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Friday, October 1, 2010

The Importance of Booking Out

(This post is for agency represented models and does not apply to freelance models).

"Booking out" is an industry term for letting your agent know which dates/times you are not available for castings, shoots, etc. While most agencies operate in their own way, the concept of booking out is an important one that all agency represented models should take seriously.

As you may or may not know, being signed to an agency means being ready to attend a casting or modeling assignment at the drop of a dime. Oftentimes you can expect your agent to notify you of a casting with less than 24 hour's notice. Because of this, it is crucial that you keep your agent up to date on your weekly availability.

Booking out was created to prevent agencies from submitting you to a casting or gig that you cannot make it to. Nothing is worse than telling a client/casting director that a model they have submitted suddenly won't be showing up because you are not able to attend. In this situation no one wins.

It is up to you to find out how your agent prefers you to book out. This could include emailing your booker at the agency directly to say what dates during the month you will be busy/unavailable or using an online system of keeping track.

For example, my agent uses an online site outside of the agency's official website, where I can login to not only update my resume and add photos to my digital portfolio, but also book out. This is in the form of an online calendar that allows me to highlight the days I won't be available and lets me write a brief description of why I am not open for work or castings (out of town, doctor's appointment, sick, etc.).

Because I tend to plan my events and work projects outside of modeling well in advance, I make sure to book out certain dates months ahead. Now all my agent has to do is login, check out my calendar and make sure that the work she submits me for fall on days when she knows I will be available.

Booking out may sound tedious but it is an essential tool that allows you and your agent to be on the same page, communication-wise. The last thing you want is to tell your agent that you can't go to a casting, shoot, fitting or fashion show because you're busy with something else at the last minute. Making that a habit is the quickest way to get on your agency's bad side and could cause them to turn to other models within the agency to give the work to instead of you.

So plan ahead as best you can and book out whenever you think you won't be open for a modeling assignment. This concept is especially helpful for models that are in school, participate in extracurricular activities or have other commitments that they can't miss. If you're not sure how to book out, contact your agent and find out.

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