Tuesday, January 14, 2014

ASK JOEY: Head to Agency Open Calls

Finding an agent can sometimes feel overwhelming and impossible. At the end of the day, it comes down to timing and having a few quality shots in your book. As I've said before, most agents will have you test with one of their photographers when they decide to sign you, so it's not imperative that you have a ton of pictures to get meetings. All you need are a few solid shots - definitely include one or two commercial pictures. (This is ESPECIALLY true for men. There are fewer opportunities in modeling for men, so you want to make sure you are well-rounded and can sell a variety of products.)

For fashion agencies, check their websites for open call information. Going to an open call is infinitely easier than trying to get a meeting. No matter what kind of representation you are looking for, don't bypass smaller agencies in the hopes of only signing with the top tier. You could miss out on an agency who will work harder at developing your career because they aren't handling as many clients. Once you start submitting, it really comes down to timing. Is your look the type that is selling right now? Does the agency you've submitted to already have a lot of clients that have your similar look and type? Certain things are out of your control, but having good shots and maintaining a positive, professional attitude is really up to you.

I would love to find representation with an agency in New York. May I ask for some advice on the best way to do that?

You have enough pictures to start seeing agents. You live in NYC, which is lucky. Most agencies there have open calls, if you aren't able to make appointments to see them. If an agent wants to work with you, they can see it in just a few pictures - they won't need a ton of them to make their decision. Just go in with a few of your best shots. They will then get you tested by a photographer they like, to get the images they need to get you working. If an agent tells you they think your pictures are "weak," it's a nice way of saying they don't want to rep you. Just pick up and move on to your next option and you'll find the right agent for you. Don't be afraid to start with a smaller agency. 
How do I, in the best way possible, contact agencies in the hopes of possible representation? I'm really keen on getting representation in Asia. With the different culture there, is there a different way I should contact agencies in Asia compared to how I would contact US agencies?
If you have an agent in NYC or in Denmark, they can set it up for you. Agencies in Asia work with agents in Europe and the US. If you are currently repped, I'd start by asking for a referral. If not, you can also try picking up a model directory, Picture Perfect is a good one, and start emailing your book to agents in Asia you think you might like to work with. You can also check online resources like ModelWire's Fashion Directory  (some of the agencies have branches in Asia) or www.fashionmodeldirectory.com for robust agency searches.
I live in NYC, which I know is a great market to be in. If you could help me out by offering any constructive criticism and advice on how to further my career, it would be greatly appreciated.
If you're looking for fashion agents, you're going to need to change direction. Your look is not what's selling at this time, but that doesn't mean that won't change. For now, I would say go commercial and take some acting classes if you aren't already. There are a lot more commercial agencies in NYC than fashion agencies, so I would suggest targeting some of different sizes to try to set up meetings. They will be able to help get you out on auditions for both commercial print and television work. There's a lot more opportunity there, so that's what I would suggest for you right now.
How do I end things with my current modeling agency? They aren't getting me any work at all. I don't know what to do.
If you don't have a contract, it's as simple as calling your agency and saying you're leaving. You may want to try get a meeting with them first to sit down and find out why they haven't been getting you auditions or bookings. They may have suggestions as to changes that may help them get you out there. If you have a contract with your agency, you'll need to notify them in writing that you are leaving. Check to see if there is a 30 day window to leave (many contracts have one) and make sure to follow the rules of the contract should you decide to move on. You may want to consider signing with a commercial agent (if you don't have one already) as there are more of them in LA. They will submit you for print work too, so it may be an option in terms of getting out on more auditions or go-sees.
What would be the necessary steps for me to get into an agency? I have never tried to do so, but want to be prepared and if you could offer advice based on my look, that would be great!
Right off the bat, you look the same in all of your pictures. They're too street, no smiles, etc. I personally like happy guys, so don't be afraid to have a few photos in your book where you're smiling. You'll definitely need them since you live in LA, and the bulk of agencies you'll want to start off meeting with are commercial. I would definitely get some new photos that have a more commercial feel to get some variety in your portfolio before trying to set up meetings. You can reach out to photographers via MWN to see if someone is willing to work for trade so you don't have to spend a fortune to get pictures. You can also check the photographers listing on LA Casting, as many of them will offer discounts for finding them there. Once you have a few new shots, think about what agencies you'd like to work with. Most will have submission information on their websites. Commercial agencies will let you know if they want electronic or hard copy submissions, and many modeling agencies will have open calls as well. 

In the meantime,

Have a successful day!


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