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Get Facts about Casting

It takes less than 5 seconds to get rejected

Modeling is a first impression business. To get work as a model you need to immediately capture the attention of “casting agents” (anyone that makes a decision on you getting an assignment or signed). All casting agents have one thing in common: Too many models, too many emails to open, and too many pictures to look at.

Casting agents rarely look past the first picture or two so it’s very important to show the right ones, and they aren't the type of images you might expect. Coming off too strong or not getting straight to the point can also use those precious seconds up.

Set yourself apart by using the right types of pictures along with immediate information casting agents want to see. Read more about pictures in the "Your Book & Modeling Portfolio" section just below.

The person making the decision may never see your submission

Most email are opened by interns who operate under strict guidelines. One of the common instructions is to delete any incomplete emails. You may have the best look, perfect picture and be an ideal candidate and never get seen. Read casting notices carefully and use bullet points for the things requested.!

Important points you make can easily get overlooked

If you get past the first 5 seconds and pass the intern test, your email will still get read very quickly. If it's too long, important points you are making may get lost. Use bullet points, especially to outline the requested information!

You want to make sure they immediately see any information specifically requested in the casting notice.

Everyone has an ego!

Be it the person that makes the decision, or the twitchy fingered intern one inch from the delete key, you need to keep in mind they have an ego, as well as moods. Set yours aside and make them a friend from the get go. How? You can smile with words and don't be shy to close with a smiley emoticon :)

You can dramatically increase your chances in getting the job

We've created a free casting guide for independent models that submit for work or audition invitations online. There's no catch or advertising in it, we wrote it only to help you.

You can download the complete guide in the Get Work section.


Get Facts about your Book or Modeling Portfolio

Avoid these rejection causing images

The cost is high when you use the wrong images: You don't get the job, you don't get signed.

DO NOT use overly artistic pictures - they detract from the subject (you). Dramatic lighting with strong shadowing may look great, but is ineffective. What casting agents can’t see, makes them suspicious.

No matter how beautiful they may be, don’t send high fashion shots unless it’s a tear sheet. Casting agents don’t want to see what a great job photographers or stylists do, they want to see the real you.

When casting you want simple, crisp, images that only show you off and come off real.

Think about this before shooting again

A common mistake is too many unpublished images. Before you get signed you get Googled.  Here are things that can work against you: A lot of activity on amateur modeling websites. A big portfolio of unpublished "modeling" images on your Facebook or website. Flyers of you "hosting" nightclub events. Showing up on too many hobby photographer websites or profiles.

Why? Major brands don't like talent in their ads appearing in lesser works. Also, shooting outside of commercial shoots breeds bad habits and understandings - they know that. And if you sign a model release for this type of imagery you can't even control where it appears! Bad exposure is worst than no exposure. Even if you got paid for it.

Without credibility, images are worthless

The boom of amateur modeling portfolio websites has created a dilemma for casting agents. The photographers and stylists on these sites spend inordinate amounts of time collaborating to create highly stylized images. Some of these images look great, as does the model, and the retouching.

This is a problem for casting agents who can’t distinguish real, from contrived. Therefore, these types of images are discounted, as are the people who create them, and the models in them.

Tear sheets rule. AFter that branded images by respected photographers that include copyright dates enhance your credibility. Casting agents want to know the picture is real, and recent.

Don't waste money on high priced photo-shoots

You may need images to cast for work or send to agencies, but now you know you need different pictures than you probably thought. Un-retouched digital images with little makeup actually work better than images you will get from most photographers (see Get Signed and read about Polaroids in the blog).

So what are all the thousand plus dollar photo-shoots you see advertised about? Profit. There’s no pot of gold to the truth about pictures, and the pictures that come from those expensive photo-shoots rarely get you more work. The same goes for images from workshops, shoot-outs etc. In fact those can be the most damaging when trying to get signed.

Be careful with your book (model portfolio)!

How to get the proper images

This may be somewhat self serving, but there are huge myths on amateur modeling portfolio websites. One of the biggest is that professional models don't pay for pictures. Trade (or TFP) is for beginners and so is being paid by photographers!

