How to choose a modeling agency

How to choose a modeling agency? This decision shouldn’t be taken lightly as your peak years in modeling industry can pass very fast. I am truly hoping that today’s episode will answer how to choose a modeling agency, how does interview look like, what fees you should expect, what are scams and how to avoid them. I will also tell you my story how I chose a modeling agency. My focus is to be as detailed as possible to help all of you to choose the right modeling agency.

As I mentioned in the video, here is a link to my acting resume. This is just a sample, please change it the way you need it. Your new agent will help you create one as well.

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Hi! My name is Zdenka and in today’s video,
I will help to answer a question “how to choose modeling and talent agency”? As a former model, currently a professional
photographer I spent most of my life on both sides of camera. In this depth tutorial I’ll talk about how
does interview look like, what they might tell you and what not, what questions to ask. We’ll talk about money and fees, contract
and I will also share my story how I chose a modeling agency. How does interview look like and how to behave? It is a job interview. So if you are less then 18 years old, please
bring your parent or guardian with you. If you are 18 years and older, leave your
boyfriend or girlfriend sitting in a car or waiting in a coffee shop somewhere because
you know you want to look professional and it's a job interview. Some agents will come, very quickly look at
your portfolio and they'll say “thank you for coming” that obviously means in a nice
way NO we are not interested. Others might tell you exactly why they cannot
take you on. They might even say something you don’t
like hearing in regards to your look. I got to say this industry is for people with
thick skin. Some agents and people you’ll meet are really
nice, others are rude and will make you wanna give up. So please ignore it, ignore the bad and ugly. What you should do instead of saying “bye”
is asking them: What agency do you recommend who I should see? Is there anything else I can improve? Is it my portfolio, is it my hair color, is
it my look, is there anything else I can change? Other agents might sit down with you and chat
little bit more to find out you know if you are experienced and so on. Listen carefully what they have to say, OK. So, now let's say, agent is interested. Most of the time, they will be asking you
questions. What have you done in modeling? Are you new? What else do you do? What is your availability like? And so on… They might tell you little bit more about
the agency and their roster, and how the agent wants you to work with them. Usually, they are not going to tell you what
fees to expect and all other details, unless you ask. They will take your photos, measurements,
you know take photos of you and put a contract on
a table. How many models do you represent? Small agency with about 60 – 80 models might
be a good choice for new models. Unless you have extraordinary look and big
agency wants you badly. In small agency you don’t have to compete
with other models for a job or their attention. You know in a big agency you can easily get
forgotten as they might have their top favorites and all their attention goes to them. I always had a better experience with smaller
agency. Broadbelt & Fonte kept me really busy. I was working literally Monday to Friday. When I signed with big agency, as a new face,
I was very busy and then I had to start you know reminding myself to an agent make sure
I get lot of work. What is the commission rate? Modeling agencies here in Toronto take usually
20% and talent agencies 15%. If you are getting an agency in Europe, it
can get much higher then that. What fees do you charge? When you are signed to an agency you are considered
independent contractor. You are not an employee. So all expenses is your responsibility. Most of the time, they won’t tell you that
you will be charged for things you need, you will find out later on when you get your first
paycheck and you will notice that it has drastically shrunk. So watch out, be prepared for it as it will
happen. Boy, was I ever surprised when I got my first
big paycheck and it was actually cut in half. Some of the expenses are: portfolio, you know,
you will get one book which you will take to every single job and casting. Another book with a copy of your portfolio
stays in the agency. It used to be about $60 per book, now it might
be a bit higher. And you will need also comp cards. They look something like this. They used to be $2 for one and I needed about
100 to start and those are your business cards. And if you are choosing a talent agency they
will also charge you for copies of your headshot and resume. How does resume look like? I will post link in the video description
to my own resume so you can take a look and create your own. Your new agent will also help you create one. Your new modeling agent will most likely ask
you to do a test shoot in case your portfolio is new or doesn’t have strong photos. Some agencies might pay for it and later deduct
it from your earnings. Other agencies will make you pay for it on
the day of the shoot directly to a photographer. I used to pay somewhere around $400. $200 went to a photographer, $100 went to
a wardrobe stylist and another $100 went to a makeup artist. Rates might be a bit higher now. If it is way too high, it is a warning sign
that the agency doesn’t make enough money from bookings and they need to make extra
money on portfolios to survive. Other expenses are usually you know courier
fees, recycling fees and website fees. Keep all your receipts when you pay taxes
as they are deductible. Just so you know it takes about up to 3 months
