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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, April 9, 2012

The 411 on Getting Signed to a Modeling Agency

This blog post was inspired by a reader question. Anonymous wrote:

Hi Dania! I was wondering, what's the whole "process" of getting signed to a top agency? Does it take a large amount of time just to get signed, what is the process? Thanks!


For aspiring models looking to get their careers started on the right foot, getting an agency for representation is a step in the right direction. It's no question that having a good modeling agency is ideal for maximizing results as they relate to being marketed properly, gaining exposure and securing opportunities to work in the industry, as well as receiving a nice paycheck for your efforts.

Many of you--especially newbies that have yet to interact with an agency in any way--might be wondering just what is the process of getting signed? What can you expect? How long does everything take from beginning to end? There is no black and white formula for exactly what happens for each model that gets signed to an agency but there is a general process involved, which I'll describe below.

1. The Agency Tells You They're Interested:

You'll know an agency wants to sign you because they'll tell you so. This part is pretty straightforward. If you're not right in front of them when you're given this news, they'll notify you via email or phone and will arrange for a day and time for you to come into their office to discuss things further. Typically they'll want you to come in at the soonest possible date to get the ball rolling.

2. You Meet With the Agency & Receive the Contract:

This is an informal meeting so dressy casual/casual is fine. You'll have a meeting with the agency staff, where they'll give you a basic breakdown of what to expect and how they plan on working with you. At this time, you'll receive a copy of the modeling contract as well as any other related documents. Everything you're given will be explained to you by the agency. This is also the time to ask any questions you might have.

In most cases, you won't be required to sign the contract right then and there. Agencies (legit ones, anyway) will let you take the contract home to review and give you a time frame for when to get the signed paperwork back to them.

3. Look Over the Contract & Sign It:

After you've taken the contract home to look over and are interested in working with the agency, sign it and return the contract to them according to whatever method(s) they tell you is acceptable. This could be via snail mail, dropping it off at the office in person, etc. Make copies of the signed contract to keep for your records beforehand so that you can go back to refer to it if needed.

4. Begin Working With the Agency:

After the contract has been signed and returned to the agency, new models with little to no experience will work closely with the agency staff to begin working on setting up their first test shoot in order to create the images to be used for their portfolio, headshots, comp cards and other marketing materials. Experienced models with these materials already in place move through this process a bit faster, since all the agency has to do is look over their images and decide which ones to use, unless they advise them to get newer, updated pictures.

For new models dealing with their first test shoot, the time frame for getting this done depends on when the photographer chosen for the task will be available. Getting the test shoot together could take anywhere from 1-2 weeks or a bit longer, plus the additional time for retouching and getting the images to the agency for review/approval.

5. Start Modeling:

Once the portfolio has been put together by the agency and your headshots/comp cards are ready, your booker (this is your assigned go-to-person at the agency that you'll be in direct contact with) will begin submitting your pictures and info to clients and lining up castings and go-sees for you to attend. At that point, you'll be contacted by your booker via phone or email whenever a casting for you comes up. From there, it's a matter of attending those castings and making a great first impression so you'll get booked.

The actual signing of the contract doesn't take long at all. Depending on how soon you sign the paperwork and get it back to the agency, this part of the process can take as little as 3-5 days.

20 comments:

Maia said...

Hi Dania, I am in the process of being signed to an agency. Is 15% to the agent a good rate or not?
Thanks!

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Maia! You'll find the answer to your question in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #362." Thanks for reading!

Anonymous said...

Once you are signed to an agency (specifically top agencies in New York) are you expected to live there or live within a certain distance? If you are in college in a different state, will they work with you to find a balance or do they even care? Can you part-time model for their agency when out of school or whenever?

adairelovesyou said...

Hi Dania! I am 5'11", 34B/25"/35", dress 2/4 and 16 years old. I have been with a Florida boutique agency in Orlando since February 2010. The agecny has not offered me a contract, but I do have a portfolio listed on their website. I have had somewhat periodic contact with the owner of the agency and the bookers and have been sent to only one casting with Neiman Marcus and one promotional modeling job. I don't feel as though the agency is properly developing me, even though I try to stay in contact with them on a regular basis. In fact, my mom and I have doen more on a freelance basis, booking TFP shoots to build my portfolio and even booking a few paying jobs on our own. I typically get very short emails from the agency with no helpful information in return. The agency does have a few models that have been in NYFW and they are sending models overseas to Greece for development. My question is this: I was scouted on models.com by BMG Orlando. I have an interview tomorrow. If BMG offers me a contract, should I leave my current agency? If so, how do I separate? Thank you so much! I love, love your blog! It has been so helpful! xoxo

Adaire

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Anonymous! You'll find the answer to your question in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #364," which can be found on my new blog: "Modeling 101 - Answering Readers Questions."

