WHAT IS AN EXCLUSIVE CONTRACT?
If more than one agency sends you on the same audition and you get the job, then there becomes a discrepancy between who gets paid. For this reason, there are exclusive contracts. It makes things simpler if one agency has an exclusive contract and the other does not. If both have exclusive contracts, you could be obligated to pay both agencies. If both have non-exclusive contracts you could still be obligated to pay both. However, who caused you to get the job may be considered.
BENEFITS OF EXCLUSIVE
If an agency signs all of their models exclusive, that can mean they either don’t sign that many models (less competition for you) and/or only sign those they know they can market (you’re more likely to get booked). The benefit you receive from this is the confidence the agent has in getting you booked because you’re more marketable for what their clients are looking for.
BENEFITS OF NON-EXCLUSIVE
One reason an agent signs exclusive contracts is so that any work the model gets- whether they find it or not- they get a percentage. In an exclusive contract, if a model gets work on their own, they can still be legally required to pay their agent the percentage they are contractually obligated to. A non-exclusive contract will typically only require a model to pay their agent a fee when the agent is the procuring cause. To me, this is fair.
WHAT TO CONSIDER:
- If you have an exclusive contract with an agent, consider you may not be able to get work independently or from another agency, without paying that agent their fee.
- Working with more than one agency can be a good thing in a smaller market because you increase your chances of getting work.
- If you get booked for a job on your own, you can still be obligated to pay your exclusive agency.
*Note that I say “may not” because I am not an attorney. Any legal concerns should be discussed with a licensed attorney. Below is part of an example of a non-exclusive contract from docstoc.com: