There is more to the modeling world than the media lets on. If you want to find out what it really takes and how to manage your modeling career, then you've come to the right place! This blog is dedicated to the aspiring and already established models who live to defy the standards and stereotypes in order to make a place for themselves in this crazy industry.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

What a Real Agency Does

It's so easy nowadays for scammers and con-artists to label themselves as an agency and pry on model hopefuls. Don't be fooled! Do your homework and avoid being a part of a terrible scandal...

Below are just a couple of ways to understand what legitimate and reputable agencies do and how they operate.

Legit agencies make their money solely by charging commission, or a perantage, of the bookings they get for their models. At the same time, the client who goes to the agent to book the model in question, is also charged a fee.

That's a great source of income for any working agency, so don't be fooled into the general misconception that you need to pay an agency upfront in order for them to sign you. That is the first and foremost red flag warning you should recognize. If an agency is getting its models consistent work, then they are making more than enough money and don't need to charge potential models up front.

Avoid attending casting calls or talent showcases that are on the weekends or in the evenings...agencies work Monday thru Friday from 9-5 (give or take an hour or two) and will not work on weekends! If you look up any reputable agency on the Internet, you'll find that all of the dates and times for their open casting calls fall within the business hours and days I mentioned above.

One exception would be small market agencies who may not have the resources to accommodate open calls during the week and will instead hold their casting calls a few times a month or a year and the date may fall on a weekend. However, I've also seen complaints against agencies who people felt were scams and mentioned that the open call was on a weekend, which made them suspicious.

So what's the bottom line on this issue? Use the Internet to your advantage and do thorough research to find out exactly who the agency is and whether or not others have shared their experiences, good and bad, online.

Like any legit business, a modeling agency is required to have a license to operate. Look for this license when you are in the agent's office, which shouldn't be hard because these licenses are required by law to be displayed in plain view at the place of business. No license, no way.

Looking like a thriving agency can be as easy for a scammer as taking out pages in a magazine, framing them and telling you that they started that model's career. Don't be fooled by all the razz of large posters, photos and the decor of the office. When you're talking with the agency, be sure to clarify that they aren't a modeling school, affiliated with any modeling conventions or other purposes other than managing and booking jobs for their models.

Be aware of your surroundings. Even the smallest agency that has a good group of talent on-staff will have phones ringing, people dealing with paperwork and talking to their talent. If none of that is going on, or if the conversations you hear aren't mostly about a booking or something related to modeling, that could be a bad sign. Even modeling agencies have slow days but it isn't hard to tell whether or not what's going on in the office while you're there is legit or just for show.

The Better Business Bureau is a great site to do a background check on agencies you may be suspicious of. Note any complaints and what the topics of the issues were about. If an agency has a fairly large number of complaints dealing with money, that isn't a good sign. Agency websites can also be deceiving. The world of technology and Flash software can make the biggest scammer look legit. Make sure to note if the agency is showcasing their models or showcasing themselves.

Working, legit agencies don't need to push hard to sell themselves. That's not what the website is for. An agency website is designed to showcase its talent and services, as well as instruct new models as to how to submit themselves for consideration. Also be careful of agencies that promote themselves heavily in the newspaper or on the radio for general casting calls that aren't related to a special event or promotion. When was the last time you heard FORD or Elite on the radio begging people come to their casting calls?

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