Here is my top 10 list of “no-no’s” when presenting yourself to a modeling agency for the first time (or any time for that matter).This list has been developed with input from actual booking agents.
1. LOOK like your photos!
I can’t tell you how many times I hear booking agents tell me about models or actors who submitted photographs of themselves and when they show up for an appointment they have totally different hair in color or style. Sometimes the shots are 10 years old or they have gained or lost a substantial amount of weight. You never want to be disappointing to an agent in person. It’s your job to update your photos as you change your look.
2. Be on TIME! (But don’t be too early either!)
This is a major pet peeve of most agents and casting directors!
Firstly, lateness is just not tolerated! There are no exceptions to this one! (In this business “on time” is 15 minutes early if you are working) Put some thought into where your going and plan a route ahead of time. In the age of online directions there is just no excuse anymore. Distance is also NEVER an excuse! If an agent can’t trust you to meet them on time, they certainly are not going to trust you with their clients. However, on the other side of the coin, getting there too early is also a nuisance. Don’t enter the agency for the appointment more than 5 minutes early. It’s just as bothersome to have someone hanging around a busy agency as it is to be kept waiting for them!
3. Don’t bring guests to your appointment!
This is no time for a social gathering. Agencies in local markets are much smaller in floor space than their counterparts in larger markets like NY. Space is limited. I’ve actually seen people bring both Mom & Dad PLUS brother and sister PLUS the child from down the block that Mom is babysitting!!! And baby strollers? Forget it! This will worry any agent as it would make them look bad if you brought this type of entourage with you on an audition. Unless you’re a minor, come alone and even then bring only 1 parent.
4. Always carry a pen and pad to take notes!
This one is so elementary but still worth mentioning. Bottom line, you don’t look like a working talent if you don’t carry a day planner and writing utensil.
5. Don’t carry contact sheets or outtakes in the back of your Portfolio!
Agents will always look in the back of your book. NEVER put anything in there if it’s not meant to be seen! I often see models place their contact sheets in the back of their book. I don’t know if this is deliberate or by mistake. You should never show these. Why show 28 reasons why you don’t photograph perfectly in every shot!
6. Know how to market yourself!
Be realistic about where you fall in the market. If you’re a 5’4 woman in her 40′s you should NOT go fashion/glamour in all of your shots. Nor, should you show up in person with this look. Most likely you are considered to be a commercial type, meaning a soccer mom or executive. It’s not the agencies job to educate you. Before you invest in photos, get a good sense of the type of work you may be right for and try to mimic that look. Also show up to the agency with this look! Agencies need to see it to believe it in order to sell it!
7. Submit to the correct agencies!
Investigate which agencies book your type and don’t waste time submitting to agencies that don’t book it. If you’re a petite, see which agencies actually have that division and so on. It’s a waste of postage and time to just send your materials off to everyone.
8. Be reachable!
You must have a cell phone and answer it! Often projects come in at the last minute. Agencies must be able to get a hold of you! When these last minute jobs come in, most booking agents will reach for the people they can get a hold of. Many talent in the agency have a reputation for being hard to reach. I can promise you this. . . when a client is calling at 5:30pm for a booking the next morning, a booking agent is not going to waste time trying to connect with people that don’t normally call back within a few minutes. Instead, they call the folks that are usually available plus actually answer their phones!
9. Follow up!
Many potential models walk into agencies with material that is not quite marketable as they are. But, if the agency has a real interest in them, they will give them invaluable feedback and suggestions then ask them to follow up. You would be shocked at the percentage of models and talent that do not do so! If a booking agent has taken the extra few minutes to help groom you with your craft then I believe there may be something there. Follow up; they are too busy to chase after you!
10. Don’t argue with a booking agent, accept criticism!
It takes a certain type of person to handle this business. You need a strong sense of self to handle criticism. Admittedly, agents can have a harsh tongue. You can talk to 10 agents and get 10 different opinions. Listen to the information given and keep the stuff that makes sense. Don’t begin jumping through hoops after one agency makes a suggestion. If you start to hear the same comment form several agencies, then you know that you need to act on it. Don’t take criticism to heart. It’s part of the business and the learning process in ANY career. Don’t argue with agents, try to change their minds or put them on the defense. If an agent passes on you, don’t question them. Simply thank them for their time, swallow hard and move on to the next appointment. There are plenty more opportunities out there. Go find them!
Recommended Reading about Modeling Agencies
- How do I find a modeling agency?
- How to contact modeling agencies
- How to make a great first impression with a modeling agency
- 10 Mistakes NOT To Make When Contacting A Modeling Agency
- Never pay a modeling agency
- I’ve been signed by an agency – Now what?