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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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Friday, October 25, 2013

Models, Please Follow Directions for Castings

(This post will be mainly beneficial to male and female freelance models. This post is in regards to castings for modeling jobs, not open calls for modeling agencies).

I'm a pretty easy going person but nothing grinds my gears (Family Guy reference for those of you who didn't know) more than people who don't follow directions. This is especially true for castings where models are submitting themselves for jobs.

Long-time readers likely already know I'm a HUGE stickler for professionalism, including following instructions. What do I always say: a good model follows directions! This goes for applying to modeling jobs, not just agencies. When submitting directly, you as the model are representing yourself to the client.

If you've ever been on the receiving end of a casting call, you already know how hectic it can be. Even the smallest, low budget project could easily get as many as 25-50 or more replies from models hoping to get hired. Going through all those submissions is daunting. So what clients like to do to make life easier is provide instructions for what they want from models, which is listed in the job description of the casting.

Anyone who uses sites like Model Mayhem, One Model Place and other online casting resources, know what I'm talking about. In most cases, there is detailed information about what to send the client. Other times, not so much. Obviously, if you're reading a casting call that has a lot of info in it, it is there for a reason.

Clients do this to make sure that whoever is sending in their photos and information, is doing so in a way that works for them. Some clients want links to modeling portfolios, not attached pictures and vice-versa. The concept of sending clients want they ask for seems so simple, right? Wrong! Models left and right keep disregarding these instructions and for whatever reason, seem to think that the client will be okay with this.

I'm here to tell you that it's NOT okay to disregard instructions when applying to castings. Period. Model Mayhem is one site in particular where I constantly see models doing everything to submit themselves to castings except what the client requests.

For example: a casting call specifically says to send an email to a specific person and to not simply leave a comment in the comments section of the casting call. Yet what do I see? Models leaving comments. Sometimes it contains their full contact info, including phone numbers, while other's simply say "Interested." Really? Is leaving a one-word reply supposed to encourage a client to contact you? Unless you're a recognized supermodel or power model, you aren't on the level to be telling clients to come to you when you were the one to respond to their casting.

I don't know why models do this. It boggles my mind. Freelance models, I don't care what level of success you've managed to achieve, if you're submitting to castings, please follow instructions. Newbies, same goes for you.

I've done my own casting calls during the years, as well as helped others with theirs, and I can't tell you how unprofessional and bad it makes a model look to not follow instructions. It might seem so simple that it wouldn't be a big deal but again, this is all about making a good first impression. Submitting to castings online is important because you aren't in person to impress the client--your submission has to speak for you.

What am I to think of a model--who is virtually a stranger to me--who sends a submission that doesn't have the right information or photos or--even worse--wants me to contact them? If a model can't even get his/her submission right, that doesn't inspire much confidence as to how they'd be on set.

Please listen to me when I say that you must read each casting very carefully, especially if it has very specific submission instructions. Read it more than once if you need to. I've come across tedious casting descriptions where I had to double and triple check my email to make sure it had everything that was asked before sending it off.

If a client says to send non professional photos, don't send professional photos. If they ask for a full body professional photo, don't send a profile or headshot taken with your camera phone. If they ask for a link to a portfolio, don't attach photos to your email. If they ask for photos to be attached but to not send huge files, don't send huge files. If they say to contact them directly at the email address provided in the casting call description, don't leave a comment on the casting call page or message them directly through a social networking site.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

Not only is failing to follow directions a sign of being unprofessional, it also makes you look lazy. Yes, there are tons of castings to submit to sometimes and it can get overwhelming but simply copying and pasting generic replies that aren't tailored to each submission is just awful. Actually, it's a waste of your time, not just the clients'.

Here's another way to look at the situation: each time you submit yourself and do successfully follow any listed submission directions, you automatically place yourself ahead of the competition. If a client gets 25 replies from models and only 10 follow instructions and you're part of that 10, you've already eliminated a majority of the competition.

In many instances, clients automatically reject submissions that don't contain the info they ask for. Don't allow yourself to lose out on a potentially great modeling assignment because you were too lazy, too much of a diva, uninterested or unable to do something simple as following directions.

