Sunday, July 5, 2009

Why agencies want exclusive contracts with models

For a few reasons

1. they are helping the model develop their potential as a model. As such they will arrange for the model to agency parties, have agency zed cards, and be put in an agency databank like modelwire. Now while the models can use the images they get from testing with the agency's people, and listening to their agent's advice, in other venues the agency is still providing the model with real world connections, training, and portfolio shoots to get the model a stronger presence and a better book.

How is it fair for the agency if they are putting in this time and effort, and a client tries to go around the agency to get a better rate by talking to the model directly? Or if a client sees the work the agency helped her prepare on model mayhem, and again circumvents the agency by contacting her directly?

2. Booking, the agency needs to know where you, the model, are and when you are available. The only way they can know they are doing that is if all booking go through them. They don't have the time to take a million calls from girls saying, oh I booked myself on Thursday. For all the model knows she has been put on hold for Thursday, or submitted to a project.

It makes the agency look bad if you are unavailable for a project after being submitted. It looks worse if they have to cancel you because you booked yourself on another gig.

3. Problems on a shoot.
Had a problem on a shoot, call your agent. The people you work for want more usage then originally contracted for, call your agent.

Your agent is there to protect you and to look after your money interests, because it is there money interest. If you have freelance booked yourself you don't have that protection, and again if you book yourself on a gig with a small local cosmetics company, and the agency wanted to put you up for a national campaign for a competing company, they couldn't.

Arguably the reason for signing with an agency is that they can get you work you can't get yourself. The trade off for that is you have to give up freelancing if you sign an exclusive contract. Several agencies in So Cal don't require exclusive contracts, like Otto. Or you may want to consider finding a regional agency, for a large market in your area, but only sign a regional contract with them.

In the end it is up to you on whether or not you feel the agency can get you better paying more high profile work then you can yourself. If you feel they can. sign with them.

If you are unsure, ask for a 30 or 90 trial period.

If you don't think they can don't sign with them.

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