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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Castings for Modeling Gigs: Tips for Successful Results

To avoid any confusion, this blog post is referring specifically to the castings that models go on where they meet with the client in the hopes of getting hired, not "casting calls" where agencies allow models to come in without an appointment to be evaluated for free.

Actors attend "auditions" and models attend "castings." I've found this is an easy way to understand the concept of a casting. "Go-sees" fall under this category as well but I like to keep the two terms separate since go-sees are usually reserved for fashion models who go in to meet with a designer/client, try on their garments and then do a runway walk to determine whether or not they'll get hired for a fashion show or editorial shoot. Go-sees are usually really fast, in-and-out type of meetings.

For the sake of argument and to keep things simple, in this post I'll be talking about general castings that aren't as speedy as go-sees and cover a variety of modeling assignments.

The tips outlined below can apply to both agency represented and freelance models but I like to think that freelance models in particular will find this info very useful:

Always Bring a Headshot & Resume

Even if the client doesn't ask for one, bring it anyway. Clients see many models during castings and while they'll have your information on file, sometimes it helps to hand in a hard copy of your headshot or comp card (whichever one you have handy) and a resume. If they say they don't need it, save it for the next casting.

For more detailed information about a modeling resume, check out the link below to a blog post I wrote about the subject:

The Importance of a Modeling Resume

The resume can be printed on regular office paper but only use quality photo paper for the headshot (these days most people have a printer that is also a photo printer so it shouldn't be a problem to print your own headshots as needed. I do this and it is super convenient!).

It's a good idea to tuck the headshot and resume in your modeling portfolio, that way you don't forget it or worry that it'll get creased or damaged. Are you a newbie with little to no experience? Obviously, you won't have a resume but don't worry, it isn't mandatory to submit one. As long as you bring a headshot or comp card, you'll be fine.

Be Prepared to Answer Questions

Models don't just go in and get their photos taken during castings anymore. These days, clients want to make sure the person they end up choosing for the assignment not only has the physical look they want but a great personality as well.

Don't be surprised if you go to a casting and end up in an "interview" type of situation with the client. This is very informal and meant to showcase how well a model is able to communicate, whether he/she has a good personality and generally "vibes well" with them. If an individual is boring, talks too much, is a snob or acts like a diva, it certainly won't encourage a client to want to spend a whole working day (or more) with them. The brief Q&A portion is an effective way for clients to see who they're automatically drawn to, energy-wise.

They're not going to drill you about politics or ask how you would achieve world peace--it's not a beauty pageant. The questions will be super casual and simple. The most common questions I've been asked during castings include (but are not limited to):

- "Tell us a bit about yourself."
- "What's the biggest project you've worked on?"
- "What do you do aside from modeling?"
- "What has been your favorite shoot?"

Use Your Resume as a "Cheat Sheet"

Bringing along a copy of your modeling resume isn't just to show clients you're prepared--it's to help you out in case they end up asking questions about your experience. The last question in the list above used to always throw me off guard--mainly because I've done so many shoots I can't readily recall which one would be considered my favorite. As a result, I usually get that deer in headlights look and stammer a bit until I can jog my memory. Not a very good first impression, right?

What I learned to do now--and what I highly recommend even if you haven't done a lot of shoots--is to quickly skim over your resume before going into the casting. Because this information will be fresh in your mind, you'll be able to hit the ground running with a good answer, should you be asked to describe your favorite shoot/gig.

Drawing a blank during an interview happens to everybody. If you notice yourself tending to panic or go blank when asked something off the cuff, make it a habit to refer to your resume cheat sheet. It works every time!

Relax & Give Off Positive Body Language

General castings last longer than go-sees but it's still a short time frame to make enough of an impression to get hired. Going in with a quiet and nervous demeanor, not to mention standing/sitting stiffly gives off all kinds of negative body language. Clients can see it a mile away.

It might be hard to relax, especially if you're still getting the hang of things with modeling, but the more relaxed and comfortable you come across during the casting, the more confident you'll feel and appear to the client. Remember, clients end up having to spend time (sometimes hours) with whoever they hire and it makes sense that they would want to spend those work days with someone that is pleasant to be around.

Don't be afraid to laugh and add a touch of humor during the conversation but only if you can do it naturally and not look like it's amateur night at the local comedy club. Feel free to talk with your hands (not to the point where it's distracting of course) and really engage with whoever you're speaking with. Maintain good eye contact (not a stare down) and don't feel the need to stay rooted to one spot if you're standing. It's okay to shift your weight from one leg to the other.

When you demonstrate open and positive body language, it signals the client that you're not only confident, you feel at ease with them. It's like a sneak peek at how it would be to work with you.

Gone are the days when models were seen and not heard. More and more agencies, as well as clients, are realizing and appreciating the ability for models to be personable. Consider it a winning combination you'll want to master, embrace and show off at each casting.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Dania!

I was just wondering if you think it's a good idea to submit modelling applications to talent agencies? or should I just stick to modelling agencies? I think modelling agency is better as it focuses on modelling...but im not sure....i don't know whether to submit my modelling applications to just modeeling agencies or modelling agency and talent agency as well....

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Anonymous! You'll find the answer to your questions in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #615," 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!

Rita said...

HI Dania! I have posted on this blog before, and I have another question, if that is alright with you. I'm 5'9" & my measurements are 32-24-34, and a local agency actually wants to sign me! However, they asked that I cut about two inches off my hair for when I come back to talk about getting signed. I was wondering if that was an unreasonable request? Also, since I'm 17 & just starting out, should I sign with the small local agency, or keep looking? And last thing, what do I wear to a follow up interview, one in which they talk about signing a contract? Thank you for your help!

x Rita

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Rita! You'll find the answer to your questions in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #622," 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 was wondering as a newbie male model it is obvious I have no experience. So at a casting call during the Q&A part. If asked what was my biggest project or favorite shoot I would answer truthfully and say I don't have any. How would this affect my chances of potentially landing a gig. Thank you for your time your information is very helpful.

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Anonymous! You'll find the answer to your questions in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #626," 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!

Rita said...

Hi Dania! It is Rita again! Thank you for your tips, they really helped a lot! In fact, the agency wants to sign me! However, they want me to pay $450.00 for a photo shoot for comp cards, and then another $85.00 for 50 cards. Is this reasonable? I had a friend tell me they should not charge me for anything this early on and that it could be a scam. I researched a bit, and they don't seem to be but it doesn't hurt to take caution. What do you think? (:

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Rita! You'll find the answer to your questions in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #632," 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!

Rita said...

Hi Dania! Regarding the agency and the comp card, they gave me the contract first. I had to take it home and was asked to fax it in, because I am underage and had to have parental consent. So I'm guessing it means they are ok? & I'm not sure if you would know about this, but I figure it is worth a shot to ask. I'm pretty thin, but my thighs and arms are slightly jiggly, and I was wondering if toning them up would ruin my measurements or cause my thighs to be thicker? Thank you for your help! (:

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Rita! You'll find the answer to your questions in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #633," 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!