Monday 21 July 2008

Choosing a modelling agency

So, you have all it takes to start modeling; all you have to do is turn to the nearest agency, which will instantly appreciate your talent and individuality and sing you up for a lucrative modeling job... Doesn’t that sound too easy? Unfortunately, nothing is that easy in modeling industry and before you sign with an agency, you better invest some time into careful selection and analysis. With so many scams out there, it pays off well to scrutinize you future employers as thoroughly, as they pick models for their jobs. Remember: you are getting picked, but you are also the one doing the picking. Being selective and wise is sure to save you loads of energy, frustration, and consequently, money.

So, before you sign with a model management, get to know the world you're plunging into.


Essentially, agencies are divided according to their specialization into modeling agencies, who scout out and hire fashion models and have an extensive roster of faces; talent agencies, whose work principles resemble recruiting agencies and which are, in fact, mediators; specialization agencies, which only perform certain types of modeling assignment (kids, plus-size, parts modeling, actors, dancers, ethnic, etc.).


Territorially, there are local agencies, which only operate within the city or country of their location and agencies which have offices in cities across the world.


There are major agencies, whose models work for leading designers, pose for catalogs and magazine covers, and whose clientele includes leading companies and trademarks; average agencies that have their fixed clientele and may have top-models in their rosters; small agencies that don't get many job assignments and whose cast is constantly changing. Such agencies have little or no chance of attracting a serious client.


One thing you have to do before signing with an agency is determine your goals. Ask yourself – what is modeling to you? Do you want a career of a professional model or is it just your hobby? Then, decide, if you have a possibility to work outside your city or country. Next, determine how much time you are ready to devote to modeling; is modeling your priority, or is your school or job more important to you? Once you have determined what you want, start looking for an agency.


Analyse modeling agencies in your area, find out which one has its models taking part in designer showcases, posing for ads and magazine covers more frequently than others (magazines usually indicate the name of a model and an agency). Large and professional agencies often have websites, which list their clients, their rules and requirements , picture galleries and casting calls. Choose several agencies and make an interview appointment.


During your first visit, take a close look at the agency's office, its atmosphere and surroundings, and  the way you are treated during an interview. Ask if you can take a look at the agency's portfolio, ask about the agency's clients and the kind of assignments it  carried out for them. Then, investigate the correctness of the information you received by talking to the agency's models (if possible) or, if you were showed magazine covers or spreads, make sure the corresponding issues of  these magazines really have those pictures. Use internet forums and discussions to find out all you can about the agency you talked to.

Once you've decided who you want to sign with, make another interview appointment to discuss details of your future cooperation. Usually, an agency will offer you a contract - it may be a basic contract, a probation period contract, or a one-time contract for a certain job.


Don't be turned off, if it is against the agency's policy to sign contracts with new faces; however, you should insist upon signing a contract for a particular given job. During your probation period, pay close attention to the agency's administrative staff, its models, its problems and benefits. Remember, that if anything goes wrong, you may stop working with this agency. Just don't be too fast to make a change, models who change agencies frequently, are treated with mistrust by modeling professionals.


All the above mentioned tips concern modeling agencies, that keep within the legally established limits. However, there's still one more type of agencies that you should know how to recognize and avoid, especially if Eastern Europe is your area of residence.  A lot of so-called model managements engage in business activities unrelated to modeling and sometimes barely legal, like consummation, business-escort or prostitution. Other fraudsters appropriate the model's money by lying about the real cost of modeling assignments and that's one of the most innocent forms the cheating may take. The next article, scheduled for June 3, will focus on modeling scams and how to recognize them.

No comments: