freelance or with agency representation--will involve many business relationships, resources and networking opportunities. Knowing how to conduct yourself business-wise will prove to be very useful in building and maintaining a successful modeling career.
Besides making good business connections with photographers (they are one of the major players in the modeling game after all) it is vital that a model learn how to interact and maintain a working relationship with his/her agent and booker. If you are a model not signed with an agency, this most likely will not apply to you at this point in time, as you are actually your own booker.
Agents and bookers in a nutshell are the folks who are responsible for getting you work. Sometimes people think the terms "agent" and "booker" mean the same thing but while they are similar in how they serve models, they are responsible for different parts of the modeling game. An agency obviously is your main support system.
They are responsible for promoting and marketing your face to the various clients they work with and only make money when you do. It is their responsibility to manage and keep track of their model roster and fostering working relationships with the companies/clients that want to hire their models.
Bookers on the other hand, are more involved with the "actual" work and being hands-on with the models: contacting clients, arranging schedules, notifying models of potential work/bookings/go-sees, contacting the models, etc. Bookers work for the agency. Each model usually gets one booker, and this person is your point of contact when it comes to inquires about go-sees, shoots, and other concerns and questions related to your modeling career.
The actual people in charge of the agency are not responsible for this part so your booker is someone you must keep in constant contact with. The role of a booker is to get you as much work as possible and the best way for this to benefit the both of you is if you keep them in the loop. This is especially important when it comes to school schedules, if you're sick, leaving for vacation, work schedules, etc.
Not keeping your booker up to date on your schedule could put you in a bad situation. For example, not telling your booker your school schedule has changed could lead to them booking you for a photo shoot on a day you are not available, resulting in not only a lost gig, but a very unhappy booker. It is no fun having to explain to a client why the model wasn't available when according to the agency, he/she was open that day.
How much involvement a model has with an agent or booker will vary upon the market they are in and if that particular model's look is "in". Typically, a new model will meet with the agency's main people (the ones who are in charge of the whole operation). From there, you will be introduced to your booker, who will basically be the only person you will be in contact with for the remainder of your career. There is no contacting the head of the Lifestyle Division or the president of the agency--the booker acts as the liaison between you and the head honchos so direct any and all of your questions to your booker when you are assigned one.
Bookers will contact models via phone so having a cell phone or pager (yes, some agencies still use pagers, although many cell phones now have this function) to get a hold of a model when there is an assignment. These notifications are often very last minute--it isn't uncommon for a booker to contact a model on Monday at 3:45pm to see if they can make it to a go-see at 9:00am the next morning.
The thing new models have to realize with bookers is that they are always working on deadlines. If you don't answer their call, they will rarely leave a voicemail and if they do, they expect you to return their call within no longer than 15 minutes. No call, no job. This is one of those situations where you're asked to jump and your automatic response must be: how high?
Your booker will become somewhat of a big brother or sister. They are in your corner and it is because of their daily efforts that a model gets work and the agency gets paid. Don't feel intimidated by them. Develop a good relationship and always keep the lines of communication open. Alert them to any changes in your schedule or of anything that may prevent you from attending a booking...no matter how small it is and even if you don't think it will affect anything.
It's always better to be safe than sorry and when it comes to bookers, notifying them well in advance--even if nothing comes of it--will avoid being submitted for jobs you will not be able to show up to. Always answer the phone or return a call from your booker ASAP. They are hired to help you so don't be afraid to include them in your daily life.
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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.