The reality is that professional models pay for images all the time. Photographers that do trade work usually do so because they need them for their own books.

You may have already understood what we're about to say when we pointed out what images you need to cast with, but think of it in these terms: Images that get photographers, stylists, and makeup artists work, are much different than those that get models work. You need images that get you signed and work!


Get Facts about Applying to Agencies

When you can get signed as a fashion model when under 5'9"

In certain markets, some agencies will sign you if you are 5'8".

If you are young and still growing, and the agency forecasts you to grow to their minimum height, they may sign you (see more in Teen Models).

That's it. If you do not fall into one of these categories, it's pretty much absolute. You will need to consider another genre of modeling (See "The Genres of Modeling" in the blog and read Get SIgned in the Model Portal).

You do not need a big book or modeling portfolio to get signed

You need to have believable pictures and you can take them yourself. In fact, they are far better when applying to fashion agencies than anything you will get at a trade shoot. We explain how to do this in Get Signed.

Even better, in the blog there's an article with step by step instructions on how to take them yourself.

You must target the correct type of agency

There are many genres of modeling and a huge mistake many new models make is working on the wrong type. We explain this as well in Get Signed, and again in more detail in the blog.

Be sure to know your genre early so you can work on a path of least resistance towards your success.We call this "positioning" and there's a full article in the blog about that too.

You can be a victim of too much exposure

There are more things that will keep you from getting signed than there are that can help. Appearing in unseemly places. Having the wrong type of pictures show up when you get Googled. Even having signed too many model releases!

Except in rare cases, commercial modeling agencies do not want recognizable faces. And fashion model agencies want to mold you. The only thing lots of online exposure may help you is if you are a promotional or amateur model doing mostly insignificant work.


Get Facts about Nudity and Racy Pictures

Nudity can ruin a career

Even "implied" can hurt you. The only genre of modeling it helps is adult modeling, and arguably some promotional gigs. If you have done any nudity and are trying to get signed, make sure that when the agency Googles you, they don't run across any of it!

The best practice is to not shoot nudity - even without having signed a model release.

Nudity and commercial models

Commercial agencies have large, and often times conservative clients. Aside from finding talent, their job is also to protect these clients from potential embarrassment. Even tasteful nudity can be deemed embarrassing by many clients, therefore commercial agencies shy away from models that have participated in nude modeling.

Nudity and fashion models

Fashion models may do some implied work both for advertising campaigns as well as editorials, especially in Europe where even topless can be introduced to the mass market. However, your participating in nude work before you get there will hinder your chances of getting signed to both fashion and commercial model agencies.

Won't appearing in something like Playboy help me get signed?

No, it will hurt you. Period. Especially with modeling agencies.


Get Facts about Hosting

What hosting really is

There are many types of hosts of course, but almost every model we meet that uses the term really means it as being the host of a television show or segment. This field has become increasingly popular with large influx of reality contest shows and entertainment television magazines.

Where hosts come from

While most hosts are attractive, they don't often come from modeling When they do they usually carry credentials and experience. Common backgrounds are as entertainment news reporters, actors, or experts in a certain field. Hoping to get discovered as a host from modeling, unless you are already a very successful model, is a bad approach.

Learning to be a host, and college

There are many schools that specialize in hosting and acting, but the overwhelmingly most important asset is to have a college degree, ideally in broadcast journalism. A normal career path is to intern at a local TV station - move up as an assistant - and to get experience reporting at times few people are watching. From there you may move into becoming a reporter is a small market and continue upwards from there. Shortcuts are rare.

While we mention broadcast journalism as the best degree, any college degree is helpful. And others are nearly equally as good, for example different communications degrees, especially with emphasis in media.

Hosts can also be victims of too much exposure

Of course this means the wrong exposure but these days almost anything you do sticks forever online. A successful hosting job means working for a big corporation. Big corporations have HR departments and they are going to research you thoroughly before you get hired. Don't give them the ability to come across things that will be embarrassing!

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