Monday, March 23, 2015

Down into the Wormhole

Wormhole:  something about a space-time continuum…not really my field; but, more commonly among laypersons, this term has been used to describe that time you spend on the internet following links and losing time…like when you realize it’s bedtime and you haven’t fed your kids.  Backstage was a wormhole for me.  Originally a trade publication for performers, Backstage expanded its online presence to include an assortment of message boards, including one for Child and Teen Models.  This is where I really started to learn about the industry.  When you visit the board, you’ll see an assortment of general industry questions and more specific inquiries about castings (such as, did DKNY book yet?).  Backstage is dominated by the NYC market but sometimes there are a smattering of posts about LA and Miami…and maybe one or two from the Midwest from time to time.  I always recommend that prospective model parents spend some time on Backstage.  You can scroll through posts or do specific searches.  You’ll find frequent posters and gravitate toward some who may seem to have some similar trajectories and you can PM (private message) them.  You’ll learn a lot.

After some worm-time, I learned about agencies other than the big NYC supermodel agencies I mentioned last time.  Your first reaction is probably, “Which one is the best?!?!?” and I’ll save you lots of time researching the question and say it depends on YOU.  You may remember I mentioned college obsession last time.  I’m an Ivy League grad…so you may be able to picture me with a Peterson’s College Guide (do those still exist?) fervently researching to find the BEST ONE with little regard to the best for me.  As adults, though, we now know what’s meaningless and what’s meaningful.  (Have I ever gotten a job from someone I networked with at college?  No.  Did the name of my college open some doors?  Sure.  Did I meet my ex-husband in college?  Whatever.)  I personally have experience with three agencies.  It took a while with the first two to realize what I like and don’t like.  I’M NOT EVEN GOING TO NAME THEM.  You’re frustrated now, because you wanted the scoop on each, right?  IT ONLY MATTERS TO YOU.  Sorry to raise my voice, but finding the best fit is the research you actually need to do.

The first thing you will find out is how to submit your kid.  Most have some form of online submission process, and one or two of the reputable agencies may still want snail mail.  (Notice I used the word reputable.  More on that in the future.)  Don’t submit the cute photos with hats and bows and party dresses.  Keep it plain.  Agents want to see the hair, a smile, a serious face, and the full-length “look” of the kid.  Plain.  Jeans and a solid-colored t-shirt.  A solid-colored onesie.  Snapshots are fine.  In fact, they’re preferred.  Even if you think you’re a “bad” photographer, they will be fine.  Take the pictures in natural light with a neutral background.  That’s it.  Pretty easy.  Upload or print, click “submit” or put on the stamp, and you’ve submitted.

Now you wait.

I submitted to five agencies.  One responded within minutes.  The others took a little longer; maybe a week or two or three.  The next step is the meeting/interview phase…and I’m probably going to adjust your perspective on how you approach this process.

Next time: sizing up the agencies.

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