Modeling agency


Modeling agency

A modeling agency is a company that represents fashion models, to work for the fashion industry. These agencies earn their income via commission, usually from the deal they make with the model and or the head agency.

The top agencies work with big-budget advertising agencies and fashion designers. They invest money into developing their talent so they can increase their status within the industry. These top agencies will help train models, get test shoots, layout portfolios, and put together comp cards (composition photo cards) and other printed materials models need.

The agencies find work for models by presenting them to designers, photographers, and ad agencies. The agencies are also responsible for booking the jobs, billing for the jobs, and eventually paying the models for their time. By handling the details, an agency allows a model to focus on modeling and not on the business end.

Because modeling is a very competitive, fast moving business that extends beyond the traditional 9 AM to 5 PM business hours, an agency generally conducts business 24 hours a day, to handle emergencies such as cancellations or rush jobs. Most agencies have a service or an operator to handle emergency issues after hours.

Contents

Industry information

Booking agents

Modeling agencies use booking departments to keep track of which clients hire which models. The agency has a phone that is manned. These agents also send out reminders for fresh comp cards. They advertise, do lunches, do cold calls and turn over stones to find available modeling gigs.

Contractual agreements

Most agencies sign their top talent to exclusive contracts in each market, which vary in length based on the model's industry status and experience. However, because a good agency finds their models work and negotiates top price for their talent, they earn a management commission (between 10% to 20%) from every job they book on a model's behalf. In addition, an agency usually bills a client an additional 20% service charge for booking the model, so a typical agency will make between 10-40% on each booking of which no more than 20% comes out of the model's pocket. This varies outside the US due to each country's law and taxes. Other contracts offered by modeling agencies are the mother agency contract and a non-exclusive contract. A mother agency tries to sign you with larger agencies, while non-exclusive agencies allow you to sign with other agencies (usually outside a certain city radius). Contracts typically last from a year to three years. A mother agency agreement can range from five to ten years.

Mandatory height requirements

High fashion modeling agencies contract with a diverse group of models, however nearly without exception (unless a model is young enough to still be growing), agencies stipulate women to be between 5'8 (minimum) and taller and men must be between 6'0" and 6'3" as well as be at a weight that is proportionate with their height. Models should be fit or in reasonable physical condition that is appropriate for their height.

Auditions and open calls

Modeling agencies will require new faces on a regular basis. The number of models in an agency depends on the demand brought in by its agents and changes throughout the year. To this end, modeling agencies advertise in local phone directories in order to remain visible.

Each new model-screening process is different from one agency to the next:

  • A casting call is where models show up by appointment to be considered for a specific job.
  • An open call is a time specified by an agency for any prospective models (or those interested in becoming models) to show up and be considered for future work.
  • An go-see is an appointment for a model to meet with a client for consideration for future work; like an open call, it is not for a specific job, but unlike an open call, the model is being specifically requested or sent.[1]
  • A dry call is where models mail unsolicited comp cards to an agency. While this may work with smaller agencies, larger agencies host open calls where men and women can come into the agency and get seen by agents who may or may not be interested.

Fashion shows and fashion weeks

Agents and talent managers work together to prepare and develop models. One of the most important assignment for models is to work or attend fashion shows or fashion weeks.

A fashion show is a runway event put on by fashion designer(s) to showcase their upcoming line of clothing. Each show requires anywhere between 15 and 60 models, depending on the size of the collection and the importance of the designer(s). Fashion models walk the runway (or catwalk) dressed in the clothing created by the designer(s). Participation in these events is essential for any model.

A fashion week is a series of shows by different fashion designers. Each show books their own talent, though many models are able to land jobs with multiple designers. This is a model's chance to really get noticed, which can lead to big contracts and very lucrative jobs. Fashion weeks occur twice a year; one for spring collections and one for fall collections.

The fashion weeks in major fashion capitals such as New York, Paris, and Milan can have over 100 designers showcasing their work. These weeks are also sponsored by big names, such as Mercedes Benz or Olympus.

Fashion campaigns

Models vie for the prestigious fashion campaigns, where they get to model for a particular designer. One of the most sought-after campaigns is the fragrance campaign, where a model can earn a substantial amount of money. Some of the most competitive fragrance campaigns include Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani, Chanel, Valentino, and Gucci.

Scams

Because of the necessity for an agency in a constantly changing industry like factories, where old agencies close or merge and new ones pop up in their place, scam artists have many opportunities to prey on new, unsuspecting models. A legitimate modeling agency should have knowledge of the market place and honestly evaluate models for their market. It will have contacts with photographers, graphic designers, and printers to prepare a model's marketing materials. Texas[2],Florida,[3] and California[4] have online resources listing licensed agencies.

In the United States, the Better Business Bureau registers complaints against agencies that conduct dishonest business practices and scams. Scam artists and untrustworthy agencies generally demand long-term contracts up front and use high-pressure tactics to con models into committing to high-commission percentages or signing over unnecessary rights. An example of a modeling scam is when an agency claims to have work but really what they are doing is trying to sell photoshoots and modeling courses to aspiring models. A legitimate agency should only make profit from agency commissions.

Commercial modeling agencies

Perhaps outnumbering conventional high-fashion models, commercial models make up far more of the media in terms of advertising, both print and multimedia. Representing the average or 'real' consumer is a highly beneficial tactic that is employed by business of all kinds across the world. This opens the opportunity for 'every-day' models to experience the world of modeling and reap the benefits of it. Of course, this means there is also a need to represent these models and find them work. Commercial agencies do just this. Often representing a diverse group of people with respect to age, gender, race, appearance, height, size and personality. There are opportunities for countless people who would never, under the traditional 'high-fashion' requirements, even be considered.

Booking agents at commercial agencies work with producers and casting directors to link commercial models through auditions and go-sees, much like fashion models, to paying work. Most reputable agencies don't advertise for talent. They get enough drop-ins.[5] In essence, anyone wanting to model can.

See also

References

External links


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