Please visit this link: http://amodelsdiary-readerquestions.blogspot.com/ and you can view your post there. Thanks for reading!

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Adaire! You'll find the answer to your question in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #365," which can be found on my new blog: "Modeling 101 - Answering Readers Questions."

Please visit this link: http://amodelsdiary-readerquestions.blogspot.com/ and you can view your post there. Thanks for reading!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dania! I am an aspiring model and have been for a while. I'm 5'8-9 (one of the two, not 100% sure) 33-24-37, my weight fluctuates at around 140 but I am quite slender and I'm really trying hard to whittle down my hips. I am also 16 years of age. I really want to focus on fashion modeling, specifically runway. I'm a little hesitant on whether I should go forward along this path, any advice? Love your blog by the way! Thanks in advance.

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Anonymous! You'll find the answer to your question in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #379," which can be found on my new blog: "Modeling 101 - Answering Readers Questions."

Please visit this link: http://amodelsdiary-readerquestions.blogspot.com/ and you can view your post there. Thanks for reading!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dania ,
First off I love all your blogs I'm new to them and love them already. I've been an inspiring model since I was 12 I'm 17 now. I've been trying to line up modeling work for fashion shows and runways for some time now. Last year I was picked to join one source talent , they wanted me to have 500.00 up front with out warring that is best to bring at least half of the amount with you so I couldn't sign to them.
I took it as it was God telling me it wasn't ment for me to sign that contract. I also stay in Dearborn Michigan . How do I find the right work and model company to get started with right away.?

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Anonymous! You'll find the answer to your question in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #386," which can be found on my new blog: "Modeling 101 - Answering Readers Questions."

Please visit this link: http://amodelsdiary-readerquestions.blogspot.com/ and you can view your post there. Thanks for reading!

Anonymous said...

Hey I love your post . I think they are uh-mazing.!
How do I book for fashion shows and other events without signing to an agent yet.? I would like to expand my work as much as possible as a freelance model befoe signing. I also stay in Detroit.

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Anonymous! You'll find the answer to your question in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #387," which can be found on my new blog: "Modeling 101 - Answering Readers Questions."

Please visit this link: http://amodelsdiary-readerquestions.blogspot.com/ and you can view your post there. Thanks for reading!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dania! I just recently signed with a really good plus size modeling agency. I'm not sure what happens next. I'm 19 years old and I'm a student. Because it's a pretty well-known agency, does this mean my career will be taking off soon? I'm trying to decide whether to stay enrolled in school or not.

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Anonymous! You'll find the answer to your question in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #750," which can be found on my other blog: "Modeling 101 - Answering Readers Questions."

Please visit this link: http://amodelsdiary-readerquestions.blogspot.com/ and you can view your post there. Thanks for reading!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dania! I am 17 years old and I have had no modeling experience. I plan to go to college in new York in a a few years and try to model once I'm there. I am 5'8 and my measurements are 32B/23/33. Would I even have a chance in new york?

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Anonymous! You'll find the answer to your question in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #762," which can be found on my other blog: "Modeling 101 - Answering Readers Questions."

Please visit this link: http://amodelsdiary-readerquestions.blogspot.com/ and you can view your post there. Thanks for reading!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I was scouted yesterday by Select and I was wondering if they are interested when they would get back to me?
Thanks!

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Anonymous! You'll find the answer to your questions in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #768," which can be found on my other blog: "Modeling 101 - Answering Readers Questions."

Please visit this link: http://amodelsdiary-readerquestions.blogspot.com/ and you can view your post there. Thanks for reading!

Unknown said...

Hi Dania!
Its funny your name is Dania because that is my bfs sisters name. I've never heard it other than when I met her but anyways... Haha So I just got the offer to be signed with The Bella Agency in LA. and I've also done some freelance modeling work before that. At the same time right now, this is my last semester in school and I got a job offer to work in Medical sales which can be very lucrative with a good company. The hours are Monday though Friday 9am to 5pm I haven't officially accepted both of them but the Medical sales job will be sending me my offer soon and the modeling agency my contract. I don't know what to do because I'm currently unemployed and am about to move out with my little sister to help her with rent. Modeling has always been a passion of mine and I honestly love it. I'm just scared of the uncertainty of jobs. Please let me know what I should do? I've asked friends and they are 50/50 it's like secure income or something that may not be as secure. I know if I pick modeling I will have to get a 2nd job at night most likely. Or do you think maybe there is a way for me to do both?? I would like to maybe say something to my agency without ruining my chances and being dropped. Please help!! This is a huge life pickle!

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Unknown! You'll find the answer to your question in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #832," which can be found on my other blog: "Modeling 101 - Answering Readers Questions."

Please visit this link: http://amodelsdiary-readerquestions.blogspot.com/ and you can view your post there. Thanks for reading!