to get paid from all modeling and talent jobs. I am sure you read tons of warnings online
and you heard someone talking about scams. I visited few agencies which had a bad reputation
and I wanted to see for myself what they are gonna do. I am not going to mention any names. Their sweet talk, you know promising how much
I will be working, what they can do with me that already gave me a warning sign. Even though I mentioned I am an experienced
model, I was told I need to attend their modeling school or training classes which were not
exactly cheap. For modeling, you don’t need to get a modeling
school. You can. You might get lesson here and there to learn
for example how to do catwalk, I did. I had a coach where I had to walk for an hour
in high heels around the room, all the way until I finally started to look natural. As far as posing goes, that will come with
experience as you work with different photographers to build your own portfolio. Now you can do little bit posing at home,
you know… stand in front of a mirror, grab a chair, or something like that and just try
to see how you move and how you look like. However, if you are doing TV and film work,
yes you need to take acting lessons. I did take acting lessons myself. You might be born extremely talented you know
being an actor and that is all great it is a great bonus but it is a craft and it never
hurts to develop it further. Now that you have the offer to join that modeling
or talent agency, how do you feel about the agent? I personally like an agent which is very straight
forward with me. I don’t like sweet talk at all. I like when they tell me good and when they
tell me bad. The ones which promise you to become stars
over night, those are the fishy ones, you'll never hear from them. My best agent I ever had in my whole life
was Warren Beatty from AAB Talent. And watch out, once he sees this video, he
is gonna be like … you know what, he absolutely deserves it. And until this day, I send all new people
which I photograph first to him in case they seek representation. First time we met was in a coffee shop. It wasn't an office or official agency and
actually I got scouted by modeling agent on the street before. And you know Ontario Government has a website
where is written that if somebody scouts you on the street, it is a scam. Not necessary. They have it wrong. I was scouted on the street in Paris by agency
Metropolitan. One of the known names they represented at
that time was Claudia Schiffer. Agents and photographers scout anywhere. It can be social media, it can be streets,
it can be coffee shop, I even scouted somebody in a grocery store .. anywhere…Yes, there
are scam and there are scam people between them too, but you need to find out which ones
are real and which are not. Back to Warren. He looked at me and said. "Tell me one thing which will work against
you to get an acting job?" I thought about it and I said “my accent”. He was confident, he was serious, he was friendly
and I could feel that he knows what he is doing so I went ahead and I signed up with
him. You want someone down to earth and hard working. If for whatever reason you feel uncomfortable,
walk away. Agent is almost like your parent which you
will have in your face all the time. Warren used to call me late at night checking
on me if I am actually studying lines. So you want to make sure you actually like
the person. At the beginning I had 1 agency which did
everything. Modeling and talent. As I had more experience I realized that it
was best for me if I had one modeling agency which does strictly print and runway. Another agency which would be a talent one,
strictly for acting, commercial and TV work. They specialized in their field so there is
better chance they have more clients. You can have only 1 agency in the city or
the area as they all get the same breakdown service and they might have same clients. If you have more modeling agencies or more
talent agencies in that city and they both send you to casting or the same client the
client will feel very uncomfortable as he or she doesn’t know which agency to contact. It is a conflict and agency won’t be happy
about that once they find out. You can have one agency in Toronto, another
in New York or any other city. You might also have a local small agency which
acts as your mother agency and they will send you eventually to a bigger agency in another
city. Well I am not a lawyer so I cannot help you
with terms. But you can ask the agent if you can take
it to your lawyer for a review. Now what I can advice is to look if it is
exclusive or non-exclusive contract and for how many years. If it is exclusive, you cannot do any other
work on your own, everything has to go through them. Non-exclusive contract was better for me,
because that meant I could get another talent agent and I could also do some freelance work
on your own. Make sure to mention freelance work to the
agent in case you are planning on doing so to see how he or she feels about that. Ask what happens if you are not happy with
the agency after a certain period of time and what happens if you want to end the contract. You don’t want to waste your time in the
agency if you are not getting any work let's say in 2 or 3 months. So that is it for today’s video how to choose
a modeling agency and I would love to hear from you your experience with choosing an
agency, so please don't be shy and comment below. If you would like to see a video on a certain
topic or have questions for me, simply comment below as well. Feel free to share this video, give it thumbs
up and don’t forget to subscribe for more videos. The next one coming up is “How to build
a modeling portfolio” so again subscribe to my channel so you don’t miss this video. Thank you for watching Cau… Ahoj…

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