Unfortunately, people will continue to make this major mistake and all I can hope for is that they learn their lesson sooner than later. Until then, this is what I have to say to those models who don't follow instructions: Thanks for helping me get hired for the job instead of you. ;-)

The Latest on Dania Denise - October 2013

This is probably the first year in Modeling 101 - A Model's Diary's history that I haven't contributed as many blog posts as I normally do.

On the one hand, that's a good thing--after all, what kind of a model would I be if the majority of my time was spent blogging? LOL.

On the other hand, my absence for too long does make me feel like I'm neglecting my readers and fans of the information I know they oftentimes rely on to help with the choices they make for their own modeling careers.

Rest assured, this blog will continue to provide you all with the ins and outs of the industry. I have a running list of topics I constantly add to anytime a subject related to modeling pops into my head that I feel my readers would enjoy reading about (the list is currently at 72 topics and counting!).

Just wanted to do a post to let you all know what I've been up to and why my time hasn't always been my own lately:

Castings, Shoots and Shows

I'm far from retired and have been staying busy with attending castings, shoots and fashion shows. Sometimes I get so tired after a long day of working that I just don't have the energy or attention span to do blog posts, lol.

My agent has sent me on a pretty good round of castings and auditions (remember, I act, too!) that I've been keeping my fingers crossed for. One is a print ad for American Home Shield, which is scheduled to shoot the first week of November. The client reached out to check my availability, which shows they're interested in me but haven't officially booked me. So I'm on a cliffhanger with that. Hopefully I'll find out for sure if I got it or not by the end of October, if not sooner.

I did a shoot for a clothing company, Tank Essential, last weekend. The company will use the images for email marketing campaigns, on the website and eventually for a print catalog so that means digital and traditional tearsheets. Score!

As always, I continue to perform on the bridal modeling circuit with Stepping Out Productions/Bay Area Wedding Fairs. We've got 2 shows left for the season and so far, so good. I've become one of the people who also helps with casting new models for the upcoming seasons so I'm looking forward to the next casting call event and seeing who gets to join our family!

Just yesterday I did a shoot for possible publication in a book focusing on pin-up models of color. Pin-up is one category of modeling I don't get to do much so I was excited to team up with a photographer I've worked with before, Marilee Caruso, for this project. She's been asked to submit images for consideration in the book and she reached out to me because she wanted to add some updated work to send, plus she's always eager to work with more models of color for pin-up themes.

The shoot went well and I've gotta say, pin-up is hard! It has a rich history and I did as much research as I could on poses, expressions, on-camera presence, etc. Luckily, Marilee specializes in shooting this genre so she was monumental in helping me get into character and bringing out my inner pin-up. I also did a rockabilly look, which has become very popular lately.

It will probably be a while before we find out when the book will be scheduled for publication and/or if our images made the cut but I think we stand a pretty good chance!
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On a personal note, my dad is recovering from a mild stroke he suffered a week ago. Thankfully, we recognized the signs right away and were able to get him medical attention before it got any worse. He's expected to make a full recovery and with time and speech therapy, should be back to his old self.

Needless to say, seeing him through the recovery phase has shifted my time and priorities. I'm so thankful I get to work from home and tailor my projects and schedule to accommodate this latest curve ball that life has thrown. I am blessed to have amazing friends, family and neighbors who are making this time so much easier to deal with.

On top of that, I'm maid of honor for my best friend and with the wedding coming up on November 11th, my time has also been taken away by my duties and responsibilities to the bride-to-be. But the big day is almost here!

Sooooo, that's what I've been up to--oh, not to mention also running my home-based art business and juggling writing projects for clients--LOL. A little bit of everything but I'm handling it all the best I can.

I'll be adding more posts, including one right after this, so that I can get back on track with informing my beloved readers about everything related to the modeling industry. My goal is to crank at out least 1 blog post a week. Oh, and I'm super excited to see that I'm only 2 people away from having a whopping 500 subscribers...whooo-hoooo!!!

Thanks for your patience and hanging in there with me, I love you all and I'll leave you with this teaser: I'm in the early stages of writing a book. Guess what it's about? Yup, modeling! Want the details? You'll have to stick around...