Industry Protocol


The good, the inexperienced and getting educated about the business

Protocol into the Entertainment Business.

The normal process getting into the model and talent business is usually
modeling schools, which costs money, then onto modeling searches,
costing you more money. Finding a manager is your first real step to
becoming professional and again costs you money. If you qualify, the
management companies will start the marking process for you.
Management companies get you ready and prepare you for the working
business. Management companies will find the right agency for you. Then
it’s time to make the money!

Make sure you know the difference between a modeling school, a model
showcase/model search or model convention, a manager, agent and

Managers are they worth it? Every penny! Your first step towards being a professional is finding your value, getting your marketing tools and then placing you with the right agent. 

Management companies decide if you can work, or not, in this business. If
things are done the right way, you will make them look good. Managers
work for you in preparing you for the business, helping and directing you in making the right decisions. “How can you make any money?” 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 want you to work. Managers
are the voice behind you, your stamp of approval. They want to see you
make it! If a manager 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, which is your proof of worth. If you do
find a manager, hang onto them. 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. Trust and do what they need you
to do. You can not make it if you do not show what your value is!
Competition is fierce!

Finding the right company that works 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 taken. The biggest
problem is when you are looking to get into a multi-million dollar industry,
you will have to spend money on your skills. Skills pays the bills! YOUR
TALENT! The Internet is an amazing place to search and find places and
things, however it can also become very confusing and extremely
overwhelming. Who’s real and who’s not real? How do you know who’s
who and who’s what?

Once you find the company that suits you,  see if that company is backed
by the BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU. If they are, they will have an
accredited logo on their site, as we do. “DO NOT TRUST GOOGLE”, or any
of the others, Yelp, yellow pages, etc. anyone can write anything on
these sites. Trust the BBB, they rate a company 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. Anything else you read anywhere else on the
internet is “NOT THE TRUTH.”  Your career is your business and your
investment in you! 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, actors, dancers, and 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 honestly, it is the truth no matter what business we get into. Smart
investments can pay off, and 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 ensure success. In any
career, having the correct tools, the right photographers, make-up artist
and wardrobe stylist and hands on knowledge are all necessary. Some of
those things do cost money. If a child approaches their 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, and sports team. Choosing a career in
modeling and acting is very rewarding, if you apply yourself and invest
wisely. Model searches are a big investment these days.  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 model
searches, some work and some do not, just like in any business. Each step
is a gamble. They are a great step to get up in front of a lot of people and
see if this business will suit you.

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 through the BBB and get in front of the camera. You may
find yourself purchasing clothes, props, accessories or makeup for photo
shoots, castings, auditions, and networking websites, so be prepared.
Choose a casting networking website that is given to you by managers or
your agent.  DO NOT BE TAKEN.  You want to make sure you get paid, and at the right rate for your services. Some models and actors spend money
on marketing tools and techniques to entice hiring clients. This makes
perfect sense! Keep in mind that this is a competitive business, 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. Make
sure you are shooting for the right division that fits your physicality and
your age. Most new talent haven’t the slightest clue what this means,
which means you are already going to fail.  You have to show your talents
through credibility, performance, and the ability to act, model, sing or
dance 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. It is best to work with
someone that is in this business. This is your short cut to getting work in
the business. People hire you on what you can offer them and what you
have to offer. It isn’t always your physical looks. You have to prove yourself
to the agent and the client.

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 or help you for free. If
it is free, it can come with a high price, after the fact. Sometimes, you may
find a photographer who will offer to trade you photographs for your 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, and free” 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 plus
years 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. The 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. There are rules and regulations that have to
be met in this business.

Finding the Agency that is right for you.

There are SAG agencies and NON-Union Agencies.  This is not always easy.
There are kids agencies, agencies just for women, plus women, just men,
animals, and so on. You have to know who you are dealing with. Be ready
and show the agent you are capable of making them money. Agents get
paid on what you make, and 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 could be
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 many states do. This can be
confusing, so call the 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.

By having a manager, they will promote 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 your 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, then 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 themselves
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 trying,
you will make it happen. Think long term. Keep updating your images,
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.


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  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 – $7,000 just to attend the two day
convention. Every week there are model searches and conventions. A
Convention can cost $800 – $10,000, we have heard even higher.  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 pick up a model, and sign them at a
convention. You can not work if you do not know what you are doing. Most
of the 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. However, take advantage of this
search and get agents cards and work towards getting signed with the agent that is right for you.  You are getting training to gain advantage. Over
the years we have found that some agents attending these searches do try
and help some by referring them to good management companies. Some
model searches have helped new talent and at least have given them some
knowledge of how the industry works. In any business, there is good and
not so good. 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. We
do agree that attending these searches can get you to make that
decision…. “do I want to go pro?”

Misconceptions about the Model and Talent Industry – Sorry to burst
your bubble! If you’re pretty you can model. Well….no. 

Not true. Looks aren’t everything. Sometimes the prettiest girls are the
worst models. Some people aren’t the prettiest but they are photogenic.
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. It’s 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, an agent is great, but plenty of 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. It’s 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 earnings, 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 every day. 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 every day. 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, it’s only a matter of time before 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 it’s not a one
man job. Get a manager, get the help. If you want to be a pro, do what the
pros do. If you are around the age of 4-7 most likely you will not need any
training. All models need to fit the sample sizes of the clothes that are
being marketed on a paying shoot.

The Main thing to remember is this is a major multi million-dollar
business, the money is out there for you to earn.  You must be ready at all
cost!  Invest in yourself and the marketing tools that you will need.