Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Modeling tip: modeling agency website scams

A girl asked me recently about a modeling scam and she told me she met an agency at a hotel and they were going to sign her. They wanted money like $600 and then another chunk for photos. She asked if it was a scam, and hit me up on twitter with her concerns because she only had another day left to end the contract.

I told her to end it. I have a scanner and I have Photoshop and it takes about 5 seconds to scam and adjust a photo in Photoshop. A model should be able to hand the agent her comp card and the agent should be able to scan it in 5 seconds as well. Done! Easy, and Upload the images on their website. It is not a major skill. It is basic and a girl should not have to pay for it.

Yes we live in the Internet age but I don't care, I refuse to pay to have my photo on an agency website, especially when I have put work in creating my photos, making them professional, printing comp cards, etc. There is enough to manage and pay for. Agencies can at least put your photo on their website. I have worked with print modeling agencies in NYC that DO NOT charge you to have your photos on their website.

Ask questions. Question it. Get the details, before you say yes, and do not fork over money.

It is one thing for perhaps the agency to take this fee out of your paycheck, like 2% or 5% but the agency is already getting a booking fee from the client and a model fee taken out of your paycheck, usually now 20%.

Fashion Agencies charge their models to be on the website through their checks for their modeling bookings, but hence it is taken out of a modeling booking. Not something pockets ahead of time.

For commercial print modeling, you do not have to pay to be on an agency website and don't think you must. Soem agencies feel it is ok to charge the models but I do not agree. It is one thing for the cost to come out of your paycheck for a job the agency booked you, but to pay a monthly fee or yearly fee to be on an agency website is nuts.

Also it is convenient for an agency to use their website to market their models and show clients their models. But the website is alone is not how the agency should run. The website should not be their only marketing tool and if so I would be careful about that agency. I think it is sick that agencies charge models to be on their websites, when the models have to also produce their own comp card, make a portfolio and manage themselves often. The relationship between an agent and model should not revolve around a website.

Also, you do not have to pay an agency for photos and do not be caught in a scam. However you DO have to take it upon yourself to create professional photos. And for a print model you do not typically get signed and you DO have to create your own marketing material to model. You will have to make your own compcard, portfolio, and legit print modeling agencies or talent agencies, WILL work with the compcard you mail them.

Don't forget agents have jobs, their job is to market the models they work with. Usually for a shorter girl it will be a print modeling agency and there will be less hands on involvement from the agency. They will be a booking service but not giving you so much attention towards your marketing material. Basically it should go like this:

You mail them your compcard,
The agency likes it, or something about it.
They call you.
You meet them.
You might sign a non-exclusive contract but typically you will not be signed at all.
You will freelance with this agency, you will be free to work with other agencies as well.
You will give the agency more compcards to use to market you.
You will get called to go on castings, or emailed the info, (however the agency does it), and you will use, bring, and drop off your compcard at the casting.
If you get booked the agency get 20% of your payment. (which is typically already taken out before you get paid by the agency).

The agents job is to market their models and the clients can be directed to the website, but the website alone should not be only how the agency is marketing you.

If an agency says "you must pay to be on the website," or "You should have your photo on the website because our clietns see the models on the website," --don't do it. It is a scam. If you can not be booked by the agency without paying ahead to be on the website it is a very fishy to me.

The agent has a job, and it is not just to wait to see who happens to click on your photo on the modeling agency website. I work with professional agencies in NYC and I do not pay to be on their website. Again, the website is just one tool that an agency should use, not the end-all…so to not be deceived.

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