SELL YOURSELF

Establishing yourself is really just sales- something we all do everyday whether we realize it or not. You sell yourself to your peers, your job, agents, directors. The real reason we sell ourselves to agents is to maximize the opportunity of face time with directors- where we then try to sell ourselves again. This also allows us more time to focus more exclusively on what we do best- model. The problem many models face is that the agents don’t end up getting us as many go-see’s as we’d like, and when they do send us out we have to compete with all the other models they’re sending on the same job.

When agents look for models, they need to maximize their efforts. Therefore, they must make sure that who they decide the market (sell) is versatile and can appeal to most audiences, or at least a large one. When you walk in their door, it’s up to you to prove (sell) this to them- that you fit that mold. Then they arrange some photos of you that  how you can pull off a variety of characters and submit you for any job that comes their way with a description of someone with your general features (blonde hair, blue eyes, 5′ 9″).

Suppose PC Laptops is the client and the only thing separating you from the competition is the lack of a photo of you in a business suit. Chances are you won’t get the booking because the client has to go out of their way to imagine you fitting the role. It’s like an actor who plays the same role year after year and can never get booked for anything else because no one can imagine them in any other role. And then one day you see them in a movie playing a villein instead of a comedian and you like it. Then you begin seeing that person in many more different roles. This is because people no longer have to use their imagination. This is your main job as an independent model- to make it easy for them to imagine you as the perfect fit. This is also something an agent doesn’t go out of their way to do for you because they will make their money whether the client picks you or one  of their other models.

When agents look for models, they need to maximize their efforts. Therefore, they must make sure that who they decide the market (sell) is versatile and can appeal to most audiences, or at least a large one. When you walk in their door, it’s up to you to prove (sell) this to them- that you fit that mold. Then they arrange some photos of you that how you can pull off a variety of characters and submit you for any job that comes their way with a description of someone with your general features (blonde hair, blue eyes, 5′ 9″).

Suppose PC Laptops is the client and the only thing separating you from the competition is the lack of a photo of you in a business suit. Chances are you won’t get the booking because the client has to go out of their way to imagine you fitting the role. It’s like an actor who plays the same role year after year and can never get booked for anything else because no one can imagine them in any other role. And then one day you see them in a movie playing a villein instead of a comedian and you like it. Then you begin seeing that person in many more different roles. This is because people no longer have to use their imagination. This is your main job as an independent model- to make it easy for them to imagine you as the perfect fit. This is also something an agent doesn’t go out of their way to do for you because they will make their money whether the client picks you or one of their other models.

Next week we’ll take this further and talk about choosing your target audience wisely…


50 ITEMS TO INCLUDE IN A MODEL BAG

As you move further into your modeling career, you will be able to anticipate the items you’ll need for a booking. Just like a photoshoot on the beach may require swimwear, some bookings need items specific only to their type of job. No matter the job, there are items you should almost always bring. Gathered in an expectantly large bag, we call this a model bag.

Business Materials

In this day and age, one can accomplish several things with a single small device. You can access your contact list (often effortlessly imported from a Facebook or Google account), manage your schedule, compile lists and set reminders, take notes and store documents- even make purchases- all completely virtually.  Prepare things you’ll need to represent yourself professionally and manage your career. You never know when you’ll meet a new potential client and need someway to document their digits for future contact. You may even need to hand them a comp card and show them your portfolio. What if you’re on a photoshoot that goes longer than expected? This type of scenario calls for water, snacks, and cash. If the snacks aren’t enough, you have a way to purchase something more substantial. Cash can also be handy for parking but don’t be caught without a credit card either- these days a parking meter may only take plastic or paper, and not the usual coin. Consider additionally the list below which is a list of items you’ll need most of the time:

Undergarments, Clothing, & Accessories:

  • Robe to wear while getting makeup and hair done and for changing
  • Scarf (when changing, place over your head to prevent makeup from getting onto the clothes, smearing makeup & having to re-do your hair)
  • Black and nude bras and underwear
  • Black, white, and nude slips
  • Black and nude pantyhose
  • Various belts
  • Black and brown shoes/heels
  • Costume jewelry (bracelets, earrings, rings)

Mending, Pinning, & Tucking:

  • Masking tape (used on the bottoms of your shoes)
  • Safety pins & clips
  • Double sided tape
  • Mini sewing kit

Make Up and Skin Care:

  • Cleanser & makeup remover
  • Face and body moisturizers icon
  • Sunscreen icon icon
  • Cotton Swabs icon& Q-tips
  • Chapstick
  • Mirror
  • Foundation to match your skin tone
  • Mascara icon(bringing your own prevents spreading eye infections)

Personal Hygiene

  • Clear deodorant icon
  • Nail polish remover
  • Nail kiticon
  • Tweezers
  • Razor
  • Comb & brush
  • Hairpins & hairties
  • Curlingicon or Flat Ironicon (also great for ironing out wrinkles)
  • Toothbrush, mouthwash, & floss
  • Pain Reliever
  • iconBandages

Examples of great photos from DTA

Check them out at:  http://digitaltalentagency.tumblr.com


Look More Photogenic In 3 Easy Steps

The word photogenic has an intangible connotation, however, with a few simple tricks we can all pull off a great photo every time.

  1. Neck Pulls- As the camera converts us from 3-D to 2-D, we lose depth perception, appearing wide and more flat. Neck pulls can put back the dimension “lost in translation”. How it’s done: The basic idea is to separate your chin from your neck- the opposite of how you would make a double chin. Stretch your neck up high and stick your chin out- keeping it parallel, not down. It may feel awkward, but it looks amazing in photos.
  2. Show emotion- The eyes add emotion and are what tell the story. We use the muscles around our eyes to convey a message of how we’re feeling. Our awareness of how and when we use these muscles can activate emotions on command. How it’s done: Become aware of your emotions. When you experience different emotions throughout the day, make a mental note of which muscles around your eyes you use and how you’re using them. Practice using these muscles in front of a mirror to create various emotions. You will find that it’s similar to when you squint in the sun, or when the wind blows in your face, using mostly your lower eyelid.
  3. Smile like you mean it- We’ve all seen it before- that fake, cheesy smile we didn’t realize we made- most likely in a family portrait, cemented in history and displayed to the world on the living room wall. If this is your scenario, you probably reluctantly anticipated being photographed for at least a few days,  stressed about looking perfect the day of, and fussed while trying to get to the location on time. Awkwardly you pose for the camera and are instructed to say “cheese” just before the shot, while thinking stretching your mouth from side to side is what’s necessary to pull of an award-winning smile. Whatever your scenario, fear no more. Here’s how it’s done: The easiest way to do this is to laugh just before the shot is taken. Learn to smile and laugh on cue. The next time you genuinely laugh, pay attention to how it feels physically, and make note of what it is you’re laughing about. You can do this with several different moments. Practice replaying yourself laughing in front of the mirror and note what it feels like to use your muscles around your mouth. When you go to take your next photograph, activate those muscles. Pull from your memory your experiences and play them over and over in your head.

 


Exclusive vs Non-Exclusive Agency

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:

 


How Do I Get Into Modeling

The first thing people do when getting into modeling is go see an agent. The agent evaluates whether they can market you or not. Before they can decide that, they need to know if you can move in front of a camera. If you don’t have photographs already and they feel it’s worth the investment, they may send you to get photographed. If you photograph well, they will build you a portfolio book and get you up to speed on your technique. A reputable agency will never have you pay for things like training, photographs, or composite cards.

Reputable agencies make money when you do. If you get a lot of no’s, don’t get frustrated, give in, and sign with whatever agency will take you. Do your research and make sure you’re signing with a good match. An agency that says all you have to do is get a portfolio, etc., “oh, and by the way, that will be x amount of dollars” doesn’t have your best interest in mind and most likely makes money off you instead of the client. Most “scam” agencies are a thing of the past, but still some exist. 

If you don’t want to go the route of finding an agency, and decide you want to try it on your own, you will need to market yourself. In order to market yourself, you will need a portfolio book and composite cards. Depending on what type of modeling you want to do, you may also need to be able to walk down a runway. Later I will post some photo movement and runway techniques, as well as a link to a video for demonstration. We will also talk in more detail on how to break into your market, getting auditions and bookings. The first step is to start with a portfolio book, and then comp cards. 

A portfolio needs to be black and measure between 9″X12″ to 11″X14″. The prints should also measure to fit the size of the book, and they should all be consistent in size. The pages of the book should not be removable and should have a pocket in the back used for comp cards. The book should consist of a variety of looks, including commercial and catalog,  high fashion and editorial, beauty, figure, headshots, 3/4 shots, and full length, to name a few. This is to show your versatility and make you appeal to a wide audience. Some people specialize in certain markets and demographics, and build a portfolio that appeals to those specific clients. I specialize in beauty because I have high cheek bones, and bridal and cosmetics because of my location and area demographic. 

A comp card measures about 5″X7″, has images on both sides, your name on the front and measurements (height, bust, waist, hips, shoe size, etc.) and contact information on the back. The front typically is of your best headshot and while the back has 4 other images that best represent you and provide versatility to your market and demographic. Again, something that shows your full length, a closer up shot like 3/4 length, and something that shows the condition of your body like a figure shot, to name a few. 

For comp card printing, you can try MoldingBox.com for pricing and quotes. 

For portfolio books, you can try Amazon.com. Pricing for a 9X12 book can run between $40-$70 depending on the quality.

 

 

 


Pitching Yourself to a Magazine

James Patrick Photography blogged an interview with a fitness magazine editor  that will help any model looking to get more exposure and portfolio credentials. The following are condensed points to the interview I find most helpful in getting a submission accepted. You can also click the above link for the full article. 

