As an eager new model, or model new to booking oneself, you may very well come across a lot of interesting characters and receive emails that seem a little off. The first thing you should always remember is that your gut, that feeling that tells you something isn’t right, is usually spot on. And when it comes to exposing yourself to people you don’t know, you should never take a chance that things might be safe if your gut is screaming at you to run the other way. But what happens when you don’t get that feeling? Does that mean that everything is on the up and up? Not necessarily.
There are quite a few signs that you can look for to help you decide whether or not to move forward with working for a potential client. Hopefully the following tips will give you a proper guide to making the best decisions.
If you have signed up for a gig through a website like Craigslist or Model Mayhem and have received a response, hold off on getting excited. Did the person responding to you put a name at the end of the email? Is there a phone number? Is there a website link or even a company name? If the answer is no to all of these questions, beware. Anyone can post an ad online without credentials of any sort.
There are people who mean well and just don’t understand how to be professional (e.g. start-up companies needing models for video shoots, photographers looking to expand portfolios, university students in search of models for fashion projects etc.) but anyone claiming to run/work at a business should have enough sense to give you proper company information.
If things seem like they may be legitimate and the person in question might have just forgotten to include such important information, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Respond saying you are interested but need more information. Ask for a phone number and business website and/or links to existing work. If you feel so inclined, give the person a call (unless their ad/email says no phone calls, which is sometimes the case for busy companies that receive an abundance of responses for their booking ads).
You can tell a lot about someone by the way s/he conducts a phone call. If things feel weird during the call, maybe it’s not the right fit. Even if you don’t plan to make a screening call, you should still get a phone number in the event you get booked for the job and need to reach someone on the day of the gig.
Get It In Writing
Ok, so the person who wants to hire you passed the first test and you are stoked about a new fun modeling job. Not so fast! Anyone can say things that sound nice and great but when it comes to delivering what was agreed upon verbally, such as payment, things don’t always work out the way they should. If you are being promised payment and said amount is such that you would be affected if you didn’t receive it, you’ll want to make sure that promise is upheld.
One way to ensure that everything is kosher, as they say, is to get an agreement. This can be simple; a one-pager containing company information, hiring manager’s name, models name, expectations of the job (i.e. model’s responsibilities), shoot date, shoot time/time frame and payment amount with lines for signatures and the date. Always be weary of someone who doesn’t want to come to a contractual agreement for a paid modeling job. An honest person should have no problem proving her words with a signature. Signing a one-page document promising payment does not require a lot of effort or time but sure covers your butt.
You can even offer to render said contract for the convenience of the person hiring you. If the hiring manager absolutely refuses to sign an agreement, however, pass. You’re better off not taking the chance.
Another thing to note is that people who are interested in taking advantage will often do and say anything to try and get their way. If you have brought up your concerns about a job or project and, rather than being met with understanding, are given reasons why you should just do it anyway, don’t. I’ve definitely been told, before, that I’m not going to be able to book jobs if I don’t pose nude.
Oh, really? *raises eyebrow*
Keep in mind that predators don’t care if you feel right about a project or not. They don’t care if you will ultimately be hurt by doing something that isn’t good for you. They don’t care if you are young and naive nor do they have to live with the decisions you have made. They only care about getting what they want. Don’t ever let anyone pressure you into doing something that doesn’t feel right.
Oh and just so you know, I definitely did not continue to communicate with that person.
You’ve probably heard of the infamous Nigerian scam in which someone responds to a for-sale ad claiming to want to buy an object from a private seller, sends a money order for an amount that is way above asking price, then asks for the seller to write and return a check for the difference. Well, the con artists have crossed over into the modeling world.
The way it works is that an ad will be posted for a modeling job (generally a photo shoot), an unsuspecting model will reply, then the person running the scam will send a really long email requesting a plethora of personal information. The email will usually appear to be written by someone who does not speak English as a first language.
While this happened to me a very long time ago, one thing I do remember seeing is a large dollar amount that the person promised to mail to me before I were to even do the job. Why would anyone send money to a random individual before any work has been completed? Another thing that was strange was that the person said that the photo shoot would be in a location near me and to not worry about travel. I probably don’t have to say it but… that makes no sense.
Though I did not get past this stage, because the email was obviously fake, I suspect these people wouldn’t be doing this if it didn’t work. Never, I repeat, never give you personal information to a complete stranger via email. Personal information includes full name, home address, ssn and more.
Believe it or not but identity theft is quite easy a task to complete. The more a person knows about you the easier it will be for him/her to pretend to be you and ruin your credit or worse!
What are some things you make sure to look out for when applying to modeling jobs?
Photo Credit: Lola O Photography