Be aware of agencies that:
- guarantee work
- use pressure tactics, discounts, promises of instant work and money
- require you take classes and workshops from them or a specified school (read on to clarify this caution)
- require you use an in-house or specified photographer (read on to clarify this caution)
- ask you to sign a contract without giving you time to think about your decision or without suggesting you check it with a lawyer or industry professional
Modelling agencies can not guarantee work and it is illegal in B.C. for an employer or agency to require a payment from anyone to obtain employment.
MODELLING AGENCIES may approach you in public places. It is advisable to request a business card and investigate the agency first. Modelling industry fees are greater than talent agency fees and caution should be exercised before paying for anything.
You will be expected to pay for photo shoots and comp cards. Unlike actors, models need portfolios. This portfolio is developed through a series of test shoots. The comp card may use some of these pictures. The format and quantity of the comp card determines the price. Again the services are not performed in-house. Agencies may only recommend photographers. Models for TV work need 8 x 10 b&w headshots as actors do. An agency portfolio is also required for your photos.
Modelling agency headsheets are distributed as promotional tools. You will pay for inclusion of black & white or colour photos. You may also be expected to pay for inclusion in a promotional agency book.
A modelling agency is not a school. Specialists may be brought in to conduct occasional workshops but no in-house courses should be required. Modelling agencies that provide courses must be registered with the B.C. Private Post Secondary Education Commission. Models receive their training during on-the-job shoots.
Finally, no legitimate agency will put pressure on you to sign or pay for anything. Always read everything carefully and be sure you understand everything completely. If anything is unclear to you, take it to a lawyer or someone knowledgeable in the industry, for a second opinion.
Note: Consumers may wish to contact the Actors and Modelling Information Service in Toronto. This is a non-profit association staffed by volunteers from the industry dedicated to the education and protection of members of the general public who are interested in training and careers in the fashion and/or entertainment industries. Phone 1(416)977-3832.