Modelling Terms Made Easy

Published: 1st Jun 2021

In this blog, Models Direct would like to concentrate on some terms used in the industry – particularly those of importance to models and actors. We’ll then move on to three crucial questions models often ask, namely:

 1. What is the chief role of a modelling agency?

2. How do clients select the “face” for their campaigns?

3. Why can’t agencies guarantee work?

Think of this blog as a concise reference point – your personal guide to our industry, which remains as exciting, diverse and realisable as it’s ever been!

AGENCY: Well, it would be pointless for a model to be puzzled by the definition of something they’ll be submitting their details to!

An agency represents models and other talented individuals, including actors. That’s us! An agency books the most suitable jobs for models, and promotes their career. They look after contracts and the business-side of a model’s work. A sign of a proactive and reputable agency is the acquiring of a client’s fees prior to the model’s booking, so they can pay the model in a timely manner – within five working days is the industry legal time period.

AGENT: An individual working for said AGENCY. A good agent will keep in touch with a model throughout a booking. Here at Models Direct, each model has a direct desk telephone number to their agent.

AUDITION: A test / trial / tryout for a job – usually in a part for TV, film or on stage. An audition for a model’s booking is often called a “casting” or a “go-see” (see below).

CASTING: Held by the client, castings are an opportunity for models to present themselves in front of casting directors. Models will have fit the brief / client specifications as per the agency’s knowledge – if a model cannot attend a casting, they should notify their agency immediately.

GO-SEE: A general appointment made by the agency for a model to meet with a client – e.g. photographer. It’s more of an interview than an audition (unpaid), where models should bring with them their portfolio and photos etc.

CASTING CALL: An invitation to models and actors for a specific job / role. These are often hosted by agencies, and they could take place in private suites in hotels or offices.

A “closed” casting call is where a select few have been chosen to attend; an “open” casting call is usually advertised in the media, and thus is open to anyone to attend.

CASTING DIRECTOR: Someone appointed by the client to oversee the casting, so that clients have the best possible chance to select the most suitable models for their assignment. Casting Directors should NOT charge a model to attend a casting!

SCREEN TEST: A short piece of film shot to determine how an actor looks and sounds on film. They’ll often be a variety of conditions / settings to see how an actor appears or reacts – e.g. under different lighting, with different make-up etc.

Hopefully, models and actors will have a better idea of the booking process simple by reading the above definitions.

1. What is the chief role of a modelling agency?

In short, a decent modelling agency helps a model help themselves.

How do we do this? Models Direct:

·       Negotiates the very best fees for our talented models.

·       Verifies the client (background check, validates VAT registration etc).

·       Protects and maintains our model’s safety.

·       Pays our models within five working days.

·       Puts forward suitable models for work anywhere in the UK – and beyond! We’re far from a local agency, and have an extensive list of prominent clients looking for people like you.

2. How do clients select the “face” for their campaigns?

Agencies build up their client list through hard work and reliability. Clients benefit from agencies due to the wider diversity of available models – and we’re experts at finding the best models for our clients.

Clients request “faces” for their campaigns depending on the type (photo shoot, filming etc) or audience (they may want a family, female, male or child to produce the most effective campaign).

It’s one of our jobs to listen to our client’s requests, and to choose the “best-fit” models for their needs.    

3. Why can’t agencies guarantee work?

One of the many advantages of joining a reputable agency is the opportunity for the model to be seen by a host of clients – that is, an agent will go to the client on your behalf.

Though there remains similar work opportunities for all age groups, no agency can promise work. We can put forward applications to any of our clients (with travel expenses paid), and our pledge is that our models will receive the exposure needed to be successful. But any agency promising cast-iron work for everybody who applies with them should be treated with suspicion. Often, a model or actor will pay for photographs or to simply be on an agency’s books – and that’s where they’ll stay: no client interaction, no effort from the agency. Why spend money on an agency who isn’t on your side and won’t actively look for work on your behalf?

We’re very open and friendly, and happy to talk to any models – experienced or otherwise. Remember – models won’t even be seen by clients if it wasn’t for an agency!

We aim to open new doors for our models, and have continued to do this for over 30 years. 

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