is in motion during the advert, the day rate for TVC’s is quoted per job and very much depends on the budget of the client and can vary hugely from one job to the next.

What Stills shoots can I expect to work on?

Advertising: Shots used to sell a product. You can expect the best daily rate from an advertising job.

Catalogue: Photos of models wearing clothing from a specific clothing company and then either distributed via traditional mailing or online copies, you will usually get a new catalogue for each new season as the garments change. Catalogue jobs pay slightly more than photo library jobs

Photo library: Photographers take a broad selection of mostly lifestyle images which they then sell to one of the image banks (Getty etc), the images are then bought buy magazines to be used with articles or they are used for brochures etc. Some of the images are never used at all. This is why the model gets paid a daily rate but no usage (royalty free image). The picture library rates are less than the catalogue and advertising rates but more than the editorial rates.

What is a day Rate? It is the fee which your child will receive for turning up on the day and performing in front of the camera

What is a usage fee? Is usually paid to models featured when the images are published. Usage fee is based on a percentage of the day fee and varies according to the way in which the image is used, the territories it is used in, the duration that it is used for as well as the roll your child took (lead, supporting, extra). If you have any queries about “usage” please contact your agency.

Why should I allow my child to be a model and involved in the industry?

This is a very individual decision and depends greatly on the personality of the child and the commitment and flexibility of the parent.

Most children / parents will quickly decide if they are not enjoying the whole casting and subsequent shooting/filming process

For those who do enjoy it, it can be great for confidence, self esteem as well as learning the value of working hard and earning and respecting money.