Smaller stars offered smaller salaries

Reps fight to get kid actors bigger paychecks

During the most recent pilot season, Cindy Osbrink, CEO of the Osbrink Agency, says one of her child clients auditioned at a network and was offered the part.

The only problem was the network claimed there was no money left in the pilot’s budget and wanted the child to be paid as a guest star.

“I told them, ‘He’s in the family! How can he be a guest star?'” says Osbrink, whose client list includes Dakota Fanning and “Everybody Hates Chris” star Tyler James Williams.

The child actor ended up taking the job. “It comes down to either he’s not in it at all or he’s a well-paid guest star and the hope is the pilot gets picked up,” Osbrink says.

It’s not the first time Osbrink has had to deal with one of her child clients being offered less than adult counterparts on the same set for the same work.

Wendi Green, founder of Abrams Artists’ youth department, who represents “Two and a Half Men” star Angus T. Jones, also has fought to ensure her child clients receive fair compensation.

“It’s truly about the role,” she says. “If it’s the lead of the show, you’re going to be paid like an adult.”

“It’s not the age of the actor, it’s the experience” that she says should be considered, Osbrink believes.

Jones, for example, is not going to be paid the same as a star like Charlie Sheen, but, Green adds, “If the show evolves around the child, you have all the leverage.”

Mitch Gossett, director of the young talent division at Cunningham, Escott, Slevin and Doherty, says he thinks minors usually get “the short end of the stick” when it comes to equal pay.

“When producers sit down to make budgets, they pay child actors scale or slightly above,” Gossett says.

But, he adds, often the role could be the child’s big break into the industry, and sometimes taking a hit upfront may just pay off in the end.

More Voices

  • HadestownNew York Theatre WorkshopBy Anaïs MitchellDeveloped

    Streaming to Broadway: How New Titles, Talent Grow Buzz Online

    During the most recent pilot season, Cindy Osbrink, CEO of the Osbrink Agency, says one of her child clients auditioned at a network and was offered the part. The only problem was the network claimed there was no money left in the pilot’s budget and wanted the child to be paid as a guest star. […]

  • Randall Arney Geffen Playhouse

    What No NYC Nonprofit Theater Likes to Talk About

    During the most recent pilot season, Cindy Osbrink, CEO of the Osbrink Agency, says one of her child clients auditioned at a network and was offered the part. The only problem was the network claimed there was no money left in the pilot’s budget and wanted the child to be paid as a guest star. […]

  • The Lion King Broadway

    How 'The Lion King' Ushered in the Era of the Blockbuster on Broadway

    During the most recent pilot season, Cindy Osbrink, CEO of the Osbrink Agency, says one of her child clients auditioned at a network and was offered the part. The only problem was the network claimed there was no money left in the pilot’s budget and wanted the child to be paid as a guest star. […]

  • Kevin Spacey Clarance Darrow Broadway

    Broadway Gets Serious About Sexual Harassment

    During the most recent pilot season, Cindy Osbrink, CEO of the Osbrink Agency, says one of her child clients auditioned at a network and was offered the part. The only problem was the network claimed there was no money left in the pilot’s budget and wanted the child to be paid as a guest star. […]

  • Scrips Discovery Partnership

    A Merger Between Scripps and Discovery Could Be a Smart Fit

    During the most recent pilot season, Cindy Osbrink, CEO of the Osbrink Agency, says one of her child clients auditioned at a network and was offered the part. The only problem was the network claimed there was no money left in the pilot’s budget and wanted the child to be paid as a guest star. […]

  • profiles theatre Sexual Harassment

    Sexual Harassment in the Theater: How Chicago Fought Back

    During the most recent pilot season, Cindy Osbrink, CEO of the Osbrink Agency, says one of her child clients auditioned at a network and was offered the part. The only problem was the network claimed there was no money left in the pilot’s budget and wanted the child to be paid as a guest star. […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content