How to Launch a Modeling/Talent
To Whom It May Concern:
I spend a lot of time surfing around the web looking
at different modeling and acting sites. I have a few
things I would like to make note of and set straight
with the public.
It is true that there are many, many people out there
that want to get into the industry and do not have the
first clue about what to do and where to go.
Some of this is understandable, because there is no
formula for modeling or acting that is guaranteed. What
works for some may not work for others.
Yes, it is true you may get discovered in an elevator,
grocery store, or wherever. But you have to live somewhere
that an agent might be as well. You can't live in B.F.E.
and expect to get "discovered."
You will invest money in a possible acting/modeling
career. Headshots and comp cards are not cheap and you
will NEVER have an agent look at you seriously without
one. They are your business cards, basically.
You need to go to NEW YORK or LOS ANGELES and hit every
agency you can find. Nothing will happen if you don't
chase it down and make it happen. You need to know what
a sag card is and how to get one.
You need to know what a real portfolio is (no, it is
not a book of pretty pictures that you paid a lot of
money for), it should be a print or two that you had
taken but the rest are tearsheets (learn what a tearsheet
Most people want to be an actor or model one week, and
a football player the next, and a chef the week after
For an agent to track down work and send out headshots
of you, etc., just to have you quit or come to auditions
unprepared or unmotivated would be a very short business
venture. The company would go bankrupt if you did not
pay something up front to commit to the services.
Some companies even bring the agents to you and that
is good but expensive as well, since the agent or photo
editor will want to be compensated for their time and
will have expenses as well.
NO company or agent should guarantee you work. No one
can because your performance will determine if you can
get the job or not. If a company/agent could guarantee
work then they would charge a hell of a lot more for
There are a few ways to break into the industry and
I have seen much failure and success in all.
1) Save up some money and go to NY or LA for a month.
Have about 300 headshots and drop them with every agent
you can. Check local papers and go to every audition
you can find. Know what and how to prepare a resume,
cover letter, and headshot/compcard. Be prepared to do
multiple mailings repeatedly.
Upside: you learn to network and you do it all yourself.
Downside: You will spend about $4-5,000. You will probably
do A LOT OF THIS UNLESS YOU GET A GREAT AGENT THAT IS
WILLING TO PAY YOUR EXPENSES.
2) Go to a training center and learn some skills. Some
are great and some are bad. Do your homework. If a training
center only offers classes then forget it. Go somewhere
that trains you and then hooks you up as well. Some have
their own agents that pick out of the center's talent
pool; others have photo editors and agents come in monthly
to look at talent.
This is the way to go if you know absolutely nothing
about this industry or what sag, compcards, or any of
Keep in mind also that a little training never hurts
to have on your resume. In LA everyone is an actor and
being cute and talented is good but some professional
training is definitely going to show that you are committed
and serious about this.
Nothing is worse than people who do not know how to
audition or have a catologue of work to pull from. Training
facilities will help you develop monologues, learn to
slate, what to say to agents, etc.
Noone wants to stand in line for four hours at an audition
to get 15 seconds of face time, but those are the facts,
and you have to impress them and make yourself stand
If you are not doing theatre or have a coach you will
more than likely not have anything to audition with,
and get thrown a cheesy script, and get the next big
downside: anywhere between $1,200 - $7,000. Some scams
are out there.
Upside: get some training, agents and managers coming
to you instead of you going to them. More face time with
agents than going to "cattle calls."
3) Go get a personal coach and wait to be discovered
(actors: do a lot of theatre).
Upside: good training. Downside: $1,200-$7,000. May
take a long time. No connections to get you started.
The key thing I can tell you is that no matter what
you do, you will end up paying out a lot of money for
this, as you would in any hobby. You will lose some and
We get scammed every day from the tires we buy to the
brand of detergent. Everyone has the best and the cheapest.
Do your homework and don't be afraid to ask questions.
Don't rely on someone else's experience to determine
your outcome. There are two sides to every story, and
for every scam out there there are a few dumb people
who never read between the lines or hear only what they
want to hear.
If you or a loved one are serious about this industry,
buy some books (yes, books, those things with paper and
words in them), not magazines, and learn the lingo, the
do's and don'ts, and get informed.
Then know the right questions to ask.