Friday, August 1, 2008

Modeling tips: get an agent (what?)

So, there you are. You've followed trough everything I told you last week and now you have 5, maybe 6 agencies offering you a deal. What to do?

Exclusive or not?
The first question is whether you want to be with one single agency, or several. There is no easy answer to this question. Logic tells us that more agencies mean more work, and more of a hassle as well. If you are represented by 3 agents, you will have to update schedules and coordinate portfolio shoots. So if you wanted an agency to get rid of the hassle, exclusivity may be the answer. If you are trying to maximize the number of shoots (and income), then you might want to have more agencies out there trying to find work for you. Unless of course you get a great deal from an internationally renowned agent to sign an exclusive contract.

Avoid scams
Make sure you check your agencies before signing up. Check BBB, look for blacklists and check out thier reputation on modeling discussion forums in your region. Contact models and photographers you know and ask them if they know the agency. Like with photographers, you can check in advance for not-ok signs (see my earlier article):
  • The agency requires advance payments;
  • The agent has no office;
  • Agency commissions over 25%;
  • The agency promises you the world;
  • The agency does not comply to local regulations;
  • Advertisements (most reputable agencies don't advertise. They simply don't have to).

Like with photographers, seeing these signs does not mean these guys are crooks by definition, but be extra careful if you see such a sign.

Aspects to base your choice on
When picking an agency, take a closer look at the work of their photographers. Are they any good? Do they publish in magazines? Similarly, look at the models of the agency. Their achievements tell you a lot about what to expect for yourself. And obviously, look at the offer. How will they help you? Will they help you building a portfolio for instance? What's in the small print of the contract? What contract duration do they offer? It is generally not a very good idea for starting models to sign contracts with duration of more than 2 years.

More resources:
Exclusive vs non-exclusive, the arguments
about scams
why to get an agent
how to get an agent

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