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Friday, October 25, 2013
Models, Please Follow Directions for Castings
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. ;-)