  • The submission needs relevant to the magazine
  • Media is always in need of interesting, well-written, innovative articles
  • Submit finished photos, not contact sheets
  • Photos need to be a good reflection of how you currently look
  • The more information you provide (i.e. available for travel, are a writer, have an idea for a story, specialties, upcoming shoot dates) will help you stand out over other models
  • Understand that editors are super busy and inundated with e-mails from hundreds of people every day
  • Pitches from photographers tend to go over better than pitches from models, especially when the photographer says, hey, I’m shooting so-and-so in 2 weeks, is there anything you need me to get while he/she is shooting with me?

Angela Brown, Owner of  SLUG Magazine, suggests emailing your submission to a targeted magazine editor, press list, or list of magazine editors, and making sure you bcc the contacts when you send it out to a list. Angela sets up a Google Word Alert for her submissions (with the name of the headline if, for example, it’s an article submission) so that you get alerts when people write about it online because you don’t always get notified when they write about your release/submission -even if you ask them, they just don’t always have the time to.

INTERVIEW with LaRue Novick, the Editor in Chief of Max Sports and Fitness Magazine:

Understanding a fairly hectic schedule, how often do you get pitches from models, trainers, writers, photographers, etc?
I probably receive a handful each week.

MS&F March 2011 Cover

March 2011 Cover

When it comes to models pitching themselves to you; and taking into account how many pitches you have to get; how important is it for a model to have a unique pitch story?
MS&F is different from other national magazines in that it is Max Muscle Sports Nutrition’s No. 1 marketing piece. To explain, this magazine, which is more than 100,000 in circulation, is distributed to more than 140 Max Muscle stores across the nation. From the stores, the magazines are distributed into their local communities at drop off sites that include gyms, doctor’s offices, high schools, yoga studios, YMCA’s, etc.

The magazine is intended to “sell” Max Muscle products, but it’s more than that. When I took over, the magazine was more about driving ads and the body-building industry, which sometimes embarrassed some of the Max Muscle franchisees who wouldn’t be able to drop off particular issues because of the racy, super-muscled content. Today, the magazine is a true lifestyle magazine covering everything from beauty and fitness to nutrition and supplements.

With all of that said, most of the profile pieces in our magazine have to do with Max Muscle customers and franchisees. So, if a fitness model comes to me with a unique and inspirational article (particularly a weight loss story), I most likely can’t do a profile piece unless that person takes Max Muscle supplements.

MS&F Interior Page

However, we do feature people who aren’t Max Muscle customers from time to time, especially if they have a big name in the industry. For example, fitness models in our workout articles do not necessarily have to be Max Muscle customers.

What are some of the things which help some applicants stand out over others?
If you are a fitness model and a trainer AND a writer, we’re in business as I always need interesting, well-written, innovative workout articles. Also, if you let me know you are willing to travel to do a shoot and you are always photo ready (trust me, some are NOT), it helps you stand out.

We have a tiny budget, so our models work for Max Muscle product and for clips for their portfolios, plus the national recognition that comes with being in a national magazine!

Do you prefer when you get pitches via e-mail, fax, regular mail or other?
E-MAIL! There’s only so much room in my office!

How many photos do you like to see included with a pitch?
Doesn’t matter, but definitely want to see a variety. Please, do not send me contact sheets from photo shoots because I don’t want to see images where your eyes are closed or you’re making a funny face (haha!). I want to see finished photos.

Have you come across some definite No-No’s when it comes to applicants contacting you
Don’t be pushy and tell me you’re the best for the job and why and then keep emailing me to see if I got your previous 10 emails. Also, if you are a huge bodybuilder (male or female) with veins popping out everywhere, we’re not interested.

Without names, do you have any stories about a difficult experience you had in working with someone?
It’s frustrating when you choose fitness models because of their pictures and they show up for the shoot all flabby and not at all like they looked in the photos. It wastes everyone’s time and that is just unprofessional. I’ve had that happen a few times. Now, I ask potential models to send me a picture with their camera phone. And it better be current.

How much contact is too much contact?
One follow-up e-mail will suffice if you haven’t heard from me yet. I save all e-mails from models in a specific “models” folder and will refer to that when necessary.

What are some of the best pitches you think you have seen?
Truthfully, pitches from photographers such as James Patrick and Mike Byerly have been better than pitches from fitness models, especially when the photographer says, hey, I’m shooting so-and-so in 2 weeks, is there anything you need me to get while he/she is shooting with me?

Any parting comments to readers?
Just understand that editors are super busy and inundated with e-mails from hundreds of people every day wanting something. It’s hard to keep up sometimes. That doesn’t mean we don’t like you or don’t care or will never use you. The more information you provide (i.e. available for travel, are a writer, have an idea for a story, specialties, upcoming shoot dates) will help you stand out over other models vying for a coveted spot in national magazines.