Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What's a Modeling Contract? Do you need it


Not all models have contracts and actually less do. Don't be obsessed over the contract. Only a small percent of models have modeling exclusive contracts. Commercial print models take of more of the industry and they do not sign exclusive contracts usually. A girl that is short should pursue commercial print modeling, and for commercial print modeling there is not a contract to sign. Commercial print modeling agencies work with models on a freelance base normally. This means the model is free to also work with other agencies. Did you know that MOST models do not sign contracts. With all the scams, conventions and modeling schools out there it can be hard to tell if the agency contract is a scam. Here is my insight on Why you don't need to sign a contract, and why you shouldn't:

1. Why would you want to sign your modeling goals away without working with the agency first? Don't trust that someone will care about your pursuits as much as you without working with them. If an agency wants you to sign a contract and you are short, I would consider it a scam because a legit commercial print modeling agency only has non-exclusive contracts.

2. I would not sign exclusive with an agency because I want to be able to handle my own pursuits and not feel I can't be in control of my choices. I do not want to be limited and waiting for someone to call me, I want to be able to approach magazines and brands and with my do-it-yourself approach it is unconventional but I have seen it work and I plan to keep doing it, even while working with the agencies I work with today. Commercial print models not molded and told what to do as much as a fashion model is, and she is not given that personal hands on attention as a fashion agency treats their select models, a commercial print model is more free, more of her own business, so you do not have to sign a contract. Sure it would be nice to be jet set and have the phone ringing daily for modeling work, but modeling for the short girl just doesn't happen like that.

3. Being realistic is best. A contract might be something for your ego, but it doesn't mean you will get any modeling work with it. It is not a promise.

4. A contract is something in the fashion world, but not seen in the commercial print world.

5. A commercial print model has to make her own marketing material, compcard, modeling portfolio, she is a contractor and works with many agencies and gives her compcards to them each.

Some facts about Commercial print Modeling and Contracts You might be surprised to learn:

A non-exclusive contract is best because if you find your own freelancing work, you do not pay the agencies you are working with a commission but by signing an exclusive contract you would have to. What if you sign a contract that is exclusive -which means you can ONLY work with that agency...and then you submit your headshot to a casting director and they want to hire you for Law and Order but your contract with the agency says that you have to give the agency a percent of all monies you make. Or that you can NOT book work by freelancing.

First. When you are starting to work with a commercial modeling agency in NYC for example, there is not typically that moment of ok it is time to sign the contract now. You do not have to sign a contract. Infact I can't remember ever signing one at all over the years. In the business, it is not a 100% need, and it isn't the end-all to getting modeling work and working as a model. A freelance model working with many agencies will get more work and can find more opportunities. None exclusive contracts are best for a new model, especially one that is petite or not fashion height.

A commercial print model works as a freelance model, sort of like a small business and does her taxes like a small business and you can work with as many agencies as you want. Here is insight on working with an agency and payment:
If the agency books you a job they get a percent of your paycheck ( which is usually taken out before you get paid.)Typically 20% is normal If you made $1000 your check will read $800. I think a contract is bad news for a model with no experience, especially a short model, who is petite and chasing the commercial print market. A non-exclusive contract is the only thing you should sign. And you are allowed to work with numerous agencies at once. I work with 4 agencies in NYC currently.

Here are some websites to consider after I Googled: Signing a Modeling Contract/copy and paste:

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