So you want to be a model ? Perhaps you have been approached by a guy in the street with a business card and you're flattered and super excited.... BUT is it legitimate ? Or is he a scam artist ?
The modelling world is a vast and diverse one, with different areas emerging all the time however, you should be intelligent enough to be safe. These are my tips.
- Avoid companies with no address or contact number
- Avoid companies who hide behind a PO Box address
- Check out the websites, social media and other sources of the agency
- A good model is a smart model – use your common sense and don't be afraid to say NO
- Never pay an agency to sign onto their books – an agency makes money from the commission they earn from getting you work
- If you are under the age of 18, always try to have an adult accompany you
- Never consider international contracts without a mother agent to protect and guide you
- Never sign a contract without reading it and understanding its contents first
- Never sign up to an agency without double-checking its legitimacy
- Ask other models that you know are part of that agency questions
- Know what type of model you are before you start going to castings
- If under 18- never attend castings/ go- sees alone
- You need a portfolio - and it must represent you and what type of model you'll be
- Never let an agency pressure you into doing anything you are not comfortable with
- No one can guarantee you work or an easy route into modelling
- A good agent will usually have an out-of-office-hours contact number for emergencies
- Be cautious of adverts in local papers, classified ads and the Internet looking for models – legitimate agencies do not use this means to scout new faces
Dodgy agencies or scammers will tell you what you want to hear: for example 'you are just what we are looking for' to make you sign up and pay unnecessary or excessive fees.
Be careful of anyone who promises they can make you a star overnight. The realoity is- an agent will set you up for appointments and go-see opportunities but YOU are the one that land's the job. So if you arrive drunk or high, no one will book you.
Ask the agency questions and be suspicious of anyone who can't or won't provide clear answers.
Reputable agencies will tell you that the industry is very tough to get into and only a very small number of people have what it takes to succeed. Lots of good-looking and talented people struggle to get enough work.
Beware of companies who scout you on the street and tell you that you have the 'look'
Some BAD modelling companies target young aspiring models on the street, eg shopping centres, and tell them they have the 'look'. They take details and a photograph and tell you they can find you work and of course, by miracle within a couple of days they contact you to tell you
A client is keen on your look BUT you must have professional photographs to be considered for it, of course the next thing is the HARD SELL. Of course you MUST use their photographers and are pressured into purchasing large portfolios, and comp cards sometimes for as much as $1000. You'd be amazed how often this occurs.... and sadly, how many times I am told people fell for it. We all love being complimented and this appeals to our need to be wanted however often jobs they have told you about often do not exist and they do not intend to find you work.
Always check out an agency that approaches you on the street to see if they are genuine.
Of course there are always exceptions to the rules- but I am just trying to remind people to stay safe- and when it doubt, FIND OUT.
Bronwyn Neal- Cinema Models 😛