You’ve got what it takes to be a model. You’re beautiful, intelligent and have the right body type for print or runway work. But you don’t need an agency – yet! There are many reasons why models should use agencies but there are also plenty of good reasons not to. It’s all about making sure your career is managed in the best way possible. Here are some tips on how to choose which agency will suit you best.
So What Is An Agent?
An agent represents his clients by finding them jobs that fit their personality and skills. They make introductions between potential employers and the talent they represent. The job of the agent is to find the most suitable role for each client based upon her interests, talents and preferences. For this reason agents can help with both the search process as well as negotiating the terms of employment when signing contracts. Agents’ fees vary greatly from country to country and region to region; however they typically pay 10-15% commission of any money made through their clients. This fee usually includes expenses such as advertising campaigns, travel costs, wardrobe fittings etc. So, if you want to know more about what exactly an agent does then read my article “What Does A Model Agencies Do?”
Agents Are In High Demand & Competitive
Models today face stiff competition from actresses, celebrities and regular women who wish to enter modeling industry. Therefore hiring managers often look first at whether someone has been represented before and only after that consider other candidates. If you haven’t had representation then unless you’re extremely lucky you’ll probably be passed over for new faces. Even if you already have representation and you aren’t getting booked much, there may still be a place for you within an agency. Most agencies keep wait lists so even though you might currently not be booking gigs, you could easily get added to one. However, I would recommend keeping your options open and always being prepared to start working again. Being a model shouldn’t stop just because you’re busy doing another thing.
It Can Be Hard To Find One That Suits Your Personality And Talents
Many people have unrealistic ideas of what it means to be a successful model. Some think that having a huge portfolio under your belt and lots of TV appearances makes up success while others believe that having thousands of followers on social media sites like Twitter and Instagram automatically qualifies you as a top star. While these things do contribute towards success, they certainly aren’t enough alone to guarantee success. Successful models are those whose careers give them satisfaction beyond monetary gain. As long as your goals include something else (such as helping young aspiring models) and you remain focused on achieving them then you’re likely to succeed.
The Benefits Of Having Someone Who Knows The Industry Inside Out And Outside In
If you decide to hire an agent, he/she will take care of everything related to your career including scouting potential assignments for you, managing bookings, setting appointments, arranging transportation etc. He/she will also handle negotiations with prospective employers regarding compensation and benefits. Many agents spend time every week scheduling photo shoots, attending casting calls, traveling to meet editors and producers, creating portfolios and assisting with promotional efforts. Plus they deal with all communication issues with clients. All of this saves you valuable time and energy compared to trying to manage your own workload and schedule. Another advantage is that knowing the right contacts and meeting important decision makers helps you build credibility among your peers, improve your chances of future placements and increase overall opportunities available to you.
There’s No Guarantee That Working With Just Any Agency Will Help You Succeed
Every year hundreds of girls sign up with various modelling agencies hoping to break into the business. Unfortunately very few go on to achieve lasting successes. Why is this? Well, let me ask you this…when was the last time you looked at the roster page of an established studio asking for a referral? Or did you ever think about calling the person sitting next to you on the bus and offering him your services? Probably not right? Like everyone else, we tend to gravitate toward the familiar and comfortable. This is where the biggest problem lies for many models. When starting out, models are expected to earn less than their counterparts who were signed directly by major studios. These lower rates mean that without steady income models have little choice but to rely solely on themselves and family members to survive financially until they begin earning significant amounts. Without proper management, many fall victim to scams, low quality photographers, bad promoters and unscrupulous partners. By using an agent you ensure that you won’t experience any of these problems.
Agencies Have Their Own Requirements For Potential Clients
Some agencies require certain types of photos, resumes, measurements etc. Others have set guidelines as to what kind of images they accept. If you don’t follow their rules, they cannot refer you for work anymore. On the other hand, some agencies allow you to submit non-traditional images. This opens doors for artists who prefer not to pose nude or wear lingerie. Additionally, some agencies specialize in particular areas of fashion photography such as editorial, commercial, glamour etc. Also, some offer specialised workshops covering techniques specific to different styles of shooting. Using an experienced professional photographer is beneficial for anyone looking to advance their career quickly. Photographers who focus exclusively on lifestyle shoot are particularly popular amongst models who aspire to become high end designers. Finally, some agencies charge flat rate commissions rather than percentage-based ones. Commissions typically range from 5%-10%. This gives models greater financial freedom since they no longer worry about paying large percentages of earnings to their agencies.
How Much Should You Pay Your Agent?
Most agencies expect to receive a portion of any profits generated by their clients. How big this cut varies significantly depending on the size of the company and its profitability. Typically, the bigger companies negotiate higher cuts in order to cover overhead costs and marketing initiatives. Smaller firms generally receive smaller cuts due to limited resources. The standard agreement states that the agency receives 15% of total earnings. This amount must be paid monthly regardless of earnings. Failure to pay agreed commissions results in penalties ranging from 1 month cancellation of contract to complete termination of relationship.
Don’t Get Stuck Behind Closed Doors
In recent years, independent agencies have been replaced by larger corporate conglomerates known as’studios’. Nowadays almost nobody signs a traditional ‘exclusive arrangement’ contract with a single agency. Instead, models are assigned to multiple agencies simultaneously. Not uncommonly, studios share information and referrals between them. Since most models belong to several agencies anyway, studios often collude together to form strategic alliances. Such relationships usually involve sharing leads, sending samples of potential new signings and coordinating promotions across multiple brands. Studios encourage cooperation between each other in exchange for favorable treatment. This practice is referred to as ‘agency hopping’ or’referral trading’. Due to lack of transparency, models sometimes feel they are unable to pursue individual plans or develop unique personal profiles. This discourages self expression and stifles creativity. More importantly, it prevents models from maximizing their true value.
Agency Hopping Isn’t Always Bad
While some cases of agency hopping seem questionable, it isn’t necessarily harmful for models. Indeed, some agencies hop around frequently whilst others stay put. Whether you move agencies regularly depends largely on your current situation and future aspirations. Regardless, switching agencies too often can hurt your reputation. People naturally assume that models who constantly change agencies rarely perform well. This can result in poor references and lost opportunities. Fortunately, there’s nothing wrong with changing agencies once per season. However, it’s better to stick with one agency throughout your entire career.
Wherever you stand on the issue of agency hopping, remember that the ultimate goal of an agent is to provide excellent service for their clients. Whilst some studios engage in unfair practices, others strive hard to assist models reach their greatest level of success. Ultimately, choosing an agency boils down to weighing the pros and cons discussed above. Remember that choosing wisely is critical, especially if you plan to stay in the industry for awhile.