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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

More Craigslist Crap to Be on the Lookout For

Needless to say, Craigslist continues to dwindle when it comes to the caliber and quality of the modeling assignments/projects posted in "Gigs" under the "Talent" section. However, there are still a few legit gems to be found, which is why I still use this site when freelancing.

But in recent months, I've noticed a few trends that--to me--are red flags of scammers, shady individuals and/or gigs disguised as modeling assignments but are actually for adult modeling/pornography related stuff.

The types of postings in the Gigs section may vary from city to city but here are some red flags/types of posts that I would warn others to stay away from if they are looking for modeling gigs in the San Francisco Bay Area Craigslist:

- Repeat Posts/Posters: If months have gone by and the same ad is still being used over and over, this likely means it's bogus and the person posting the ad has yet to find anyone dumb enough to take them seriously.

- Similar formatting in ads but for different projects. For example, there's someone on the SF Bay Area Craigslist site that posts a need for models for all kinds of projects, but in the body of the ad, they list the same criteria they want models to send all in the exact same order:

Reply With:

Phone Number
Height and Weight
Dress Size and Shoe Size
Include Some Photos 

One day they are casting for models for a fashion brand lookbook, the next day they're casting for Playboy style nude models, the day after that, they're casting for auditions for a feature film. While keeping the body of the ad the same, they switch out the type of project they're casting for because they believe it will increase the number of naive models who reply to them. Sometimes they'll switch out the order of the stuff on the list above or remove/add something but in general, this is a classic sign that it's the same person posting all the ads. Not cool.

- The ads are hiring models for important, recognizable brands/products but ask that models have no experience. Yeeaaahhhh...no legit client with such a recognizable brand would willingly spend money on a model that has absolutely no experience. Such posts are aimed at newbies who are looking for exposure or to network with well known people. New/inexperienced models, always be wary of such Craigslist posts and if you decide to reply, ask for referrals, a website, the names of the photographer, director in charge of the shoot, etc. If they can't or won't give you this information, delete their email and forget about them.

- Ads that claim they are casting for a billion different types of projects all at once. Now, these aren't necessarily scammers or shady individuals BUT in terms of whether the work they're offering is legit and going to be beneficial to your career is very questionable. There's been someone posting fairly frequently on the SF Bay Area Craigslist, looking for models for their "company" that is hiring models for films, calenders, promotions, prints, ads, TV, commercials, photoshoots, all media, etc. Ummm...dude, what kind of company do you have and why is it all over the place? It just raises red flags for me. I believe they write their ad the way they do to--again--entice models that are looking for exposure. It could also be a start-up company trying to build its employee base but this isn't the right way to go about it.

- Posting ridiculously high pay rates. I'm sorry, but it's not often that I come across a Craigslist post looking for models that pays $1,000 that is actually legit. A few hundred dollars? Sure, I've seen and booked work through Craigslist that paid that kind of money. But if it's starting at $1,000 or something even higher, it's 99.9% a ploy to get you to reply to them because they're betting you're looking for a way to make some easy cash. Be wary of what they're asking you to do for that pay rate. Of course if it's a legit client that you've heard of or if the info that pops up about them when you do online research checks out, then that's a different story. But if the ad is vague or you can't find much info about the project outside of the ad, it's not worth your time.

- Looking for models within a huge demographic that is unrealistic according to industry standards. Craigslist posts asking for models within the ages 18-40 and all sizes are ones to be wary of simply because of the credibility (of lack thereof) of the project. People that want to model professionally and build a strong portfolio should look for clients that have projects that are of professional quality--and that sometimes means staying within the limiting requirements when it comes to height, weight, age, etc. Ads casting a super wide net by inviting models of all ages and sizes sometimes don't always equal professional results. Again, they cast wide nets to make it easier to increase the number of applicants they will receive. Unless the nature of the project is in need of "real people" models and is something like a print job, chances are the gig isn't worth looking into further because it's probably being run by amateurs that are looking for anyone willing to respond to their ad, and whose work won't contribute professionally to your career or portfolio.

- Listing weird pay rates. For the ads that actually offer pay, be a bit cautious if the pay rate is not a rounded number of a typical rate you'd see for modeling assignments. It may seem like a little thing but I'm a stickler for detail and when even the smallest thing seems "off" to me, I tend to go with my gut. Most clients pay models rounded figures like $100.00, $250.00 or an hourly rate like $15.00, $25/hr, etc. I've seen Craigslist posts for gigs stating they'll pay $243.00, $328.00, $144.00, etc. It's just strange...how they come up with such figures is beyond me. Not sure why people posting on Craigslist do this but it doesn't do anything to justify their credibility, in my opinion. 

- Asking for models that are "uninhibited." This is a covert way of really saying, "I'm looking for a model that isn't shy so that she'll be willing to take off her clothes and let me take pictures of her." Simple as that.

The things I've mentioned in this post don't apply to every single Craigslist ad you come across but if you've been on there as much as I have, you start to notice things and if anything you come across seems questionable, don't pursue it. It's always better to err on the side of caution...the legit and beneficial gigs are there and those are the ones worth your time and effort.

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