Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Modelling tips: plan your career (3)

Part 1 of this series was about making plans, part 2 about checking on them. Part 3 of planning your career is about deviating from your plans. This happens more often than not. In fact, plans sometimes seem to be made to be able to deviate from them. Why? Because plans involve the future, and the future is intrinsically unpredictable. Things can happen. Good things, bad things, things you never thought of. And if they happen, it may be wise to deviate from your plans.

Say you planned to start your career on the catwalk. Maybe later, you were thinking, you were going to switch to magazines. Then a magazine comes along, wanting to hire you for an editorial. Will you refuse because it doesn’t fit your plan? No you won’t. Assess the offer, and if it is any good, forget about the plan: deviate! If this happens once or twice, it’s okay to deviate, while in the meantime following the plan as, well, planned. If it occurs more often, you’ll have to think about changing the plan. You just might be more fit for magazines than for catwalks. Or maybe you are not, but coincidence has granted you a head start in magazines and you should grab the opportunity.

How will you know when to deviate from your plans and when to change them? You won’t. There is no such thing as a golden rule here. You can ask other models and photographers around you what they think, but remember that they will give you opinions rather than facts. On the other hand, if five or six experienced people share the same opinion, it might as well be a good one. If you’re with an agency, go ask them. They know a lot, and your interest is their interest. Unless of course, you are with a catwalk-specialized agency. After collecting the opinions, make a choice. It may not be the right choice, but you’ll have to make one. It’s no use waiting for the ‘right’ information to come by, because you’ll never have enough information. Besides, the ‘right’ information has the peculiarity of coming buy after you made your decision. It always does.

A couple of common-sense issues should be kept in mind though. If you’ve invested heavily in a catwalk career and it hasn’t paid off, ask yourself why. Is catwalk the right choice for you? Is it just too early for pay offs? Do you expect pay offs in the near future? Do they outweigh the benefits of switching to magazines? No easy answers here, I’m sorry. When in doubt, it’s okay to follow two tracks for say two, three months. If your catwalk pay efforts do not pay off in these months, or if magazines keep approaching you, you’ll know what to do. Don’t stay on two tracks for too long though, dividing your attention may distort your focus.

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