MODELING SCAMS AND SPENDING MONEY
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Protocol into the Entertainment Business.
The normal process into the model and talent business is usually modeling schools, which cost money then onto modeling searches, again costing you money. Finding a manager which is your real first step into going professional and yes again costs you money. The managers start the marking process for you. Finally getting an Agent interested enough in you to get you signed.
Managers are they worth it? Every penny! Your first step towards being a professional, placing you with the right agent.
Management companies decide if you can work or not in this business. You will make them look good. They work for you in preparing you for the business, helping and directing you in making the right decisions. You can not even begin to work this business, if you do not know the business. Managers have all the connections. They know what agents are looking for as well as what the clients need. Clients trust managers, agents trust managers. Managers are on your side. They are the voice behind you, your stamp of approval. They want to see you make it! If a manger thinks you can make money, they are going to get you to the right people, when you are ready. You are their gamble. You have to have your marketing tools. Proof of worth. If you do find a manager, hang onto them. They are worth everything to you. Follow their lead they know what they are doing. Even if you get signed to the biggest agency through them, hang on to them. They will back you up and help you negotiate rates with that agency and continue to give you advice.
Finding the right company that is right for you.
The first thing that all managers and modeling agencies seem to hear coming from a “want to be” talents mouth is, I got scammed. The biggest problem is when you are looking to get into a multi-million dollars industry you will have to spend money on your skills. Skills pays the bills! The Internet is an amazing place to search and find places and things, however, it can also become very confusing and extremely over whelming. How do you know who’s who and who’s what? Here is a little advice for you.
Make sure you know the difference between a modeling school, a model showcase/model search or model convention, a manager, agent and publicist.
Once you find what suites you and your needs then see if they are backed by the BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU. If they are, they will have that a credited logo on their site, as we do. That rating is given to that company by the BBB based on their performance and their integrity with their customers. This will give you the TRUTH about any company. Not a lot of people know this. Do not get fooled by unethical sites. Any thing else you read anywhere else on the internet is NOT THE TRUTH. Don’t let this fool you. Your career is your business and your investment in you! Your future money. Do it “The Right Way.” If you find a manager, or management company that is willing to sign you, let them help you, they know what they are doing and have the connections. If you have any questions we are here to help you.
As a new talent will this cost me money?
Most successful models and actors, dancers, singers will tell you that they’ve invested a lot of money in their career, and regret nothing. You have to spend money to make money. Aren’t we all sick of hearing this? But in all honesty it is the truth no matter what business we get into. Smart investments can pay off, but you don’t have to be rich to make a successful career out of modeling and acting. The best approach is to play the field and spend money on things that will help and ensure success. In any career, having the correct tools, proper training and hands on knowledge are all necessary. Some of those things do cost money. If a child approaches his parents and requests to join a dance team, most likely the parents will find themselves purchasing tap shoes, ballet slippers, leotards, and even paying for dance coaching. In ballet classes does your child make any money, probably not! But little Sally loves to dance. Same goes for any sport being baseball, football, etc. Parents will pay for smart investments leading to the child’s success on the dance team. Choosing a career in modeling and acting is rewarding if you apply yourself and invest wisely. Model searches now are a big investment these days. However they are expensive but your child is getting in front of people and some are better than others. We cover this topic below. We are not bashing the searches some are better than others. Some work some don’t like in any business. Each step is a gamble.
What do I need to buy, what do I need to spend and why?
Purchase what you need period. If you want to learn about modeling, read books, research the internet and get in front of the camera. You may find yourself purchasing clothes, props, accessories or makeup for photo shoots, casting, auditions, and networking websites, so be prepared. Some models and actors spend money on marketing tools and techniques to entice hiring clients. This makes sense. Keep in mind that this is a competitive business, so be smart and present yourself as a unique individual so you stand out. Get unique photos that will intrigue and impress those that wish to hire you. Show them your talents through creditability, performance, and ability to act on the spot. Your photos should show your personality and say, “Book me!” (Pay me money for what I am worth). You are hired to sell a product! Take workshops, classes, or get a coach. If it costs money, make sure it’s worth the cost and that you’re gaining knowledge from a reputable and experienced company or individual. Best to work with someone that is in this business. This is your way into this business. People hire you on what you can offer them.
Do I have to pay for photos to get into modeling?
This is pretty simple, yes. Work with photographers that are in the business. If you want to get amazing shots, it’s almost impossible to find a professional photographer who will photograph you, help you for free. If free, it can come with a high price after the fact. Often you may find a photographer who will offer to trade you photographs for you time; this is known as TFP or Time For Print. Unfortunately, even though you are getting some free photos these seemingly generous photographers have hidden agendas to get you to work for free for an assignment, and later sell your images to stock. Most models prefer to have control of their images and where their face and name ends up. With TFP offers, you have no say, the photographers could yield thousands of dollars from your images they take during a TFP shoot. Unfortunately, the models will never see any of the money, because they were willing to work for “a trade” instead. This is not how the industry works and typically not the best way to start, usually leading to failure or embarrassment. Photographers will sell your images to the stock houses and you never know where your photo may surface. This is a scary thought. Not to mention most TFP photographers take advantage of models, requesting that they do lingerie, skimpy swimwear, nude shots, and even adult work, this is totally unacceptable in the real modeling world. In addition, one shot could last a lifetime, yielding thousands each month. The “Gerber Baby” is 84 years old and she receives a check each month for her image that is still being used today on the baby food jars. Don’t put yourself in a position where your photos are making someone else money, and you are not. It is just not worth it! Avoid TFP’s, time for print offers, and avoid signing releases, contracts without an incentive. If you pay a photographer, you can most likely own your images or share the copyrights with the photographer. Most people in the industry, photographers, models, makeup artist, etc. will be willing to let their images be used for product advertisements as long as there is pay involved. Those talent that do it for free are never going to be taken seriously. Seem complicated? It really is. That is why it is so important to have a good manager. You want to get paid for your image being used in advertisements. After all this is why we are in this business and that is to make money.
Finding the Agency that is right for you:
Not always easy. There are kids agencies just women, plus women, just men, animals, on and on. You have to know who you are dealing with. Be ready and show that agent you are capable of making them money. Agents get paid on what you make. Agents are very careful who they sign. They need to make money off of your jobs. Otherwise, why would they send you to their clients? They do not care how much money you have invested.
Make sure the Agency has a TA number like TA 0000123. (TA meaning talent agency) look for it or ask to see this number. This means they are license by the State. If they don’t have one, then it means they are running an illegal business. Don’t worry they won’t last for long. Making it even more confusing now, some States do not require a TA license. New York does not require a TA license, however Florida does. This can be so confusing, so call that State and ask them. One phone call can save you from a bad situation as well as time and money! Never let an agency sell you anything!
Always approach an Agency with great images.
In having a manager they will promote for you and do all the foot work for you. One needs to speak highly of you and wow them with your images. Why would anyone want to hire you? Remember, they have to convince their clients; magazines, televisions and film directors, etc… you have “the look they need”. If you can’t impress an agent with you photos they will not be able to impress their clients. Provide photos that scream “book me”! Provide composite cards as well as a modeling book/portfolio and other tangible tools to prove you worth, demo reels, tear sheets, etc. Having your own web site can be an amazing way to show an agency that you have been paying your dues and you are accomplishing things on your own. Not a Facebook page. If you can demonstrate that you are earning money as a model than you have worth. Making money is the key for any good agent to say” you are worth something to us and we would like to invest our time in you”. They will see in you a way to make themselfs money! Anyone can have nice photos, a comp card and portfolio book…The key is ARE YOU WORKING?
Persistence, patience, practicing your skills is your best friend.
No matter what line of work you are getting into if you just keep on trying you will make it happen. Think long term. Keep updating your images and your marketing tools and your knowledge. Think big and think lifetime. The things that you do today can determine how long your career will last and how much money you can make. Be aware of unions, copyright laws, residuals, syndication rights, buyouts, and contracts, some will cost you money as well as earn you extra money.
Conventions/Model Searches are they for real? BE CAREFUL
Yes, they are out there and they are everywhere. A “big shot” advertises on the radio that they will be in town for only a couple days and this is your one and only chance to be seen by hundreds of agencies and casting directors. Sometimes they even tell you that it is free to attend. You show up to a big convention center or hotel room or even on a cruise ship where hundreds of “want to be” models and actors are anticipating the same thing. While at this convention you have to spend money – there’s no way around it. They will have you paying anywhere from $700.00 for 15 photos to show to all the agencies while at the convention. If you don’t buy, then you can’t see the agents. Even if you show up with great photos, sometimes you’ll still need to spend the money on a shoot. Spending money on photos is fine, but $700.00 for 15 photos, those better be the best photos ever! At one of these model venues, models from all over the nation visiting were spending $3,700.00 just to attend the two day convention. Every week there are model searches and conventions. Don’t be fooled. A Convention could cost $800.00-$10,000. But here’s the best part, after the convention is over the “big shots” leave town with your money and head to another city to do the exact same-thing. You are left abandoned with no jobs, no agency, and less money then you started. It’s rare that any agent would pickup a model, signing them at a convention. You can not work if you do not know what you are doing. The quality of models that attend conventions and searches consist of people that are NOT familiar with how the entertainment industry works and that’s an agents biggest fear. The odds of you really landing anything is like winning the lottery and the competition is huge. You want individual attention and you want someone to see you for you. Over the years we have found that some agents attending these searches do try and help some by referring to good management companies. Some model searches have helped new talent and at lease have given them some knowledge of how the industry works. In any business there is good and bad. We want to think the best of everyone. You don’t want to burn any bridges. Best advice, find a manger and only visit an agency when you are agency ready. Most agents give people one chance, so be prepared.
Misconceptions about the Model and Talent Industry – Sorry to burst your bubble! If you’re pretty you can model.
Not true. Looks aren’t everything. Sometimes the prettiest girls are the worst models. Some people aren’t the prettiest but they are photogenic. They will work this is why you have to get behind a camera. Remember, as a model it’s your job to sell a product or the clothes on your back. If you cannot do that, pretty or not, you’re not model material. There is a demand for every division. Your physicality is your destiny. Tall, short, heavy, thin, ugly, beautiful, or odd looking – there’s work for everyone.
You have to be tall to be a model.
-Just an old myth these days. Height is a plus, but means nothing. Kate Moss is 5’5″. Eva from America’s Next Top Model is 5’5” Height is just a number. Every market has a demand for different looks. Some want tall models, some want petite models, some want beauty models. Find your groove, embrace your look and make it work. Its not impossible. Sarah Jessica Parker modeled for Gap at 4’11″. There are many different styles of modeling…one will work for you.
All I need is an agent.
-Sure, and agent is great, but plenty models and actors find work without an agency too. You have options, know them.
Agencies will pay for me to model.
-An agency will not pay for you to model. Why would an agency invest in you if you have nothing to offer them. If an agency invested money in every pretty girl they met, they would be bankrupt in an hour. They will not pay for composite cards, portfolios, or anything that models need. Its your job to supply agents with your tools so that they can book work for you. If an agent helps you financially, they expect to be paid back and will deduct funds from your earning, but that is rare.
I don’t need training, if I got the talent – I’m ready to work.
-Sports athletes have a lot of talent, but they train everyday. Even in the sports world if you miss a practice, you cannot play in the game. Training can be your best friend. The model industry changes everyday. You have to make sure you are updated in all aspects. Training can be reassuring and build confidence. Polish your craft, practice makes perfect. If you are not on your “A” game, its only a matter of time until someone else sneaks in and takes your work from you. Johnny Depp trains with acting coaches for every film. If Kevin Spacey did not have his acting coach on set with him for American Beauty, he never would have won an academy award for the role. There’s a lot to modeling and acting – and its not a one man job. Get a manager, get the help. If you want to be a pro-do what the pros do.